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Chris Leigh
16 Dec, 2006

Christmas Buyers Guide - Nintendo DS

DS Feature | Stupendous stylus-based stocking fillers.
2006 proved to be a pivotal year for both Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP handhelds, albeit for rather different reasons. While Sony's sleek portable continued to struggle in its bid to convince consumers, Nintendo's dual-screen console flew off shelves just about anywhere it appeared. With an increasing number of you becoming proud owners of Ninty's latest handheld, a guide would seem useful, so scroll down to see where we think your DS dollars should be heading this Christmas. Oh, and in case you missed them, you can find our other Christmas Buyer Guides at the links below:

Christmas Buyers Guides
PARENTS | PLAYSTATION 2

Tony Hawk's American Sk8land

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision


Our review said: "Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land is a return to the foundations of the series, thanks largely to its emphasis on tricks and combos, rather than the extraneous crap and goofing around that has plagued the last four games on the consoles. It’s good to see Vicarious Visions' talents in full effect – they’ve conjured up some really good technical achievements (cel-shaded 3D with a good framerate, and the first Wi-Fi DS title), but have also managed to produce a good game at the same time.

American Sk8land is a bit easy, but it should provide hours of entertainment for all handheld gaming fans, whether they like skating or not. "
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]

  

.
Big Brain Academy

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-8
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


Our review said: "There’s probably one of two questions in your head right now as you're reading this. The first being, ‘I already have Brain Training, do I need this?’ Well, we would say: yes. It’s similar enough so that many of the things you liked in that game you'll also enjoy here, but it’s different enough not to feel like you’re playing the same thing again.

The other question is, ‘I don’t have either Brain games, which one should I buy?’. That’s a trickier one to answer, as they both do what they do well. Brain Training has the advantage of Sudoku packed in there, but Big Brain Academy will almost certainly last you the longest in terms of replayability, due to its structure, with score tracking and medal awards. And if forced to decide between the two, Big Brain Academy has the edge where it counts. But given the relatively low price of the two you would certainly be forgiven for owning both."
[FULL REVIEW: 7.5]

  

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Yoshi's Island DS

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Artoon
Publisher: Nintendo


Our review said: "Despite what seems to be a negative review, Yoshi’s Island DS is still a remarkable platformer that not only sees a return to one of history’s greatest games, but also sees the inclusion of a few neat ideas.

The platforming aspects are still golden, and the emphasis on more puzzles helps to provide a rewarding experience. If it wasn’t for a few underused ideas, the black hole between the screens and a soundtrack that deserves to be never mentioned again, Yoshi’s Island DS could have easily claimed the original’s crown for being the ‘best platformer’. For now though, it'll have to settle for second best."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]

  

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Trauma Center: Under the Knife

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus


Our review said: "It’s good to see developers putting a lot of thought into what sort of unique titles they can offer on the DS, which is evidenced by Atlus’ efforts with Trauma Center. However, in creating new experiences on these specialised consoles, the developers still need to keep in mind some traditional gaming conventions, such as proper progression of difficulty levels and reasonable expectations of a player’s abilities – the game would have easily rated higher if it were more properly balanced.

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot of good stuff in Trauma Center, even if the last half of the game lets it down. We feel that there’s still plenty that Atlus can explore with a game of this nature, and hope that the game is successful enough to warrant a sequel."
[FULL REVIEW: 7.0]

  

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Tetris DS

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-10
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


Our review said: "In summary, what we have here is a game that should keep any Tetris fan happy. Those looking for the pure experience the original Game Boy game offered might be disappointed, as there are minor changes. But although the block-switching/showing of upcoming tetraminoes takes away the unpredictability and fear of making a mistake, it does improve the scope for more tactical play, meaning the changes do have an overall positive effect on things.

Overall, Tetris DS is a wonderful package. It’s got plenty of modes and a superb online/multiplayer setup, and is all nicely coated with a vast selection of memorable Nintendo visuals and melodies. Tetris purists may not welcome the new changes, but they only really serve to make the game different, not necessarily worse."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.5]

  

.
Phoenix Wright

Release Date: Out in Europe now, and coming to Australia 8th March next year.
Players: 1
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


Our review said: "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, despite being somewhat simplistic in nature, is an enjoyable adventure title with a solid premise and an excellent script. We’ve always been a little sceptical about developers’ claims of new and exciting game types on the Nintendo DS, but Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is really one of those that offers something different (even if it is a port of a game not released here before).

Capcom has really delivered with Phoenix Wright; it’s a well-scripted, genuinely funny and truly unique adventure game, and one that all DS owners should investigate immediately."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]

  

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42 All-Time Classics

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-8
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


Our review said: "Despite its problems, the amount of content here and the price point mean it’s very hard not to recommend this game highly. Some of the games could have done with a bit more polish, while a few others don’t really work that well at all, but on the whole there’s a lot here to be happy about.

This is the kind of game that does exactly what it sets out to do and whether you intend playing alone, or with a group of DS-owning friends (the game seems the most stable online DS game to date), there’s plenty here for your money."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]

  

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Metroid Prime: Hunters

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-4
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


Our review said: "Metroid Prime: Hunters doesn’t have much competition in terms of being considered as the best FPS ever made for a handheld - even with its shortcomings, this is a fact. It's quite an ambitious game and for the most part, it's commendable. As a Metroid game, its faithful to its roots but it leaves a bit to be desired. As a single player game, it’s very lacking in key areas, but is accessible to almost everyone.

The multiplayer aspect shines, but without a WiFi capable connection, you’re left with few options. The controls are farly faithful to PC controls, but some players will end up ruing the constant hand-cramps more than others. This is a serious issue of course; after all, games are meant to be enjoyed, not meant to hurt. In terms of the actual game, anyone who can’t satisfy the multiplayer components will struggle getting much out of it, but for anyone who can, the hunt is well and truly on."
[FULL REVIEW: 7.0]

  

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Age of Empires: The Age of Kings

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Publisher: Majesco


Our review said: "It can be a worrying prospect when a game is converted from either a console, or PC, to a handheld. There are streams of failures and below-average products that have been the result of this process. Thankfully, Age of Empires: Age of Kings is not on that list.

An extremely good showcase for the argument that strategy games and PC ports can work on the DS, Age of Kings allows for both compelling singleplayer gaming and some great two-player action as well. While it's not perfect, it is indeed a very good game and deserves a look if you're wanting a game that takes advantage of the DS' unique and individual qualities."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]

  

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Prof. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-4
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


Our review said: "Brain Training is a game that's easily accessible to all people, not just those who are avid gamers. The exercises are pretty addictive, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to challenge themselves, but they’re also quite beneficial – you’ll notice that your cognitive abilities will improve in the short term with continued practice on the game, and in some cases, you might even feel a bit better.

There are annoyances that you just have to put up with, which drags the game down a bit, but these problems seem to be widespread with anything that requires vocal recognition or optical character recognition. And despite these few minor issues with the technology, all who give it a chance should enjoy it."
[FULL REVIEW: 7.0]

  

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Related Content

Christmas Buyers Guide - PlayStation 2
02 Dec, 2006 The titles every PS2 owner needs this Xmas.
Christmas Buyers Guide - Parents
24 Nov, 2006 How to avoid those Xmas Day tantrums.
The Games of 2006 (so far)
29 Jun, 2006 The titles that should be taking up your time in the coming holidays.
14 Comments
7 years ago
I aggree with all those, I'm pleased Tony Hawk's on there.

42 All Time Classics WTF?
7 years ago
Is children of mana out in oz ?
7 years ago
segax wrote
Is children of mana out in oz ?
Saw a box for it yesterday, at Target no less I think. So yeh.

Also a nice selection of games there icon_smile.gif
7 years ago
El Taco wrote
42 All Time Classics WTF?
Clubhouse Games.


Wait, Trauma Center is out on DS over here? icon_surprised.gif
7 years ago
^
yes if you go to gaming spacific stores like gametraders.
7 years ago
Children of Mana is out and it is brilliant

Trauma Center is not avaliable in Australia but apparently both that and the Wii version will make it here sometime next year, places like Cash Converters may have a copy for you if you are lucky, there is also eBay

My list of must have DS Games

Children of Mana
New Super Mario Bros
Yoshi's Island DS
Metroid Prime Hunters
Trauma Center (if you can find it)
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam
7 years ago
Eyce wrote
El Taco wrote
42 All Time Classics WTF?
Clubhouse Games.
I know, but why did they call it that? It's not even called that in America icon_razz.gif
7 years ago
segax wrote
Is children of mana out in oz ?
Its not great, if you played sword of mana you're gonna be disappointed.

No mention of Elite Beat Agents (even though Osu (cant spell) is better)? Phoenix Wright is must have in my opinion, I'm just half way on Gyatuken Saiban 2. Brain age is cool, but Braining academy sucks. Trauma Centre is another must have game, probably applied to me cause I'm studying medicine. Last to mention, what about final fantasy III?
7 years ago
Phoenix Wright > the rest of them. icon_smile.gif Good list there. icon_smile.gif Yoshi's Island DS is great.
7 years ago
I got bored of Hunters very quickly. icon_kero.gif

But, Tetris is amazing fun in multiplayer (but you all already know that icon_razz.gif), and I hear good things about Phoenix Wright and Trauma Center. And obviously I've bought Yoshi, so. icon_smile.gif

And Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan should be in every "DS games to buy" list ever. icon_lol.gif
7 years ago
UmbrellaCEO wrote
No mention of Elite Beat Agents (even though Osu (cant spell) is better)? Phoenix Wright is must have in my opinion, I'm just half way on Gyatuken Saiban 2. Brain age is cool, but Braining academy sucks. Trauma Centre is another must have game, probably applied to me cause I'm studying medicine. Last to mention, what about final fantasy III?
Only titles currently available in at least one PAL region are eligible. Hence next year's list may well see Elite Beat Agents and FF III make it in.
7 years ago
I'm getting Yoshi's Island DS for Christmas icon_smile.gif

Nice list, Phoenix Wright, like ad said, is a must buy.
7 years ago
Chris-Leigh wrote
UmbrellaCEO wrote
No mention of Elite Beat Agents (even though Osu (cant spell) is better)? Phoenix Wright is must have in my opinion, I'm just half way on Gyatuken Saiban 2. Brain age is cool, but Braining academy sucks. Trauma Centre is another must have game, probably applied to me cause I'm studying medicine. Last to mention, what about final fantasy III?
Only titles currently available in at least one PAL region are eligible. Hence next year's list may well see Elite Beat Agents and FF III make it in.
Makes sense.
7 years ago
tony hawks is only 30 (or 2 for 25) deal at gameswizards if anyone wants to pick it up. Its a great game.
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