Prepping for 3DS, best Nintendo DS games?

I’ve had a dsi since it launched but my nephews stole it for pokemon, so I’ve missed a lot of good releases. So what should I stock up on given:

-I prefer digital distribution
-I play mostly on my iPhone/ipad now
-I’m looking for mostly games not available on other systems
-quick pick up and play games mostly, 100 hour RPGs aren’t my focus
-cheap finds are good, but quality > quantity!

If you’re planning to get a 3DS around launch, forget about digital downloads for now. The e-shop for 3DS will be a software update in May, so you’ll be playing carts for a little while.

I’ll leave it to others to suggest specific games. I’m not a super prolific DS player; I probably can’t help you any more than metacritic can. :)

The DS was never big on digital distribution, so you’re not going to have much luck with that if you’re accustomed to using PSN or what-not.

Meteos: If you can find a copy of this early DS exclusive, snap it up immediately. It’s a charming and clever puzzle title that fits your criteria perfectly. No long, protracted campaigns or story, and a vastly customizable experience. Highly, highly recommended.

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin: A turn-based strategy game, this one packs a rather solid set of gameplay with a lengthy campaign (broken down into single missions that can be played individually), challenge missions, and a huge assortment of skirmish maps of all sizes that can be played against the AI (you can have five minute games or protracted multi-hour struggles depending on setup). Also includes a map editor. Very solid game as a whole if you’re into the genre, but harder to recommend if you’re not.

Mario Kart DS: It’s Mario Kart in portable form. You ought to know roughly what to expect from that, but it’s exclusive, it’s quite good, and you can most assuredly pick it up and play for a few minutes whenever you want.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife: A puzzlish game where you are performing surgery on a variety of patients. Takes something of a bizarre sci-fi/fantasy turn partway through, so don’t go in expecting a realistic depiction of modern surgical medicine. Still a great game, and no individual operation lasts more than ten minutes, and most are considerably shorter. Shouldn’t be too expensive if you can find a copy locally.

You could also look into the Professor Layton games, but I’m not going to endorse them for you here since they are more borderline in terms of meeting your criteria. They have storylines, but they are largely a disjointed series of puzzles with writing on the side. Still good, but just not necessarily what you seem to be looking for. All exclusive, though.

Any of the Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents series of rhythm games. They can be a bit hard to find but are an incredible use of the DS core functionality, especially if you can throw on some headphones. Unlike other portable rhythm games the difficulty scales down well for casual play, although I’ve never heard of anyone not wanting to at least get through most of the songs on medium after a casual exposure. In terms of being the most charming but also the hardest to find (and because it was first, least polished in terms of UI), you have Ouendan 1 with its infectious j-pop and crazy stories. Elite Beat Agents should be awful but incredibly manages to assemble some really competent American/western pop covers with a very accessible format, and is probably the easiest and cheapest to find used or in a bargain bin. O2 includes all of the UI upgrades of both games and is the most polished overall, but I give the nod to the first two for the strength of the track lists. It’s really hard to convey the universal charm of these titles without being able to show them off in your hands, but let’s just say that for at least one squad of fairly grizzled Marines it proved a tremendously competitive source of entertainment.

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is everything that is good and beautiful about portable gaming. Playable in short doses, with a core game mechanic that is somewhere between a tactical RPG and bejeweled while having a tremendously smooth learning curve, it’s everything the puzzle quest series wishes it could be in terms of play balance and genuine challenge. The story is engaging and well designed to allow you to experience all of the play styles that are used against you throughout the game from your own perspective.

Rocket Slime is a really engaging title that doesn’t require a big commitment on your part to give you a realtime action fix with a hint of strategy. It’s very accessible and well designed, and cute without being nauseating.

All of my other recs would probably be in the long commitment category, although I tend to play them intermittently with no problems.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Picross, if that’s your thing. There are hundreds of puzzles available and you can get through most of them in 10-20 mins.

Also, New York Times Crossword is fantastic. Probably my go-to DS game when I just want something quick and light. Nothing much to say about it other than it’s a couple hundred crosswords from the New York Times.

Peggle DS is, to my taste, the best version of the game. Precision aiming works really well with the stylus.

I’ll throw in a second for M&M:Clash of Heroes.

Picross DS and Picross 3D. Pretty much the only two DS games that have had regular rotation in my system since they each launched.

Thank you!

Will give each of them a look.

Thinking first party, which of the Mario games besides kart are must haves?

Clubhouse Games is a must for casual gaming. My wife must have thousand hours of play on it.

The newest Pokemon games, Black and White, are making me want to buy a DS again.

Advanced Wars is the no-brainer though. Dual Strike is ridiculously feature packed.

Picross was the game that was in my DS when it broke. :) Loved that game.

Going from Gamerankings and my own memory of games I played:

Mario and Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story (RPG, way better than the other Mario and Luigi RPG on DS)
Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow (the highest reviewed CV on DS, fan opinion is kind of all over the place on the rest)
New Super Mario Bros
Elite Beat Agents (I had to buy this a second time because my sister took my original copy and wouldn’t give it back)
The World Ends With You (I never finished this but its a pretty unique action RPG that couldn’t really be done on anything but DS)
Kirby Canvas Curse (one of the first DS games to be more than a tech demo)
Tetris DS (almost impossible to find)
Space Invaders Extreme (I played this on PSP but I heard the DS version was just as good)
Contra 4 (balls to the wall hard)
Dragon Quest 4,5,6 and 9 (the first 3 are remakes but they’re totally worth playing. If you only play one, play 5)
Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (pretty unique concept, half platformer half puzzler)
Phoenix Wright trilogy (more of interactive novels than games, but the writing is good and worth experiencing)
Puzzle Quest (again I played this on PSP but the DS version is probably just as good)
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (superior to the GBA game and honestly I like it more than the PS1 game)
Mario vs Donkey Kong: Mini Land Mayhem (I prefer the GBA iteration, but still a good short pick up and play game)
Mega Man ZX Advent (the superior of the two Mega Man ZX games. Plays a bit more like Metroid than classic Mega Man but still scratches that itch)
LEGO Battles (classic inspired RTS, kind of simplistic but I got a lot of play out of it)
Contact (bizarre action RPG, totally not for everyone but if you’re into experimental Japanese RPGs its worth a look)

I glossed over some other stuff I played that I liked but thought might not be as appealing (like FF:CC or Starfy) but this reflects a decent amount of my personal collection (minus sequels like all the CV games etc).

Personally I don’t think a lot of the earlier DS stuff holds up as well. I mean at the time games like Meteos and Nanostray were cool, but I don’t see myself playing them again and have a hard time recommending them.

3rded. It controls well with the stylus, too, so it’s got a feel unique to the DS.

Shiren the Wanderer is an RPG, but it’s a rougelike, so individual sessions are short.

Super Scribblenauts is definitely aimed at kids, but it uses different parts of your brain than most video games, so it’s great for a long plane flight if you need to mix things up.

Acordnig to Jeremy Parish from 1up your first step may be to rebuy a DSi. He was rather down on DS games graphics when played on the 3DS.

Oh yes! Those games were ridiculawesome!

Wow that seems like a pretty bone headed move by Nintendo, especially when their launch lineup is so poor.

I didn’t really have much chance of buying a 3ds in the near future anyway, but if anything, i’d rather buy a DSi XL now (to play radiant historia on).

This. Excellent fun.

If I had to pick only one game, I’d throw out a 5th recommendation for Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. I bought this game at release back in December '09, and I still play it regularly.

Puzzle Quest is also nice (I liked 1 and 2, but not Galactrix), but as Lizard King said, a far second to the brilliance of MM:CoH. No plot continuity, so no worries if you just want to skip to 2.

Lots of solid picks here, but needs more Professor Layton. It’s all Logic puzzles and Brainteasers.

Elite Beat Agents is great fun, and I’ve seen it for super cheap. Like, $2 at MicroCenter (YMMV). Campy music/rhythm game fun.

Clubhouse Games is a generous collection of classic card, board, and other games.

I like the Castlevania games, but that’s getting further away from the pick-up-and-play stuff.

I’m on the fence re: New Super Mario Bros. It’s hardly a bad game, but it’s hardly a new game, if you take my meaning. This jaded gamer gives it a pass, but you may enjoy it if you haven’t played Mario in a while.

so the download shop for the dsi won’t work with the 3ds?

Will games be tied to an account or to a device?

The eStore is a new store, replacing the DSi-Ware channel. I think it will still have old DSi-Ware titles in it, though. They’ll run on the 3DS just as backward compatible carts will.

I’m not 100%, but I think the games are tied to a DEVICE, not an ACCOUNT. I have no idea if your already-purchased DSi-Ware will transfer over, or if they’ll have a function or that, or whatever.

Other tidbits: they’re ditching points and going with real dollars/yen/local currency.

Also: Friend codes are no longer per-game. There’s one friend code for the 3DS. If a friend adds you, they’ve added your 3DS and all its games. Obviously playing a regular DS game in compatibility mode, you’ll have per-game friend codes still.

The Street Pass mode stuff is pretty neat. You can load a game’s “street pass” data into the 3DS’ memory, and it’ll work even when the game isn’t in there. If you have five games with Street Pass functionality, you can load them all into the system storage and they’ll all work at once as you walk around with your 3DS in the street pass “sleep but wireless on” sort of mode.