Published on January 22, 2023

17 Best Nintendo DS Puzzle Games

The Nintendo DS was the perfect hardware for puzzle lovers, offering multiple gameplay styles with the dual screen feature and the touch screen. Brilliant developers didn’t disappoint offering a massive array of puzzle games on the system pleasing all kinds of gamers and of course taking advantage of the DS hardware in the most creative ways.

If you’re looking for some puzzle games to fill the void in your collection, fear not, as we are here to offer you our best puzzle games on the Nintendo DS including mainstream titles and of course our favorite hidden gems!

Professor Layton and the Curious Village / Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box / Professor Layton and the Unwound Future


2007 / 2007 / 2008
About
Full Name
Professor Layton and the Curious Village™
Release Date
February 15, 2007
Developer
Level-5
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2007-02-15
2008-02-10
2008-04-10
2008-09-11
2008-11-07
About
Full Name
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box™
Release Date
November 29, 2007
Developer
Level-5
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2007-11-29
2009-08-24
2009-09-24
2009-09-25
2011-09-08
About
Full Name
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future™
Release Date
November 27, 2008
Developer
Level-5
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2008-11-27
2010-09-12
2010-10-21
2010-10-22

Professor Layton was Level 5 attempt to bring a point-and-click adventure game to Nintendo’s casual audience, and they nailed it in every aspect. The first trilogy on the Nintendo DS offers a mixture of point-and-click games, graphic novels, and multiple puzzles.  The three games follow the adventure of Professor Layton and his young apprentice solving several cases which are all represented in puzzle mini-games.

As you meet certain people and interact with several objects you’ll be prompted to solve a puzzle to progress the story. The puzzle takes various forms and shapes ranging from logic puzzles, mazes, riddles, sliding blocks, and many more. The player will mostly get an infinite time to solve the puzzle, and up to three hints to help him solve the puzzle, although the time is unlimited the hint are not free as you must purchase them with hint coins which can be found over the course of the game. Overall, the Professor Layton games are a must-own on the DS system for puzzle lovers or even newcomers since the game leans more toward the casual audience.

Bomberman Land Touch!


2006
About
Release Date
July 20, 2006
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Interaction
Real-Time
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2006-07-20
2006-11-08
2007-02-22
2007-03-23

Bomberman Land Touch! combine elements of party and puzzle games while maintaining the same art and feel of the well-known Bomberman classic games. The main story focus on the tale of Cheerful White as he gets invited by his friends to the mysterious Bomber Pirate Island, together with his companions white takes on a new adventure on the island to become the pirate king.

Unlike many party games where the player navigates a monopoly-style board, Bomberman Land Touch offers the player a huge world to explore. All over the map, there are over 30 mini-games to complete, the game takes full advantage of the touch screen feature as all the mini-games and puzzles use it.

WarioWare™: Touched!


2004
About
Release Date
December 02, 2004
Developer
Intelligent Systems
Publisher
Nintendo
Franchise
Mario
Genre
Party
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2004-12-02
2005-02-14
2005-02-26
2005-03-11

WarioWare: Touched! was a perfect fit on the DS taking full advantage of the touchscreen feature. As always the game follows the story of our beloved villain Wario, as he was walking down the street he drop his Game Boy Advance into the sewer, attempting to get it back a mysterious sewer Guru emerge from the sewer holding the game boy and a brand new Nintendo DS, Wario takes the new DS and emerges into a new adventure full of minigames.

Just like in the previous games in the series the player is confronted by a group of randomized minigames with a small time limit and little to no instruction. The challenge here is that the player must figure out how the minigame work as well as solve it in that short amount of time. The player starts with four tries during each stage, if they lose a microgame they lose a try, losing all of them will lead to a game over screen forcing the player to start the stage from the beginning. On the whole, Warioware Touched is a classic on the system offering a full tech demo for the DS and of course an amazing collection of minigames for puzzle lovers.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis


2006 マリオvs.ドンキーコング2 ミニミニ大行進! (Mario buiesu Donkī Kongu Tsū Mini Mini Dai Kōshin!)
About
Release Date
September 25, 2006
Developer
Nintendo
Publisher
Nintendo
Franchise
Donkey Kong
Genre
Puzzle
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2006-09-25
2006-11-04
2006-12-08
2007-03-09
2007-04-12

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis is an interesting Mario spin-off starring our beloved Mario and of course his nemesis Donkey Kong. The game starts with Donkey Kong getting his heart broken watching Pauline favoring Mario over him, overthrown by the jealousy Donkey Kong decides to kidnap Pauline leaving Mario to come to the rescue.

Unlike most Mario games Mario is not the main playable character here, instead, you control these little toy creatures known as the Mini Mario. The goal of each stage is to guide the mini Marios toward a doorway marked by the letter M. You can do this by manipulating the environment to clear the way for the Mini Marios or guide the Mini Marios themselves into specific patterns. Overall the game is well-balanced pleasing Mario fans who are looking for more and offering a unique experience for puzzle lovers despite the easy difficulty.

Gunpey DS


2006
About
Release Date
October 19, 2006
Developer
Q Entertainment
Publisher
Bandai Namco
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2006-10-19
2006-11-17

Gunpey DS is a unique musical puzzle game previously released on the Wonderswan as an homage to its original creator Gunpei Yokoi. The DS port shares the same core mechanics as the original games offering a unique yet fun puzzle game. The goal of each stage is to match differently shaped lines presented in five rows of tiles, the player uses the stylus to move the shapes creating a perfectly connected line from side to side. While the premise of the game seems simple the brilliant soundtrack and the perfect implementation of the touchscreen controls give this game a well-earned place on this list.

Tetris DS


2006
About
Release Date
March 20, 2006
Developer
Nintendo
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Interaction
Real-Time
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2006-03-20
2006-04-13
2006-04-21
2006-04-27

Tetris DS is another reboot of a legendary classic, the gameplay here is pretty much basic borrowing the same formula from the original game but with one exception. The artistic approach, each mode of the game is themed after one of many classic Nintendo hits, Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and many more. This includes a full reimagining of the game’s soundtrack during gameplay. However if you”re looking for something different the game still tries new things with a few new modes including mission mode, puzzle mode, and touch mode. If you’re looking for an incredibly addicting puzzle game with a pinch of nostalgia this might be your next pick.

Feel the Magic: XY/XX


2004
About
Release Date
November 21, 2004
Developer
Sonic Team
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Mini
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2004-11-21
2004-12-02
2005-03-11

Feel the Magic: XY/XX is another brilliant minigame puzzle video game, the player assumes the role of a young male protagonist trying to impress a girl with the help of people known as the Rub Rabbits. As with many games on this list, the game is played solely using the DS stylus and microphone.

The story progresses through a group of minigames that vary from pushing living fish from a man’s stomach to calming down raging bulls and many more. Obviously, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously offering a fun approach with its witty puzzles and over-the-top mini-games. Overall, if you’re familiar with the Warioware series you’ll find yourself right at home with this one.

Bejeweled Twist


2008
About
Release Date
October 27, 2008
Developer
PopCap Games
Publisher
PopCap Games
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
DS Releases
2010-01-19

Bejeweled Twist is a sequel to the hugely popular Popcap game Bejeweled, while the game maintains the same cores and mechanics as the first game, it also takes advantage of the ds unique hardware in an interesting way. First things first Bejeweled Twist is a tile-matching puzzle game, the goal is to change the group of gems’ location to match it with other gems with the same color.

The DS version takes full advantage of the touchscreen feature, you can touch the gems and change their location to match the gems and eventually make them disappear. The stylus control is a perfect fit here offering a new way to enjoy the game for old players and a very simple layout for newcomers. Overall, this is a simple game by all means, but simple doesn’t mean bad as the game is very addicting and it offers an amazing experience for a pickup-and-play game on the bus or during lunch break.

Puyo Pop Fever


2004
About
Release Date
February 04, 2004
Developer
Sonic Team
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
3D
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2004-12-04
2005-05-03
2006-07-21

Puyo Pop Fever is a reboot of a well-known Japanese puzzle game starting way back on the sony MSX PC. Just like the previous games in the series the player is presented with a story mode where he plays against several CPU opponents varying in difficulty. The goal of each stage is to match several sets of blobby colorful creatures known as Puyo, each with color on its own, matching four or more of these creatures is the ultimate way to win against your opponent. 

Each time you match the Puyos you will score more points and send garbage at your opponent filling the screen and making it harder for him to catch up. On the whole, the ds version is well put compared to the console version and offers a unique experience with the dual screen feature and the download play.

Meteos


2005
About
Release Date
March 10, 2005
Developer
Q Entertainment
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2005-03-10
2005-06-27
2005-09-23
2005-11-24

Unlike most games on the list taking huge inspiration from classic puzzle games, Meteos tried to sail far from the fleet trying a very unique puzzle formula never seen before. Described as a shoot-and-lift-up puzzle the main mechanic of Meteos is to use your stylus to move various colored blocks around the screen, matching three of these blocks horizontally or vertically will cause the Meteos to ignite and rise just like a rocket flying out off the screen.

The story mode offers three layouts, a linear path of eight stages, mission-based levels, and a branching 29 planets. In each stage, you are playing against computer opponents where the goal is to launch the blocks toward their planets resulting in their defeat. Overall, Meteos is a unique experience taking full advantage of the DS hardware and offering a new puzzle experience far from the cliché genre we all know.

Picross DS


2007
About
Release Date
January 25, 2007
Developer
Jupiter
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Interaction
Real-Time
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2007-01-25
2007-05-11
2007-06-07
2007-07-30

Picross DS is a simple yet fun puzzle game following the same traditional picross gameplay mixed up with one of the most calming and soothing soundtrack libraries. The gameplay follows the same traditional Picross rules where the player uses logic to mark down several square-shaped blocks as empty or full eventually revealing a pixel art image when finishing the puzzle. As always the DS version takes full advantage of the lower screen touch feature where you can use your stylus to set the correct pattern.

Ivy the Kiwi?


2010 アイビィ ザ キウィ? (Aibyi za kiu~i?)
About
Release Date
April 22, 2010
Developer
Prope
Publisher
Bandai Namco
Genre
2D Platformer
Concept
Fantasy
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2010-04-22
2010-08-24
2010-10-29

Ivy The Kiwi? is a 2d platform game with interesting mechanics, the game was made by Yuji Naka who was one of the co-creators of the original Sonic The Hedgehog. Ivy is a newly born little bird who is looking for her mother, the story is just simple as it looks but the gameplay is where things get serious.

The whole premise of the level is to get Ivy from point A to point B simple right? but that’s not it, you have no control over Ivy as she runs constantly all over the place, the way you get to control her movements is by drawing lines. To guide her you draw lines with your stylus creating the right path for her. The game starts off simple and friendly but gets very challenging as you progress. There is over 100 level to beat as the game progress it can get very addictive and satisfying for challenge seekers.

Planet Puzzle League


2007
About
Release Date
April 26, 2007
Developer
Intelligent Systems
Publisher
Nintendo
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2007-04-26
2007-06-04
2007-06-29

Planet Puzzle League is another great match-three game that takes full advantage of the brilliant Nintendo DS hardware. Uniquely you hold the DS sideways in this game (book style), the goal is to use your stylus to change the location of several square-shaped gems and eventually stack them with other gems of the same color. The game offers a huge array of modes ranging from simple 1vs1 to endless score attacks. Overall, the has aged flawlessly with a simple yet fun control and of course a long campaign for match three lovers. 

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords


2007
About
Release Date
March 16, 2007
Developer
Infinity Plus Two
Publisher
D3 Publisher
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Australia
DS Releases
2007-03-16
2007-03-20
2007-11-29

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords combines the puzzle genres with RPG elements offering a full-blown unique RPG game. You assume the role of one of several heroes each with its own unique abilities that plays a huge role during gameplay, just like any other traditional RPG the player takes on quests as part of the main game’s storyline.

Unique to the game is the combat system, instead of your traditional turn-based RPG combat system, the game offers tile-matching combat similar to classic titles like Bejeweled. The goal of each combat is to overtake your opponents by matching tiles as fast as you can, each tile has its unique effect when matched dealing damage to your opponent.

Aside from the basic puzzle elements the game has more depth offering a full-blown leveling system, the ability to buy new gears and equipment, and the unique feature of expanding your hometown with additional buildings that will help you learn more abilities and spells. Overall, Puzzle Quest is a full-blown RPG game despite the puzzle approach which makes this a common ground for puzzle and RPG lovers.

Space Bust-A-Move


2008
About
Release Date
December 18, 2008
Developer
Lancarse
Publisher
Square Enix
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Interaction
Real-Time
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
DS Releases
2008-12-18
2009-07-28
2009-08-28

Space-Bust-A-Move brings the arcade glory to the palm of your hand, the game is a continuation of the successful Puzzle Bobble series previously released on Japanese arcade machines. Just like in the previous games in the series the player controls a pointer that shoots colorful bubbles.

The goal of each stage is to target the bubbles on top of the screen with bubbles of the same colors, eventually clearing the whole screen. In addition, there are several shortcuts and powerups that can be used which vary in effect, for example, a special bubble can be used to pop up any bubble despite its color or position. While the premise of the game is simple yet it offers a very addictive and fun pattern for puzzle fans.

Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter


2009
About
Release Date
October 08, 2009
Developer
Planet Moon Studios
Publisher
THQ Nordic
Genre
2D Platformer
Concept
Fantasy
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
DS Releases
2009-10-08
2009-10-16
2009-10-27

Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter is a 2.5D platforming game, despite the game being a bit rough around the edges there is a lot to enjoy here. Raposa is a small peaceful village but not for so long, items from the village start disappearing mysteriously, as the mayor knows of the incident he asks you the player to draw a new hero to save the village.

The whole premise of the game is to draw, you get to solve puzzles and fill gaps using your stylus as a pen. You start by drawing your character, if you suck at drawing just like me, the game gives you the choice to choose from a variety of different premade templates. Drawn To Life reminds me a lot of the well-known Little Big Planet series as they share a lot of similar aspects, the game is very fun and engaging, especially for younger audiences.

Super Scribblenauts


2010
About
Release Date
October 12, 2010
Developer
5th Cell
Publisher
Warner Bros Games
Genre
Puzzle
Graphics
2D
Perspective
Side Scroller
Interaction
Real-Time
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
DS Releases
2010-10-12
2010-10-27
2010-10-29
2011-10-13

Super Scribblenauts is an action puzzle game that is completely based on using words. The story follows the adventure of Maxwell a young boy who is tasked to collect Starites using his magical notepad.  The player can use the stylus to type in words that will pop up any desired objects such as keys or ladders and many more, the object can be used to solve various puzzles over the course of the game. Overall, the game’s premise is very fun offering a unique experience, especially for younger audiences.

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Freecs

A casual gamer who loves everything Nintendo, and swears by arcade racers, platformers, and hack 'n slash games.

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