The Best Nintendo DS Games Under $10

The Best Cheap Nintendo DS Games

It may seem like the DS came out just a few years ago, it was released over 8 years ago and, now that that DSi and 3DS have been trying to fight off the Android and iOS onslaught, the original DS is becoming the “New Game Boy Advance” in our minds.

However, with the great success of the Nintendo DS came many of copies of quality titles in circulation, which then leads to especially-affordable aftermarket prices.  So if you’re looking to take advantage of the best deals to build up your Nintendo DS collection, this is just the list for you.

(Prices listed are an average eBay price for US games, including shipping.)
Check out the other Cheapest Games Worth Your Time articles

Sonic Rush DS Cover Sonic Rush: $8
Even with some of the new 2D console releases, Sonic Rush is stil one of the best Sonic the Hedgehog games of the 21st century, especially if you are partial to the 2D Sonics. Sonic Rush takes all of the great things you loved about the 16-bit Sonic, modernizes them a bit to create compelling and satisfying experience that the Sonic Advance series couldn’t dream of attaining. Sonic Rush also uses both of the DS’s screen to give Sonic more visibility and is backed by an amazing soundtrack from Hideki Naganuma of Jet Set Radio fame.
Shop for Sonic Rush on eBay
Shop for Sonic Rush on Amazon.com
Space Invaders Extreme DS Cover Space Invaders Extreme:  $8
If you are into old-school games with a modern flair, Space Invaders Extreme is practically a required purchase for your DS library.  I feel like SIE is essentially the closest thing I have found to a quality 2D version of Rez.   There have been some other Space Invaders revival games released since this one, but I still find this to be the sweet spot.  If you want more in-depth commentary, check out my full review of the game.  If you end up enjoying this one, Space Invaders Extreme 2 is also about $10.
Shop for Space Invaders Extreme on eBay
Shop for Space Invaders Extreme on Amazon.com
Rhythm Heaven DS Cover Rhythm Heaven: $6
If you enjoy Rhythm games, it doesn’t get much better than Rhythm Heaven.  And if you aren’t a fan of games that test your musical prowess, this is one you might want to try.  Rhythm Heaven is one of the later DS releases on this list, but eventually sold quite a few copies bringing the resale value down quickly.
Shop for Rhythm Heaven on eBay
Shop for Rhythm Heaven on Amazon.com
Elite Beat Agents DS Cover Elite Beat Agents: $6
As an Americanized followup to the very popular Japanese title, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Elite Beat Agents is a wonderful music rhythm game.  It’s filled with quirky personality and catchy tunes and ended up being one of the most plentiful DS releases that didn’t involve a major Nintendo character.   I wouldn’t be surprised if you can find this one for next-to-nothing in the near future.
Shop for Elite Beat Agents on eBay
Shop for Elite Beat Agents on Amazon.com
Advance Wars Days of Ruin DS Cover Advance Wars: Days of Ruin: $8
Even if you aren’t typically the gamer that goes for turned-based strategy games, you really should consider the Advance Wars series.  As usual, Nintendo does such a wonderful job making an otherwise-intimidating genre very friendly while maintaining the addictiveness.  The first DS installment, Dual Strike is still a little pricey, but you should be able to find Days of Ruin as a better value.
Shop for Advance Wars: Days of Ruin on eBay
Shop for Advance Wars: Days of Ruin on Amazon.com
Meteros DS Cover Meteos: $4
Puzzle games are perfect for portable platforms like the DS. Meteos, in particular, is not only one of the most compelling puzzlers I’ve played in a while, but it also fits in surprisingly well with the DS touch screen and feels incredibly natural when playing. To the old school puzzle fans that grew up playing Tetris on their Gameboy, controlling a puzzle game with a stylus might seem intimidating, but I can assure you, you will wish there were other puzzle games like this. (And, BTW, avoid the Disney version — it’s more expensive and not as good)
Shop for Meteos on eBay
Shop for Meteos on Amazon.com
Clubhouse Games DS Cover Clubhouse Games: $5
This gem of a cart is filled with lots of high-polished classic diversions such as classic card, board, and parlor games.  That may not sound terribly exciting, but the execution of these games on the DS is amazing.  It is a great single player cartridge, but it is amazing when playing with a friend via wifi.   For the longest time, Clubhouse Games was a rather pricey cart in the aftermarket, however, it saw a budget re-release that flooded the market with lots of copies.
Shop for Clubhouse Games on eBay
Shop for Clubhouse Games on Amazon.com
Brain Age DS Cover Brain Age & Brain Age 2: About $5 each
While these two landmark titles for the DS might not get the hardcore gamer excited, I can vouch for the fact that they are still quite a bit of fun (I’m especially partial to the original Brain Age).  They are also great for letting your familiy members try out or have as a gift.   My mom has had Brain Age for about 4 years and still plays it quite regularly.   I’m still waiting for a title that executes this concept quite as well as Brain Age to show up on my smartphone…
Shop for Brain Age Series on eBay
Shop for Brain Age Series on Amazon.com
Bangai-O Spirits DS Cover Bangai-O Spirits: $6
The original Bangai-O made an appearance on the Japanese N64 and became a cult classic on the Dreamcast.   This little gem from Treasure is a portable follow-up that got a bigger print run, but not quite the attention it deserved.  If you enjoy shooters, this one is a steal.
Shop for Bangai-O Spirits on eBay
Shop for Bangai-O Spirits on Amazon.com
Metroid Prime Pinball DS Cover Metroid Prime Pinball: $8
There’s a number of video pinball games out there, but Metroid Prime Pinball is one of the finer examples on a handheld system.  It has all the polish and style that you can expect from a Metroid title while still oozing classic pinball fun.
Shop for Metroid Prime Pinball on eBay
Shop for Metroid Prime Pinball on Amazon.com
Henry Hatsworth DS Cover Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure: $10
I love games that combine classic genres.  So when Henry Hatsworth showed up in town, combining classic platforming with puzzle elements, I couldn’t look the other way.  If you enjoy either of the two genres, or just want to get some great retro fun, I strongly recommend picking this one up.
Shop for Henry Hatsworth on eBay
Shop for Henry Hatsworth on Amazon.com
N+ DS Cover N+ : $7
This minimalistic 2D action game started as an online Flash game before getting a more polished release on XBLA, the DS, and PSP.   Platforming fans should have a blast controlling the little black ninja as he jumps, climbs, and rebounds from the walls of N+’s many creative levels.   The game received lots of critical acclaim but remained an underground hit.  Score it on the cheap while you can.
Shop for N+ on eBay
Shop for N+ on Amazon.com
Soul Bubbles DS Cover Soul Bubbles: $8
This whimsical puzzle game reminds me a bit of one of my favorite Gameboy Gems, Bubble Ghost — but with a more modern, touch-based twist.  I’m guessing most DS owners haven’t even heard of this one, but it may be a bit of a challenge to find it anywhere other than in online outlets.  If you enjoy puzzle adventures, this one is worth tracking down, however.
Shop for Soul Bubbles on eBay
Shop for Soul Bubbles on Amazon.com
Puzzle Quest DS Cover Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords: $9
This classic blend of the puzzle and RPG genres was rather innovative in its day and still holds up as a quality title.  If you are a hardcore fan of either genre, this won’t blow your mind, but it is a great change of pace.  Puzzle Quest is finally starting to come down in price, so you can now score a copy for under $10.
Shop for Puzzle Quest on eBay
Shop for Puzzle Quest on Amazon.com
Hotel Dusk DS Cover Hotel Dusk: Room 215: $7
If you are into graphical adventures like the old SCUMM games or the Ace Attorney series on the DS, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is an excellent value.   Initially, this was a bit of an underground gem, but sales warranted an additional print run that has kept the resale prices low.
Shop for Hotel Dusk: Room 215 on eBay
Shop for Hotel Dusk: Room 215 on Amazon.com
Geometry Wars DS Cover Geometry Wars: Galaxies: $6
Some of you maybe be tired of the Geometry Wars franchise by now, but if not, the DS version can be easily obtained for $10 or less.   If you haven’t played the series, it’s a great ultra-retro styled shooter that is in the vein of Asteroids and Robotron with a modern flair.  Good stuff.
Shop for Geometry Wars: Galaxies on eBay
Shop for Geometry Wars: Galaxies on Amazon.com
Nanostray 2 DS Cover Nanostray 2: $5
It’s quite uncommon to find shmups that are actually designed for handhelds in this modern age. The Nanostray series effectively adapts this old-school genre to the hardware in terms of put control and impressive graphics. Even though it is a 2D shooter, it uses some of the most impressive 3D graphics considering it is an early DS release.l Nanostray 2 actually improved a bit on the original and is easier to find, leading to a lower resale value.
Shop for Nanostray 2 on eBay
Shop for Nanostray 2 on Amazon.com
Starfox Command DS Cover Star Fox Command: $4
We all went quite a while without having a pure space-shooting adventure with the Star Fox crew.   The DS installment pretty much delivered that premise to us with some rather gimmicky touch-screen controls added in.  Once you get use to them, Star Fox Command is a more-than-enjoyable experience as is quite a bargain for a big-name Nintendo release.
Shop for Star Fox Command on eBay
Shop for Star Fox Command on Amazon.com
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith DS Cover Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: $9
No don’t write this one off just yet.  Yes, it’s a licensed Star Wars game on a portable platform.  And no, it’s not even a Lego Star Wars.  Actually, if you’re an old-school fan, you’re sure to enjoy this more than the Lego Star Wars.  Revenge of the Sith on the DS is more in line with the old-school 2D hack-n-slash/beatemups that we loved in the arcade.  The game is sprite-based and everything.  It actually seems more like a nice GBA game than a typical DS title.
Shop for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on eBay
Shop for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on Amazon.com

Other Cheap Gems:

26 Comments

  1. I am going to print this out and staple it to my christmas list. Well, I already have about a third of them- everyone go buy Bangai-O Spirits!

  2. AmishSamurai says:

    I have Bangai-O Spirits, and agree it is an amazing game you should all try. FFIII…. not as much.

  3. Wow, thanks for the update. Awesome list of some really great games. I enjoy FFIII, though it is not my favorite of the series. I’ve been wanting to get Bangai-O Spirits for quite some time but keep putting it off. Also, didn’t know that Sonic rush was another 2d Sonic so that is definitely going on my must buy list.

  4. CurlyPaul says:

    Nice guide, I really must update my DS collection and I think Sonic Rush should be top of my list.

    BTW, the last sentence in the Nanastray 2 bit has several typos

  5. cowgod says:

    i can definitely vouch for elite beat agents–fantastic game with hours and hours of playtime. if you are a fan already, you should definitely check out the pc homage to it: osu!

  6. slowslow says:

    Awesome, the three that I suggested made it onto the list :)

  7. Treleus says:

    Sonic Rush as the best Sonic game this decade? Sure, but I’d still rather have a go with the Sonic Classic Collection. Rush is a groovy game, but I feel the whole dialogue and voices idea should’ve been scrapped in favor of little to no narrative and game design that isn’t quite so much boost. And why am I fighting a cheap recolor of the main villain along with a purple cat girl? Crissakes, DIMPs, less is more, but if you’re going to do more, don’t be ass about it. Cut the fat.

    Bangai-O Spirits looks good, and I’d love to try out a next-generation SCUMM-style game. Nice list guys.

  8. Jayson says:

    While I wouldn’t consider the DS a retro system by any means, I am glad you have this article up.

    In my opinion, most games made for the DS have that retro feel to them. When I fire up a game like Portrait of Ruin, Advance Wars DS or Mario Kart DS, it makes me feel like I am playing on the SNES or Genesis again. Even the PS1 for that matter.

  9. hooby says:

    Don’t forget: Mystery Dungeon Shiren the Wanderer!

  10. Excellent list. So much quality on such a little handheld for such a low price.

    I definitely recommend Bangai-O and Henry Hatsworth to the retro-gamers out there.

  11. Patrick BBE says:

    We are still waiting for the Sony PSP list.

  12. BLAH says:

    too bad there aren’t many good psp games… lumines being the best game of all time (next to ico, killer7, and super metroid!!!) notwithstanding.

  13. Patrick BBE says:

    The only play the PSP for its JRPGs. To me, the DS is a better handheld overall.

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  15. AngrySquirrel says:

    Yes! More of this please. The articles about old consoles are nice, but I’d love to see more content like this, pointing out what old-school games are available on newer consoles. Particularly articles about seventh-gen consoles, while the games are still cheap and widely available to us.

    (Aside: I have all but three of these games already: Soul Bubbles, Hotel Dusk, and Star Wars. My next move will be to track down the first and third of these. Thanks again!)

  16. BulletMagnet says:

    Some excellent picks in there: Henry Hatsworth and Soul Bubbles come particularly recommended by yours truly.

  17. Tyler says:

    I highly recommend Zoo Tycoon DS. It is cheap, very addicting, and a perfect port of the PC version.

  18. AngrySquirrel says:

    Curse gamestop! I thought I had tracked down a copy of Episode 3, but it was cart only both places. Any other online retailers you guys use to track down DS games, or will I have to turn to the Bay?

  19. Patrick BBE says:

    I got most of them from Toy R Us. I have been shopping there for games since is was 8.

  20. AngrySquirrel says:

    Did you get them online or at a physical store?

  21. grill murray says:

    Star Wars III was a GBA title, it was one of those ones that made the transition alongside Scurge Hive. Better on GBA, hasn’t got the ugly 3D bits in it.

  22. grill murray says:

    I’d add to this three from WayForward – Aliens Insurrection, Thor, Batman Brave and the Bold. All really solidly made and nice looking sprite based brawlers.

  23. BONKERS says:

    I’m so glad you guys recommended Revenge of the Sith. It’s one of the better Star Wars games out there IMO and a fantastic game with some good 3D Ship segments. (OF course the press derided it for it’s visuals and pallette swap enemies. Yet there are tons of games that are filled with P-Swapped enemies that don’t get criticized for it? Catch 22!)

  24. Thiago Simões says:

    Excellent list. I would add Populous DS to the list, though. It’s only $8 and it’s the best version of Populous out there, thanks to the touch controls and the retro feel.

  25. PBBE says:

    You better be working on the Sony PSP game lists. Games Under $10. Rarest and Most valuable games.

  26. Thomas says:

    Great to see “Clubhouse Games” made the list. :) I still have my copy from 2008 and I still enjoy it.

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