Now the first game on the list isn't actually a "great" game, and it's also a game many people may have seen in stores; however that is not what lands it a spot on this list. Assassin's Creed II: Discovery is a DS and iOS game which was released to go along side the Xbox 360/PS3/PC title, Assassin's Creed II. As the name would imply, AC2 Discovery is simply a hand held version of AC2 which isn't worth your time if you own the console version... Well that's what most people might tell you.
In reality Discovery was actually a brand new game with a brand new story, and a completely new style of gameplay. Unlike AC2, Discovery is a side scrolling platforming game which tells the story of how America was discovered, or at least the start of the story. Although the game is in fact a type of side story to the console release, Discovery actually is important to the Assassin's Creed story, and it's events are even brought up in the newer Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
Although the platforming and overall gameplay can be a bit stiff, the game is at least worth checking out if you are an Assassin's Creed fan, and it truly does add something to the story. The title is in fact a stand alone title, and it is NOT simply a hand held version of AC2.
Kirby: Canvas Curse was one of the first DS games released, and it was also the game that marked Kirby's first appearance on the DS. The game featured Kirby stuck in the form of a ball, and it required you to drawl magical lines and tab on different objects on the touch screen to help guide him through the levels. The game featured some very unique gameplay which really showed off what could be done with the touch screen, but as time went on this game was quickly over shadowed.
Now days Canvas Curse is one of them games you'll only know about if you are either a die hard Kirby fan, or you just happen to find it in a used game bin at your local game store. As soon as "standard" Kirby games started to be released on the DS, Canvas Curse vanished from the shelves, and it quickly became an almost completely unknown game. Sure older gamers may remember the days when Canvas Curse was seen on every store shelf across the country, but kids today most likely have no idea that it even existed.
Any Mega Man Battle Network fan out there knows that there was a Mega Man Battle Network 5. It brought in quite a few new features, it brought in a new major character, and it was the first "full sized" Battle Network game since Battle Network 3. Still Double Team DS is just one of them games that most people overlooked, and most fans didn't have a reason to buy.
At the time Double Team DS came out, the Gameboy Advance was still going strong with quite a few new games still being released for it, and because of that Double Team DS really wasn't one of them DS games people rushed to buy. If you were a Battle Network fan, you were buying it for the GBA, and if you weren't a Battle Network fan you really didn't have a reason to even look at this game. Still that doesn't change the fact that it was a great DS game which added quite a bit to the series on its own.
Double Team DS not only featured both versions of Battle Network 5, it also featured a new system which allowed you to switch the unique party members found in one version, into your party on the other. If you wanted to use your favorite characters from Team Protoman and your favorite characters from Team Colonel without switching between the versions, well, you could. Also unlike past entries in the series (excluding Network Transmission), Double Team DS also featured minor voice acting, it allowed you to switch between other navis during battle, and it also used the GBA slot to give you different effects based on which Battle Network game you put into the slot.
Either way Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS was a great game which really deserved more attention than it got. It had the same great solid Battle Network 5 gameplay, it included both versions of the game, and it added quite a few features of its own. It's just that the GBA was still going strong at the time, and Battle Network 6 (on the GBA) was also on its way.
Bomberman Land Touch is the game that brought the Bomberman Land mini game games to the DS. Although Land may not be the "least" known Bomberman game on the DS, it for sure is one of the better ones. Before Bomberman Land Touch came out Bomberman DS actually hit the shelves which simply featured the classic Bomberman gameplay; however, just like Land, it wasn't a very well known game, and it really wasn't carried by that many stores. Still, like I said before, the reason it doesn't appear on this list is because it really isn't the best.
Bomberman Land Touch follows the story of White Bomber as him and his friends go to a Pirate Island theme park which is filled with a lot of different mini games for them to play. The standard game mode in Land Touch is a sort of RPG which takes you on a mini adventure across this island as you play mini games to earn cards so you can unlock gates and move onto new areas. Each area has a different set of mini games, and every single one of them is unique and they normally make use of the touch screen.
Even if you aren't a fan of mini game style games, the thing that makes Land Touch so great is the fact that it also includes the gameplay mode from Bomberman DS (the standard Bomberman gameplay), and an online mode as well! Yep that's right, not only does Touch offer a full story mode of its own and a large amount of mini games, it also has basically everything from Bomberman DS with online play. It's two full games in one, and a must have for any Bomberman fan with a DS. With that being said, the sequel is well worth it as well!
Sands of Destruction is one of them DS RPGs that SEGA published and released with a limited stock. Only a few stores actually received copies of this game, and if you were lucky enough to find it, you most likely got the last copy.
Unlike in most RPGs where you set out to save the world, Sands of Destruction actually follows the story of a group of young "heroes" as they set out to destroy the world to save it from its corruption. While the basic gameplay in Sands of Destruction is turn based, the combat does also feature some real time elements. Different types of attacks are set to different buttons, and once in awhile you are required to press different buttons to pull off different attacks. The battle system is very fast paced, and it also features a system which allows characters to yell out different battle "quotes" which will add different effects to the battle as well.
Although Sands of Destruction may not be the best RPG out there, it's story is unique, it's characters are likeable, and it is willing to deal with different themes other games tend to avoid. Racism, corrupt governments, and destroying the world. They are kind of touchy themes, but Sands of Destruction has them all.
Another thing that really makes Sands of Destruction stand out is the fact that it was actually created by some of the heads from the dev team that brought us Xenogears. In other words, Sands of Destruction is a sort of spiritual sequel to Xenogears, and it might just be a must have for series fans.
#5: Lux-Pain (DS)
Lux-Pain is sadly a game that's kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. While most people have never even heard of the game, others may have only heard what they were told. Lux-Pain is one of them few rare visual novels that actually made it to the US, and just like most visual novels, it is generally hated.
The game follows a young man named Atsuki Saijo who is a part of a secret group dedicated to destroying a parasite known as "Silent." Silent is a creature that feeds off of feelings of hate, fear, and sorrow, and can completely ruin someones life. After a large amount of suicides were caused by a Silent, Atsuki goes under cover at a high school which apparently has strong connections to the Silent that caused it all. Armed with the power of Lux-Pain, Atsuki is able to read peoples minds, read lingering memories, and combat the Silent as he slowly gets to the bottom of what is really going on in the city.
As a visual novel, Lux-Pain is mostly reading and clicking on areas of the map to view different events. As time goes on Atsuki can build a relationship with the different towns people, and you are given quite a few options on what to say to different characters at different points in time, but for the most part you'll be reading this game from start till end. There are a few touch screen based mini games where you read the thoughts of the person you are talking to, and there are a few mini game "boss battles" against silent, but the game is mostly reading.
Lux-Pain really deals with a lot of dark themes, and it is sure to be a unique game that you'll never see again. Not many games let you read both the thoughts of a killer, and the thoughts of the person he just left to die. The game can be quite depressing at times, but that is to be expected coming from a crime drama style game.
Although Lux-Pain is in fact a great visual novel, the fact that the dub and text were done by different companies (resulting in some different translations), and the fact that there's no tutorial in game, a lot of people were really turned off by it. So not only was this game basically unknown to start with, the few people who did manage to find and play it ended up bashing it which only turned more people off from this hidden gem. If you're a fan of anime/manga or visual novels, this is one of them games you just can't pass up.
Phantasy Star Zero is yet another SEGA game that was released in limited quantities, and because of that it never became that well known of a game. Like with Phantasy Star Portable and Phantasy Star Universe, Phantasy Star Zero is, in a way, a hand held spiritual sequel to Phantasy Star Online. The game returns to the Phantasy Star Online style combat system, it has a more limited customization system, it has an advanced MAG leveling system, and it also includes the online mode which you might expect. Although Phantasy Star Universe is basically the "sequel" to the Phantasy Star Online games, PSU actually changed a lot of the core gameplay mechanics which quite a few PSO fans may not actually be a fan of.
Even though Zero is actually a much smaller game than the other Phantasy Star Online/Universe games, that doesn't change the fact that it is a solid entry in the series and it brings back a lot of the gameplay elements PSO fans have been missing. It is one of them lesser known games, but at the same time it's a game die hard Phantasy Star Online fan should own. It's a nice hand held "MMORPG," and it is a great game to add to your DS collection... If you can find it that is.
The third and final SEGA published game on this list. Infinite Space is a game that blends quite a few different gameplay mechanics together to create a great and unique game. The game follows a young man named Yuri as he finally leaves his home world and begins a new life in space as a captain of his own ship.
The game focuses heavily on the main story, but at the same time there's a major focus on the "space sim" like gameplay. When you first enter space you really have no idea what is going on, but as time goes on you slowly start to uncover the series of the galaxy as you also build up your ship's crew. There's a lot of different crew members for you to recruit, you can assign them to different jobs on the ship, there's a lot of different types of ships for you to build, you can fully customize your ships, and there's also different ways that you can level up your characters as well. For example you may find one planet is home to a man who can teach you how to command more than one ship, while another planet may have some training program which can help train your guys. There's a major focus on just going from planet to planet seeing what you can do to improve your ship and crew, but there's also a wider verity of side quests as well.
Like you would expect form any space sim, in Infinite Space you can take on different jobs from different planets, and you'll get rewards or even reputation points based on how you handle the job. These extra side jobs actually become very important to the game, but at the same time they allow you to live the life of a starship captain without actually following the story. The only real down side to the game is the fact that the ship battles can be a bit confusing since you can basically only tell your ship to move closer/away from the enemy, and you can pick what type of attack to use, but it really does take a lot of practice.
Although Infinite Space might seem like a simple point and click space game with visual novel style cutscenes and areas to visit, the game really does have a lot of depth, and it can easily last you for 100s of hours.
#2: Time Hollow (DS)
Time Hollow is a sort of spiritual sequel to the PS2 game Shadow of Memories, and follows the story of a young man named Ethan who wakes up the day after his birthday to find that everything has changed and his parents are dead. After receiving a special pen that can open up holes into the past (which was apparently a gift from his dad for his birthday), Ethan decides to set the world right, and try to figure out what is going on. At first Ethan finds himself fixing smaller issues such as preventing his childhood dog from burning to death in a fire, but soon he becomes wrapped up in some major events which not only put his life in danger, but the life of his friends and family in danger as well.
Time Hollow is just one of them games that not many people know about, and it is pretty hard to find as well. Unless you get lucky and find it at a used game store, your only real chance of getting the game was to buy the one and only copy that your local store might have received on the day the game came out. Like other games on this list, Time Hollow is a type of visual novel/graphic adventure game which id heavily based on reading, puzzle solving, and following the story. While you can click on the map and search different areas for clues, there really isn't much else to the gameplay. At different parts of the game you can open up holes into the past which allows you to interact with the past, but you really have no control over what you change or when you change it. Every part of the story is in fact set in stone, and you are just along for the ride.
Still Time Hollow does have a great story, you will care about the characters, and it is pretty cool to see how changing one event will change the future, but that's all this game really has to offer. The story mode only lasts for about 10 or so hours, but in the end that really doesn't matter. Time Hollow is the type of game you will want to replay over and over again just to see it's story. Just like a good book or movie, this visual novel is worth rereading.
Just hold tight and search for the light!
Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is a part of a game series which has a huge fan base, is known as one of the best DS games, and also one that is known to be one of the best visual novel/graphic adventure style games released in the past few years; however Last Window is almost completely unknown. So, just what game series is Last Window a part of? Well none other than Hotel Dusk of course!
Although Hotel Dusk is known as one of the best games on the DS, it's sequel is an unknown game that not even die hard fans of Hotel Dusk know about. After Last Window came out in both the JP and EU regions, the company that made the games actually went under and that prevented Last Window from ever seeing a US release, and because of that many of the fans don't even know about the game. Still the good news is that this game can easily be found online, and the DS (and even 3DS) can play it since DS games are COMPLETELY region free!
Like with Hotel Dusk, Last Window follows the story of Kyle Hyde who is an EX cop who quit the force after he was forced to shoot his best friend. At the start of Last Window Kyle finds himself being fired from the sales company he works for, and then to top his bad luck off, he comes home to his apartment to find that it will be closing down soon and that he has to pack up his things and leave. Still unknown to him, this apartment that used to be a hotel actually has a dark secret that involves a great mystery which was closely tied to his father's death. After being tipped off on the secret of the apartment, Kyle decides to do everything he can to get to the bottom of not only the secret of the old hotel, but to solve the secretes his fellow neighbors are hiding as well.
Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is still a type of graphic adventure game/visual novel just like Hotel Dusk, but with a few major changes. While you still use the touch screen to explore the apartment, search objects, and ask people questions, the overall setting of the game is completely different. While Hotel Dusk took place during a single night and focused completely on the mystery of the hotel, Last Window takes place over a week and focuses more on the personal life of Kyle Hyde. For the first time fans truly get to see what makes Kyle the man he is, and for the first time we get to see what his daily life is like. We get to see him wake up, get ready in the morning, go down to the cafe for a bite to eat, and we also get to see him interact with his neighbors as well. The game just shows a completely different side to him, and because of this so much more just happens. The game is in fact longer than Hotel Dusk, it has more stories to tell, and the apartment is much bigger as well with a lot more places to explore.
When the game is all said and done, there is also a novel version of the game which becomes unlocked as well. This novel is in fact a FULL novel which allows you to not only reread the events of the story, but also get more insight on what makes the characters tick. Secret files tell more about Kyle's past from the point of view of other people in his life, and the novel also includes a secret chapter which acts as an epilogue as well. Really if you know someone who likes to read but hates playing video games, this novel version of the events is perfect for them to read, and it is a really nice addition to the game.
Like I said Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is a great DS game, and it is one that fans of Hotel Dusk CANNOT pass up. Although it was never released in the US, like I said, the EU version can easily be found online for a great price. It really is a DS game worth checking out.
So in the end, the Nintendo DS does in fact have quite a few great unknown games out there, and them games do not stop with the list above. There are many, MANY, hidden gems out there that are worth your time to play, but finding them can be quite the problem. If you are a gamer, and you own a DS, I strongly recommend that you take the time to look at the lesser known games out there. Who knows, maybe you'll that game at the bottom of the used game bin might just be the one you've been waiting for, for years.
List by NettoSaito (07/25/2012)
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