7 Best Nintendo DS Games with the Worst Graphics which would have been one of the greatest if not for the visuals

Terrible visuals are not the end of the world. However, some games could have used at least above average graphics to further bolster their status as a mid game to a great game. Here are seven of the best Nintendo DS games despite of their horrible visuals.

Best nintendo ds games with the worst graphics

7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare may appear out of place on a handheld with the relatively modest specs of the Nintendo DS, but developer n-Space took on the challenge. The game closely mirrors its console counterpart, presenting a scaled-down version of the SAS crew, similar missions, gadgets, weaponry, and the intense atmosphere synonymous with the series. Despite the limitations of the Nintendo DS, Call of Duty 4 manages to incorporate fully-modeled environments, destructible vehicles, morphing levels, and atmospheric effects like lightning strikes and rain, utilizing a mix of 3D and 2D elements.

Graphically, the Nintendo DS constraints are apparent, but the game excels in delivering a fluid and engaging experience within these limitations. The frame rate is low and erratic, the art direction is mediocre, and there's a recycling of enemy models. The overall darkness of the experience might pose visibility challenges, especially for players without a DS Lite.

Despite these graphical limitations, the game successfully captures the essence of the Call of Duty experience, offering diverse missions, engaging gameplay, and a robust multiplayer mode for local play. While not flawless, it establishes a solid foundation for potential future entries in the series on handheld devices, a vision that has come to fruition with recent releases on the Nintendo Switch.

6. Cartoon Network Racing

While this game is available on the PlayStation 2, and admittedly, it is better played there, the DS version of this game is a cool game because of its portability. It may not be the best racing game ever, but it is one of the most entertaining. The racing game features 16 tracks that can be played in normal, souped-up, and soupered-up modes.

The visuals are not as good as any of the great racing titles on the DS such as Mario Kart. In fact, the characters look like they are origami pieces. Origami pieces in the worst way, since origami by itself looks good. 

Nevertheless, the other parts of this game, especially the soundtrack. Cartoon Network Racing may have the best soundtrack on the DS. Aside from that, the core gameplay is entertaining. While the game exhibits a considerable amount of gameplay complexity on the race track, it doesn't fall short on providing additional features. Initially, only a handful of racers are accessible, and the remainder must be unlocked, totaling to twenty in all. These unlockables are acquired using coins earned through race victories or found on the tracks. The bonuses encompass new cups, a couple of moderately enjoyable minigames, and upgrades for diverse karts.

5. Rondo of Swords

Rondo of Swords, frequently compared to esteemed titles like Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics, promised a unique experience in the strategy role-playing genre (SRPG). It does well in that department, but unlike the two mentioned SRPG boutique titles, Rondo of Swords is not a looker, oh at all.

In terms of graphics, Rondo of Swords presented a pixelated aesthetic reminiscent of RPG Maker XP. Obviously this is not pushing DS's graphical capabilities to the limit, the visuals are not just it, with hu-hum sprites and animations. The sound department featured a medieval-themed musical composition, evoking a sense of old Irish music. While not groundbreaking, the music was deemed quite good, contributing positively to the overall audio experience. The game's controls were lauded for their intuitiveness, providing both stylus and directional pad options. Navigating menus and the battlefield was reported to be smooth, with responsive controls enhancing the overall gameplay experience.

Rondo of Swords' gameplay emerged as the standout feature, with the reviewer dispelling comparisons to other SRPGs and emphasizing its unique mechanics. The battle system, requiring characters to pass through enemies to initiate attacks, added layers of complexity and strategic depth. The importance of character placement, numerous enemies, and the need to protect a specific character mixes up the missions. The game's replay value was considered significant, thanks to the inclusion of a New Game Plus feature, diverse approaches to battles, and unlockable content. Despite some minor flaws specifically in its visuals, Rondo of Swords earned praise for its engaging gameplay and replayability.

4. Super Dodge Brawlers

Super Dodge Ball Brawlers is a successful revival of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) dodgeball game. Since the original game, there has not been a successful attempt at a dodgeball game. This iteration of the game has welcome tweaks, but you know the drill, it was just too faithful in terms of visuals. The nostalgic visuals closely resemble the NES original which at this point in time did not age well. 

The core gameplay mechanics remain faithful to the NES version, with two teams competing to deplete the hit points of their opponents. The simplicity of the controls, emphasizing the familiar catching, dodging, and throwing actions is what makes the game most enjoyable. Super shots, a staple of the series, are retained and require precise timing for maximum impact. New elements, such as punching and kicking opponents, add variety to the gameplay, and a power meter introduces a temporary boost in attack power known as the "Nekketsu Burst."

3. Classic Action: Devilish

This breakout-style game featuring a scrolling playfield and unique settings like dungeons and clock towers was first released on the, all puns intended, short-lived Game Gear. Fast forward to 2005, and StarFish, a Japanese company, remixed the classic Devilish to create Devilish: Ball Bounder for the DS. 

While the levels have been re-done and may look slightly familiar, the DS hardware could have been utilized better for graphics. The static cinemas preceding the levels are praised for being well-drawn, and the overall graphics are considered functional. But they do not look good even for a "modern" remake.

For gameplay, players control a blue sphere with two paddles, one for defense and one for offense. Power-ups are found in chests, including icons that transform the sphere and provide various abilities. The game consists of five levels, each with three sections, including boss encounters. Multiple paths in levels add some replay value. The game can be completed in one sitting, but there are unlockables. 

2. Pokémon Diamond

The top two games on this list may seem a bit misplaced. Pokémon games on the worst graphics list? Indeed, they deserve this spot. Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl land in this category not just due to their art direction but also because of their performance in animation. Having all the graphical effects and detailed pixel art won't make the visuals impressive if the animation is choppy.

The shift to 3D is what dropped the once-stable frames per second (fps) franchise to now hitting low 20s. While the game looks good in static captures like screenshots, the performance takes a hit when playing it. Pokémon Diamond offers a familiar yet engaging adventure, following the well-established formula of the Pokémon series. Set in the Sinnoh region, the players embark on a journey to become the Pokémon Champion while completing their Pokédex, which includes a staggering 493 Pokémon.

1. Pokémon Pearl

What has been said about Pokémon Pearl that was not said about Pokémon Diamond? Simply put, they are the same game but with different content, similar to every dual Pokémon title release in history. Pokémon Pearl stands out as one of the best titles in the franchise and exhibits great visuals in stills, but when it moves, it becomes evident that it does not match the standards set by previous and future games until Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on the Nintendo Switch.

Both Pokémon Pearl and Diamond introduced breeding complexity. The intricacy deepens with factors like IVs (individual values), influencing base stats and EVs (effort values) offering stat bonuses based on opponents. 'Nature' further impacts stat growth rates, while abilities provide special effects in battle, enhancing moves like perfect accuracy. Breeding adds another layer of complexity, evolving into a game within itself. Players strategically pair parent Pokémon to pass down specific moves, attain ideal abilities for offspring, and hatch eggs to secure babies with optimal stats.