N-Eaction: DS Games on the Switch
Posted 11 Oct 2019 at 19:35 by Sam C Gittins
The success of the Switch certainly seems to have no end at this point, Nintendo have recently announced a variety of different games and applications for the console with the latest being Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training which we reported on only last week.
Originally the application was very successful on the Nintendo DS back in the day, which got us thinking that maybe re-releasing certain DS games is part of Nintendo's long-term strategy with the Switch. Of course both consoles are drastically different systems, though they do share some capabilities and in some cases the extra features of the Switch could benefit certain software while not being a good fit for games which would have originally required a dual-screen setup.
So this time we're looking at other potential DS games which could work on the Switch while also looking at the possible pitfalls of such a strategy, especially where this has been done before in relatively recent times but on the premise of the software having a very basic digital only re-release just a generation ago.
Let's find out which DS games should make the switch, if any at all.
Dennis Tummers - Staff Writer
"I loved my DS (still do!). It brought forth a generation of games that really did something new thanks to the dual screens and the touch input. It led to us playing games with touch input years before smartphones got big and touch-gaming really became mainstream. Games like Kirby Power Paintbrush and Yoshi’s Touch & Go can be played almost completely with the touchscreen, while other games like Metroid Prime Hunters and The World Ends With You blend touch controls with button input.
That last game already made the switch to the Switch. With Dr. Kawashima coming as well, the question is of course, will we see more DS games on the Switch? I don’t think I can give an accurate answer to that. I can answer the question: which DS games do you want on the Switch? My honest answer is: not that many!
Don’t get me wrong, the DS has some awesome games (as you can read in our community-voted DS Top 10). But the DS as a dedicated handheld does not have to run on a TV and therefore ports wouldn't work like they are meant on the Switch. I hear you saying, but there is a Switch Lite now, and that also does not run on a TV! True, but my point is that it will be difficult to port DS games that heavily rely on touch, as the Switch can run on a TV and you will need a control scheme that can work controller only.
Who wouldn't want to see the glorious Castlevania titles from the DS on their Switch?
Nintendo of course could launch a series of handheld-only games that heavily utilize touch. But that may lead to a whole lot of confusion. Can you imagine: We would have a Nintendo Switch that can play on a TV, but it will have games that can only be played in handheld due to touch controls. And we will have a Switch Lite that cannot be played on a TV, but can only play certain games with separate Joy-Cons.
I really wonder if Dr. Kawashima will be handheld only, or if it may have a TV mode in it. VOEZ, a rhythm game that first released as handheld only on the Switch later got a pretty forced TV mode, and it was apparent it just didn’t work as it was designed for touch input.
Does that mean I don’t want DS games on my Switch? Of course not. I would happily play games like the DS Castlevanias, or the excellent Elite Beat Agents again on a modern platform. I am still waiting for Nintendogs+Cats+Hamsters, although that could work wonders as a mobile game (unlockable pets, colour schemes and toys you can buy with rubies and coins, are you listening Nintendo? You can have my idea for just 1% of the revenue!).
Joking aside, I think the beauty of the DS came with the second touch screen, and it led to so many creative games. But porting these to the Switch will likely play less well (hello The World Ends With You Switch version) or come with concessions due to missing features. So instead Nintendo, dig up some of these good old DS franchises you left in the dust for a while and bring them back not as ports but as new games, and build them to fit the Switch’s exclusive features."
Glen O'Brien - Staff Writer
"At first, I disagreed with Dennis up above there, because I think the Switch could use some more touch screen games and the DS is chock-a-block with them. With Nintendo releasing an official stylus to co-incide with Brain Training, I thought now is the time for some Switch versions of these quirky titles.
The problem is, this comes with a whole bunch of issues. The biggest of which I think is that this capacitive stylus cannot be as accurate as the DS one. It's just how it is with the Switch's screen. Because of this, there would be some games that just wouldn't work without some serious overhauls. This would mostly apply to games that require quick, accurate stylus movements such as Elite Beat Agents or Pokémon Ranger. Which make up a surprising amount of the DS library. I would certainly like to see it happen, but I don't think it's very feasible to sink money into the work it would require. Especially if they have to compromise with some kind of forced TV Mode (Although I think just having a big massive disclaimer stating that the game is designed to be played in handheld mode would be enough)
Come on Nintendo, port a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game to the Switch today and make Glen as happy as Kecleon there above.
Because of that, you'd be limited to more slow paced, methodical games like Ace Attorney, although the first three of those games are already on Switch. Apart from that, all that is left are the games that don't really utilise touch controls. There's nothing wrong with those games for sure, but they don't really showcase some of the unique experiences you could only have on the DS.
So after some thought, I found myself changing my mind on this. The Switch isn't equipped to handle the weird stuff the DS had, and if I can't get a version of Another Code where you need to close your console to solve a puzzle, then I don't want another Another Code. Give me a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon remake though. I will shamelessly buy that very quickly."
Sam C Gittins - Staff Writer
"My fellow N-E staff members have already touched on which DS games would realistically work on the Switch, I'd say that I mostly agree with them as well, although the Switch does now have a stylus, it's something which only really has a use for a handful of games, software or even select modes within certain titles currently with very little scope for more; at the moment there's the Stage Maker in Super Smash Bros' Ultimate, making courses in Super Mario Maker and soon it seems we'll be able to do some Brain Training on it but beyond perhaps having some kind of art-based software such as Art Academy or the like, I'm not seeing a huge amount of possibilites on that front but with the popularity of the Switch Lite, who can say what might end up being released?
Looking back just a generation to the Wii U which although as ill-fated as it was actually offered the perfect setup for enjoying Nintendo DS games on the big screen thanks to the Gamepad with many titles being released via the Virtual Console. I found myself buying many titles such as the three Castlevania games which came out on the DS, the now very rare Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and it was where I got my first proper taste of the excellent Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. Personally, I think I'd want all of those games but on the Switch even though it only has one screen, so I suppose I'm not really making the best case for it here.
The three Dragon Quest remakes would seem to be an obvious fit but by that same token then why not have the 3DS titles on the Switch as well plus the DS exclusive ninth entry so that you have the majority of the franchise on the same console? This would be one less reason to own a 3DS but it would preserve Dragon Quest by making it playable on a more modern platform, though I can see the arguments both before and against doing something like that, plus it is nice for consoles to have their own exclusive versions of games in some cases.
What do you mean by "Oh of course Sam picks a Phantasy Star title which no one else is bothered about"? Yep, you know me too well.
What does that leave us with? Not a lot really... maybe some of the more nearly-forgotten Nintendo games on the DS such as Super Princess Peach might work with a bit of remapping, though in this day and age a game like that might not be the best choice as I can see how that would likely be received. Beyond that, I'd love to see Phantasy Star Zero get another shot, this time on a console which could offer proper controls within a 3D environment, though I admit that the appeal would be very niche indeed.
Perhaps this latest effort by Nintendo to bring back Brain Training is just another avenue for them to explore and we've just got to accept both the limitations of both consoles while acknowledging their strengths plus what they've done for the industry at their times of release. If there is ever a time which comes where a DS or even 3DS game makes sense to be re-released or remade on the Switch then that's something to look forward to, right now though the Switch has plenty of games as it is and so long as there are many working 3DS or DS systems around in addition to the small selection of digital titles for the Wii U, at least it won't be forgotten, hopefully continuing to be appreciated for many years to come."
Quite the range of potential DS titles which could see life again on the Switch, or realistically probably won't due to various factors but it's nice to dream at least! Which titles from the popular Dual-Screened handheld would you like to see on the single-screen Switch? Or would you prefer that Nintendo just mainly stick to making new Switch games? Surely there's at least one title you'd like to see again, even if only for the sake of nostalgia?
Leave us a comment below or join in with the discussion on our forum. We'll be back with another N-Eaction in the not too distant future.