Nintendo DS Lite Review

This weekend I bought a black Nintendo DS Lite and a copy of New Super Mario Bros. This is a direct result of having tried one of the three others that co-workers invested in.

The DS Lite is a tiny handheld console that has a dual screen (hence the DS) setup reminiscent of Donkey Kong on Game & Watch. In addition, the bottom screen is touch sensitive to both chubby digits and the bundled stylus tucked away in the bottom of the shell. The DS Lite allows you to play DS games, GBA games and surf wireless internet using the DS Opera Browser.

The last console I owned was a Super Nintendo back in my pre-teen years. Then came the wave of 3D games that has saturated the market these last 10-15 years; unfortunate for me, since I very quickly get motion sickness with those games. These last few years, however, has seen a new dawn of so-called “retro” games, old games like we used to play them. Enter the DS Lite.

Initially I was skeptical about the dual-screen setup, it seemed superfluous. Having tried it, however, I’m convinced. The combination of the dual screen setup and the touch-sensitivity of the bottom screen makes the DS Lite extremely easy to pick up and enjoy. The myriad of extra buttons that plague similar handhelds like the PSP are simply graphic buttons on the touch screen. The stylus lets you play anything from the mini-game Whack-A-Mole (my girlfriend had the highscore within minutes) to the first-person-shooter Metroid Prime which is cleverly played using the stylus to control point of view. Other games benefit from being able to clean the play area by moving all UI elements such as points and lives to the bottom screen.

The battery life is great, the look & feel is spot on, wireless multiplayer is as easy as anything and the games are, of course, Nintendo’s biggest strength. Long story short: the DS Lite is the best thing to happen to handhelds since the cellphone.

Do you have a DS Lite? What are your favourite games? If not, why?

7 thoughts on “Nintendo DS Lite Review”

  1. paul haine says:

    Osu! Tatake! Ouendan!, Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, New Super Mario Bros., Electroplankton, Another Code, Feel The Magic, Sonic Rush, Wario Ware, Super Mario 64, Brain Training, Mario Kart DS, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time…

    …that ought to keep you going for now, but look out for Contact, Age of Empires, Settlers, Zelda…

  2. Joen says:

    Ouch, way to ruin my bank balance!

    I’m staying away from Animal Crossing and Nintendogs for the simple reason that should I purchase those, I’d better buy an extra DS Lite for my girlfriend at the same time.

    Sonic Rush looks great — IMO Sonic games work only in 2 dimensions.

    Brain Training is in queue — that’s the one with Sudoku in it right?

    As for Zelda, I’m getting that. I’m also getting Final Fantasy 3 when it arrives. Oh, and Civilization DS. Just think about that one for a minute. That and Command & Conquer DS.

    I haven’t heard of the others you mention, but I’ll look ’em up in due time.

  3. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Susan went out and bought a DS Lite for each of us before our vacation last week. She also bought Brain Age, Frogger: Helmet Chaos, Mario Cart, and Mario Bros. I am trying to get somewhere in Mario Bros. but it’s sometimes a very frustrating experience. My favorite “game” is Brain Age. It does contain Sudoku, but that’s the least of it. It’s the brain training which is interesting. One interesting side-effect of playing it, is that I’ve started to remember the multiplication tables again, haven’t really given them a single thought since grade school.

    Personally I am looking forward to Civilization DS and Command and Conquer DS, that would be totally awesome. Unfortunately, I have so much else I’d also like to spend my time on, so I end up not playing very much.

    I like the little nuances in how the touch screen is used, for example in Mario Bros. you can “save” a powerup in a spot on the lower screen. You can then touch the power-up to use it. One thing that would be really cool for the next generation would be an accelerometer like in the Wii, I already wave my DS Lite around when playing some games, it would be natural to use that in a handheld.

    Finally, a thanks for the heads-up on Opera, I hadn’t seen that so I have something to play with tonight.

  4. Joen says:

    I am trying to get somewhere in Mario Bros. but it?s sometimes a very frustrating experience.

    Indeed, it’s a bit harder than I expected. That said, I grew up with Super Mario and pwned -World, so I’ve already finished NSMB.

    Personally I am looking forward to Civilization DS and Command and Conquer DS, that would be totally awesome. Unfortunately, I have so much else I?d also like to spend my time on, so I end up not playing very much.

    That’s also my main worry with those two games specifically.

    I like the little nuances in how the touch screen is used, for example in Mario Bros. you can ?save? a powerup in a spot on the lower screen. You can then touch the power-up to use it.

    Yes! That is so cool! I remember when I first ever tried the DS with NSMB, I just intuitively pressed the screen only to find out it worked. That’s the essence of a great design.

    One thing that would be really cool for the next generation would be an accelerometer like in the Wii, I already wave my DS Lite around when playing some games, it would be natural to use that in a handheld.

    I don’t know WHERE i heard this, but I do believe some DS cartridgets come with an extra accelerometer cartridge which you put in the GBA slot. I’m probably wrong, but I think Kirby Golf or something.

    Finally, a thanks for the heads-up on Opera, I hadn?t seen that so I have something to play with tonight.

    Alas, it’s not free, but you can buy it relatively cheaply at CDWOW

  5. paul haine says:

    Opera on the DS is pretty nice, but I don’t think it’s worth paying the ?25-30 most retailers are selling it for. It’s nice to have…depends on how much you think you’d use it, really.

    I don’t know of any DS games that come with accelerometers, but any GBA games that do can of course still be run in the DS GBA slot.

  6. Joen says:

    Opera on the DS is pretty nice, but I don?t think it?s worth paying the ?25-30 most retailers are selling it for. It?s nice to have…depends on how much you think you?d use it, really.

    This is bound to fall, given time. Plus, I hear there’s an open source alternative… the question is, how do we get that onto the DS!?

  7. Anonymous says:

    What you need is a slot-1 device (eg. R4ds, M3, Supercard)| try before you buy.

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