7 Best Nintendo DS Open World Games where you traverse the world on two screens

Open-world games on the DS? Yes, it was quite a possibility. Never underestimate the capability of this handheld console. It is always considered as the hardware that hosts the most unique games, and that should include open-world games. Here are seven of the best Nintendo open world DS games.

Best nintendo ds open world games

7. C.O.P.: The Recruit

Ubisoft's C.O.P. The Recruit is an open-world performer. It surprised players with a full 3D City run at 60 frames per second, a notable achievement for the DS. Developed by V.D. Dev, the game showcases detailed graphics with realistic elements such as steam rising from drains, shattering glass, and responsive pedestrian behavior. The open-world environment allows players to freely explore New York City, taking on the role of Dan Miles, a former street racer recruited into the "Criminal Overturn Program."

The game offers a mix of story-critical and optional missions. The freedom to hijack various vehicles, including taxis, fire engines, and police cars, is reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto (GTA). The plot follows Dan Miles as he gets involved in uncovering conspiracies, exposing terrorist groups, and cleaning up the city. The game features an expansive map with green camera icons indicating sight-seeing spots.

The game's variety in missions, optional tasks, and an in-depth encyclopedia is jaw dropping for a DS game. While it may not offer groundbreaking originality, especially for those familiar with open-world GTA games, the title is recommended for players seeking a less mature-themed experience in the open world genre.

6. The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk offers an enjoyable experience for Marvel fans and those seeking a budget-friendly action-adventure game. Presented as a side-scrolling beat-em-up/platformer yet open world at its core, the game features decent level design and a satisfying destructive element that allows players to feel the power of the Hulk. Controls are mapped to the D-pad and buttons, providing a traditional gaming experience without unnecessary touch-screen features.

The gameplay involves navigating through levels, utilizing the Hulk's super jump and powerful attacks to defeat enemies. The simple yet tight controls create an enjoyable romp, with the satisfaction of slamming down on foes and creating chain reactions. 

Extras include a small handful of costumes to discover, and the arcade-type gameplay in story mode may entice players to replay it. The Incredible Hulk may not be groundbreaking, but its enjoyable gameplay, tight mechanics, and good polish make it a respectable choice for Marvel enthusiasts and action-adventure game fans alike.

5. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

The best feature of Shattered Dimensions is that it allows control of three versions of the webbed superhero - Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Man 2099. The gameplay involves navigating through large 2D maps with interconnected rooms, gradually gaining abilities to explore new areas. Each Spider-Man has a unique set of skills, and throughout the game, they gain each other's abilities.

The combat system is similar to Web of Shadows, allowing players to perform various moves and techniques. Boss fights are generally straightforward, each requiring a different strategy. The story revolves around Mysterio breaking a mystical tablet that connects different worlds. Madame Web guides the three Spider-Men to retrieve fragments from supervillains and repair the multiverse. 

Despite its short length, the game offers great graphics given the limitations of the DS. The replayability depends on the player's interest in completing challenges and exploring different difficulty levels. While enjoyable for Spider-Man and beat-em-up fans, the game's short duration makes it more suitable for renting than purchasing.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is not only a worthy successor to its predecessor, Phantom Hourglass (which is, spoiler alert, the next on this list) but it surpasses it in various aspects, making it one of the standout handheld Zelda titles. Set in a new iteration of Hyrule, Spirit Tracks presents a unique plot that delves into the past, creating connections to previous titles like The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. The story follows Link, an aspiring engineer, as he embarks on a quest to save Princess Zelda and thwart the sinister plans of Chancellor Cole and the ancient Demon King, Malladus.

In terms of gameplay, Spirit Tracks maintains the stylus-centric controls introduced in Phantom Hourglass. The game follows the classic Zelda formula, with Link navigating the overworld using a train, completing tasks, and gradually unlocking dungeons. The control tweaks, smoother progression, and the addition of sidequests enhance the overall gaming experience compared to Phantom Hourglass.

Visually, Spirit Tracks looks appealing with cute character designs, well-designed dungeons, and diverse environments. While it doesn't push the DS's graphical limits, it outshines its predecessor and provides an aesthetically pleasing experience. One of the standout features is the impressive soundtrack, featuring memorable themes for the overworld, bosses, and various characters. The music elevates the overall atmosphere and adds to the game's charm.

Spirit Tracks boasts high replay value, thanks to its abundance of side quests, optional areas, and an engrossing world. While the initial tutorial section may be a bit lengthy, the overall game offers a classic Zelda experience that players can revisit annually.

3. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass 

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass offers a brand new and satisfying experience for Zelda fans. The game follows Link's quest to save Tetra from a mysterious phantom ship causing disturbances across islands. The story, while lighter in tone than some other Zelda titles, features humorous elements, including the character Linebeck, a parody of Jack Sparrow.

Gameplay in Phantom Hourglass is stylus-controlled. Combat, sailing, and note-taking are seamlessly integrated with the stylus, offering a fresh approach to the series. Sailing, now powered by Linebeck's ship, adds an interesting dynamic to exploration, and players can customize their ships for battles and treasure hunting. The addition of note-taking on the map enhances puzzle-solving and exploration.

The cel-shaded art direction is reminiscent of Wind Waker, which may or may not be a good thing given that at the time this game was released, it was not well-received. Fortunately, modern opinion on the matter has swayed the other way. 

Phantom Hourglass offers considerable replay value, with a playtime of up to 35 hours, clever puzzles, and numerous sidequests. The graphics, gameplay, and overall experience make it a worthwhile addition to the Zelda series, providing players with an engaging and immersive open world adventure in your pocket. 

2. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

Serving as the second installment in the Slime Quest spin-off series, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime employs an action-adventure engine reminiscent of classic pre-N64 Zelda games. Despite receiving little attention from the gaming media at its release, Rocket Slime shines with its visually appealing presentation, charming 2D sprites, and a humorous narrative. The game's use of traditional Dragon Quest tunes and sound effects, along with a well-executed localization featuring puns and silliness, is commendable in every possible way.

The gameplay seamlessly blends two distinct styles – action-adventure and tank battles. The action-adventure segments, reminiscent of 2D Zelda games, follow Rocket as he explores areas, rescues slimes, and engages in entertaining boss battles. The tank battles introduce a unique twist, involving the use of the Schliemann Tank for strategic battles against enemy tanks. 

Rocket Slime deserves recognition for its underappreciated status, providing gamers with a perfect blend of action, humor, and enjoyable gameplay. Despite being undermarketed, the game caters to fans of Dragon Quest, Legend of Zelda, SNES games, and those who appreciate a good dose of puns. 

1. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

There is no best open world games list without Grand Theft Auto (GTA). Nothing is bigger than GTA in terms of success and fame. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, of course, brings the iconic series of handheld gaming with banging success. The game leverages DS's features effectively, incorporating stylus and touch-screen interactions for various actions, adding a unique and enjoyable dimension to gameplay. While navigating the city might pose some challenges due to DS's D-pad, the game retains the open-world exploration and chaos that defines the GTA series. 

Chinatown Wars introduces innovative elements like drug dealing, adding a stock market-like mechanism to buy and sell drugs strategically. The game's aggressive police force and the new evasion system is thrilling as it is challenging. Despite its flash game-like appearance, Chinatown Wars impresses with a fully-rendered city, minimal lag, and a cel-shaded aesthetic. As expected, the audio quality stands out as Rockstar-level polish, featuring clear music and subtle voice acting. However, the game's relatively short story mode compared to previous GTA titles and occasional control issues raise concerns. Nevertheless, Chinatown Wars remains a special and enjoyable addition to the GTA series, offering a unique handheld experience for DS owners.