The Nintendo DS is one of the most influential video game systems of all time, succeeding the Gameboy line and helping continue the Nintendo handheld console craze of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Nintendo DS had many console updates and developments and was arguably the most popular Nintendo system line prior to the Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo DS, of course, started it all, a system on which many iconic and fan-favorite game titles were released. Unfortunately, though, many have since been forgotten and left trapped. With game remakes and remasters being so popular these days, we think they’d prove a huge crowd-pleaser for die-hard fans of these games.
We’ve compiled a list of the titles most worthy of a remake/remaster. So without further ado, here are the 10 best NDS games most worthy of a Nintendo Switch Remaster, in no particular order.
Pokemon spin-off games have been around since the beginning of the franchise’s video game series, with titles all the way back on the Gameboy – such as Pokemon Trading Card Game, and Pokemon Pinball. The DS actually only has one: Pokemon Ranger, a game in which, as the title reflects, you take a break from filling the role of a Pokemon trainer and instead play as a Pokemon Ranger, an individual who can befriend and temporarily use wild Pokémon to assist them in many missions.
Pokemon Ranger rocks for a bunch of reasons, not least for an abundance of compelling locations to explore, which are made all the more fun paired with the ability to capture wild Pokemon using the Nintendo DS stylus. If you’ve not tried it before, the mechanic works by relying on players to complete a successful chain of circular motions to “tame” them into companionship. Every tameable Pokemon has a unique battle mechanic that you can use to assist your captures, such as slowing or stunning enemy Pokemon, doubling the progress of your capture train, and creating obstacles that trap enemy Pokemon in one place.
However, capturing Pokemon using the stylus is no easy task. Sometimes they will put up a fight by breaking the chain of the circle and disrupting your attempts to capture them. Does anyone remember that tricky Registeel boss battle? I still recall feeling satisfaction and relief after completing it following countless attempts!
I can definitely see Pokemon Ranger as an interesting remake on the Nintendo Switch, as the system could use both the touch screen and optional motion control gameplay with the Joycons to simulate the drawing of the circle, like Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Let’s Go Eevee’s Pokeball mechanic – letting everyone feel like they’re truly a Pokemon Ranger using the capture device!
Drawn To Life
Drawn To Life was one of the most iconic games to capture the hearts of many Nintendo DS gamers. It gained enough attention and committed fans to earn its own sequel games, Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter, and Drawn To Life: Two Realms, as well as a SpongeBob-themed spin-off, Drawn To Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition. In Drawn to Life, you get the chance to draw your own characters, objects, and platforms with the Nintendo DS stylus, bringing your creations to life as an interactive function of the game.
The Nintendo Switch would surely be a great fit for a game like Drawn To Life to shine and reinvent the series. There are many possibilities to incorporate the drawing aspect of the game, such as motion controls, the Nintendo Switch tablet touch screen, or even the potential for the sale of a new Nintendo Switch stylus accessory since multiple successful ‘unofficial’ stylus products already exist for the system.
As someone who was a huge fan of the Drawn to Life series on Nintendo DS, and a creative person in general, I’d be pumped at the notion of a modern Drawn to Life that used Switch technology. Also, all the new storylines a remake could feature, and the notion of cool collaborations that have become commonplace in the games industry these days.
Known as a hidden gem for owners of the DS console, Sonic Rush is one of the best Sonic the Hedgehog games to exist. It’s the most popular Sonic game released on the Nintendo DS by far, and a standout competitor for other big DS titles. Not only does it feature a mix of both classic and more modern Sonic mechanics but also uses the Nintendo DS two-screen setup in interesting ways. It seamlessly displays the dynamic side-scrolling action and has Sonic and Blaze jumping from one screen to another.
Sonic Rush holds a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. I love the Sonic boost ability, for one, which allows you to rush and speed through the map levels even faster than usual. But from a story perspective, I actually think Blaze the Cat is an extremely underrated and intriguing character within the franchise. Her starring role in Sonic Rush was a great inclusion compared to the usual trio of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, and it would be interesting to showcase her again with a modern remake on the Nintendo Switch.
Especially with the new release of Sonic Frontiers, which focuses on a new direction for Sonic games, a remaster of Sonic Rush that takes all the old gameplay styles and mechanics and elevates them in a new way could be a huge hit with the Sonic fans who have a particular fondness for this era of the franchise.
Nintendo chose to do something completely different from any other Pokemon series spin-off with the release of Pokemon Conquest for Nintendo DS, and it resulted in one of the Pokemon video game franchise’s most underrated hidden gems. In Pokemon Conquest, you experience a tactical board battle system that somewhat resembles Fire Emblem. You command a party constructed from available Pokemon within the game and experience the Ransei region, filled with historically influenced characters and storylines that bring a brand new feeling to Pokemon.
Pokemon Conquest would arguably be the first choice of many for the next Pokemon spin-off game remake, as it is well-regarded as one of the best Pokemon games of all time. The Nintendo Switch would be a perfect system for it, too, as the potential for updated Pokemon Conquest graphics and gameplay is exciting to ponder in a visualization of a new, modern 3D style. That said, I could see the remake working with a stylized, pixel-art aesthetic, too, which has enjoyed a renaissance as of late.
As a complete aside, I want to mention that prior to playing Conquest, I was never a fan of Fire Emblem games, but the Pokemon element of this turn-based strategy title had me hooked from the beginning and actually prompted me to go back and check out Fire Emblem. I then ended up thoroughly enjoying them, and I can see others making the same discovery, too. Come on Nintendo, listen to my business brain at work!
GTA: Chinatown Wars
The Grand Theft Auto game franchise is one of the biggest in the world, with the popular title GTA V becoming one of the fastest-selling games within a week of release. In GTA: Chinatown Wars, you gain control of the character Huang Lee, following the events of his father’s murder and theft of a family heirloom. Huang Lee then begins working for multiple high-profile individuals in Liberty City to uncover the truth of the missing heirloom and his father’s death.
GTA: Chinatown Wars maximized gameplay through unique interactive features of the Nintendo DS; namely, featuring a mechanic in which you could whistle into the DS mic to call a taxi in the game. Also, using the DS stylus and touch screen to hot wire vehicles.
I can see the Switch’s motion controls and touchscreen being optimized for the same kind of interactive gameplay. Not only this but there is currently a total lack of GTA titles on the Switch, so a game such as Chinatown Wars getting a total remake with updated graphics and gameplay could be huge for the system.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike
The third installment in the Advance Wars game franchise, Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a tactical, turn-based strategy game that truly made its mark as one of the best games in the genre on Nintendo DS. Set in the new location of Omega Land, Black Hole has resurfaced to operate under the influence of a new commander who dreams of achieving immortality by draining the energy of the land. Advance Wars: Dual Strike lets you control your own army and will force you to think and strategize your every move in advance to prevent these events from occurring.
With a military-themed gameplay experience, Advance Wars hits a niche in the strategy games category and could make for a fun remake on Switch. I’ve heard from lots of friends so many people who enjoy turn-based strategy games but are put off by the fantasy and anime aspects in franchises such as Fire Emblem. I often think that Advanced Wars is the answer. With fresh stories, updated graphics, and reinvented touch-ups on the game, it could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Fire Emblem.
Super Princess Peach
Super Princess Peach is a popular spin-off game within the Super Mario Bros franchise, and is fondly remembered as the only game to give Peach a starring role beyond that of a ‘damsel in distress.’ In Super Princess Peach, you control Peach and use the power of emotion to get the upper hand on the enemies, compared to the usual jump-on-the-enemy method of Mario and Luigi. A Super Princess Peach remake brings Peach the opportunity to shine as a character with more depth and significance in Modern Mario games.
With the Nintendo Switch already being the host of many Mario-themed mainline games, spin-offs, remasters, and sequels, Super Princess Peach would be at home alongside them. A modern remake of Super Princess Peach could include fun aspects of other modern Mario games, such as joy-con motion control, new game modes, minigames, and improved features. A remake would also offer the opportunity to explore and elevate the emotions mechanic into something truly entertaining to play. Besides, with Peach being one of the main figures in the Mario franchise, and arguably the most significant female character in Mario, it’s only fair to say she’s as deserving of her own game as Wario’s Warioware series, or Luigi’s Haunted Mansion.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Professor Layton and the Curious Village made an innovative impact on the Nintendo DS system by combining adventure and puzzle genres. As a fan of animation, this game is stand out for its presentation and gorgeous animated cutscenes, bringing a unique charm to the story. The story follows protagonists Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, as the pair investigate information surrounding an heirloom in the village of St. Mystere. This mysterious heirloom happens to have been left by the Baron left prior to his death, in order to determine who was worthy of receiving his fortune.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village has a specific feeling of joy that sets it aside from its sequels, and many would argue it’s well worthy of the title of the best game in the Professor Layton franchise.
Although the game received a port to mobile devices in 2018, it is well-regarded as a standout title that deserves its own remake. With the updated graphics the Nintendo Switch could offer the game, the visual charm and beautifully animated cutscenes would only be optimized for a higher-quality, more positive game experience. Not only this, but the title is also suitable and enjoyable to play for all ages, which heavily plays into the family appeal of the switch, and means it would suit an extremely wide range of audiences.
Chrono Trigger is a popular RPG game that the world has continued to enjoy years beyond its release date on the Nintendo DS in 2008. Chrono Trigger features a 2D world, in which you must explore dungeons, forests, caves, and more. But exploring won’t be the only thing you do throughout the game. You’ll also be tasked with defeating enemies that get in your way, collecting items to help you on your journey, and solving puzzles along the way.
Chrono Trigger DS was a solid improvement from the original SNES title, with improved gameplay aspects such as more dungeons to explore, and an additional ending. Chrono Trigger would be the perfect addition to the Switch RPG game library, as the much-loved DS handheld experience would only improve on the Switch, and bring an amazing handheld game to the table for RPG fans. Chrono Trigger’s top-down pixel art style has the potential to look visually amazing on the Nintendo Switch, especially with remade and improved graphics. Also, with any potential additions to the in-game content, such as the improvements found in the DS version of the game over the SNES version.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a much-loved NDS title within The Legend of Zelda franchise, and a favorite for many within the TLoZ series. In game, you’ll engage in a journey as Link as he sets out on a mission to save his friend, Tetra. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass keeps things interesting by allowing players to explore lands on foot, and spend time sailing between them. It features an engaging combat system naturally controlled by the movement of the stylus, and every action in battle feels extremely satisfying, as if you are really putting in the work yourself!
While it’s hard to imagine any NDS TLoZ title besting Breath of the Wild, Phantom Hourglass optimizes the Nintendo DS’s touch screen by having you control and move Link with the Stylus, and navigate battles with the touch screen. This could be an interesting feature to bring over to a Switch remake, with the touch screen, as well as motion control via the joy-cons. If other Switch titles/remakes featuring the TLoZ franchise are anything to go by, it’s safe to say this is likely to turn out as a solid reincarnation of the original title.
And that does it for the 10 best NDS games that deserve a Nintendo Switch remake! For more NDS, Nintendo Switch, and general gaming content, check out the rest of the website, where you can find other fun top 10 lists, quizzes, and even helpful guides to help you in your next video game playthrough!