Top 5 Superhero Games on the Nintendo DS

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The Nintendo 3DS XL
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Cartoon heroes and video games are bred from the same fantastical stock. They work well together, like peanut butter and jelly, like nuts and bolts, like Batman and the Joker--okay, scratch that last bit. The Nintendo DS is home to some of the best superhero games you can buy. It’s one thing to sit back and stuff popcorn into your face while you watch your heroes splash across the screen: it’s another to actually work and interact with them in a game.

Here are five of the best superhero games you can play on the Nintendo DS and/or Nintendo 3DS. Make sure you pay attention to the ESRB Ratings marked on each title:

Marvel Superhero Squad

Marvel Superhero Squad
Marvel Superhero Squad. Image © THQ

(2009, Beat-em-Up, Nintendo DS, Rated E10+) – Marvel’s superheroes are some of the most iconic characters in comic history, so seeing the Avengers and X-Men as adorable super-deformed cartoons will almost certainly make you double-take. Marvel Superhero Squad has a retro, tongue-in-cheek presentation that won’t blow your mind if you’re looking for a serious superhero saga to sit down with, but its basic beat-em-up action is great for younger fans of the Marvel universe. Players can even engage in a “Battle Mode” that offers a Marvel-flavored take on Nintendo’s classic brawling series, Super Smash Bros Melee.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Image © Warner Bros. Interactive

(2010, Action, Nintendo DS, Rated E10+) – Batman comes in many flavors. While the movies give us a grim-faced Caped Crusader who hunts down criminals like a shark trailing its prey, Batman: The Brave and the Bold offers a much more light-hearted take on the Dark Knight. In the Nintendo DS game based on The Brave and the Bold, Bats teams up with Plastic Man, Aqua Man, or Red Tornado to take down the likes of Catwoman, Scarecrow, and the Joker. If you have the Wii version of the game, you can even use your Nintendo DS to connect to the Wii and interact with the game as the impish Bat Mite.

Lego Batman
Lego Batman. Image © Warner Bros. Interactive

(2008, Action/Adventure, Nintendo DS, Rated E10+)Lego Batman for the Nintendo DS is a lighthearted action/adventure game set in the Lego universe. Like all the games based on the Lego franchise, there are elements of construction and destruction: Batman beats up bad guys, makes ‘em shatter like so many plastic bricks, and uses Lego blocks to construct items and vehicles to get him out of trouble. What really makes Lego Batman shine, though, is the ability to play through levels as Batman and Robin, or the series’ most notorious villains. The levels change completely depending on whether you play for the light side or the dark side, so Lego Batman is one superhero game you can get a lot of mileage out of.

Ultimate Spider-Man DS

Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate Spider-Man. Image © Activision

(2005, Action, Nintendo DS, Rated E10+)Ultimate Spider-Man DS is an oldie, but a goodie. Players switch perspectives between Spider-Man and Venom while the story winds through a past that’s shared by Peter Parker and Venom’s host, Eddie Brock. The game is heavy on action, and its shaded cartoon visuals pay respectable tribute to its comic book origins.

Astro Boy: Omega Factor
Astro Boy: Omega Factor. Image © Sega

(2004, Beat-em-Up, Game Boy Advance, Rated E)Astro Boy: Omega Factor is a Game Boy Advance game, so if you find a copy, you’ll only be able to play it on a GBA, an original Nintendo DS, or a Nintendo DS Lite. If you do happen to find a copy of the game, however, make sure you pick it up: it’s one of the best superhero games available on any game system, period. Astro Boy: Omega Factor is a beat-em-up title that stars Astro Boy, one of the most iconic characters created by late manga-ka Osamu Tezuka. Astro isn’t the only Tezuka character to make an appearance, however. If you’re at all familiar with Tezuka’s works, you’ll meet up with a lot of familiar animals, robots, and people that all interact in a colorful and touching backstory.