We’re in the middle of a Nintendo DS renaissance on Nintendo Switch, which is fitting as that classic handheld turns 20 in 2014. Coming off the excellent Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective re-release from last year, more DS classics are coming to Nintendo Switch this month. First, Another Code Recollection contains a full-on remake of the cult classic Another Code: Two Memories, and it’s out now. In a few days, on January 25, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney will remastered as part of a trilogy collection that also bears its namesake.
This has all gotten me to think about what other Nintendo DS games I’d like to see make a comeback. According to Moby Games, There were well over 2,000 DS titles, but not all of them matched the notoriety and success of titles like New Super Mario Bros. or Nintendogs. That means the DS library is still full of cult classics primed for a re-release or full-on series comeback. These are the five I’d like to see make a comeback in the wake of Another Code Recollection and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is an adventure game that garnered its following not just because of its beautiful aesthetic and captivating story, but because of its distinctive play experience. This title had players holding their Nintendo DS systems sideways like a book. Some of its best puzzles had players messing around with the hardware in other ways, including a puzzle where players had to close the DS entirely in order to flip something and find the solution.
The hardware specificity of these features has kept Hotel Dusk locked to the DS for years, but it’s an experience worth adapting for new hardware, utilizing the Switch or its successors’ exclusive features in similarly unique ways. Considering that Hotel Dusk was made by the developer of Another Code: Two Memories, we can only hope that this game and its sequel, Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, are up for a similar kind of remake treatment if Another Code Recollection does well.
The DS library is full of incredible RPGs, but Radiant Historia gets less love than some of the others. Its frequent turn-based battles stay engaging because enemies are laid out on a grid so that they can be moved around, encouraging thoughtful strategy. Its timeline-hopping narrative also feels primed for a zeitgeist that currently seems to be obsessed with the idea of a multiverse. And I don’t think anyone should pass on the chance to listen to yet another outstanding soundtrack from Yoko Shimomura.
All those things make Radiant Historia a must-play RPG for fans, but unfortunately, it’s harder to get ahold of nowadays. It had a remake on 3DS, but even that’s tough to get, thanks to the 3DS eShop shut down in March 2023. I’d love for Atlus to give this underrated RPG classic the same love it’s giving Persona 3 with February’s Persona 3 Reload.
Elite Beat Agents
Likely the highest-profile game on this list, Elite Beat Agents is an entertaining touch-screen rhythm game for the DS. In it, players solve a variety of crises as secret agents by — you guessed it — dancing. Its quirky sense of humor and comic book-inspired presentation are iconic, while tapping and dragging the stylus around the touchscreen can get surprisingly intense. The game has quite the following now, but Nintendo has rarely mentioned it in the years since its release.
The core gameplay of Elite Beat Agents could work on any platform with a touchscreen or motion controls, so I would love to see it return in some fashion. Because it’s based around music, re-releasing it would probably be a licensing nightmare for Nintendo. As such, Elite Beat Agents’ best chance at making a comeback is probably with a brand-new sequel featuring new tracks.
The Legendary Starfy
Kirby has gotten a game almost every year for the last decade, but that’s meant one of Nintendo’s other cutesy platformer series has gone ignored since its last game on Nintendo DS. The Starfy series from Tose, the studio behind Dragon Quest spinoffs like Treasures and The Dark Prince, actually got five games before 2002’s The Legendary Starfy. Most of those never left Japan; The Legendary Starfy was the only game that did, and it delivered a simple yet entertaining 2D platformer that stands out as one of the best on a system with quite a few of them.
At times, it can feel like a Kirby clone, as one of its biggest gameplay gimmicks is giving players the ability to change into different forms with unique abilities. It still provides an adorably good time and isn’t intrinsically tied to the DS’ features enough for important aspects of the game to be lost in a port. As such, I’d love to see The Legendary Starfy, or perhaps the entire series, get touched up and re-released on Switch.
WayForward has made some surprisingly good licensed games, with 2017 Metroidvania The Mummy Demastered being a particular highlight. Before that, there was Aliens: Infestation for the DS. A similar Metroidvania shooter, this licensed project punches above its weight thanks to an approach to permadeath that essentially gives the player as many lives as they have marines.
This system makes an otherwise fairly straightforward licensed game into a tense experience full of player agency and watercooler moments. The rights surrounding this one between WayForward, Gearbox, Sega, and Disney would probably make it tricky to re-release, but it’s a fantastic Alien release that does not deserve to be lost in time. The DS was full of licensed games ranging from amazing to terrible, so at least one of them deserves to make a comeback.