Games of 2008
Boy howdy, there were a lot of DS games in 2008. And among the barrels of shovelware were a few quality titles. Here's the 10 highest rated DS games of 2008.
More of a digital cookbook than an actual game, Personal Trainer Cooking provides 245 unique cooking recipes complete with audio tips, video tutorials, and a friendly user interface. Little features like the ability to move through recipes with your voice (perfect for preparing messier dishes) as well as keep a running grocery make your Personal Trainer extremely helpful. Add a dash of Nintendo's usual polish and a 20 dollar price tag, and you've got one great piece of DS software.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia had a lot to live up to. Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation and Aria of Sorrow for the Gameboy Advance are two of the most beloved 2D adventure titles of all time, and being hyped as a worthy successor put an enormous amount of pressure on this third DS Castlevania entry. Luckily, Koji Igarashi and his team proved completely up to the task, offering one of the best, most challenging Castlevania titles to date. With a new Glyph system and a continuation of the series' amazing animation and character design, Order of the Ecclesia is a must buy for any role-playing adventure fan.
Disgaea DS is an adaptation of the much-loved PS2 strategy RPG, this time with DS-specific touch screen support. It offers one of the deepest turn-based strategy experiences of the year, and fans of the genre will have no problem sinking hundreds of hours into the game's unique blend of amazing artwork and incredibly deep gameplay mechanics. Disgaea DS may be a bit too hardcore for some, but fans of the strategy RPG are sure to find a lot to love in one of the best games the genre has to offer.
Square Enix's latest entry into this fan-favorite strategy RPG series doesn't disappoint. The game continues the franchise's signature brand of beautiful visuals and deep, strategic gameplay with an all-new story and characters set in the familiar world of Ivalice. With four-hundred quests, an immense amount of customization options and some of the best turn-based strategy ever to grace Nintendo's dual-screened handheld, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift provides an exciting role-playing experience that just shouldn't be missed.
Developers SilverBirch Studios and Metanet Software provided DS gamers with a unique taste of ninja platforming earlier this year with N+. Based on a series that began as a free online Flash game and later ported to Xbox Live Arcade, N+ offers DS-exclusive levels, modes and a control scheme perfectly suited for the handheld. The minimal art style may turn off some, but gamers who can appreciate the emphasis of gameplay over visuals will no doubt find N+ to be one the year's best titles.
Repeating the breakout success of the Guitar Hero franchise on the Nintendo DS seemed like an impossible task, but Vicarious Visions managed to nail it out of the park with Guitar Hero: On Tour. The set list may skew a bit younger than the game's console iterations, but the note tracking still manages to be both fun and challenging all at once. It may not be a perfect emulation of actually playing the guitar on your DS, but Guitar Hero: On Tour at least manages to translate the visceral enjoyment of playing Guitar Hero from the big screen right down to Nintendo's little handheld with incredible results.
2008 marked the 30 year anniversary of the Space Invaders franchise, and developer Taito's Space Invaders Extreme somehow manages to both retain the series' classic gameplay feel while simultaneously including some wholly fresh and innovative design changes. The DS version even offers game sharing through the system's Download Play mode as well as online-enabled multiplayer. This is easily the best remake of the 1978 classic, and it's an absolute bargain at only 20 bucks. Don't miss out.
In a genre where few new franchises have the courage to break the well-defined RPG mold, Jupiter – the much-lauded developers behind the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Picross DS – dared to challenge the status quo. The result is The World Ends With You, an excited new entry into the world of modern role-playing games. With a unique dual-screened combat system and an amazingly fresh art style, The World Ends With You firmly established itself as one of the hippest and most innovative games not only of the year, but of the DS' entire life cycle.
Despite being seemingly perfectly suited for the genre, the DS sure is lacking in quality real-time strategy games. Luckily, Vogster Entertainment's Robocalypse fills the void tremendously, offering solid gameplay and deep strategy mechanics. With a script penned by SpongeBob Squarepants alum Jay Lender and writing partner Micah Wright, Robocalypse's mature, flippant tone perfectly complements the enjoyable RTS experience while making gamers laugh right along with the mass robotic slaughter. Strategy fans definitely shouldn't miss out.
A remake of the immensely popular Super NES role-playing classic, Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS offers the same beloved game with all new, DS-specific content like a new ending and quests as well as a multiplayer arena mode. Die-hard fans and newcomers alike will find a lot to love, as Chrono Trigger's visuals and story have aged remarkably well. Do yourself a favor and pick up this definitive version of one of the best classic role-playing titles of all time. You won't be disappointed.