We already published the list of best DS games of all time, now it’s time to discover the best DS RPGs of all time.
With amazing titles like the Pokemon series, Dragon Quest series, and Final Fantasy series, the DS surely have a great collection of RPGs.
If you’re a fan of both DS and RPGs, I know that you want to know the best DS RPGs of all time.
Most of you will recognize (or even still play) some of the games mentioned on this list.
#25. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
After an atomic incident in the Antarctic, a giant black field threatens to swallow the world.
The U.N. sends a task force to investigate the field, dubbed “Schwarzvelt” and try to stop its expansion, and hopefully, get rid of it altogether.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey features all the great story and character moments you expect from a game in the franchise.
This version takes advantage of the dual-screen well without being gimmicky or obtrusive.
Combat is similar to mainline Shin Megami Tensei games but the “Press Turn” system is modified.
“Demon Co-Op” will get you a free critical if you manage to hit an enemy with their weakness.
All in all, it is a satisfying and interesting title.
#24. Pokemon White Version 2
It’s a tale as old as time, you and your rival head out for the traditional Pokepilgrimage to see who can get all 8 gym badges.
Along the way, Team Plasma will harass you, a conspiracy will be uncovered and a legendary Pokemon will be available for capture.
Pokemon White Version 2 sets up a new adventure on the western side of the Unova region.
This game also introduces “Pokestar Studios”, a minigame where you make your Pokemon a movie star, and “Pokemon World Tournament” where you can battle gym leaders from previous entries in the series.
With the robust Pokedex, a new tournament and a fun new minigame this entry has a lot to offer.
#23. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
The world is under threat of a new dark age.
The power of alchemy has provided the power for new nations to rise, and prosperity to come to the land, however, strange vortexes have started to appear.
These vortexes seem to be leeching the energy necessary for alchemy and even life itself.
You and your childhood friends must embark on a journey to discover the cause and the solution to this dangerous phenomenon.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is the third title in the franchise, so there are many returning elements to the game.
The new mechanics are DS centric and require you to use your magic to traverse obstacles on the map.
This new gameplay element, in addition to the returning mechanics and a brand new story, make this game a must for RPG enthusiasts.
#22. Pokemon Black Version 2
Second verse, same as the first?
The plot is the same as Pokemon White Version 2, but key elements of the major battles and the legendary Pokemon are switched.
While you and your rival still seek glory in the Pokemon stadium and get interference from team plasma, you’ll have different Pokemon to grab, and the mysterious N will have new tricks up his sleeve.
The gameplay elements for Pokemon Black Version 2 are the same as the White Version, but the little details and certain aesthetics are swapped to reflect the theme of opposites in this entry.
There are two versions of the legendary Pokemon, so you’ll either need both copies of Black and White Version 2 or have a friend who’s willing to trade one of the most powerful Pokemon in the game.
Still, for many die-hard Pokefans, that’s enough to want to grab both and see what things have been changed between the two.
#21. Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard
A crisis with the royal family has spawned a new interest in an ancient floating castle.
In order to gain entrance to the castle, The Duke of High Lagaard is recruiting heroes.
You must climb a massive magical tree and find the castle floating above.
Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard is as old school as a modern JRPG can get.
Navigation and battle are turn-based. The second screen on the DS is for making your own map.
While you can only have 5 of your created characters in your party at a time, you can have 30 created characters waiting for you back in town.
It’s a blast from the past, and well worth your time.
#20. Lunar Knights
The world is under the grip of control by vampires.
In order to save humanity and free them from the yoke of oppression.
Two vampire hunters quest to gain power and destroy the vampire threat.
Lunar Knights have a few gameplay mechanics that make it stand out.
Firstly there is a mechanic that revolves around changing the weather in order to gain access to different areas and cause enemies to drop different loot.
The next is a short section where you control a spaceship in a shooter style minigame.
The story is also entertaining so if you want a non-traditional action RPG, check this one out.
#19. Pokemon Platinum Version
Pick your starter, travel across the Sinnoh region, grab your gym badges and catch ‘em all.
Get yourself that legendary and see its new form.
Show off to your friends, and help out newbies by catching strong Pokemon and trade them online.
Pokemon Platinum Version adds a good amount to the franchise in this iteration like “The Distortion World” is a new area that includes whacky physics to blow your mind.
And additionally, the “Wi-Fi plaza” gives you the opportunity to play minigames with your friends.
It also brings back a bunch of features that add more opportunities to interact online with other players.
“The Battle Frontier” and the “Pokemon Contests” are back and are a great diversion if you get tired of grinding out levels or hunting the perfect Pokemon to round out your roster.
#18. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
As with other Dragon Quest games, you play as the hero.
Tragedy strikes when while on a trip, your father is struck down by powerful enemies, who then sell you and the prince into slavery.
Ten years later, you escape and seek to right the wrongs committed against you.
While the gameplay is what you’d expect from Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, it does add a unique take on the traditional hero’s journey.
The game gives you a chance to pick one of three lucky ladies as your bride and have a family of your own.
You also have a chance to get 71 different monsters to join your party and the party size has increased to 4.
If you like Dragon Quest, you have to check it out.
#17. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
Dracula’s castle has reappeared, but there is no sign of the dark lord.
It appears another vampire has taken control, but what nefarious scheme is he planning?
It’s up to Jonathan and Charlotte to gain entrance and find out.
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is similar to other post Symphony of the Night Castlevania games, but where it stands out is the dual protagonists you control throughout.
Both can be switched on the fly, each has special abilities that help you traverse the terrain, and they have access to a powerful special attack where they combine forces.
It’s a fun Metroidvania game with plenty of new mechanics that will keep fans of that style game happy.
#16. Final Fantasy IV
Cecil, loyal retainer to the king and leader of the Airship fleet known as “The Red Wings” is burdened with guilt over the types of missions he’s been running for the King.
After expressing his concerns, the King gets angry at being questioned and sends Cecil on another mission to the village of summoners to deliver something.
This fateful mission will send Cecil and his friends on a journey to save the world itself.
Final Fantasy IV is a classic.
The remake takes that classic and not only improves the graphics but also adds elements that couldn’t be included in the original SNES version.
There are new mechanics that allow you to trade special abilities with other characters, and the ability to customize your command menus.
There’s also a new game+ which wasn’t available in the original, adding a massive amount of replayability to the game.
This is probably the most complete version of Final Fantasy IV available.
#15. Pokemon Diamond Version
Take your trainer through the Sinnoh region and capture as many Pokemon as you can, fill out your roster and prove to your rival, and the whole region who the Pokemon champ really is.
On the way, you’ll be drawn into a plot hatched by Team Galactic that could threaten the entire region.
Pokemon Diamond Version for the DS makes a bunch of upgrades to the original Game Boy Advance version.
The second screen works as a calculator, clock, map and other handy things.
They refined how you boost your Pokemon performance Pokemon Contest, using the touch screen to put accessories on your chosen monster to boost their chances of winning.
The refined gameplay and the ability to move Pokemon from GBA versions to the DS make this one of the most fun iterations of the game.
#14. Pokemon Pearl Version
Being the twin of Pokemon Diamond, the story is the same.
You are a Pokemon trainer, hunting to become the very best, like no one ever was.
Team Galactic is still running loose and trying to plot and scheme, and you still need to show your rival who’s boss.
Pokemon Pearl Version boasts the same improvements as the Diamond version, including the ability to move pokemon from previous GBA games into your DS world.
The main changes are the Pokemon available for capture and their forms.
The only way to get both Legendary Pokemon is to own both versions or have an incredibly generous friend willing to trade a legendary Pokemon.
It’s probably easier to just get both versions though.
#13. Radiant Historia
You play as Stocke, an agent of the country of Alistel.
There’s a war raging between Alistel and Granorg.
Stocke gets his hands on a special book, The White Chronicle, which allows him to travel between alternate timelines.
With the powers of this book, Stocke tries to resolve the conflict between nations, and save the world from looming danger.
Radiant Historia is a gaslight fantasy game with a unique premise.
Not many RPGs take the multiverse hopping mechanic and weave them into their narratives.
The story itself is compelling, and the timeline changing is a big part of why the game is so fascinating.
The battle system is also an interesting take on grid-based movement, giving you the chance to push enemies into prepared traps among other things.
It’s a wonderfully odd game, and well worth checking out.
#12. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Professor E. Gad has built a time machine.
There isn’t anything that could possibly go wrong right?
While presenting the machine to Princess Peach, an accident occurs, leaving the Princess trapped in the past, and alien invaders in the future.
Mario and Luigi must fix the broken time machine, rescue Peach, and restore the past.
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time carry on the wonderful tradition of Mario RPGs.
It’s a blend of traditional RPG elements and puzzle-solving in an isometric overworld.
Playing as the brothers in both their adult and baby forms, you utilize special moves and splitting the party up to solve puzzles and progress the story.
If you enjoyed any of the Mario RPGs, this one will be just as enjoyable.
#11. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
The Belmont family has disappeared.
With the passing of the famous vampire hunting family, society is panicking because now there is no one who could stop the inevitable return of Dracula.
To fill the vacuum left behind many groups were started, among those, The Order of Ecclesia.
The order begins a ritual to empower their chosen to fight, but the ritual is interrupted and the glyphs they were using were stolen.
As the order’s chosen, Shanoa is on a quest to retrieve the glyphs so that she can be prepared when Dracula returns.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is set after the end of Symphony of the Night and is directed by the Metroidvania master himself, Koji Igarashi.
He and his team were responsible for some of the most well-received Castlevania games in the entire franchise.
This game lives up to that reputation. It has a ton of varied locations, and the character sprite work is gorgeous.
They also introduce the Glyph system which adds a ton of variety to combat. It’s a great game that is just as strong as the previous entries.
#10. Pokemon Black Version
As is the tradition with Pokemon games, you are a trainer, bent of world domination.
Well, not world domination but you want to defeat the gym leaders of the Unova region, and become the Pokemon Champ.
Along the way, you’ll come across a plot hatched by Team Plasma, and all the while, fighting to fill out your Pokedex.
Pokemon Black Version has brought a bunch of improvements to the series and still has the addictive gameplay that made Pokemon a household name.
One of the biggest features is the Season system, which changes the season in game and effects what areas can be accessed as well as what Pokemon are available.
If you want to catch them all and fill out that Pokedex, you need to keep track of the seasons and visit areas frequently to grab the rarest ones you can.
The wireless capabilities of the DS were also a big design focus, and the way you can interact with other players had been enhanced greatly.
#9. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
A demon lord with ill intent has set in motion a plan decades in the making.
Five destined heroes from warring nations are set on a collision course that could uproot the world.
Will these five be able to fight against fate, or will they simply be tools for the demon lord?
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a hybrid of three distinct gameplay mechanics.
It’s part matching puzzle game, tactical battle, and RPG.
This unique blend of ingredients, it makes a truly amazing version of the classic Might & Magic franchise.
With multiple campaigns and an addictive gameplay loop that is simple to understand but entertaining to master, there is a lot here for RPG fans, strategy fans, and puzzle game fans alike.
#8. Pokemon White Version
The plot is essentially the same as the Black version.
You explore the Pokemon version of New York City, grabbing them sweet mons, and battling random trainers to beef yourself up enough to take on the gym leaders and thwart Team Plasma.
Pokemon White Version gives you access to different pokemon to catch, as well as its own legendary.
It’s basically just as awesome as Black, with all it’s animated pokemon sprites, seasonal changes and beefed up multiplayer.
It makes it easier than ever to try and fill out your Pokedex through trade, but you know you want both versions.
#7. Pokemon HeartGold Version
You’re just a kid from New Bark Town with dreams of being a Pokemon champion.
Grab your starter, travel the width and breadth of Johto and Kanto, and fight Team Rocket.
You know the drill.
The basics are the same, but this time Pokemon HeartGold Version is the bigger, better version of Pokemon Gold.
Your lead Pokemon will follow you around on the map screen so you can show it off, talk to it, and have it pick up free stuff for you.
Along with that new feature, it also brings a new minigame to the mix, the Pokeathalon that takes advantage of the DS touch screen.
#6. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
The Hero is a Celstrian, and angelic race tasked with protecting humanity, but something goes wrong, and you awake without your powers, but still, retain your memories.
You must quest to regain your powers, help humanity, and solve the mystery of the great earthquake that made you fall.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies allows an unprecedented amount of character customization than previous entries.
This extends to not only your basic appearance, but your character class, and your armor and weapons change based on what you equip as well.
The Dragon Quest franchise always brings a satisfying story and traditional RPG combat so it has something for any RPG fan to enjoy.
#5. The World Ends with You
You are dead, no big deal right?
You can offer up your most precious possession to enter “The Game” and try to either be brought back to life or transcend humanity itself.
You play as Neku, an antisocial NEET who must play “The Game”. Watch as he learns that there is more to death than selfishness and trying to win “The Game”.
The game mechanics for battles are based on fashion.
You can equip certain brands of clothing that are “in style” which will grant buffs to your character.
You can also manipulate the popularity of brands by battling and winning wearing that brand.
Battle itself takes place across both screens of the DS and your partner shares their life bar with you, so even if one takes no damage, you can still fall in battle.
With its unique gameplay and compelling story, The World Ends With You has become a cult hit for DS fans.
#4. Pokemon SoulSilver Version
It’s the twin of Pokemon HeartGold, and as such it’s got the same plot and story beats.
You grab your starter, truck around Johto and Kanto, and thwart Team Rocket’s wiles.
Get those badges and be the Pokemon champion.
It’s the same Pokemon you know and love.
While there isn’t any great deviation from the other game, Pokemon SoulSilver Version still allows you to catch a different set of Pokemon.
If you get bored grinding for Pokedex entries, you can enjoy some “Voltorb Flip” while listening to the Game Boy versions of the game’s music.
If you want to catch them all, you need to catch this game.
#3. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Soma is resting after his long adventure.
He believes that his powers are gone, but after being attacked by a cult member, seeking to return Dracula to the land of the living, Soma’s powers awaken.
He seeks out the cult’s base, a replica of Dracula’s castle in hopes of preventing them from resurrecting the dark lord.
The tactical soul system adds depth to the Castlevania formula, and you can use the souls you collect from monsters into a level editor that you can compete with your friends for the fastest clear time.
There’s also an extra mode unlocked after you beat the main story that allows you to play as a different character through Dracula’s castle.
There’s a ton of innovative mechanics and multiplayer options and DS touch screen uses.
This is one of the best Castlevania games ever made, so you need to play Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.
#2. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story
The Mushroom Kingdom has come down with “The Blorbs” a disease that is causing the Toads to inflate.
It’s all a plot to take over the kingdom hatched by the evil Fawful.
Fawful tricks Bowser into eating a “Vacuum Shroom” causing him to suck up Peach, the Mario Bros, and the start sprite Starlow.
The Bros must use Bowser’s body from the inside to defeat Fawful and save the Mushroom Kingdom from “The Blorbs”.
This game is one of the best Mario RPG games made.
It’s not every day that Bowser is the focus of a Mario game.
The DS screen is used well, having one screen showing Mario and Luigi’s perspective from inside Bowser, while the other shows the effect of their actions on Bowser himself.
The game is quirky and funny in the way that only Mario RPGs can be.
With the unique take on the usual tropes of Mario games, funny dialogue, and interesting gameplay, this is a Mario game that you shouldn’t miss.
#1. Chrono Trigger
Chrono is excited.
Today is the day of the Millenial Fair, a huge celebration that sees his village come together with a fantastic display of carnival games and food stalls.
His childhood friend is also unveiling her newest invention, and he wants to support her endeavor by helping to demonstrate the machine to a large crowd.
He meets a strange young girl at the fair and she joins him.
The demonstration goes horribly wrong when his new friend tries the machine, and sends Chrono on a journey through time.
He must save the mysterious girl, and consequently the world.
The DS remake of Chrono Trigger makes its own mark in a few different ways.
One is the obvious touchscreen elements, but what really makes this version stand out is the extra content.
They added a bunch of extra side quests, tightened up the already amazing script for the game and added a brand new ending.
Chrono Trigger is easily one of the best SquareEnix RPGs of all time, and being able to take it on the go to experience it anywhere is the cherry on top.
Are your favorite games on the list? Leave a comment below!
If you think there are games that should OR shouldn’t be on this list, let us know by leaving a comment below.
Deciding the best DS RPG is no doubt a little bit late since the handheld itself has been around for 10+ years, but it’s still absolutely exciting!