7 Best Nintendo DS Platformers where you run and jump around for fun

Nintendo is generally known as a developer for great platformers. With the Nintendo DS (DS), this is especially true, since for the first time the platformers of the consoles are almost the same as the portable versions. Here are seven of the best platformers on the DS.

Best nintendo ds platformers

7. Super Mario 64 DS

Super Mario 64 DS, a remake of the iconic Nintendo 64 classic, offers a familiar yet enhanced experience for those who played and enjoyed the original. The reimagining introduces a significant change right from the start—players begin as Yoshi before unlocking other characters like Mario, Luigi, and Wario, each with unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. At the time of this game’s release, many people panned it, mostly longtime fans. There are valid criticisms for the game, specifically its controls, but this Mario 64, an inferior version of it, is still better than the majority of the games ever released. 

Super Mario 64 DS expands on the original with additional goals, surpassing the original 120 stars. The new characters bring fresh perspectives to achieving these goals, making the game feel distinct from its predecessor. The introduction of rabbits scattered around levels leads to the inclusion of engaging minigames, covering a wide range of activities from card games to tests of skill and reflexes. The touchscreen also becomes a central element.

While Mario 64 DS successfully updates the graphics and sound, enhancing textures and colors, the control scheme faces a challenge due to the DS lacking an analog stick. Despite various control options, including the use of the touchscreen as an "analog screen," it doesn't quite replicate the precision of the original Mario 64 controls, feeling somewhat awkward. However, this does not significantly diminish as this game retains the core gameplay while introducing new characters, goals, and entertaining minigames of truly a revolutionary game.

6. Monster Tale

In the twilight of the Nintendo DS's retail life, there is this often-overlooked gem Monster Tale which is a standout 2D action-platformer. While its vibrant, seemingly cutesy visuals may suggest a game geared toward younger audiences, it offers a challenging and entertaining experience even for adult players. 

The narrative follows Ellie, a young girl equipped with a mysterious bracelet that grants her energy-shooting abilities and transports her to a distant land. Accompanied by her monster companion, Chomp, Ellie embarks on a quest across multiple kingdoms and dungeons, unraveling the story as she seeks a way back home.

Drawing inspiration from Castlevania games for the GBA and NDS, Monster Tale presents familiar yet engaging gameplay dynamics. Ellie's abilities, including a basic whip attack and charged energy shots, evolve as she explores dungeons and acquires new skills. Chomp, the helpful monster sidekick, levels up through items, gaining unique forms and abilities. 

The synergy between Ellie and Chomp, along with strategic enemy encounters and challenging bosses, contributes to the game's overall enjoyment. The music enhances the experience with brash and exciting tunes that match each area's theme, reminiscent of the Castlevania series.

5. The Legendary Starfy

The Legendary Starfy got into this list by sheer charm alone. That is not to say that the core gameplay of this colorful platformer is incompetent, it is not, Staryfy qualifies also in that category. Finally, Starfy swims off Japan and into other territories with this DS game. As the fifth installment in the Starfy series, the narrative unfolds with a crash-landing bunny amnesiac, a royal intrusion, and a plunge into the ocean with Starfy and his clam friend Moe.

Presented through comic book-styled cut-scenes and in-game speech bubbles, the story follows a formulaic path of collecting crystal shards to restore the bunny's memory. Some heartfelt moments emerge, surprisingly. The game employs a mix of 2D foreground elements and 3D backgrounds, showcasing the DS's capabilities impressively. The music, while mostly forgettable, complements the game's atmosphere.

The Legendary Starfy offers two types of gameplay: traditional platforming and sensational swimming. Starfy's underwater maneuvers are incredibly fun because they are speedy and easy to control. The game introduces abilities gradually, allowing players to unlock new moves as they progress with the help of Moe.

The Legendary Starfy features eight worlds with two bonus worlds, each themed differently, offering a variety of environments. Players can explore main and secret levels, unlocking challenges like races and enemy counts. There are 102 treasure chests to discover, each containing notes, costumes, or bonuses for Bunston's abilities.

The introduction of Bunston adds another layer to the gameplay, allowing Starfy to transform into four animal forms with distinct abilities. These transformations are crucial for reaching secret areas. Control is accessible with minimal use of buttons, making it suitable for players of all ages.

The Legendary Starfy excels in providing a delightful experience but leans towards the easier side. Bosses and levels rarely pose a serious challenge, making it more accessible for younger players. However, the game's charm, content variety, and replayability, with an adventure lasting around fifteen hours, make it a worthwhile addition to any DS owner's collection.

4. Rayman DS

Just like Super Mario 64 DS, Rayman DS did not receive the celebration it deserves although both games are enhanced ports of G.O.A.T. gaming titles. For Rayman DS most especially, it was initially dismissed by most professional outlets reviewing the game. 

Rayman 2: The Great Escape, a once-celebrated title for its imaginative characters and unique mechanics, skimps its way to the handheld platform. While the core gameplay was preserved, larger and ostensibly superior platformers had been released ever since, making it a game that particularly resonates with those nostalgic for Rayman's inaugural escapade and the source of unfair criticisms. Of course, some parts of the game are outdated because it is an old game on a new, albeit, portable platform. 

The gameplay is where Rayman games really shine. It is through with diverse levels, inventive elements, and unmatched variety that the franchise is most known for. From sliding down ice-covered slides to taming wild 'rockets,' each level introduces a unique play style, captivating players with imaginative design. 

Despite somewhat straightforward levels, careful exploration reveals hidden passageways and secrets. Combat against a multitude of adversaries, detailed in visual design, showcases inspired boss battles that require resourceful and original methods for victory.

3. Yoshi’s Island DS

Yoshi's Island DS initially faced skepticism, even from those fans of the game, raising concerns about exploiting the classic's reputation. However, players were pleasantly surprised upon experiencing the game, despite divided opinions on its graphics. While some praised the reimagined sprites for their nostalgic charm, others criticized new, oddly drawn elements that created visual discord. Despite this, Yoshi's Island is still one of the best platformers on any platform. 

The innovative baby-switching system is seamlessly integrated with the classic Yoshi's Island feel. The dual screens, beyond being a mere gimmick, introduced an innovative vertical scrolling effect that enhanced visibility in specific scenarios. The game's length and challenge, especially appealing to completionists.

The familiar yet rejuvenated gameplay, coupled with the effective utilization of DS features makes the game great for those re-experiencing the classic. Even the newcomers will have a great time playing the game because of the timelessness of its core gameplay. 

2. Kirby Super Star Ultra

Here is another remake, yes, the DS has lots of it. But the remakes of these games are not just mere ports, they are enhanced ports and sometimes reimagined. Kirby Super Star Ultra is an actual from-the-ground-up remake of Kirby Super Star. 

The game's unique structure sets it apart from other Kirby titles, presenting a collection of smaller games with varying storylines. While the experience may feel less fresh for those familiar with the original, the addition of new games keeps the enjoyment level high.

The game features nine main games, each with its own distinct charm. Spring Breeze, a remake of the first Kirby game, offers a simple yet enjoyable experience, while Dyna Blade introduces more levels and secrets. Gourmet Race injects humor into the mix with a racing and food-collecting concept, while Great Cave Offensive unfolds as one extensive adventure with diverse sections. Revenge of Meta Knight stands out as a favorite, showcasing an epic battle with Meta Knight and a thrilling final segment. Milky Way Wishes, adopting a map system similar to Dyna Blade, explores space and boasts a unique special ability system.

The Arena, known as one of the hardest games in the original Kirby Super Star, makes a return, offering a challenging sequence of battles. The remake introduces new games, including Revenge of the King, a darker and more difficult version of Spring Breeze, Helper to Hero, a shorter variation of The Arena with 20 different helpers, and Meta Knightmare Ultra, allowing players to experience the game as Meta Knight.

The TRUE Arena, the ultimate challenge in Kirby Super Star Ultra, features 10 battles against new bosses, providing a formidable test of skill. Despite the game's length and difficulty, it surpasses the original in both aspects, offering a richer and more extended gaming experience. 

1. New Super Mario Bros.

Well, look who's here on top of the best platformers’ list. If it isn’t that Italian plumber. New Super Mario Bros. emerges as a transformative force in the gaming industry, steering away from the consistent trend of graphics-centric games and focusing on the essence of gameplay. It had been over a decade before this game’s release that there was a brand new 2D Mario experience. 

The game is lauded for its pivotal role in rejuvenating the platformer genre, offering a delightful experience akin to the classic Super Mario 64. With a fresh take on the traditional Mario narrative, New Super Mario Bros. amplifies every aspect of the Mario universe, introducing an array of new elements across its eight worlds.

No one expects photorealistic or cutting-edge graphics from a Mario game, and more obviously on the DS. However, the aesthetic appeal is there, as always. Replayability is also high with this title with the game offering additional content and mini-games.