The hardest games to beat on Nintendo DS and 3DS

Nintendo is known for making groundbreaking handheld consoles that always come with meticulously crafted titles. That’s why the DS and 3DS sold like hotcakes, with the former being one of the most popular consoles of all time. The amount of quality games on these two handhelds is mind-boggling and proves why Nintendo is at the top when it comes to this particular market.

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While most games on DS and 3DS are fairly accessible, that’s not to say these handhelds don’t have their fair share of challenging experiences that will push you over the edge. The following titles are some of the most difficult games on these consoles, proving that the myth surrounding Nintendo’s emphasis on “easy” games is nothing more than a hoax.


ten NINTENDO DS: Trauma Center: Under the Knife

Trauma Center is one of the most underrated game franchises. The series combines facets of a visual novel with surgical simulation gameplay that is pretty awesome.

The first game, Trauma Center: Under the Knife, is considered by many to be one of the most difficult games on DS. The operations have to be downright perfect, otherwise you’ll be watching a game more often than not.


Gamers love the challenging platformers that push them to the limit with their tight and satisfying mechanics. Such is the case with VVVVVV, a game where death is pretty much a given at almost every stage.

Flipping the game’s gravity and trying to navigate tricky game stages can be very engaging. Finally, finishing the game after dying countless times is a hugely satisfying feeling that proves why people love this underrated platformer so much despite its many moments of rage.

8 Nintendo DS: Advance Wars: Dual Strike

Advance Wars is one of the best tactical franchises in Nintendo’s console lineup. The games feel light enough…until you experience the grueling strategic gameplay for yourself.

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No other game personifies the tenacity of these games than Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Players must have the best strategies to defeat their opponent, with the AI ​​also having its own nasty tricks.

seven NINTENDO 3DS: Shin Megami Tensei 4

The Shin Megami Tensei series is known to be one of the most hardcore JRPG franchises around. Most people who have entered the Persona series and want to experience its parent franchise will indeed be a rather unpleasant shock.

Shin Megami Tensei is known for having one of the toughest bosses at the start of the game. Defeating Minotaur is no easy task, and that’s just a taste of what the later stages have in store for a player. player in distress who came through this encounter narrowly.

6 NINTENDO DS: Elite Beat Agents

The Nintendo DS touch screen allowed certain gameplay loops to play a major role on this console. As a result, many great rhythm games made their way onto this console and ended up being quite fascinating.

One such title is Elite Beat Agents, which is truly one of the most challenging games on the handheld. You’ll need to be downright perfect with your inputs to get through most of the game’s stages without tearing your hair out.

5 NINTENDO 3DS: Donkey Kong Country returns in 3D

Donkey Kong is one of Nintendo’s iconic characters that needs no introduction. With Mario taking more emphasis on its lineup of excellent 3D platforming, Donkey Kong had to do something different to set itself apart from this title.

This was handled by making Donkey Kong platforms as difficult as possible. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a great example of this, with each level (especially those involving those pesky mining carts) being a huge challenge where players will need to make near-perfect jumps to succeed.

4 NINTENDO DS: Rhythm Heaven

Another rhythm game for DS makes its way onto the list in the form of Rhythm Heaven. In this game, you have to go through several rhythm-based mini-games which become more and more complex over time.

That every mini-game requires near-perfect timing to succeed is established from the first stage itself. Players will have to adapt to the strict schedules of this title in order to get through most encounters just in time.

3 NINTENDO 3DS: Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest

It was only a matter of time before a Fire Emblem game made it onto this list, given the game’s challenging strategic combat nature. With the threat of permadeath looming over players time and time again, it’s easy to see why each encounter becomes so intense and grueling.

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The best example of this is Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, which is easily the more difficult of the two Fates versions that have been released. Conquest’s battles are quite unique, with each encounter bringing its fair share of caveats that make it so incredibly difficult…and also quite satisfying when you manage to get through those tough fights without losing valuable units.

2 Nintendo DS: Final Fantasy 4

For what it’s worth, Final Fantasy 3 could have made this list with its fair share of old school sensibilities. However, it’s the intense difficulty jump present in the DS Remake of Final Fantasy 4 that makes it such a worthy contender for this list.

You’ll have to fight your way through each grueling encounter and gain enough levels to stand a chance against the game’s many bosses. Final Fantasy 4 is a classic in its own right, and this remake has allowed many other players to experience themselves the brilliance of this title… albeit with increased difficulty.

1 NINTENDO 3DS: Monster Hunter Generations

Another worthy contender for this list is just about any game in the Monster Hunter series. The release of Monster Hunter World helped attract many fans for these games, who realized that hunting monsters can be an incredibly difficult undertaking.

Monster Hunter Generations is a great game on 3DS that was harder than ever. You had to plan each T-hunt to have a chance of winning, especially when it came to some of the most powerful monsters in the game.

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