Best Nintendo DS Adventure Games to point where you are going

Best nintendo ds adventure games

Adventure games, due to them not needing beefy hardware specs, have found a comfortable home on the Nintendo DS (DS) due to its low specs, touch screen, and stylus, providing an ideal platform for the genre's simple graphics and point-and-click interfaces. The DS became popular for adventure games, when most of them reside on PC, even those adventure games from Japan. Here are seven of the best adventure games on the Nintendo DS.

7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Dark Motives

CSI was one of the icons of early to late 2000s pop culture. It was also a perfect vehicle for an adventure game due to the very nature of crime procedural shows. CSI: Dark Motives, originally a forensic crime-solving game on the PC, made an early appearance as a DS port. 

Set in the Las Vegas crime lab with a darker and grittier tone, the game involves investigating crime scenes, processing evidence, and questioning suspects across five cases. The gameplay is the standard point-and-click adventure affair.

The DS version retains the PC game's core features, utilizing a first-person perspective with stylus controls for interaction. Despite downgrades, such as a lack of voice acting, Dark Motives on DS offers a familiar experience to fans of the CSI series or those seeking a darker twist on the typical adventure game formula. This adaptation may be inferior to the, truthfully, superior PC version, but the latter is not portable. Well, at least at the time of its release and several years before the Steam Deck. 


6. Trace Memory

Trace Memory takes full advantage of the DS's capabilities in terms of control system, offering a compelling story of intrigue and murder. Players assume the role of Ashley Robbins, a young girl searching for her missing father on a mysterious island. The game also employs traditional adventure game mechanics, such as exploring environments, solving puzzles, and unraveling mysteries. What sets Trace Memory apart from adventure games at the time of its release is its seamless integration of the DS features, allowing players to interact with the environment using the stylus, microphone, and unique system functions.

The game introduces a companion to join Ashley on her quest, providing additional depth to the narrative and interactive discussions. The stylus-driven exploration and puzzle-solving create a great adventure experience. While some puzzles may require backtracking, the game successfully balances ease of control with close-up views of crucial areas.

The combination of the DS's dual screens, stylus controls, and innovative puzzle design makes Trace Memory a standout in the Point-and-Click Adventure genre. Its successful execution showcased the capabilities of the DS for revitalizing adventure games and introduced a new generation to the charm of the genre. Whether a fan of the genre or a newcomer, Trace Memory proves to be a must-play title on the Nintendo DS.


5. Hotel Dusk: Room 215

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 by Cing, the developers of the immediately preceding game on this list Trace Memory, offers another amazing adventure title for the DS. The game's standout feature is its noir-inspired art direction and detective-like gameplay, combining to create an enthralling atmosphere.

Played with the DS held sideways like a book, the stylus controls navigation and interaction. The left screen displays the character portrait or a first-person view, while the right screen shows an overhead layout of the surroundings. Most of the gameplay involves investigating objects by tapping, dragging, and clicking. The game introduces a distinctive approach by relying entirely on the stylus without any button presses.

However, the heart of the experience lies in the extensive dialogue and storytelling. Hotel Dusk unfolds a gripping narrative with a vast amount of text, making it essential for players to enjoy reading. The writing is superb, offering realistic and natural conversations, and contributing to the game's immersive storytelling.

Puzzles, though occasional, add variety to the gameplay. Ranging from simple tasks to more complex interactions, these puzzles enhance the overall immersion. The story begins with a vague premise but evolves into a substantial and engaging narrative, keeping players hooked until the conclusion. As ex-NYPD officer Kyle Hyde, players unravel mysteries, search for missing belongings, and navigate the intrigues within the old hotel called Dusk.

With a surprising length for a DS game, Hotel Dusk provides a satisfying playtime. Replayability depends on the player's preference, as knowing the story's outcome might influence the desire to replay. However, multiple endings and details to discover offer potential replay value.


4. 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a mature-rated visual novel developed by Aksys Games. This game introduces players to Junpei, a college student abducted and placed on an abandoned cruise ship by an anonymous figure named Zero. Zero presents Junpei and eight others with a life-or-death challenge known as “The Nonary Game." The narrative unfolds with questions about trust, motivations, abductions, and the mysterious Zero, creating a gripping and suspenseful atmosphere.

The Nonary Game is a complex challenge where nine characters must escape the abandoned ship within nine hours before it submerges. Each character wears a wristband labeled with a unique number, and locked doors throughout the ship require specific combinations of characters to open. The game intricately weaves together elements of mystery, suspense, and psychological thrillers, drawing inspiration from films like "The Cube," "House of 9," and "Saw," as well as the anime/manga "Death Note." The gameplay combines puzzle-solving, exploration, and visual novel storytelling, offering a unique and immersive experience.

The characters are well-written, with each playing a crucial role in the unfolding mystery. The game cleverly restricts players from knowing too much about the characters. The narrative skillfully balances between engaging players and keeping them in the dark, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty. The character's behaviors may seem unusual, with a methodical approach to problem-solving and nonchalant attitudes despite the impending danger.

Drawing from real-world speculations, 999 presents a suspenseful story that blurs the lines between reality and fiction. The game's narrative teases gamers by incorporating historical and scientific references, prompting players to cross-reference facts to enhance their understanding of the plot. The translation is commendable, providing a descriptive, poetic, and English-appropriate script that emphasizes the game's atmosphere and Junpei's emotions. It is also one of the few games that is downright impossible to have the full experience if not played on the DS dual screens. 

3. Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Professor Layton and the Curious Village isn't just a game; it's a modern-day IQ book wrapped in an engaging story. This puzzle game is the first installment of the Professor Layton trilogy, based on a series of books by Professor Akira Tago.

The story begins with a rich man, Baron Reinhalt, whose will promises his fortune to whoever solves the mystery of "The Golden Apple." Invited by Lady Dahlia, Professor Layton and his assistant Luke embark on a journey to the village to unravel this enigma.

Set in England during an unspecified time (possibly the 20th century), the village exudes a 19th-century European feel with its architectural designs. The color palette adds to the nostalgic atmosphere, making players feel like Sherlock Holmes on a curious investigation.

The gameplay is primarily puzzle-solving, interwoven with a linear adventure. As you progress through the game, scenarios unfold, and the story evolves. The game features 120 smaller puzzles related to the main storyline, offered by villagers or hidden in the town. These puzzles serve as obstacles to overcome, adding to the immersive experience.

The puzzles vary in difficulty, and players can earn 'picarats' based on their performance. Hint coins, found throughout the game, can be used to obtain hints for challenging puzzles. The stylus is the sole control, and the touch screen displays the town map, and questions, and serves as the main interaction point.

2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations marks the third installment in the Phoenix Wright series, delivering another dose of courtroom drama and detective mystery. As an Ace Attorney, players engage in a unique interaction with the game, debunking false testimonies and solving puzzles to uncover the truth.

Technically, the game utilizes the same engine as its predecessor, Justice For All. The two-phase gameplay involves exploration and puzzle-solving in various locations, followed by courtroom scenes where evidence is used to challenge testimonies. The game's graphics, although ported from a Japanese GBA version, are visually appealing despite being older generation. A great art direction goes a long way. Notable additions include playing a broader range of characters and eliminating some giveaway features from previous games. The energy bar remains a core mechanic.

Trials and Tribulations remains an excellent adventure game, challenging players with engaging puzzles and an intriguing narrative. Many may see this game as not surpassing its predecessor in some aspects, yet it offers a lengthy and enjoyable experience for fans of the Phoenix Wright series.


1. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective emerges as a quirky and creative gem on the Nintendo DS, benefiting from the console's embrace of unique and unconventional titles during a specific era. The game kicks off right after the protagonist's death, providing an intriguing premise that sets the stage for an adventure filled with puzzles, humor, and a captivating mystery.

The narrative unfolds with film noir undertones, introducing a murder mystery with a twist—your character is the very ghost attempting to uncover the circumstances surrounding their own death. This may sound macabre, but the script is humorous and the stellar cast of characters is a delight.

The gameplay in Ghost Trick is as innovative as it gets, it is the most unique adventure game on this list. As a ghost, your abilities are limited to moving in the ghost world or manipulating objects in the real world. The goal is to solve a variety of puzzles by possessing and manipulating specific items to alter scenarios and prevent the deaths of other characters. Despite the limited options, the game manages to craft clever and interesting puzzles, with some standing out for their creativity.

The game introduces a time-based element, requiring precise timing for certain actions, adding an extra layer of challenge. Ghost Trick utilizes a stylized and unique art style, bringing characters and locations to life with detailed designs. The soundtrack complements the game, featuring memorable tracks that enhance the mood of each scene. With its charm and humor, Ghost Trick earns its place as not just the best adventure game on the DS, but also one of the best games regardless of genre.