The 10 Nintendo DS games that you never got to play

Get these import only games on your 3DS

The 10 Nintendo DS games that you never got to play
DS + 3DS + DSi

The Nintendo DS has one of the most impressive games catalogues of all time. But, there's also handful of games that you may have missed entirely, because they never came out in certain countries.

All hope is not lost, however. While the 3DS may exert a region lock when playing 3DS games, it has no such limits when you throw a DS cartridge in the slot.

So, for example, if you're on a European 3DS you can play American and Japanese DS games without issue.

There are several gems hidden away in each territory which didn't get full worldwide releases. So get yourself on eBay and buy these ten classic games.

English of the Dead
By Now Production (Only released in Japan)

The only game in this list using much Japanese text, ironically enough, is an English language study tool for Japanese students.

In the game, enemies are taken down by writing words, letter by letter, on the bottom screen. However, missions and bosses require you to complete "fill in the blank" exercises or construct a sentence using five out of six words.

Writing each letter can be a pain at times if you get the stroke order wrong, but it's easy enough to get to grips with after a few sessions.

Tingle's Balloon Fight
By TOSE (Only released in Japan)

Zelda series fan-favourite Tingle is back, and this time he's got balloons.

This Club Nintendo-exclusive essentially boils down to a hacked and updated version of NES classic Balloon Fight, with a few changes. The game's been updated to use both screens, example, so the layout is much more vertically-focused, providing more of a challenge.

Balloon Fight mode is the single-player versus challenge mode while Balloon Trip mode has you avoiding spikes and collecting rupees (you may recognise this mode from WarioWare). The most fun mode though, is Ballon Fighting Spirit mode - the single-cart, local four-player multiplayer versus game.

Retro Game Challenge
By Indies Zero (Only released in USA, Japan)

Remember a time before the internet? When the only way you could get tips on how to pass games was from game magazines and word of mouth? Well, if you do, this game will bring memories of your childhood flooding back.

In Retro Game Challenge, two friends spend their days off glued to an old TV, trying to complete game challenges. Every so often the latest game magazines will come in, full of hints, tricks, and codes to get further in each of the games.

There are eight games included, most of which are homages to NES-era Japanese classics such as Dragon Quest II and Galaga.

Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol
By Skip (Released in USA, Australia, Japan)

Essentially The Wombles: The Videogame. Equipped with "patented happiness-generating technology," the new Chibi-Robo model is sent out to restore parks to their former glory through the power of flowers.

How? Why, by breaking out a beatbox and jamming with flowers until they pop out seeds, which sprout up into new flowers after a little watering.

Eventually you'll have to restore park equipment too, all while fending off smoglings and watching your power reserves. With Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder recently released Stateside, there's still some life left in the little guy yet.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
By ChunSoft (Only released in USA, Japan)

Despite its equally enthralling sequel Virtue's Last Reward receiving a European release, the first game in the Zero Escape series didn't make it over.

It's about as dark as any DS title gets, with many elements similar to the movie Saw.

Junpei has been kidnapped and is stuck on board a sinking ship with eight other poor souls. If that wasn't enough, Zero, the game's host, has put a bomb in each character's stomach that will explode if any of his rules are broken.

With a branching paths and several different endings, replays are strongly recommended. If you've ever wondered where to start with visual novels, here's your answer.

Peggle: Dual Shot
By PopCap (Only released in USA)

PopCap favourites Bejeweled, Bookworm, and Plants vs Zombies have all had respective digital releases on the eShop, but somehow Peggle never made it. US gamers got it on a cartridge, however.

Including both the original campaign, Peggle Nights and a bonus minigame, this is still the most complete version of Peggle there has ever been.

Some say it's impossible to work out where Peggle balls will go after the first two peg bounces, but to that I say pish tosh and poppycock. It's a science.

Bomberman 2
By Hudson (Only released in Europe, Japan)

The best handheld version of Bomberman to date. That's it.

Featuring a frankly ridiculous eight-player single-cart local multiplayer mode which takes up both screens, only Saturn Bomberman has a larger multiplayer mode.

Plus, the expansive single-player mode adds RPG elements to the mix. But that can really just be ignored if you have a friend or a family member to play against you.

Jam with the Band
By Nintendo (Only released in Europe, Japan)

Jam with the Band is a rhythm-action game that'll blister your fingers as you tap away to familiar tunes in its hardest modes.

There's room for 100 fan-made downloadable songs, so you're sorted for all your favourite videogame themes and '90s Europop beats.

It also features a rather silly karaoke mode that'll make you feel like a loon, even if you're home alone. It's yet another game sporting the eight-player single-cart local multiplayer mode.

Last Window: The Secret of Cape West
By Cing (Only released in Europe, Japan)

It's the sequel to Hotel Dusk: Room 215, but fret not; there is no harm in playing these two games out of order.

Here you'll find an absorbing hard-boiled mystery with a chilled out jazz soundtrack and a pencilled-in rotascope look. You are Kyle Hyde, a man on a mission to find a missing diamond in his apartment building, once known as the titular Hotel Cape West.

The game is played in "book style" (by opening your system up on its side), making it feel even more like a novel. As you explore each floor of the building you'll get to know the other residents and solve some tough puzzles. The character development here can't be beaten.

Pic Pic
By Success (Only released in Europe, Australia, Japan)

This game's got three puzzle games that make for a huge(ly fun) timesink.

In Maze Paint you use your stylus to complete mazes and, in doing so, draw a picture. In Drawing, you "draw" pictures by connecting numbers. For example, if you see two 13s on the grid, you'll need to find a way to connect them using 13 squares. Magipic is... er... a bit like Minesweeper, only even more difficult to explain.

There are 1,200 puzzles between the three modes - later ones lasting up to an hour if you're as slow as I am. Hands-on tutorials will guide you through each mode, so don't let my poor explanations put you off. If you can overcome its incredibly cheesy music, prepare to say goodbye to your free time in 2014.

Danny Russell
Danny Russell
After spending years in Japan collecting game developers' business cards, Danny has returned to the UK to breed Pokemon. He spends his time championing elusive region-exclusive games while shaking his fist at the whole region-locking thing.