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Best Nintendo DS Family Games

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The Family Gamer Awards FGA suggests ideal Nintendo DS games for different family age-groups: Infants, Juniors, Students, Workers, Parents and Seniors.

These awards complement PEGI's age-appropriate ratings by suggesting games each age group will enjoy. Rather than warning families about which games are inappropriate, we suggest which games each age group will get the most out of.

The games awarded for infants for example, not only contain appropriate content for 3 year olds but are also easy enough for them to play and enjoy.

The handheld device works very well with young players because of its touch screen and range of games that can be played at their own pace. Pre-school children can enjoy experimenting, learning and interacting with the stylus, microphone and buttons. While the original DS isn't quite up to the knocks and throws it will get in the service of a toddler, the DSlite is well up to the task. The DSiXL's bigger screens with wider viewing angles also suite collaborative play between parents and very young children.

It also works very well with junior gamers, but for the more tradition Nintendo first party games. Junior players are also better suited to the original DS than younger infants where durability and robustness is more of an issue.

Here are our list of Nintendo DS, DSi, DSXL and DSlite games that have been recomended for families in the Family Gamer Awards.

DS Games for Infants (3 to 6 yrs)
The best games for toddlers, very-young children and pre-school kids from 3 to 6 years old. These games work with the basics of play and should easily engage the super young players in our families. Simple and easy controls and bright colours engage young players in some educational and informative games.

Peppa Pig Theme Park Fun
Buy:
UK US
Peppa Pig Theme Park Fun: A well designed Peppa Pig tie-in for very young players. Controls and visuals work well and keep things simple, but at the same time there is plenty to challenge developing minds.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2011
- Platform: DS version(s)

Peggle
Buy:
UK US
Peggle: The simplicity of shooting metal balls at pegs combined with unicorns and rainbows make this ideal for tiny fingers.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2010
- Platform: DS 360 PS3 PSN XBLA version(s)

Diego's Build and Rescue
Buy:
UK US
Diego's Build and Rescue: Diego's Build and Rescue finally brings the DS games up to par with the Wii Diego and Dora games. Simple platform controls and Mega Blok building made this ideal for the Junior gamers in our family.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)

Pass the Pigs
Buy:
UK US
Pass the Pigs: The simplicity of swiping the screen to roll the pigs, combined with the funny sound effects and positions make this ideal for infant gamers.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2009
- Platform: DS version(s)

Quickspot
Buy:
UK US
Quickspot: The age old favourite spot the difference game brought to the DS. Whilst some modes are too time restricted for the very young, there is enough here to entertain and develop their hand eye co-ordination.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2008
- Platform: DS version(s)

Pac 'n Roll
Buy:
UK US
Pac 'n Roll: The super simple controls make this 3D version of Pac Man playable by anyone. Simply push the stylus in the direction you want to go.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2008
- Platform: DS version(s)

Mario Hoops 3 on 3
Buy:
UK US
Mario Hoops 3 on 3: Although some of the game's complexity will be above some infants, the stylus passing and shooting means that they can play a basic game of basket ball without too much trouble.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2007
- Platform: DS version(s)

Yoshi Touch and Go
Buy:
UK US
Yoshi Touch and Go: This is a simple short platform game where players guide Yoshi with the stylus. It cycles through two short levels adding complexity and challenges as it goes. The repetition and simple gameplay make it ideal for young players, but also mean they can grow into it as their strategy and dexterity improve.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2005
- Platform: DS version(s)

Super Mario 64 DS
Buy:
UK US
Super Mario 64 DS: This takes the classic N64 Mario game and fits it perfectly to the DS. Although the main gain is a little complex for young players, the wealth of minigames here are great for infant players. Simple mechanics and touch screen controls are ideal for little fingers and developing minds.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2004
- Platform: DS version(s)
DS Games for Juniors (7 to 11 yrs)
The best games for primary school, junior and young children aged from 7 to 11 years old. These games provide experiences that connect with a basic joy of discovery and play. Although still simplistic they engage with a wide range of basic principles.

New Style Boutique
Buy:
UK US
New Style Boutique: New Style Boutique follows up on the first game with better visuals and more nuanced interactions with the customers. The depth is considerable as players have to judge personality of each shopper and stock their shop with the right clothes. Ideal for junior gamers, girls or boys.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2012
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Solatorobo
Buy:
UK US
Solatorobo: Another massive adventure game squeezed into the DS. But this time the focus is as much on the story and Dogtanian-like characters as the action. Simply exquisite on the DS, and full of intrigue. An engaging game for junior players on the DS, a rare gem.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2011
- Platform: DS version(s)

Kirby Mass Attack
Buy:
UK US
Kirby Mass Attack: This combines stylus controlled platforming action with great puzzles and surprisingly fleshed out minigames. Controlling a herd of little pink Kirbys is simply great fun.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2011
- Platform: DS version(s)

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure
Buy:
UK US
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure: The quality of the toys and simplicity of using them to save your progress in the videogame make this ideal for junior players. The gameplay itself is like a more action focused Lego game, and again, ideally suited for pre-teens.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Game of the Year
- Date: Autumn 2011
- Platform: Wii 3DS 360 PS3 version(s)

Pop Island Paperfield
Buy:
UK US
Pop Island Paperfield: A bright and colourful 3D capture the flag game on the DS. Being able to play with 8 players from one copy of the game makes this ideal for the playground or after school fun.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)

Pinball Pulse
Buy:
UK US
Pinball Pulse: The best original realistic pinball game on any portable platform we've experienced. Intelligent table layout with the sort of insight and innovation usually reserved for physical tables. A great introduction to the classic pastime for juniors.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)

Soul Bubbles
Buy:
UK US
Soul Bubbles: This game's simple bubble blowing controls and platforming puzzles make it ideally placed for junior players.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2008
- Platform: DS version(s)

Mario and Sonic at the Olympics
Buy:
UK US
Mario and Sonic at the Olympics: The sheer exuberance and variety here are great for juniors wanted to exercise their 'massive' motor skills. That you can play with four players together also makes it ideal for the whole family.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2008
- Platform: DS Wii version(s)

Guinness World Records
Buy:
UK US
Guinness World Records: Being able to get your name on a score board for your county increases the appeal for juniors here. Like the now defunct children's TV show, Guinness World Records provides some great entertaining activities and simple controls.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Winter 2008
- Platform: DS Wii version(s)

Wario Ware: Twisted
Buy:
UK US
Wario Ware: Twisted: Although still hard to get in the UK, this minigame collection offers some of the most entertaining (and frustrating) challenges around. All of them are controlled with a simple built in tilt sensor that makes them ideal for juniors.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2007
- Platform: GBA DS version(s)

Elite Beat Agents
Buy:
UK US
Elite Beat Agents: The cartoon art style and direct tap along play mechanic make this ideal for junior gamers. This rhythm action has more then enough content to engage youngsters in what it is that makes a song great.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Summer 2007
- Platform: DS version(s)

Mario Kart DS
Buy:
UK US
Mario Kart DS: The return to the simplicity of earlier Mario Kart games suits the junior player. Combine this with the local and online multiplayer for some great racing fun.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2007
- Platform: DS version(s)

New Super Mario Brothers
Buy:
UK US
New Super Mario Brothers: As with the original game on the NES, New Super Mario Brothers provides some finely honed platform gaming. Levels are well designed and balance both progression and exploration. While infant gamers may struggle with the exacting left/right and jump controls Juniors and older gamers will love getting lost in the intricacies of each level.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2006
- Platform: DS version(s)

Lego Star Wars
Buy:
UK US
Lego Star Wars: This not only combines the Star Wars and Lego franchises but offers a great platform game. Players run, jump and explore to unlock all the characters as they work through the story from the original three films.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2005
- Platform: Wii DS 360 PS3 version(s)

Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django
Buy:
UK US
Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django : The novelty here is that the game has a solar panel on it. This isn't used to charge the console itself, but rather affects how the game plays. You need to charge up your in-game character with the solar panel, and ensure you only attempt certain areas when there is plenty of daylight.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2004
- Platform: DS GBA version(s)
DS Games for Teens (12 to 15 yrs)
The best games for secondary, high-school, teenagers, adolescent kids and young-adults aged from 12 to 17 years old. These games provide thrilling experiences that major on brash, loud protagonists and aim to connect with the teens in our families.

Lego Lord of the Rings
Buy:
UK US
Lego Lord of the Rings: Lego Lord of the Rings offers a massive exploreable middle earth alongside the usual linear levels. A step towards the upcoming GTA style Lego City Undercover that ticks all the role play boxes of the books and films. Perfect for Teen Tolkien (or Lego) fans.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Autumn 2012
- Platform: 3DS Wii Vita DS 360 PS3 version(s)

Paper Mario Sticker Star
Buy:
UK US
Paper Mario Sticker Star: Although it may seem like just another Mario game on the 3DS, this role-play meets platforming Mario is the perfect mix of storytelling and action. Players work through a paper craft world collecting stickers and attacking enemies. Perfect for family gamers young and old, ideal for teens.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Winter 2012
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
Buy:
UK US
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars: Well balanced strategy from the creator of Laser Squad and XCOM/UFO. This is the most fully featured 3DS launch game (along with Super Street Fighter IV) and it oozes quality. Perfect for whiling away between lectures.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2011
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Tetris DS
Buy:
UK US
Tetris DS: Student gamers will relish getting to grips with T-spins and back-to-back achievements, not to mention Tetris DS's innovations and power ups. But more than this it is the super competitive online ladder play that makes this a perfect match for student gamers.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2006
- Platform: DS version(s)

Rebelstar Tactical Commander
Buy:
UK US
Rebelstar Tactical Commander: A detailed turn based strategy game where resources and landscape must be made best use of to gain the upper hand. Following on from games like Laser Squad and XCOM Enemy Unknown, this offers a compelling experience that will tax even the most able of student's grey matter.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2005
- Platform: DS GBA version(s)
DS Games for Students (16 to 17 yrs)
The best games for students, studying, college, school and young-adults aged from 16 to 17 years old. These games provide experiences that are great to share in halls, offer multiplayer thrills, or demand commitment and dedication to progress.

Infinite Space
Buy:
UK US
Infinite Space: A genuinely in depth space exploration game for the DS. Perfect to play between lectures or longer evening sessions. The sheer amount of content stands this head and shoulders above other DS games.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Summer 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)
DS Games for Workers (18 and over)
The best games for those with full time jobs, workers, 9-to-5-ers, employed hard-core gamers 18 years and over. These games provide more of a challenge in both dexterity and problem solving. They are often more about strong single player experiences that hard working hard core gamers. Although these are often longer experiences that are also ideal to switch off and chill out after a long day at the office.

Okamiden
Buy:
UK US
Okamiden: An original portable version of the classic Wii PS2 game Okami. Not only does this squeeze the same whimsical gameplay and writing into the diminutive DS, but it also looks stunning. Play it on the 3DS for smoother graphics, or on the DS for longer battery, either way a very commute friendly experience.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2011
- Platform: DS version(s)

Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
Buy:
UK US
Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time: The classic Zelda game reborn, but more importantly a console Zelda experience on a commute friendly handheld. The level of graphical reworking, addition of new controls and tips system make this a standout re-release of the definitive Zelda videogame from the 90s.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2011
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Super Mario 3D Land
Buy:
UK US
Super Mario 3D Land: Mario returns to its 2D feel while retaining a fresh 3D perspective. The simple addictive nature draws from Mario Galaxy and Super Mario World to create a perfect commuting or after work 3DS game.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Winter 2011
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Street Fighter 4
Buy:
UK US
Street Fighter 4: Street Fighter is the game that started the fighting genre. And here in a return to old style game play married with state of the art hand drawn visuals we find a game so engaging and beautiful we played until our hands hurt. Perfect for easing those aches and pains after a long day at work.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2009
- Platform: 360 3DS PS3 version(s)

Advance Wars Days of Ruin
Buy:
UK US
Advance Wars Days of Ruin: A pixel perfect turn based strategy game with a perfect balance of restraint and flexibility. Like chess on steroids this is a great way to soak up those travelling hours on the train or bus.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Summer 2007
- Platform: DS version(s)
DS Games for Parents
The best games for parents, mums, dads, carers, aunties and uncles. These games connect with the gamer on a more mature level. Story driven and often open ended, the experiences here provide space to play with complex issues and engage in moral dilemmas. Either that or to escape the grind of the work/home balance.

Mutant Mudds
Buy:
UK US
Mutant Mudds: Mutant Mudds is a platform game that uses the 3DS depth to full extent. Worlds are constructed of multiple layers that you jump between to progress. More than this novelty it is the 8-bit graphics and sound that will delight parent gamers who remember these styles of games the first time round.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2012
- Platform: 3DS iPad version(s)

Driver San Francisco
Buy:
UK US
Driver San Francisco: A game that families can play together. Younger players can help by setting traps for the criminals by connecting the DS to the Wii game. Two older players can control the driving and targeting on the Wii in an experience that enables the toddlers to get in on the action.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2011
- Platform: Wii DS version(s)

FIFA 12
Buy:
UK US
FIFA 12: A new impact system for players, improved tactics and graphics make FIFA 12 stand out. But it's the history that parents have with this game that will make it one to play with the whole family.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2011
- Platform: 360 PS3 3DS Wii PC version(s)

Animal Crossing: Let's go to the City
Buy:
UK US
Animal Crossing: Let's go to the City: Sets you on a magical island tied to real work time. Buy a house, settle down and start collecting furniture. But to see everything here you need to play through a calendar year and get up at strange times in the night to catch particular insects and fish. Compelling, all encompassing and a lot of fun for fanatical players.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2008
- Platform: DS Wii version(s)
DS Games for Grandparents
The best games for grandparents, older, senior, grown-up, mature, retired and wiser people. These games provide a slightly slower, although no less challenging experience. Time and consideration are of the essence as our most senior gamers enjoy interacting with other players and perfecting their approach.

Pinball Arcade
Buy:
UK US
Pinball Arcade: The genius of Pinball Arcade is that it recreates classic arcade tables in digital form. On iPad, Vita, PS3 and 360 this offers not only a chance to revisit classic tables of your youth but to discover new tables for silver gamers to play.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Spring 2012
- Platform: iPad WiiU Vita 3DS 360 PS3 version(s)

Rhythm Thief
Buy:
UK US
Rhythm Thief: This simple rhythm game offers grandparents a little more to explore with a Professor Layton style story and musical challenges that relate well to the narrative.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2012
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Buy:
UK US
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: Although some will complain that this could have been on the DS, its visual improvements and larger story arc actually make this a more engaging game for grandparent players.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Winter 2012
- Platform: 3DS version(s)

Ghost Trick
Buy:
UK US
Ghost Trick: A steady pace and focus on great character creation make this ideal for older gamers. Although there is a simple puzzle game at the core, it's the journey of granddaughters, parents and grandparents that make this so hard to put down (not to forget secret agent dogs).
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2011
- Platform: DS version(s)

Starship Patrol
Buy:
UK US
Starship Patrol: The steady tutorial and progression on the tower defence game makes it a great introduction for this kind of strategy for senior players. The simple visuals and Star Wars theme also look great on the new DSi XL.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Spring 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)

Last Window
Buy:
UK US
Last Window: Following on from Hotel Dusk and similar to Heavy Rain, this offers an unfolding mystery story that grandparents will enjoy. They play the detective in a steadily branching story that is never the same twice.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)

Pictionary
Buy:
UK US
Pictionary: Pictionary DS took its time to arrive on the hardware that seemed purpose built for it, but the wait was worth it. It now takes full advantage of every aspect of the DS - stylus, touch screen and even DSi camera if you have one. It's perfect to play with grandchildren of all ages.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Winter 2010
- Platform: DS version(s)

Gardening Guide
Buy:
UK US
Gardening Guide: Spending time researching different plants that would work with your soil type, and you can take the DS with you to the garden centre to help you get the right thing. You will also know when the best time to plant them is and when they will flower. Genius.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Winter 2009
- Platform: DS version(s)

Picross
Buy:
UK US
Picross: This perfectly pitched puzzle game combines mathematics and crossword mechanics to create something as beguiling as it is addictive. Once players have mastered the single player puzzles they can go head-to-head online for a real nail biting show down.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Winner
- Date: Autumn 2008
- Platform: DS version(s)

Pinball FX
Buy:
UK US
Pinball FX: The perfect antidote to a busy dusty day at work. Just like playing in the dingy arcades of old, this 360 game recreates the physicality and touch of the real game.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Winter 2008
- Platform: 360 3DS PS3 version(s)

Planet Puzzle League
Buy:
UK US
Planet Puzzle League: Combining Tetris and Bejeweled, this game appears very simple but has a lot of depth. Add to this the daily brain training style exercises and you have the perfect experience for players old and young alike.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Summer 2007
- Platform: DS version(s)

Brain Training
Buy:
UK US
Brain Training: Although a little over marketed, there are actually very interesting experiences. The low barrier to entry combined with the varied play and Soduku levels makes this great for anyone wanting to refresh their grey matter.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: Autumn 2007
- Platform: DS version(s)

Brain Training
Buy:
UK US
Brain Training: A puzzle game with a difference. These daily challenges are designed to keep your grey matter healthy while tracking your progress. Along with the excellent Soduku game, this offers older gamers an experience that genuinely feels good for you and can be taken at its own pace.
Family Gamer Award Details
- Award: Age Group Runner Up
- Date: 2005
- Platform: DS version(s)

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