The 7 Best Puzzle Games on the Nintendo DS

Prepare yourself for optical illusions, number puzzles, and riddles

The Nintendo DS's stylus-driven interface makes the system ideal for mind-bending puzzle games. With the touch screen, brainteaser enthusiasts can scribble complex answers in the form of notes, numbers, shapes, and letters. As a result, the assortment of puzzle games available for the Nintendo DS is rich and varied. Here are seven most worthy puzzle games every DS player can enjoy.

"Meteos" was produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the developer behind the well-received puzzle game "Lumines" for the Sony PSP. "Meteos" continues Mizuguchi's legacy of top-quality puzzle games by keeping players on their toes, asking for quick reflexes as well as quick thinking. Players must match blocks on the bottom screen to launch piles of block “rockets” toward the top of the screen. If an unignited column of blocks touches the top screen, the game ends unless quick action is taken. The game's Tetris-inspired pedigree is obvious, but the large variety of gameplay options and a slick interface make it a new and obligatory puzzle experience for the DS.

"Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords" contains a story and elements common to role-playing and strategy games, so it's not solely a puzzle game. Regardless, this mixed breed is still a comfortable experience for puzzle fans, thanks in part to a combat system driven by a Bejeweled-based interface. As for the rest? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, though it's a safe bet you'll love the whole package.

"Planet Puzzle League" by Intelligent Systems and Nintendo is a pleasant and accessible puzzle game that involves matching up images. The title is part of Nintendo's “Touch Generations,” a label given to games that can be enjoyed by experienced and non-experienced gamers alike.

Most puzzle games offer you one type of puzzle throughout. "Professor Layton and the Curious Village" by Level-5 and Nintendo throws every kind of brain-busting riddle at you, one after another, as you wind through an engaging story about a mysterious town. Optical illusions, number puzzles, riddles, word games—prepare yourself for all of them if you decide to travel with the Professor.

Considered by some to be the best puzzle game ever made for the Nintendo DS, "Professor Layton and the Unwound Future" carries on in the tradition of its "Curious Village" predecessor. It has more than 165 new puzzles and riddles and new types of puzzles. It introduces the superhint feature to point toward puzzle solutions. The game has a large cast of non-player characters that match the gameplay and enrich the experience.

"Picross DS" is a puzzle phenomenon born in Japan. It can be described as part crossword, part Sudoku, and part doodle pad. Numbers on the horizontal and vertical axes of a grid hint at which blocks stay, and which blocks must be done away with. If you play your cards—blocks—correctly, a picture is your reward. It sounds confusing, but "Picross DS," published by Nintendo, eases you slowly into what is bound to become your next Tetris-grade addiction.

If you're comfortable with the two-dimensional puzzles in "Picross DS," try adding a new dimension. "Picross 3D" features the same picture-revealing number puzzles that make "Picross DS" a joy, but the 3D puzzles add a new level of challenge. Think of it as carving out an answer instead of drawing it. There are multiple difficulty settings, which gives beginners a place to start and a goal to strive for.

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