Holiday Shopping Guide: 10 Cheap Nintendo DS Games


Time is running out to get those presents under the tree, and even if the Nintendo DS is a dying system, there are plenty of great games that deserve a place in any gamer’s library. However, some of the games on this list may have passed completely under your radar. Therefore, allow this list to surprise and delight you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single game that you will be paid to take away.

America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get CookingAmerica's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking cover art

Metacritic: 87

Price: $4.71

Let’s begin this list with a game that isn’t actually a game. America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking is an ebook for your Nintendo DS.

However, what any fan of Create Channel’s TV show can look forward to is easy recipes and trustworthy advice on  ingredients. Best of all, as gamers have never been known for their cooking abilities (habenero-tuna pizza and chocolate milk, anyone?), this collection of 300 recipes make seemingly difficult dishes easy.

If for no other reason, this gift will guarantee that the DS gamer in your life will be able to impress a date or family with awesome meals.

Castlevania: Dawn of SorrowCastlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Metacritic: 89

Price: $19.98

As a direct sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, this game takes place in 2036. In fifteen years, Soma Cruz discovers a cult planning to revive Dracula.

Soma Cruz must infiltrate a replica of Dracula’s castle, battle monsters, and retrieve new Magic Seals to defeat the cult and stop the rise of Dracula.

The game features gorgeous art styles in 2D gameplay styles. There will be some references to the previous game, but players will quickly catch up on the plot within the first hour.

Chrono TriggerChrono Trigger box art

Metacritic: 92

Price: $12.71

Easily, the best Super Nintendo Entertainment System game ever released was Square’s Chrono Trigger. The game was repackaged for the PlayStation. However, it’s greatness deserved one more reproduction.

Enter the Nintendo DS. The same story, gameplay, and graphics have been preserved. However, players will use the touch screen for mini games and menu surfing. The game would have benefited from the same updating that was seen in Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV on the DS.

However, any gamers who missed this SNES classic in their childhood owe it to themselves to play one of the best RPGs ever made.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry SkiesDragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Night box art

Metacritic: 87

Price: $16.96

The Dragon Quest franchise has been one of the best Japanese RPGs on the shelves for many years. But few could deny that the franchise was beginning to feel tired.

Fortunately, Level 5 took the best elements from the franchise and fixed the worst pieces. The story is still fun, but the gameplay has gone away from the turn-based style and moved to a more action-based format. Also, players could create their own heroes and link up with up to three other heroes to complete the quest. For the first time in a long time, Dragon Quest feels new again.

Elite Beat AgentsElite Beat Agenst box art

Metacritic: 87

Price: $9.99

Try as we might, there’s no such thing as a bad rhythm-based game. They’re not all great, but none of them are bad. Therefore, on of the best cheap buys for your rhythm-happy gamer is Elite Beat Agents.

The story is wonderfully cheesy, and the types of rhythm-bsed mini games are diverse and fun. For the more casual player on the list, this is a must-have.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown WarsGrand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars box art

Metacritic: 93

Price: $16.00

When Rockstar Games got started, they made some of Virgin’s only selling games: Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto II, two PC-exclusive titles.

When Rockstar bought themselves out, they changed Grand Theft Auto III into a third-person, over-the-shoulder shooter and haven’t looked back at their roots. Until Chinatown Wars!

This title returns GTA to its visual roots with a top-down perspective. Fortunately, takes full advantage of the DS’s gameplay potential.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit TracksThe Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks box art

Metacritic: 87

Price: $17.96

Navi is seriously the worst sidekick in gaming. She does virtually nothing. And while we’re on the subject of bad elements of the Zelda franchise, traveling by horse is so yesterday!

Fortunately, Spirit Tracks allows link to enter the 20th century and travel by train. Also, he no longer has to rely on that irritating fairy following him everyone. No, Link upgraded to Phantom, a giant metal friend who helps link solve puzzles and fight foes.

Like all Zelda games, the game offers interesting puzzles, challenging temples, and a simple story. There’s no such thing as a bad Zelda game, and this price makes this a great deal.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside StoryMario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Metacritic: 90

Price: $14.96

Evil villain Fawful has tricked Bowser into swallowing a magic mushroom. The mushroom forces Bowser to uncontrollably inhale everything, including Princess Peach. Now, Mario and Luigi have to allow themselves to be inhaled by the giant.

Players follow two stories, the obvious story of Mairo and Luigi navigating Bowser’s insides as they save the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach and the interesting tale of Bowser trying to reverse Fawful’s spell. The amount of gameplay and story in this game deserves to be on the Wii, but instead, it makes the cheap list of DS games.

Might & Magic: Clash of HeroesMight & Magic: Clash of Heroes

Metacritic: 86

Price: $7.99

Ubisoft adapted the Might & Magic PC games to fit the Nintendo DS.

The game features a manga art style, 2D gameplay, and an interesting revisioning of the franchise.

Set 40 years before Might & Magic V, players solve puzzles and defeat enemies in this action RPG. The best part of this as a gift is that it is highly unlikely that your DS gamer has ever heard of it, so it will be a truly unique and fun game.

The World Ends with YouThe World Ends with You box art

Metacritic: 88

Price: $12.60

While all of these games use one or two elements of the dual screens, this game uses all of the system’s potential. Players combat enemies with the touch screen and microphone and have to react to cues from both screens at once.

The game offers a unique challenge for the unique handheld. However, the story is a little on the far-fetched side. Fortunately, the game takes players through various subcultures, complete with their own fashion and music. Moreso than Might & Magic above, this game will impress the gamer looking for something different.

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About Ben Davis

Ben writes for KWCR 88.1 Weber FM, Studio 76, the Signpost, and KSL.com and can be contacted on Twitter (@GameTaffyBen) or at Ben@GameTaffy.com!

Posted on December 14, 2011, in Holiday Shopping Lists and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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