The Nintendo DS (DS) is not necessarily the platform of choice for FPS games. But you know what? There are great first-person shooters on the platform. They are also incredibly diverse in terms of genre. Here are seven of the best FPS games on the DS.
Best Nintendo DS FPS games
It is worth noting that C.O.R.E. is inherently a multiplayer game. The single-player component is not the greatest, but the multiplayer content is what made this game shoot its way to this list. So, you have to remember that the enjoyment of playing this game nowadays will be downright impossible unless you have four other friends with a DS and the game. Even if it’s online multiplayer, which this game isn’t, then you are going to be hard-pressed to look for a person to play this game with. It is in the multiplayer sessions that this game shines. It offers diverse scenarios, maps, and fun gameplay, unfortunately.
This is also a game with an M rating. It has several instances of gore and violence. Challenge levels vary with three difficulty settings, and the controls, standard for DS FPS games, offer customization options. Despite not matching the fluidity of some games on this list, they remain serviceable. Players can even adjust settings based on the DS model and choose between right or left-handed play.
6. Touch the Dead
Touch the Dead, also known as "Dead n Furious," offers a distinctive first-person shooter for the pocketable console. This is a rail shooter experience on the Nintendo DS and it plunges the player into the role of a prisoner awakening in a zombie-infested prison, prompting a fight for survival. This game emphasizes straightforward gameplay where the player navigates through undead hordes.
Graphics-wise, the game stands out for its time, it has well-designed enemy models, and blood and gore effects. The visuals are indeed among the best on the DS standards. But what makes it a very good horror game is its sound design, for its quality in capturing the eerie ambiance with moans, groans, roars, and an impactful soundtrack. Touch the Dead controls are perfect, as they utilize the D-pad for weapon changes and the stylus for shooting and reloading. The first-person shooter genre on the DS is especially scarce, and more especially on-rail shooters.
On the dark side of the moon, a conspiracy unfolds as Major Kane, leader of the Extra Terrestrial Encounter Organization, embarks on a mission to explore an alien structure discovered during a lunar colonization expedition. The narrative takes unexpected turns, revealing shocking truths about the world's history and alien contact. However, the characters lack depth, offering a generic portrayal of duty-bound individuals reacting to dark revelations.
Of course, this is no X Files. But this is Moon, a first-person shooter set in space. Moon's gameplay centers around combat, with an arsenal of well-balanced weapons aiding Major Kane against robotic foes and powerful aliens. The highlight is the Remote Access Droid, providing a unique element of exploration and puzzle-solving. The game's overall mechanics are smooth, with precise DS controls for a satisfying first-person shooter experience.
Moon's environments are a visual showcase with a detailed lunar interior. The driving sections suffer from slippery controls and detract from the overall experience. While the atmospheric music can be turned off, the subpar voice acting remains a downside. Moon's technical achievement in delivering a handheld FPS is jaw-dropping indeed.
4. Dementium: The Ward
Dementium: The Ward is a rare gem among DS games due to its M rating with a compelling survival horror experience. This is another DS FPS that has flawless controls. The game successfully incorporates atmospheric features, forcing players to make impactful choices between environmental awareness and arming themselves.
The auditory and visual aspects of Dementium contribute significantly to its eerie ambiance. The sound design, with realistic footstep sounds, monster noises, and chilling background music, elevates the horror experience.
Graphics, all while being on the DS, are notably impressive, pushing the console's limits with detailed environments, excellent lighting, and realistic storm effects. Although the replayability factor might be somewhat limited, given the game's length of around four hours, the overall package makes Dementium: The Ward a standout recommendation for DS owners looking for an FPS in the horror genre. To the surprise of everyone, this game will receive a Nintendo Switch up-port come October 2024.
3. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is literally the FPS that changed the genre. It was also made available on the DS of all possible platforms. Surprisingly, it carved its place as one of the top FPS titles, offering a unique experience with a parallel storyline. Despite lacking online features, the game distinguishes itself from mere cash-ins, delivering intuitive controls that surpass even the number one game on this list: Metroid Prime Hunters.
The campaign, which mirrored the console events, provides diverse objectives, showcasing a mix of gameplay elements beyond typical run-and-gun mechanics. There is also a focus on double-tapping actions and a healing system resembling "wait around and heal".
The multiplayer component, though lacking online play, offers engaging modes like deathmatch, team deathmatch, hunter/prey, and capture the flag in both single-card and multi-card options. Again, this part of this game would be difficult to enjoy nowadays. Visuals, on the other hand, impresses with detailed character models, realistic explosions, and dynamic on-screen action.
Call of Duty 4 on the DS emerges as one of the top FPS titles for the handheld. Its engaging controls, diverse gameplay elements, and impressive audio-visual presentation successfully adapt the Call of Duty experience to the DS platform.
2. Golden Eye 007
Yet another G.O.A.T. game was made playable in portable form. GoldenEye 007 was the FPS that displayed the fact that the genre can be pulled off on a console.
GoldenEye 007 for DS offers a gameplay experience that may take some time to master but ultimately impresses. The use of buttons for looking around and an analog stick/control pad for movement is preferred, with the option to lock onto enemies using the shoulder button.
The graphics carry an intentional old-school vibe reminiscent of GoldenEye 64, with the replacement of Pierce Brosnan by Daniel Craig. The game's sound features the classic 007 theme and decent voice acting, contributing to a positive audio experience. The music, including the iconic theme, complements the overall atmosphere.
Replay value is pretty high, driven by speed trials, collecting 'Intel' for puzzles, and the inclusion of multiplayer—a notable improvement over previous portable Bond games. GoldenEye 007 stands out as a worthy addition to the DS library and a personal favorite, showcasing enjoyable gameplay and engaging features.
1. Metroid Prime: Hunters
A demo of Metroid Prime: Hunters was bundled with every DS box upon the hardware's release, generating anticipation for its full release. When the game eventually became available, the reception was mixed, primarily because it heavily featured multiplayer gameplay. While it's accurate to say that the game leans more towards the multiplayer aspect, this uniqueness distinguishes it as an unconventional Metroid game. Despite the multiplayer component being less relevant today, it represented a distinctive approach to the Metroid series, never witnessed before and not replicated since.
The game's narrative unfolds with an ancient race, the Alimbics, disappearing, leaving behind a telepathic message about the key to Ultimate Power in the Alimbic Cluster. Samus Aran, alongside six other bounty hunters, embarks on a mission to secure this power, resulting in intense competition and occasional clashes. Unlike previous Metroid games, Samus has all of her abilities, and the quest involves obtaining eight Octoliths scattered across various planets, each protected by puzzles, enemies, and powerful bosses.
Metroid Prime: Hunters excels in graphics and sound, showcasing meticulous detail in maps, characters, and enemies. The 3D first-person shooter pushes the DS's capabilities, occasionally facing frame rate issues but generally delivering stunning visuals. The sound effects and music contribute to an immersive experience, with diverse compositions enhancing the game's atmosphere.
Despite the game's overall excellence, the recommendation comes with a caveat. This game was made as a multiplayer game, but it cannot be denied that this game is also a quality action game.