Nintendo DS / 3DS games to local multi-play with my non-gamer partner?
October 21, 2013 6:19 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I just got shiny new Nintendo 2DSs (which can play all DS and 3DS games) and would like suggestions for story-driven, not-too-difficult games that can be fully enjoyed via local multi-play.

The purchase was driven in part by a desire to cooperatively play through Dragon Quest IX, which I had mistakenly thought was "totally" multiplayer--but it isn't. A pretty good run-down of the obstacles to completing the game cooperatively can be found here.

I want to do my research this time and get some games we can play all the way through as a team. Anything from as far back as the first DS releases is fair game! Neither of us has owned a non-PC game system since I bought a GBA in 2002. Thanks in advance guys!


Here's some research I've done so far:

Already owned:
Dragon Quest IX (Great game, but not really meaningfully multiplayer for the story portions, only for grinding)
Mario Kart 7 (Multiplayer for sure, but competitive and not co-op. The internet says it destroys friendships?)
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (We only have one copy of this so far. Seems a little thematically ... dopey, for my taste, but supposedly brings people closer and is maybe the best multiplayer DS / 3DS game?)

Resident Evil Revelations (Is there simultaneous multi-play or is it back-and-forth by chapters?)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles "Echoes" (2009; How's the multi-play?)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles "Fates" (2007; supposedly slightly better game overall than Echoes? Again, how's the multi-play?)
Phantasy Star 0 (But ... there's apparently a tentacle rape scene?!)
Mario Party Island Tour (Not available quite yet. Probably not great for story, but assumably streamlined for local multi-play?)
Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks (Supposedly has a "Four Swords" style multiplayer according to this Kotaku article)

Less promising:
Worms 2 Open Warfare (No story? Is multi-play even available?)
New Super Mario Brothers 2 (Competitive, not cooperative? Way too action-y.)
Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon (Multi-play limited to "Scarescraper" mode only)
Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass (No multiplayer in story mode; "Battle Mode" only)
Code of Princess (Too action-y? Exploitative cheesecake art style?)
posted by The Minotaur to Shopping (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The new Pokemon games are the only reason I've ever wanted a DS.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:44 PM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Animal Crissing is kinda dopey but room for minor world building & cornering the turnip market. :-)
posted by tilde at 6:53 PM on October 21, 2013

Best answer: Monster Hunter is not story driven, but is very popular in my group for its local multi-player features.
posted by hworth at 7:21 PM on October 21, 2013

Best answer: Daigasso Band Brothers is import-only, but will work just fine in the DS and is *fantastic* if you don't mind MIDI-sounding music.

Kirby Superstar Ultra: I haven't played the co-op, but the single player was good fun.

The Adventures of Cookies & Cream is interesting, though hard to find.

I think Advance Wars: Days of Ruin and Elite Beat Agents had local co-op, but I could be wrong about that.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Bomberman, Lego Star Wars, Phantasy Star Zero, Puyo Pop Fever, and Children of Mana are said to be solid (though I haven't tried, and I think you both need cartidges for Children of Mana).

If you have a DSi, there's the downloadable Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:18 PM on October 21, 2013

Best answer: Animal Crossing is ... look, you just have to play it. When I first saw Wild World being played on a DS many years ago, I thought it was a dumb game and I posed the question of the player, "Why would you even spend time on that???" The game was passed my way. I created a character. And next thing I knew, I had to have my own town, and my own DS, and a second town, and actually a second DS as well. It went so far that by the end I was playing simultaneously in three towns on three DSes at one time.

It's a very good game. It's delicious. You will love it. It is the best partner activity ever. Plus you can catch a coelacanth.
posted by brina at 8:08 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have a DSi, there's the downloadable Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure

That would probably be perfect, but it's no longer available.
posted by zixyer at 8:42 AM on October 22, 2013

Response by poster: Hi everyone--thanks for the additional game suggestions. And yes, we'll definitely be co-oping through AC in no time I'm sure, despite its glaring omission of weaponry AFAICT.

I want to clarify that my main problem isn't that I can't find some games that seem promising for co-op play; it's that, once I identify promising titles, it's very hard to find specific information about whether the co-op portion constitutes a full, interesting experience or if it's just a small piece of the whole game. For our situation, assume neither of us will spend any time in the single-player mode.

If anyone has experience playing any of the games listed above and can give a definitive up-or-down vote, I'd be thrilled. Thanks again!
posted by The Minotaur at 9:41 AM on October 22, 2013

Animal Crossing New Leaf: despite its glaring omission of weaponry

Axe - cut down trees
Slingshot - shoot down treasure-laden balloons
Shovel - bury treasure, dig up treasure, plant trees, dig up pit seeds and use to make traps for other players (not NPCs), pop balloons
Net - catch bugs, pop balloons
Fishing rod - beat unlikable citizens until they leave town*, fish for fish and garbage unless you pass the clean town ordinance
Wet suit - dive for underwater animals


So as mayor of town, you have to run around doing things for a few days to bring your satisfaction rating up. Pulling weeds, selling things to Re-Tail, donating things to the museum, watering plants. Gifting things back and forth to the residents - bugs, fish, furniture.

Then you can start building. Bridges, lamp posts, clocks, benches, camping area, statuary.

As you buy and sell in town, you can expand your house, join HHA and decorate your house to get points, visit other houses in HHA to buy their stuff.

As you buy and sell in town, your stores get bigger - you get a gardening shop, shoe store, dream suite, hair salon, club 101 to get jokes and expressions and music added in exchange for fruit and visits.

You can have a coffee shop and work in the shop, playing a mini game to fix coffee for citizens and earn coffee beans.

You can go visit the tropical island to get more things to sell and add to the museum by fishing, bug catching, flower plucking, fruit picking, deep sea diving. You can play "tour" mini games catching fish, earning tokens and using tokens to buy wet suit and tropical clothes.

Right now, with only one game, you can't coooperate. However, with two games and two DS, you'd be mayors of your own towns, and open the gates to visit each other's towns to play in a town or on the island cooperatively (both of you team catching fish for example).

Perfect fruit will be native to each of your towns. They sell for a bit in your town, mucho bells in the other person's town. As you visit with people and places you get more varieties of fruit and they sell for more in your town, or extra more if it's buying a premium at Re-tail that day (changes daily - can be more than one item).

If you set up the play pass thing and walk aaround with/near people with the same game and play pass set up with your DS in sleep mode, you get more points and crap not sure how that works - but I'll see more items buying at a special price on days I 'meet' people.

There are also mini games once a month like an all day bug catching tourney or fishing tourney. Turn in progressivly larger items to win more and more prizes (never turn in your biggest one first!).

There are wandering visitors who set up in the plaza to tell fortunes and buy art you can donate to the museum.

That's all I've run into, but only been playing with my kids a few weeks.

*actually you can petition to make someone move, but I've not done it. There is no violence in the game AFAICT
posted by tilde at 8:41 AM on October 23, 2013

Although the main game's not cooperative in the way you want, the exploring and trading part of Pokémon is lots of fun to share with a partner. Not to mention pitting your favourites against each other to prove which is best. Ahem. Just for fun, of course!
posted by danteGideon at 3:23 PM on October 23, 2013

Best answer: Heroes of Ruin is a so-so Diablo-like, but it's designed to be played cooperatively. (see page 2 of the linked review for a run-down). No one's mentioned Kokuga, which is a download-only shmup that (apparently? I haven't played it) supports co-op play throughout.

But yeah, I think New Leaf and Monster Hunter are probably your best bets.
posted by aparrish at 6:21 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

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