7 Best Nintendo DS Action Games for you to tap hard

The Nintendo DS (DS) having dual screens should have deterred developers from making action games, but they did not. Well, the touch screen is an option for controls, the exclusive one. There are still the traditional buttons for the ultimate control. Here are seven of the best action games on the dual-screened portable game console.

Best nintendo ds action games

7. Contra 4

Contra 4 is a triumphant return to the iconic run-and-gun series. Set two years after the Alien Wars, the game successfully captures the classic Contra elements—intense difficulty, fast-paced gameplay, and relentless enemies attacking from all sides. 

The audio experience is also fantastic. This game delivered memorable tunes and sound effects that perfectly captured the nostalgic Konami style. Contra 4 excels in replay value, offering Arcade Mode with three difficulty levels and the challenging Challenge Mode with varied goals and unlockables.

The main game is beefy on its own but this game also includes playable NES Contra and Super C emulations. It is commendable that it pays homage to the series' past, ensuring a lasting and enjoyable experience for series veterans and newcomers, at least at the time of this game’s release. 

6. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d you steal our garbage?!!

For a point in Time, all puns intended, Adventure Time took the whole wide world with its unique art style and pretty sober direction when the narrative feels and the animation looks like anything but an acid trip. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! is a delightful and expertly crafted game that successfully translates the unique charm of the beloved animated series into an interactive experience. This game genuinely captured the nonchalant surrealism, iconic characters, and complex themes of the show, making it a must-play for fans.

Just like the show, this game has excellent writing and humor. The art, influenced by the talents of animator Paul Robertson and others, stands out as one of the best-looking sprite-based games, with fluid and expressive animations that match the quality of the show. The sound design is also noteworthy, particularly for original songs with full vocals.

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! is a love letter to fans, featuring 50+ characters from seasons 1-3 of the show and expertly blending everything that makes Adventure Time great. 

5. Okamiden

Okami consistently secures a spot on any list of the best games in the sixth-generation video game consoles. While the game is undeniably excellent, its relatively lengthy duration doesn't seem to deter its acclaim. Notably, it even garnered a sequel: Okamiden. This sequel brings the enchanting world of Japanese art-inspired adventure to the Nintendo DS. Taking place nine months after the events of its predecessor, the game introduces players to Chibiterasu, the son of the great sun goddess Amaterasu. While maintaining the captivating art direction and innovative gameplay of the original, Okamiden carves its path with a new storyline, characters, and challenges.

Chibiterasu embarks on a quest to purify Nippon from a new wave of evil forces. The story seamlessly weaves together familiar locales from the original game with fresh dungeons, characters, and mysteries. Okamiden retains the Celestial Brush, a core gameplay element allowing players to manipulate reality. Chibiterasu unlocks new powers through interactions with the progeny of the former Brush Gods. While the brush powers align with the original game, Okamiden introduces tweaks like a time limit on celestial brush usage and ink pots that do not automatically replenish, adding a layer of strategic resource management.

The game maintains its charitable theme, rewarding players with praise (experience points) for aiding others. Karma plays a role in upgrading Chibiterasu's solar energy and ink pots, enhancing his abilities. Despite some limitations in exploration, such as invisible walls and Chibiterasu's inability to swim, the gameplay remains enjoyable, especially with the addition of thrilling boss battles that demand strategic brush techniques.

Okamiden again employs its trademark visuals to impress its watercolor and paint aesthetic, reminiscent of a living art piece. The graphics are among the best on the DS, featuring vibrant colors and smooth transitions between distant scenery and close-up details. The divine interventions, and cutscenes depicting the revival of nature, make a welcome return.

4. Mega Man ZX

The anticipation for the upcoming Megaman game for DS initially wavered due to past disappointments with titles like Megaman X7. Mega Man ZX is, obviously, not a disappointment but a massive achievement. This game is a return to form, which is some sort of bad news if you want a complete utilization of the second screen as this one is as traditional an action game as it is. 

The game introduces a world where peace between Reploids and humans reigns, but Mavericks, robots with lethal intent, persist.  Megaman ZX has gameplay in spades, featuring the M.E.G.A. system where chosen Mega Men interface with Biometals, each providing unique abilities. The expansive game world, structured at a continuous level, deviates from traditional boss stage selection, offering a fresh approach. However, boss areas, while short, are packed with challenges. 

Megaman ZX successfully captures the essence of Megaman Zero with dynamic sprites, detailed animations, and charming cutscenes. The game's explosions during boss battles are particularly noteworthy. The audio complements the experience with fitting music and classic Megaman sound effects. Megaman ZX stands as a solid and enjoyable addition to the series. 

3. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass continues the story of the Wind Waker. Link and Tetra are sailing the seas when they encounter the mysterious Ghost Ship, which kidnaps Tetra. Link wakes up on an island and meets Lineback, a sailor who helps him find the Ghost Ship and rescue Tetra from the evil Bellum. 

For the first time on this list, there is a game that utilizes the touch screen. The game uses the touchscreen for everything, from running and slashing to using items and drawing maps. Visuals are of a mix of 2D and 3D graphics, and a cartoony style that matches the Wind Waker. The game is on the easy side, though.

Phantom Hourglass has a variety of items and equipment that Link can use to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Some of the items are familiar, such as the boomerang, the bow, and the bombs, while others are new, such as the hammer, the grappling hook, and the shovel. The items are used with the stylus, and some of them have unique features, such as drawing the path of the boomerang or tapping the screen to shoot arrows. The items are also used to interact with the environment, such as breaking rocks, cutting grass, and digging holes. The game also has a multiplayer mode, where two players can battle each other using the items and the touch screen.

The game has a large world to explore, with many islands and dungeons to visit. The game uses the same sailing mechanic as the Wind Waker but with some changes. Players can draw the route of the ship on the map, and the ship will follow it automatically. Players can also use the cannon to shoot enemies and obstacles on the way. The dungeons are similar to the previous Zelda games, with keys, chests, and bosses. 

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a unique entry for the storied franchise. It is not everyone’s favorite like how it was for Wind Waker. But always remember, Wind Waker recently had a good reception as it proved it endured the test of time. 

2. Chibi-Robo Park Patrol

The first Chibi-Robo title for the GameCube left a lasting impression with its quirky characters, solid gameplay, and unique charm, even though it didn't achieve widespread popularity likely due to its unconventional premise. Chibi-Robo Park Patrol, released a year and a half later on the DS, retains all of what players loved about the original home console game. This installment, featuring a new Chibi-Robo model, takes the tiny hero into a park reclamation mission against the villainous Sergeant Smogglor and his smuggling. The gameplay is highly original, offering a blend of flower-watering mechanics, creative park design, and engaging activities within a sandbox environment.

The game's charm, in this case, is derived from its creative aspects, emphasizing design rather than exploration. While the absence of vertical exploration is noted, it's deemed inconsequential to the overall experience. The gameplay's user-friendly nature, smooth controls, and well-executed touchscreen mechanics are just a few of its positive aspects.

The narrative unfolds through impressive cut-scenes and maintains a high-quality standard. The DS's capabilities are showcased with exceptional graphics, vibrant colors, and detailed character models. Chibi-Robo Park Patrol stands out as a remarkable and enjoyable game, thanks to the high quality of its individual components, which collectively contribute to its overall package.

1. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

It is a tradition to have a Castlevania game in a best-of list, especially in the action genre.  The Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, introduces a new Glyph system, allowing the protagonist to absorb and utilize diverse abilities to confront Dracula. The narrative in this game unfolds into a compelling storyline with character development, surpassing some of the series' previous titles. 

The game introduces a town hub, Wygol, which provides a creative way to tell a story with side quests and interactions with rescued villagers. The controls maintain the fluid and responsive nature seen in previous Castlevania titles, making it easy for players to adapt. As mentioned earlier, the introduction of the Glyph system enhances the combat experience, seamlessly allowing Shanoa to wield various weapons and magic spells. 

Graphics-wise, Order of Ecclesia strikes a balance between maintaining the series' atmospheric, gothic aesthetic and introducing refreshed elements. The return to a darker tone, detailed maps, and character designs showcase meticulous attention, earning the graphics a commendable score.

The gameplay remains a core strength, with the side-scrolling action RPG style, diverse Glyph system, and challenging difficulty offering an engaging experience. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is one of the best in the series, successfully blending a captivating narrative, flawless controls, stunning graphics, memorable music, and immersive gameplay.