The Absolute Best Nintendo DS Action Games of All Time

nintendo ds

The Absolute Best Nintendo DS Action Games of All Time

The Nintendo DS is a handheld gaming console released in 2004 and quickly became a success among gamers. Its dual screens, touchscreen capabilities, and wireless network play made it popular with players looking for more than just an ordinary gaming experience. As the second best-selling video game system of all time, Nintendo DS sold over 154 million units worldwide. Gamers can still access countless titles ranging from intense, first-person shooters to strategy-based war games. Whether it’s just killing waves of enemies or challenging yourself to beat your friend’s high score, Nintendo DS action games will keep even the most hard-core gamer occupied.

What is an Action Game?

An action game is a video game that emphasizes physical challenges, such as hand–eye coordination and reaction time. The genre includes a variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, shooters, platformers, adventure games, and sports games. The games focus on combat, problem-solving, and exploration. 

Gamers typically control characters through various actions, such as running, jumping, or attacking. Focus is usually on timing and reflexes, with players having to respond quickly to changing scenarios or enemies. Generally, the core gameplay of an action game centers around tactical movement and combat. In most action games, players must face obstacles, fight enemies, and solve puzzles to reach their goals. 

Was Nintendo DS Known for Action Games?

While the system was famous for its RPG games, there was no shortage of high-quality action titles.  Its unique touchscreen controls, control pad, and dual screens made it an ideal platform for some high-quality action games. Below are some of the best Nintendo DS action games available today.

Space Invaders Extreme is a modern reimagining of the classic Space Invaders arcade game from 1978.  The game stays true to its predecessor, featuring the same basic shoot-em-up gameplay where players must defend their base from swarms of alien ships. The game’s graphics have been updated with a stronger focus on musical elements, and new gameplay modes have been added.

In Space Invaders Extreme, each stage has background music. Some even have remixes of classic tracks from the original game. Players have access to new power-ups, such as shields and missiles, that make the game more challenging. In addition, each stage also has a unique boss battle which adds an extra layer of challenge. The game also offers several minigames and bonus levels, providing plenty of replayability. Overall, Space Invaders Extreme is an excellent action game that builds on the legacy of its predecessor while adding modern touches.

is an action-adventure game for the Nintendo DS and the third installment in the Castlevania series.  It follows protagonist Shanoa as she searches for mystical Glyphs that can give her the power to defeat a powerful vampire lord named Dracula. Along the way, she faces numerous enemies and bosses and acquires new abilities and weapons to use on her journey.

The game is presented in a 2D side-scrolling format, featuring various environments and levels to explore. As the game progresses, you’ll encounter secrets and hidden items, giving you the incentive to explore each area fully. Combat consists of traditional side-scrolling action. The addition of a “Glyph System” allows players to use spells and special attacks.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is an excellent addition to the series and one of the best action games on the Nintendo DS. It features a unique plot, varied level designs, and plenty of challenging boss fights. If you’re looking for a great action-adventure game for your Nintendo DS, look no further than Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.

New Attack System with 100+ Combinations
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
  • For the Nintendo DS cosole
  • 2D side-scrolling action game
  • Participate in side quests to collect items in the fight against Dracula
  • Explore new outdoor areas
  • Use the new Glyph attack system to get the jump on your enemies
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 08:01 pm GMT

Super Mario 64 DS is a reimagining of the 1996 Nintendo 64 game Super Mario 64, featuring updated graphics, characters, collectibles, a multiplayer mode, and several bonus minigames. In this game, you take control of Mario as he tries to save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser.

You can play four characters: Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi. Each character has unique abilities which make it possible to explore different areas and discover secret stars. Levels have enemies and traps, and you must find various power-ups to get through them.

Super Mario 64 DS’s graphics are impressive, featuring detailed 3D environments and colorful characters. The game also incorporates musical tracks and sound effects, adding to the overall experience. This version also includes a variety of minigames that can be played with up to four players. These minigames are fun, fast-paced, and a great way to play with friends. You gain access to additional minigames when you catch rabbits in the main game. The “Mushroom” is a type of item considered to be semi-rare, and it can temporarily boost the player character’s size and strength. The game uses both screens available on the system to display new options.

Super Mario 64 DS
  • Battle up to three friends in Wireless Versus mode, which can be played with only one Super Mario 64 DS game card
  • Play and win fun touch-sensitive mini-games
  • Collect the 150 Power Star Bowser hid on the castle grounds
  • Play as Yoshi, Mario, Luigi or Wario -- each has their own unique abilities and you'll need them all
  • In Adventure Mode, you'll control the four friends by using the stylus on the touch-screen
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/29/2023 03:51 am GMT

Metroid Prime Hunters is an action-adventure video game with intense combat, diverse environments, and a unique multiplayer mode. It follows protagonist Samus Aran as she battles alien forces to uncover the secrets of Alimbics, an ancient race. 

The gameplay in Metroid Prime: Hunters involves exploring various environments, defeating enemies, solving puzzles, and collecting items. Players must use Samus’ array of weapons and equipment to progress. Weapons include the Plasma Beam, used to damage enemies and objects; the Missile Launcher, used to destroy barriers; and the Morph Ball, which allows Samus to roll into tight areas. Players can also find Power Suit upgrades, which grant Samus new abilities.

In addition to the single-player mode, Metroid Prime: Hunters features an extensive multiplayer mode that supports up to four players over a wireless connection. The player can adopt the role of Samus or any of the six other bounty hunters. Like Samus’ Morph Ball, each bounty hunter has a special weapon and transformation tool. The host of the game can restrict radar use and impose point and time limits on players. If there are fewer than four players, the game can be supplemented with computer-controlled players of differing skill levels.

Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Multiple control schemes take full advantage of the DS touch screen, giving all gamers an ideal way to play
  • Compete head-to-head in a series of action packed arenas as you take on other bounty hunters
  • Link wirelessly with up to three friends for intense multiplayer action off one game card
  • Hone your skills against a slew of enemies in single-player training modes like Regulator, Survival and Morph Ball -- then put them to the test when you compete in Death Match arenas with your friends...
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 09:16 pm GMT

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a fantastic addition to the series and brings together some classic and new gameplay elements to create an enjoyable experience for fans of the genre. It offers an exciting storyline, fun exploration, and challenging combat encounters.

In this installment of the Castlevania series, players play the role of Jonathan and Charlotte as they battle monsters and make their way through Dracula’s castle. Players have access to various weapons and items, as well as spells and abilities, to fight through each area. The characters also can combine powers into a ‘Dual Crush’ attack that can assist them in combat. As players progress through the game, they will collect experience points that can be used to upgrade their skills.

Like previous Castlevania games, this game has multiple endings. Portrait of Ruin offers two possible conclusions. Both involve Jonathan and Charlotte preventing Dracula’s resurrection, but only one also includes the defeat of Brauner and Dracula. The first ending is commonly called the “bad” ending because the game’s primary objectives are not met. The second ending accomplishes these goals, allowing the player to explore more of Dracula’s castle and gain access to other paintings.

Features Cooperative Multiplayer
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Renewed) for Nintendo DS
  • Switch between characters Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin
  • English voiceovers
  • First game in the series to include cooperative multiplayer
  • Features two different endings that your actions will determine
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 04:59 pm GMT

Star Wars: Battlefront: Elite Squadron is a 2009 action video game developed by Rebellion Developments and published by LucasArts for the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. The game is part of the Star Wars: Battlefront series and is set in the Star Wars universe. The game features single-player and multiplayer modes and allows players to take control of various characters and vehicles from the Star Wars series.

The graphics and sound effects are well done and accurately capture the feel of the Star Wars universe. The multiplayer mode is enjoyable, allowing players to engage in large-scale battles with friends and other players online. While not as strong as multiplayer, the single-player campaign still provides a decent amount of entertainment and is a good way to practice before diving into online battles. Overall, it’s a fun and action-packed game that will appeal to fans of the Star Wars franchise and fans of first-person shooters.

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron - Nintendo DS
  • Commandeer trademark Star Wars vehicles and spacecraft from the Empire's TIE Fighters to the Rebel Alliance's X-wings, as well as AT-RTs, LAATs, Imperial Transports and Droid Fighters.
  • Outfit your character like never before. Dictate their battle weapons, armor, species, gender, appearance and physical strengths including hundreds of unlockable items and bonuses.
  • Battle friends in intense four-player skirmishes on the Nintendo DS and DSi.
  • Play classic characters like Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kit Fisto, Darth Maul, Count Dooku and Boba Fett, plus new characters from the Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Star Wars: The...
  • Battle on some of the most iconic Star Wars planets and locations from the feature films, all with multi-layered battlefronts, such as Tatooine, Endor, Yavin 4 and Hoth through 11 campaign levels.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/29/2023 03:31 am GMT

Kirby: Canvas Curse is an action-platformer game with an inventive control scheme, charming visuals, and fun gameplay. Players take control of Kirby, a pink marshmallow-like creature turned into a ball by the evil witch, Drawcia. To progress through the game, players must draw lines on the touchscreen with the stylus to guide Kirby through obstacles and enemies. These lines can also create platforms and paths for Kirby to move along, making the game a more puzzle-oriented experience than some of its contemporaries. Along the way, Kirby can collect power-ups and unique items to help him progress further.

Each world in Kirby: Canvas Curse consists of three levels. The objective of each level is to reach a rainbow-colored doorway. In Rainbow Run mode, the player’s success depends on speed and the amount of paint used. Kirby must face a boss after every world except the seventh.

In Kirby: Canvas Curse, medals are unique collectibles that unlock hidden game features such as characters, sound tests, and alternate paint colors. These medals can be earned by completing the game’s primary levels, defeating bosses, or completing a portion of the Rainbow Run challenge mode.

Kirby Canvas Curse
  • Control Kirby's magic wand with your DS stylus
  • Draw paths and stun enemies as you guide Kirby through an adventure spanning seven massive worlds
  • Control Kirby's speed and help him avoid danger with your stylus - Draw loops to make him speed up, make ramps to jump danger, and draw walls to block laser beams and cannon blasts
  • Touch enemies to stun them, then tap Kirby to dash into them and copy their abilities -- turn into Wheel Kirby, Fire Kirby, Stone Kirby, and many more
  • More modes than you can swallow! Try tough challenges in all seven worlds, take on bosses in unique battles, or play mini-games.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 07:15 pm GMT

Elite Beat Agents is a music-themed handheld video game with an upbeat soundtrack that blends with its bright and colorful visuals. The gameplay revolves around the player performing music by tapping or sliding their finger on the screen to match the song’s rhythm. 

When a song ends, points are awarded based on how accurately each section was matched. If a section misses its rhythm, points are deducted from the score multiplier, which you can use to increase difficulty later in the song. Each chapter has a set number of songs you must clear to progress to the next chapter. However, you can still play songs anytime outside of a chapter if you want to remove them.

Your performance determines how well you perform later in songs when playing them again after finishing a level. To unlock specific rewards or characters, you must focus more on completing songs correctly than getting high scores overall.

Elite Beat Agents NDS
  • This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with...
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 02:59 pm GMT

New Super Mario Bros is one of the most beloved games to ever come out on the Nintendo DS. Mario embarks on a journey to save Princess Peach from Bowser in this game. In his quest, he can use power-ups like Super Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, and Super Stars to fight his way through levels. Before Mario can save Princess Peach, he has to beat Bowser and Bowser Jr. and go through more than 80 levels in eight different realms.

Most figures and items are 3D polygonal representations on 2D backgrounds, resulting in a 2.5D look resembling 3D computer graphics. You can choose between Mario and his younger brother Luigi. As in previous Mario games, Mario and Luigi can jump, crouch, gather coins, fight opponents, and break blocks. In New Super Mario Bros., the ground pound, triple leap, and wall jump return from previous 3D Mario games. 

In this installation, you can explore eight worlds full of platforming goodness while battling off foes like Goombas and Koopas. Each world has 8-12 levels, presented on the Nintendo DS’s bottom touchscreen. The upper screen shows the planet’s map for navigating between stages. Aside from the main story mode, there is a multiplayer mode where players can team up to tackle levels.

New Super Mario Bros
  • New moves. New Super Mario Bros. expands Mario's arsenal of moves to include some very powerful advanced techniques.
  • Run, jump, and stomp your way through raging volcanoes, tropical islands, snow capped peaks, and unimaginable challenges!
  • Grab a Mega Mushroom and grow to incredible proportions, or smash through your foes in a blue Koopa shell.
  • There are two multiplayer modes in New Super Mario Bros. Mario vs. Luigi and Minigames. In Mario vs. Luigi mode
  • New power ups. You'll find classic power-ups like the Super Mushroom and the Fire Flower in the game
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 10:41 pm GMT

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is an action-adventure video game that revolves around exploration and combat.  It’s a sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and is set in the year 2036 when Dracula has been resurrected and has thrown the world into chaos. Players take control of Soma Cruz, the current wielder of the legendary power of Dracula, as he battles his way through an array of supernatural enemies.

The gameplay involves navigating levels filled with enemies and using weapons and magic attacks to defeat them. Additionally, you can use the unique Soul System to absorb enemies’ powers and use it against them. The game also has an RPG-style leveling system, where you can level up your characters and purchase new equipment to upgrade your abilities. Healing items and upgrade stones are available for purchase, and you can use these to increase your stats. Additionally, different levels have hidden secrets that reward players with powerful items.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is one of the best action games available on the Nintendo DS. It offers a deep and engaging story, challenging and varied gameplay mechanics, and a wide range of customization options.

New Gameplay Mechanics
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
  • The sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
  • Help Soma as he fights to keep from becoming the new Dracula
  • Use the DS touchscreen to defeat evil spirits with the Magic Seal system
  • Introduces new character design and stunning special effects
  • New multiplayer mode
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 05:29 pm GMT


Nintendo DS was one of the best gaming consoles to come out of the 2000s, and it had some fantastic action games available for play. From Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia to Super Mario 64 DS, the variety of action games made for the system was truly impressive. Although some of these games are no longer available, they remain some of the most incredible action games ever released on a Nintendo console. Whether you’re a fan of fast-paced hack-and-slash titles or more story-driven adventures, the above titles are worth trying.

Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Absolute Best Nintendo DS Action Games of All Time FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Is Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS, short for “Dual Screen,” is a handheld video game console developed by Nintendo and released in 2004. The device is the successor to the Game Boy Advance and plays games similarly, but it also has a built-in digital camera and an Internet browser. Nintendo DS was the first of Nintendo’s handheld consoles to use cartridges for game data storage rather than optical discs, which are more expensive to manufacture and can be scratched if not handled carefully. It was the first Nintendo console to use a rechargeable battery as its power supply.

How Big Is a Nintendo Ds Screen?

Displays consist of two independent three-inch TFT LCDs, each with a resolution of 256 by 192 pixels, dimensions of 62 by 46 millimeters, and a diagonal of 77 millimeters, with a dot pitch of 0.24 millimeters. Note The space between the displays is approximately 21 millimeters, corresponding to around 92 “hidden” lines.

Why does the Nintendo Ds Have 2 Screens?

The screens are made up of two three-inch TFT LCDs, each with a resolution of 256 192 pixels, a size of 62 mm x 46 mm x 77 mm, and a dot pitch of 0.24 mm. Note: In the 21 mm space between the screens, there are about 92 “hidden” lines.

How Do You Clean a Ds Screen?

Wipe off the Touch Screen and Upper Screen with a gentle cotton cloth slightly wet with water. Use a dry strip of the same fabric to dry the screens. A loop of transparent tape can be used to erase any remaining dust or smudges. Go back and repeat steps 1-3 if necessary.

What replaced DS?

The success of the DS paved the way for its successor, the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld gaming console with a similar dual-screen setup that can display images on the top screen in stereoscopic 3D.
To top