Forget local co-op and split-screen games on Nintendo DS
The Game Boy wasn’t the first handheld console on the market, but it was the most revolutionary of its kind. The same goes for the NES as it too broke the mould. Nintendo experimented with on-device multiplayer early on and continued to improve as the Game Boy line continued.
Dealing with cables is no fun, especially with a portable device. Who wants to carry extra cables? This is why the DS was so revolutionary that everything went wireless. Capacities increased tenfold with its successor, the 3DS. There are tons of great cooperative experiences that players can enjoy together offline or online for the DS which will be the focus instead. Gaming with multiple laptops isn’t technically couch co-op, but it does follow the same principles: having fun with a buddy.
8 Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow
Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow is an action RPG spin-off of the original turn-based game. It is a sequel that allows players to customize their character for future adventures in this universe. The other big departure for this series was the inclusion of multiplayer.
A total of three people can play co-op throughout the campaign and make things easier. There was also an RTS spin-off on the DS, Blue Dragon Plusand then that was all for the blue dragon series.
seven Castlevania: Portrait of the Ruin
Castlevania: Portrait of the Ruin was the second Castlevania game to hit the DS, and it was also a traditional Metroidvania. Most handheld games in this series at that time had a gimmick in addition to some touch mechanics. Instead of a character, players could swap between Jonathan and Charlotte on the fly.
In co-op, the other player would take control of the other hero. It’s the only handheld game in this series to have true campaign co-op, which is good for this game but bad for the series as a whole. There should be more cooperation Castlevania experiences.
6 Cons 4
Contra was apparently designed as a series to play with a friend. The series started in arcades and although possible on its own, a partner made it easier and also made the machine consume less coins. Most games in the series have included at least two-player co-op options.
This is even true for Cons 4 which adapted wireless connectivity for classic co-op racing and gun-toting action on the go. This game would still have been a nice throwback as a single-player game, though. The cooperative inclusion was still appreciated.
5 Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Sky
Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Sky was the first mainline game in this series to include true multiplayer. It was also the first that allowed players to customize their avatars. It supported four-player co-op and had a random map system similar to how SpotPass items worked with the 3DS a few years later.
This classic RPG was ahead of the game at the time on a portable level. It’s a shame that this exact multiplayer conceit hasn’t been revisited in the mainline games because unless one wants to count Dragon Quest 10 which is an MMO.
4 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates was the first DS sequel to this action spin-off series. It was a better idea of what the original game had in mind on the GameCube. Because there were no cables involved, throwing a four-player party was much simpler on the DS.
Also, the need to constantly have a party member as a bucket carrier to defuse the mist has been removed. It was a simpler experience for the better. Its sequel, Echoes of timealso worth checking out for more four-player co-op goodness.
3 Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days was the series’ first foray into multiplayer. It was an interquel that took place around the first, second and spin-off game, chain of memories. Players started with Roxas while he was still in Organization 13.
Missions were short, taking place in a variety of familiar worlds. Players could team up with three other players online who could control any of the other 13 Organization members as long as they were unlocked. It was a neat idea that was held back by DS hardware limitations such as its lack of buttons or a dedicated camera stick.
2 Kirby Super Star Ultra
The Kirby the games are some of the easiest in Nintendo’s library. Even the bosses don’t offer much of a challenge. This is good because it allows young players, or those less talented, to dip their toes into the platforming genre. While many games that allow two players to play Kirby Super Star Ultra collecting does not need cooperation to be easier, the feeling of having a friend with you is fun.
This collection is an enhanced port of the SNES original, kirby superstar. It looks pretty much the same graphically, but a few extras, like mini-games, have been added.
1 Phantasmal Star 0
phantom star was a niche RPG series in its early days. Mainline games have never reached the heights of Final Fantasy in the West. It’s up to Star Fantasy Online was introduced and became a multiplayer phenomenon, especially on GameCube. Many sequels and spinoffs have attempted to recapture the magic as Phantasmal Star 0.
It was also an action RPG that allowed for four-player co-op. Missions were shorter and therefore easier to play on the go. It wasn’t as revolutionary as Phantasy Star Online, but it carried the torch admirably well for a laptop.
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