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The must-own games on every platform

Open world
GTA: Chinatown Wars

A fully fledged open world epic squeezed onto the dinky DS, complete with extreme violence and adult plot. Gangsters in the palm of your hand.

Adventure
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Arguably Link’s best handheld adventure, it combines gorgeous cel-shaded visuals and some of the series’ best puzzles yet.

Strategy
Advance Wars: Dual Strike

Don’t let the cutesy anime visuals fool you – this is as hardcore as strategy games get. Warfare has rarely been so fun or rewarding as this.

Racing
Mario Kart DS

An outrageously fun kart racer that keeps the series’ best features and introduces Wi-Fi multiplayer thrills. Ideal for quick races against friends.

Shooter
Metroid Prime Hunters

A triumph of clever design that manages to reproduce the Metroid Prime series for the small screen, complete with multiplayer. Great blasting on the go.

Platforming/puzzle
Scribblenauts

A wordy platform puzzler in which you type objects into existence. Very innovative but you might want to keep a dictionary handy to keep going. It’s a great idea hampered by some control problems and a jetpack that solves most puzzles, but it showcases the DS’s strengths very well.

Puzzle
Professor Layton and the Curious Village

The puzzler that had the nation hooked thanks to gorgeously twee visuals and tougher conundrums than Countdown.

Platforming
New Super Mario Bros.

The Mario brothers return to their 2D roots in this riotously colourful adventure that proves Nintendo haven’t lost their gameplay touch.

RPG
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

An RPG with many a delicious in-joke hidden beneath its moustache; best of all, you get to play as the mighty Bowser!

RPG
Pokemon HeartGold/Soul Silver

Time to catch ’em all, all over again. This Poke-adventure adds more monsters and a weird step-o-meter device to the mix.

The most hardcore action on DS

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia


A more action focussed crack of the whip for Konami’s supernatural series but still brilliant.

Contra 4

An ultra hard, side- scrolling shooter that has guts and guns aplenty. But this is definitely not for faint-hearted gamers.

Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword

An easier outing than usual for Team Ninja but great use of the touchscreen makes for a fine actioner.

Prince of Persia: The Fallen King


Don’t let the cutesy visuals fool you. This touchscreen-enabled platformer gets really tough, really quick. It’s also not so great, but if you want to get hardcore…