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The Top 5 Most Under-Appreciated and Disappointing Games on the Nintendo DS

Posted on December 1, 2014 by (@Patricklous) in DS, Features, Reader Poll

Like Fred Durst, our series of “Best of DS” lists keeps on rollin’ with a double feature of the top five most under-appreciated and disappointing titles on the console. Let’s start off with the good and recognise the games that might have scored well with critics, but fell under the radar for whatever reason.

Even though I’m happy with the games you guys picked, the “most under-appreciated” might also be the “most unnecessary” list, because how do you use a popularity contest to determine if something is the most under-appreciated? Of course, the deepest cuts were the ones that didn’t get enough votes to make the list so consider the real victors to be Bangai-O Spirits and Kira Kira: Pop Princess:

#5. Hotel Dusk: Room 215


Austin: Hotel Dusk is really one of the few DS games that managed to establish a coherent and engaging atmosphere that wasn’t playing into too many pre-established tropes or ideas. Where things like Moon Chronicles or Dementium finely execute science fiction and horror ideas, Hotel Dusk was a bit different: The game used 3D worlds populated by 2D character art, backed by an enigmatic and grainy soundtrack that only the DS was pulling off at the time. Its atmosphere would be its crowning achievement, if it weren’t for the very impressive character writing that some people noted made it feel like you were talking to real people instead of computers.

#4. 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors


Kirara: 999 was definitely niche, but it turned out for me it was kind of a sleeper game of awesome. I really enjoyed the idea behind the game, I saw it as a interactive anime that would change based on your decisions. I played it straight through from beginning to end which sadly only took about 6 hours with several breaks in between. The shortness of the game was disappointing but the replay factor was good since each time you play you find yourself making different decisions due to events unfolding differently each time and you wanting a better/different outcome than the one before. The game had a note of additional suspense to it when one of your decisions gets one of the many characters you encounter killed (if they were one of the ones you liked) which could be good or bad as some of the characters were slightly annoying.

#3. Kirby Canvas Curse


Patrick: Though it was praised by critics for being one of the first games to put the console’s touch screen to good use, this oddball Kirby game slipped onto the underappreciated list. Canvas Curse’s unconventional gameplay involves painting lines to guide the adorable hero, a unique method of control for the Kirby series – at least until Kirby and the Rainbow Curse releases next year.

#2. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective


Patrick: Capcom’s Phoenix Wright games were some of the standout titles on the DS, so it’s a shame that director Shu Takumi’s crime-solving follow-up, Ghost Trick, slipped under many players radar. Maybe a game where you play as a ghost that can travel through time and prevent deaths by manipulating Rube Goldberg machines was a little too high concept. Ghost Trick’s focus on story over gameplay might have also put people off (are you noticing a trend yet?), but it’s hard to fault Ghost Trick when it happens to be one of the best-written games on the console, with a narrative that’s equally hilarious and touching. It says a lot about the skill of the writers when one of the most endearing and developed characters in Ghost Trick (or even video games in general) is a Pomeranian named Missile. Oh well, I hope the game found an audience on the iPhone.

#1. Elite Beat Agents


Patrick: No DS game received more votes for the most “under-appreciated” game on the console than the infectious and uplifting Elite Beat Agents. There were also a few votes for the Japanese Ouendan games, but they’re pretty much the same thing – a rhythm game based around touch-screen tapping and solving problems by passionate dancing. It’s hard to summarise exactly what makes these games so great, so here – have a thousand words or so. Elite Beat Agents took the same general concept of the Ouendan games, but brought in some funky men in black, covers of various pop songs and somehow even more weirdness. The Agents used their moves to cheer on people around the globe against alien invasions, fire-breathing golems and dead parents. The comic book style of the visuals and enjoyable (and unforgiving) gameplay based around touching and holding notes on the lower screen made for a game that stands out amongst the console’s lineup, even if it didn’t stand out on store shelves. In spite of the intensive labour that went into reworking the games for a Western audience, Elite Beat Agents was a commercial flop. Regardless, the fact it took top spot suggests to me that it’s one of the most memorable games on the console – at least to those who played it.

Read on for the Top 5 most disappointing games on the DS…

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