Holiday Videogame Guide 2010: DS

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Nintendo's DS cemented its position as the dominant handheld videogaming system this year. The larger screen DSi XL came out earlier this year in US and Europe, nicely complimenting the current DSi model. Both models support Nintendo's online shop for downloadable DSiWare games as well as the full library of DS software. Be aware, though, that these latest versions do not support the older GameBoy Advance games as the previous model did.

Though Nintendo has announced plans to release a 3D handheld next year, we have no reservations about gifting a DSi or DSi Xl this holiday season. The system already sports a vast library and its huge installed base ensures a continued supply of games for quite a while.

Our gift list for the DSi hits titles sure to be hit when they're unwrapped:

Puzzle Quest 2
For: Those for whom matching colored gems comes as second nature and need a little extra twist
Brian says: Puzzle Quest 2 is a great game for fans of match-3 gameplay and RPGs, offering tons of puzzle gameplay and a lot more matching than the original game. The narrative is a lot stronger and the game features some dungeon-crawling and quests, which really emphasizes the RPG elements. The character classes are all unique and the AI will provide a nice challenge without feeling likeits cheating ... too much.

Dragon Quest IX
For: The classic role-playing fan who loves building characters who thrive on spending countless hours with them
Garnett says: A phenomenal hit in Japan, Dragon Quest's appeal hasn't ever caught to the same degree elsewhere. The game is firmly rooted in the classic style of gathering a party of adventurers and then improving them through battling monsters in a quest to save the land, but it also brings some welcome tweaks to the formula. Enemies are visible on the screen now, eliminating the interruption of random battles. The game was also built with wireless multiplayer in mind. But don't be dissuaded if only one person will be playing, it works great as a solo adventure too.

Pokemon HeartGold or SoulSilver
For: Obsessive-compulsives, people with any joy in their heart
Alice says: We all know the Pokemon formula by now—befriend adorable creature; trap adorable creature in small cage; force adorable creature to fight other adorable creatures; save the world—but a new core entry in the series is always welcome, even if it is a tarted-up remake.

We spend hours on trains, planes and buses this holiday season—hours that Pokemon will gladly swallow with its adorable and addictive grinding. Plus, the Pokewalker pedometer rewards us for our movement.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
For: The puzzle-solving Brit in your life
Xav says: Although his stories get crazier with every new release, Professor Layton is one cool cat in a top hat. The core of the game is its plethora of puzzles, testing everything from mathematics to critical thinking. The game can be equal parts frustrating and satisfying. There's nothing quite like besting one of the game's over 150 puzzles. It's charming, often hilarious, and mind-bending. Every installment should be in a Nintendo DS owner's collection. And for a little closer look, check out our Professor Layton and the Unwound Future review.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 26, 2010 2:30 PM

    So many great games on the DS, these 5 are just a small sample.