The Nintendo DS probably isn’t the first console that comes to mind when you think of survival games. The console was first released back in 2004 and was truly groundbreaking for a portable console. It flipped open like its predecessor, the Game Boy Advance SP, but the bottom portion held a second screen that accepted touch inputs.
The DS also received a number of successors like the Lite and DSi. It also heavily inspired the Nintendo 3DS console. The Nintendo DS was very popular among younger audiences with its range of platformers, puzzle games, and party games that anyone could play. But the DS did have a bit of a dark side with a number of dark survival and even horror games.
Lost in Blue
Lost in Blue is an RPG survival game for DS that is set on a deserted island. The game came out at a time when TV shows like Lost were all the rage. While not a tie-in to the TV show of a similar name in any way, it does fit the era. You are stranded on the island after a shipwreck that washes you up on the beach.
This is an interesting take on the survival genre. Instead of trying to avoid being killed by monsters or other people, you must survive the environment. Meaning it is one of the few survival games that is not a horror one as well. While playing, you need to keep an eye on your vitals which will lead to death if depleted.
Additionally, the game features some mysteries and puzzle solving, which are used to find supplies. Along the way, you meet a girl and you must work together. The graphics are good enough for the Nintendo DS, but the gameplay is lacking. The biggest problem is that it lacks a story to make you care about what is going on, and most of the game is just wandering around the empty island.
- Search and obtain items by utilizing the innovative Nintendo DS touch panel
- Numerous activities such as fishing, hunting, trapping and cooking make living on the island fun - while also providing innovative mini-games
- Survival depends on sharing responsibilities between the main character and NPCs - each character's actions will affect the dialogue and events in the game
- Dual Phase System - After clearing the game as the hero, the player can play as the heroine and gain a completely different gameplay experience
- Multiple game endings depending on the two players' lifestyle, relationship, dialogue and their manner of escape
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
Every gamer is familiar with the Resident Evil series, but you may not know that it had a Nintendo DS version. Resident Evil: Deadly Silence is a remake of the original game released in 1996. If you never played the original game, then this is a pretty good way to experience it on the go. Since the game was ported to the Nintendo DS, it uses the bottom screen for most of the core gameplay.
The top screen is also used to display the map and show what weapon you have. Of course, the graphics on the DS were limited, but that doesn’t really matter since Deadly Silence reuses the FMV video clips, which were pretty rough, to begin with. The story is great, and the game plays out like a true horror movie.
Deadly Silence also has a “rebirth” mode which uses DS technology like the touch screen, but you can also play the regular game in “classic” mode. You can also play with two players, but the other person will need a copy of the game as well. Overall, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence is one of the few and best graphic survival/horror games on the Nintendo DS.
- Zombies are now smarter and work their way around doors as they chase after you
- Use the DS touchpad to solve puzzles and slash at zombies
- Freshly upgraded puzzles provide new challenges for fans
- 2 to 4 player wireless mode, co-op and Vs. challenges
Dementium: The Ward
Dementium: The Ward is an indie game on the DS that was definitely unique. Back in the late 2000s, it seemed like everyone was trying to release games for the DS and Wii, which led to some really bad games known as shovelware. Occasionally, however, there was a standout, and Dementium is certainly one of them with its ambitious gameplay.
The game’s story is pretty much nonexistent, with the main aspect being that you need to escape from a hospital that is filled with creatures. The game starts with you waking up and quickly throws you into the action. Gameplay consists of a first-person shooter where you make your way through the building, killing creatures that appear.
Dementium is definitely a survival/horror game, but it also has some puzzle-solving. One nice addition is that you have a pad where you can write notes with the stylus. Unfortunately, the game can start to feel repetitive as there is a lot of constant hacking and slashing. Nonetheless, it is still a pretty good survival game for DS that has several hours of gameplay.
- For those who survive the horrors that lie within Redmoor Hospital, a shocking conclusion awaits!
- Challenging touch-screen puzzles scattered throughout the story
- Encounter a bestiary of grotesque monsters and mutants with varying strengths, weaknesses. and missing body parts!
- Richly detailed environments and immersive audio
- Wide range of weapons and items for use
Aliens in the Attic
Aliens in the Attic is a survival game for DS based on a movie of the same name. However, both the movie and the associated games received little attention. Movie tie-in games are notoriously bad, but this one is actually pretty decent. It is targeted towards a younger audience, so it is much more of a survival game than it is horror.
As the name implies, there are aliens in the attic that you must get rid of. The game is designed as a 2D platformer, very similar to the ones from the SNES and Genesis era. It’s not perfect, and you may find it relatively easy if you are a fan of those older titles. You get to play as three characters who navigate through one of the most dangerous attics in the world.
While most platformers don’t have much of a story, this one does have some dialogue between characters. Each character has their own abilities, so you need to switch between them. There are also boss battles that you need to defeat in order to progress. Overall, Aliens in the Attic is a unique side-scrolling platformer. It’s one of the best DS survival games and definitely worth picking up, even if you haven’t seen the movie.
- Fast-paced, action-packed game with multiple levels
- Save parents and humanity from alien invasion
- Tons of puzzles, boss fights, and weaponry
- Aliens’ perspective on the movie
- Choose from four different characters with unique abilities
- Suitable for the whole family
Touch the Dead
Touch the Dead is a survival horror game that received little attention when it was released on the DS in 2007. Its dark title is certainly a standout on the DS, which was known for more family-friendly games. Touch the Dead is actually the same game as Dead ‘n’ Furious, which was released in overseas markets. The game features plenty of gore which really isn’t prevalent on the DS.
The game is primarily set up as a rail shooter where you make your way through levels shooting all the zombies. This is a unique take on the genre since most games would have you navigating through various rooms. Instead, Touch the Dead doesn’t let you control directions, so all you can do is shoot zombies when they appear.
The rail shooter concept isn’t bad, but it’s not perfect for a first-person shooter. As you go through the various rooms, you also need to pick quickly pick things like ammo up since you can’t backtrack. The one downside is that the controls are a little clunky since it uses the touchscreen. Other than that, you may find the game is really easy compared to more in-depth titles like Resident Evil.
- Use the stylus and touch screen to destroy every type of zombie that stands in your way
- Battle your way through hordes of flesh hungry zombies with a deadly arsenal -- blow each limb off separately
- Stand alone or with a friend as you face armies of zombies, in WiFi multiplayer and Co-Op story mode
- Addictive arcade action tests the reflexes of even the fastest gamer
- Four terrifying chapters of horror, suspense and action lurking around every corner
Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ
With one of the strangest names for a video game, Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ is equally odd. It puts a modern twist on the classic Little Red Riding story. The game was developed by EnjoyUp, which is a Spanish company. A physical version was released in North America, but it was later released digitally as DSiWare in both North America and Europe.
In the game, you play as either Little Red Riding Hood or Momotaro. Each has their own abilities, with Little Red Riding Hood possessing a gun, while Momotaro has ninja stars. The game is a rail shooter where you shoot (or throw stars) at enemies while dodging their attacks. As the game progresses, it gets increasingly more difficult.
One of the cool aspects of the game is that it uses both the top and bottom screens to show the path ahead. Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ also has some really interesting levels, and the controls also work well. There are even some pretty good story elements, which is a nice surprise. As strange as this DS survival game sounds, it is a lot of fun to play and definitely worth giving a try.
Monster House on the Nintendo DS is based on the animated movie from 2006, which sees three kids in a possessed house. Like many movies turned into games in the early 2000s, Monster House is not perfect, nor is it great. The game has also been released on numerous consoles, and this DS version is slightly different than the others.
Monster House starts off with a brief backstory before throwing you into the game. This backstory quickly shows the three main characters as they enter Mr. Nebbercracker’s house. The gameplay primarily consists of a top-down shooter. Since this is a game for kids, you are only armed with a water gun, which works well enough.
You then make your way through the house, shooting at objects that try to attack you. Each room offers a little variety, but the game does get repetitive. There are also no puzzles to solve and no mysteries to uncover. Instead, you just defeat all of the enemies in a room to progress to the next. The graphics also aren’t great, even for the DS. With all its downsides, Monster House is still entertaining and it’s one of the best survival games for DS.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/fiorigianluigi.