The Best Nintendo DS Driving Games

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The successor to the Gameboy line of handhelds, the Nintendo DS brought on the go gaming to a whole new level. The improvements the DS made on the Gameboy formula are almost too many to list. From the touch screen, dual displays, and Gameboy Advance backward compatibility, the Nintendo DS was everything a mobile gamer could want in the early to mid-2000s. The library of games playable on the system was massive as well. While not all of these games were phenomenal, there are plenty of outstanding titles that are still worth playing to this day.

Driving games were one genre that the DS didn’t skimp on. From the classic Mario Kart DS to Need for Speed: Undercover, developers made the most out of the DS's limited hardware to offer gamers some of the best experiences possible on the go. If you are a driving game fan, the Nintendo DS is a great console to get your fix.

Mario Kart DS

When gamers think of the biggest driving or racing games on the Nintendo DS, Mario Kart DS is always the first that comes to mind. This is for good reason too, Mario Kart DS was easily one of the best in the series. Packed with a ton of new features for the series, there was nothing to dislike about this game.

The biggest new addition was online play -  despite no longer being active today, Mario Kart DS was the first in the series to allow players to connect and play together wirelessly. The second biggest notable inclusion was the mission mode. Mario Kart DS is the only game in the series to include this mode, which allowed players to fight bosses, complete objectives, and attack enemies. The rest of the game is the same fantastic Mario Kart formula, just crafted for the DS. Overall, Mario Kart DS is easily one of the best in the series and a must-have for DS owners.


Burnout Legends

At the height of its popularity, the Burnout series was known for some of the most action-packed driving mechanics players could ask for. Just like the rest of the games in the series, Burnout Legends is all about taking down other cars and driving at breakneck speeds. There are nine different modes to play, each offering additional rewards for driving fast and knocking out other drivers. One of the most exciting of these modes is the Pursuit mode, which allows the player to play as the police, offering them the chance to chase a high-speed racer and fight a boss.

While Burnout Legends is on inferior hardware compared to its predecessors, the developers made the most of what the DS had, and created one of the most exciting racers possible on a handheld, making it a must-play for DS owners.


Need for Speed: Undercover

A port of the PlayStation 2 classic, Need for Speed: Undercover is an awesome racing title with a massive amount of content for all types of racing fans. In Undercover, players take part in secret illegal street races across the world. Similar to Burnout, players can engage in police pursuits, evading cops while dodging obstacles and other racers.

By completing story missions and other records, players are able to unlock a variety of real-world licensed vehicles to drive how they please. These can include police cars, which can be souped up and become some of the fastest vehicles available. The DS port of this game is actually one of the best, giving players the Need for Speed experience on the go.


Speed Racer: The Videogame

Like much of the Nintendo DS’s library, Speed Racer: The Videogame was a movie tie-in that sold alongside the release of Speed Racer. Unlike other tie-in titles of the era, Speed Racer: The Videogame offers exciting gameplay rather than the other shovelware tie-ins. In this title, players assume the role of any of the 20 racers from the movie as they race on various different tracks from the movie.

A highlight of this game is the car-fu, which is the game's name for fighting other cars. Each vehicle has a couple of different abilities that allow the player to either move them out of the way or take them off the track completely. Speed Racer: The Videogame shines above many other movie tie-ins of the 2000s, offering DS owners an extremely exciting racer.


Asphalt: Urban GT 2

Developed by Gameloft in 2006, Asphalt: Urban GT 2 is an exciting and realistic racer that is best on the Nintendo DS. Building upon the first game, Asphalt: Urban GT 2 offers some much-needed improvements that make this sequel a joy to play. Featuring 50 real-world licensed cars and motorcycles, players will be driving through city streets, taking down opponents and escaping the police.

While the game looks like a realistic racer, the driving mechanics are actually more arcadey, leading to some strange turns and maneuvers. The player is able to unlock upgrades for their car, which they can soup up in the garage. All in all, Asphalt: Urban GT 2 is an exciting and fun racer that is worth getting if you have a Nintendo DS.


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  • February 4, 2021
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