So you have a DS but you don’t have the time to sink into long playing sessions. Or in my case, you have the attention span of a seven year old on crack. The whole concept of the aging process bringing patience is a lie and I’m living proof. When I was ten I could sit for hours and rock Final Fantasy 2 on the SNES, now I can barely sit through a thirty minute session of Phantom Hourglass. I think I am turning into more of a casual gamer and I know for sure that my mind is usually elsewhere when I flip the switch on my black-as-my-soul DS.
This does not mean that I don’t enjoy games anymore; I just don’t get overly involved in most of the games I play. Fortunately for me, the DS has an abundance of titles that fit very well into my lifestyle of mid-range commuting and chipmunk-sized bouts of concentration. Here is a rundown of ten games that are extremely fun but have fairly short play session requirements and fit very well into life on the go.
1. Warioware: Touched — This game perfected the mini game concept and should be considered a classic by everyone. While the games are extremely short, the pacing and the humor are excellent. I spend more time touching myself each morning than I do on a single round of play on Warioware and that is saying something because I am a pretty speedy guy, if you get my drift. I especially enjoy the levels that include the retro-NES mini games. I can’t wait for another portable installment of this series.
2. Advanced Wars 2 — Another classic DS title that just isn’t for casual gamers. This turn based strategy game is the perfect blend of dialogue and animation with excellent play mechanics. Most maps, while fun and challenging, don’t usually last more than half an hour and the story isn’t one that compels you to play non-stop to reach the climax. Man, where is my mind today?
3. Harvest Moon DS — I am a city boy, but at times I like to imagine myself on a quiet farm in the middle of nowhere that is populated my small elves who are basically my slaves. I plant some crops and milk a virtual cow or two and then go inside and try to figure out what to cook for the evening. This is my end-of-the-day, relaxing-on-the-train game. Thanks to the monotony of farm life, I can’t play Harvest Moon for more than twenty minutes at a go, but that is okay because even when I am away, my farm happily awaits my return and none of my virtual crops, cows, or elves die while I am doing whatever it is that I do on a day to day basis. Here’s to Harvest Moon DS 2 sometime around June of next year.
4. Geometry Wars: Galaxies — This is a game I recently discovered, and while it has been on Xbox Live Arcade for some time, I had never played it until a week ago when I found out it was released for the DS. It is responsible for I don’t know how many hours wasted over the past few days but I have to say, I love Geometry Wars more than I love me frosted Lucky Charms and I really love me frosted Lucky Charms…and the pitiful Irish accent I acquire while eating them.
5. Taiko no Tatsujin DS — AKA the addictive Taiko drum game. Unfortunately, I do not think this title is available in the US which is a shame because it is a really fun game. This is the latest installment of a very famous “beat” game series in Japan similar to Guitar Hero and PaRappa The Rapper. Part of the reason this will probably never cross the Pacific is the mostly J-Pop soundtrack but it is a really good game if you like the genre. And you know how I like to beat stuff…like drums…yeah…drums.
6. Tetris DS — Need I say anything more?
7. Scrabble — If anything proves I am getting older, besides the crushingly relentless passage of time, it is the fact that I love Scrabble. The only thing better than a fun game of Scrabble with friends is a fun game of Scrabble on my DS. Drunken Scrabble is also something to behold, but that is beside the point. This DS port pulls no punches but it is a strong remake of a great board game.
8. The New Super Mario Brothers — While Mario Galaxy rocks the Wii, The New Super Mario Brothers kicks about eighty levels of ass on the DS. The only gripe that I have about New SMB is that you couldn’t be Mega Mario more often. I did like how it stuck to the traditional side-scrolling games of yore and how it was very easy to pick up and put down after a few minutes. This rendition of Mario is an excellent addition to the Italian plumber’s legacy.
9. Mario Kart DS — Speaking of an Italian plumber, Mario Kart is another great game in an already great series. I am hoping a sequel comes soon; I am in serious need of new cars and levels.
10. The New York Times Crosswords — Crossword lovers rejoice! I never dreamed I would see just about every New York Times crossword puzzle in one game. Then again, I don’t often dream about crossword puzzles, but I do like them. This is another one of those games where if you play it, you feel old. However, I like to increase the girth of my verbiage; show me a guy who wouldn’t. This is one of those titles that is actually quasi-educational and easy to play, unless you don’t speak English and then you’re kind of screwed.