The 8 best horror games on the Nintendo DS
The Nintendo DS introduced touchscreen controls to the mainstream and became one of the most accessible consoles ever. Casual gamers could easily pick...
The Nintendo DS introduced touchscreen controls to the mainstream and became one of the most accessible consoles ever. Casual gamers could easily pick it up to play games like "Brain Age" and "Nintendogs" or delve into deeper titles like "The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass."
Although the DS is loaded with amazing titles, it received only a handful of horror games. Despite the limited number, many games found clever ways to utilize the console's dual screens and touchscreen controls. Here are the best horror games you can try on the DS if you're not afraid to be just a stylus away from a frightening moment.
Updated on September 24, 2023, by Kyle Chamaillard: While not many horror games were developed for the DS, the console became so popular towards the end of its lifespan that practically every genre found its place on it. We have decided to update this list and include a few more hidden gems that might give you goosebumps if you play them at night.
8 Castlevania: Order Of Ecclesia
Although the Castlevania series is not known for being terrifying, the dark environments and creepy monsters feel like they belong in a spooky book you read before bed. Out of the three handheld titles for the DS, Order of Ecclesia contains the most tension and fear as you navigate eerie environments and search for your memories and lost villagers.
An essential element of the occasionally unsettling journey is the excellent soundtrack of Order of Ecclesia. Slow, hypnotic melodies paint a picture of doom and mystery as you travel between locations and face terrifying bosses. You may not experience unpredictable jump scares, but the game's atmosphere is eerie enough to linger with you even when you're not playing it.
7 Aliens: Infestation
It's hard to believe, but there are more games set in the Alien universe than movies. Many of them don't reach the same heights as the original film trilogy, but some titles, such as Aliens: Infestation for the DS, perfectly capture the tension and terror of being trapped on a ship with a Xenomorph.
Developed by WayForward in 2011, Infestation is a traditional Metroidvania game set after the events of Alien 3. Aside from the deadly aliens, one of the most frightening aspects of this game is its unique permadeath mode. You start the game with a group of four marines - and can find more along the way - but if all of them die, the game is over. Infestation is undoubtedly one of the best Alien games and will keep you on your toes until the credits roll.
6 Touch The Dead
Rail shooter arcade games like Time Crisis and House of the Dead are not as prominent as they used to be, due to their linear design and lack of replayability. However, it can still be fun to dive into them from time to time. Most of them require you to aim a light gun at a screen to shoot enemies. Touch The Dead, on the other hand, uses the stylus to eliminate hordes of zombies as they approach you.
In addition to using the D-pad to switch weapons, Touch The Dead requires you to exclusively use the touchscreen to survive. It's not the best-looking or most rewarding game on the console, but if you're looking for a nostalgic return, it is one of the few rail shooter horror games available.
5 Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
Resident Evil is one of the most successful franchises in the survival horror genre and has been present on Nintendo consoles since 1998. To celebrate the series' tenth anniversary, Capcom decided to port the original game to the DS, with some new modes and subtle but innovative changes.
While the story remained unchanged, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence helped modernize the original game by introducing a quick-turn feature and the ability to skip door-opening animations. It also utilizes the DS's second screen to display the map at all times, which can be extremely useful when you're running away from a Hunter, for example.
4 Dementium: The Ward
There are very few truly scary games on the DS, but Renegade Kid's Dementium abandons the console's family-friendly reputation for an exciting and chilling adventure. Originally pitched as a Silent Hill game to Konami, Dementium follows an amnesiac man's attempt to escape from a rundown hospital filled with terrifying monsters.
Like most survival horror games, you must defend yourself against enemies and solve puzzles to escape this nightmare. Dementium surprisingly has great graphics for a DS title, which enhances the overall chilling experience. Ultimately, it is a short adventure, but one you won't forget easily.
While Dementium is the perfect choice for fans of violence and fear-inducing exploration, Theresia offers a more subtle but psychologically disturbing type of horror. You must navigate through two different stories in this visual novel to uncover the dark secrets and puzzles hidden within it.
Theresia begins as a young woman named Leanne wakes up in an unfamiliar environment with no memories. As she explores the area and avoids traps, Leanne slowly discovers who she is and what is happening. Theresia's eerie aesthetics and disturbing narrative are unique, and after completing the main game, you can also experience a prequel that expands upon the lore of its world.
2 Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
Most horror games on the DS are rather straightforward in their premise and gameplay, but Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors - often referred to as 999 - offers a rich and thrilling story that is full of twists. Created by Kotaro Uchikoshi, this visual novel follows nine strangers who awaken on a boat and become involuntary participants in an extremely deadly game.
Each character wears a bracelet with a number on it and must work together to solve a series of puzzles and figure out who brought them all together. Anyone who refuses to play by the rules suffers a cruel fate, and some of your new friends are quite selfish and will do anything to escape. Every decision you make, from choosing your collaboration to the places you explore, influences your game and leads you to one of six endings.
1 Dementium 2
Shortly after the surprising success of Dementium, Renegade Kid quickly started developing the sequel. Dementium 2 not only offers a more cohesive and extensive gaming experience than its predecessor, but it is also much scarier and much more fun to play.
Dementium 2 addresses any major weaknesses of the original title and introduces new gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to jump or crouch to dodge or explore. With the same protagonist (poor guy) as in the first game, you must once again escape from a hospital and its hidden nightmares. Dementium 2 is not only the best horror game on the DS but also one of the few games on this list - aside from 999 - that was later ported to the PC. This allows you to play it without having to dig up everyone's favorite handheld from the mid-2000s.