40. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time / Darkness (DS)

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time / Darkness (DS)Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time / Darkness (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 20th Apr 2008 (USA) / 4th Jul 2008 (UK/EU)

This pair of Pokémon games from Chunsoft were sequels to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, games which (unusually) straddled the GBA and DS respectively, using the latter's GBA cartridge slot to interface between the two. Both Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness were DS-only and brought along all the Gen IV Pokémon. The game sees you transformed into a Pocket Monster at the beginning and, of course, you'll need both versions if you want to catch 'em all. Two years later the enhanced Explorers of Sky would arrive with added 'mons, dungeons and features. These games' repetitive gameplay isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if you're after dungeon crawling with added cuteness from your favourite franchise critters, it doesn't get much better than this.

39. Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS)

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS)Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 14th Feb 2011 (USA) / 20th May 2011 (UK/EU)

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation might not be as flashy or intricate as something like Dragon Quest IX, but that certainly doesn't keep the game from being every bit as charming and engaging. Retaining the original's 16-bit style and not deviating a great deal from the classic formula, it upgrades various aspects of the Super Famicom game (it never made it to the west back in the day) to make it look and feel like a much more modern experience. Realms of Revelation is yet another fantastic addition to the impressive DS RPG library and a great way to revisit a classic.

38. Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)

Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 5th Dec 2005 (USA) / 31st Mar 2006 (UK/EU)

Starting out on the N64 in Japan, Animal Crossing was arguably better suited to portable play from the very beginning and Animal Crossing: Wild World became an incredible time sink for millions on DS. We remember playing every single day over the course of a year and a half - no exceptions, no excuses. The online connectivity and the gentle day-to-day relationships you built with the game and its characters were as addictive as any video game we've ever played. This was one of the various DS titles with the power to hook people who'd never before played a video game.

Of course, going back now would expose just how far the series has come since 2005, and the crushing guilt of seeing our desolate, weed-infested village would be too much to bear, but this incredible video game became part of our lives for a good while there, and we'll treasure the memories we have of our little town forever.

37. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All (DS)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All (DS)Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All (DS)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 16th Jan 2007 (USA) / 16th Mar 2007 (UK/EU)

The second in the DS trilogy of Ace Attorney games (that originally appeared on Game Boy Advance in Japan), Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All takes the baton from the first game and simply runs with it. A new psyche-lock mechanic was the only real addition - the player can unlock these mental barriers by finding clues relating to the secret they contain while questioning witnesses. This is very the middle part of an overall story - one that's collected together as a whole in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on 3DS and Switch, but as a short and sweet courtroom visual novel, this second chapter is still one of the best.

36. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Cing
Release Date: 22nd Jan 2007 (USA) / 13th Apr 2007 (UK/EU)

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 was an impressive and innovative title for the DS. It's scratchy pencil-line aesthetic looked great on the console and really fit the visual novel's mysterious tone, as well as the form of the system itself. Holding the DS like an open book, it showed other developers and players alike the potential of the system beyond the traditional approach gamers might expect, and made the console even less intimidating for a new audience who would go on to discover other games through touch controls. That hand-sketched art style also went down a treat with A-Ha fans, exposing a hitherto unknown overlap of the video game enthusiast and Norwegian synth-pop demographics.

35. Picross DS (DS)

Picross DS (DS)Picross DS (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Jupiter Corporation
Release Date: 30th Jul 2007 (USA) / 11th May 2007 (UK/EU)

It's Picross. It's on DS. It's great. There's really not much else to say about Picross DS. The introduction of touch controls opened up this game to a much wider audience and at a time when you couldn't board any form of public transport without brushing somebody filling out Sudoku puzzles in the back of their newspaper, this was the perfect way to zone out with a brain-teaser and ignore all those sweating commuters on the train. Plus, you get 100% less news ink on the side of your palm. Result!

34. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS)

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS)Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS)
Publisher: Take Two / Developer: Rockstar
Release Date: 17th Mar 2009 (USA) / 20th Mar 2009 (UK/EU)

Nintendo gamers might have missed out on the big GTAs, but we did get this bespoke little entry which tuned out better than anyone dared dream. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars truly is one the best titles to ever grace the Nintendo DS. Despite the fact that it took on an old-style graphical approach, Rockstar Leeds brought along almost every aspect of the home console games and compressed it in a way that made sense on Nintendo's handheld. It sees a return of the traditional top-down gameplay of the first two GTAs but blends elements from the later games to create a unique and thrilling game that still stands up today.

33. Pokémon Black and White 2 (DS)

Pokémon Black and White 2 (DS)Pokémon Black and White 2 (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: 7th Oct 2012 (USA) / 12th Oct 2012 (UK/EU)

Those who brushed Pokémon Black and White 2 off as simply more of the same at the time were sorely mistaken. On a superficial level the Pokémon games have not changed much, and for good reason; the foundation that was placed way back in Pokémon Red and Blue was incredibly solid and engaging from the off. By adding more around it and tweaking things under the hood, the series has grown far beyond its humble monochromatic origins even if the pace of change is a little more glacial than some would like. The naming of these entries, their status as the first 'direct' sequels in the franchise, and the fact that they weren't being released on the then-new 3DS console arguably did these games a disservice and masked their greatness. Make no mistake though, these are two of the finest games in the series.

32. Rhythm Heaven (DS)

Rhythm Heaven (DS)Rhythm Heaven (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo SPD
Release Date: 5th Apr 2009 (USA) / 1st May 2009 (UK/EU)

Rhythm Heaven (or Rhythm Paradise as we know it in Europe) is the epitome of simple, clear game design, yet it never feels half-hearted in any regard. Its bare bones presentation helps new players get into into the swing of things, and once you 'get' it (and its strange sense of humour), you'll find it very difficult to put down. It’s packed full of content and replay value, with tunes you'll find yourself whistling when you're away from the game, and still stands as one of the finest titles to grace the DS. Sure, the Megamix entry on 3DS collects together many of the best games from this and other games in the series, but this is still worth picking up in its own right. Trust us, you'll be in rhythm game heaven (or paradise, depending on your side of the pond).

31. Final Fantasy IV (DS)

Final Fantasy IV (DS)Final Fantasy IV (DS)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 22nd Jul 2008 (USA) / 5th Sep 2008 (UK/EU)

The DS hosted a bunch of Final Fantasy titles, including some remakes - this one a reimagining of the game western audiences knew as Final Fantasy II on the SNES. This 3D iteration goes well beyond the improvements in the GBA port from three years earlier, and it comes as no surprise that this version of Final Fantasy IV is arguably the most approachable one going. It's still a very challenging game and not for the faint of heart, but with superb visuals, a great soundtrack and the top-notch gameplay you expect from this series, it's still a must-have RPG.