Posted tagged ‘nintendo ds’

Best rhythm games on the Nintendo DS


If there is any genre of games that I love with a passion, it is definitely rhythm games. There is  something strangely exhilarating about tapping with the beat or “playing along” with a great track – I am a real junkie for this kind of stuff, which is why I decided to compile a list of the best rhythm games available on the Nintendo DS as of writing. The DS is infamous for getting a lot of shovelware games, and the rhythm section is no exception. There are some really horrible attempts to profit off of the Guitar Hero and DDR franchises. But let’s not focus on that – let us instead focus on some of the best handheld rhythm games today.

#4: Ontamarama
Ontamarama is a Rhythm game by Japanese game developer Atlus and interestingly the only game on the list that is available in English! The gameplay revolves around tapping spirits called “Ontoma” with your stylus to fill up notes and then press the corresponding button on your D-pad in time with a rolling track. Even though this game is clearly marketed for children it’s very demanding and requires some serious multi-tasking. The game flopped on the american market with only around 30,000 copies sold, which is a shame because the game is really fun.  Gameplay video below!


#3: Taiko no Tatsujin DS and Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS
I guess you could call Taiko no Tatsujin a “drum simulator” for the DS. By controlling a taiko drum with one or two special styluses on the bottom screen of the DS you can drum your way through a wide array of music. The makers of the game have really tried to get every musical genre in there, with everything from classical pieces to country. The concept works fairly well, but to be frank the game does get very easy after a while, with only two different “moves” even the hardest pieces become fairly simple. Gameplay video below!


#2: Rhythm Tengoku Gold (a.k.a. Rhythm heaven Gold)
Rhythm Tengoku Gold is the second game in the Rhythm Tengoku installment (the first one being for the GBA) and is a rhythm game from the makers of Wario Ware and features a wide collection of  rhythm-based mini games where you tap, slide and flick your way through all kinds of interesting and often slightly bizarre scenarios. It has a wide following in Japan with over one million cartridges sold, and is relatively import-friendly. Some of the mini games can be quite a pickle to understand the first time around, but the game lets you practice until you get the hang of it before  you are playing  “the real deal”.  Enjoy the commercial/gameplay video below.


#1: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2
If you are a rhythm game buff or an avid importer you probably saw this one coming, it’s the rhythm game that was so popular it spawned a western counterpart, Elite Beat Agents – which you may include into this ranking if you liked the song selection and style changes that they made. The game mechanics were unique at the time of the release of Ouendan and the usage of the touch screen still impresses today. The gist of the story is that you are the Ouendan, a team of cheerleaders whose mission is to help people in distress by cheering for them. The game is extremely import-friendly and you’re guided through each story by colorful images on your quest to help all of the lovable characters. Gameplay sample is to be found below.


Honorable mention #1: Jam Sessions
While not a rhythm game in its true form, Jam Sessions turns your DS into a portable guitar and allows you to easily come up with beautiful chord progressions whether you’re on the bus or in your own bed. Besides, the commercials for the game were awfully raunchy (and that’s always a plus, right?) Just take a look at the one below.


Much better than the G-rated stuff they put out afterwards…


…and a “gameplay” video to finish it off…


Honorable mention #2: Korg DS-10
Music creation on handhelds has always been confined to the kind of boring “block”-type games that just let you match up predefined sounds and drums the way you wanted them. Let’s just say it allchanged with the Korg DS-10.

Pirates who pirate from pirates…


A few months ago I tried to code for the PSP in C, and whilst I never actually produced anything of interest it was a very interesting experience, and so I decided to try programming for the DS using DevKitPro. (And completely coincidentally also allow me to play one of the most unique rhythm games ever released.) So I went by my local store and purchased a DS, but besides the DS I also needed a “flashcart”, which allows for booting homebrew creations and game backups from a (usually) microSD card that is inserted into the cartridge. As I was checking out a few stores for possible choices I was dumbfounded by the ginormous (Yes it’s a word!) amount of different flash carts, and as I read more about them I was slightly amused about the entire business of flash carts for the DS. You see, the gist of it all is the following:

In order to allow booting of homebrew and backups, the flashcarts mimick the behaviour of a regular nintendo DS game and then execute an exploit in the dashboard to allow booting to it’s own custom kernel and menu, which then acts as a launcher for all of the media which is loaded onto the microSD card. Judging by the massive lawsuit that Nintendo and 54 other companies has brought upon the distributors of the R4 flashcart, they are not pleased with the development. Now the gist of the gist is that a particular flashcart is only as good as its kernel – good kernels play many backups and homebrew, and lesser kernels suffer from random crashes and bad compatibility. And what’s interesting is that while there are enough different flashcarts to take a bath in, there are only a handful of different kernels. Yes – many flashcart makers steal kernels, some by creating clones with a different name and firmware with a minimal set of differences (such as a new skin) and some by simply creating hardware which is compatible with the original company’s kernel. (An example of identification of a fake flash cart is shown below, courtesy of


Since these companies do not have to spend time and money on building a kernel, their flashcarts – while sometimes inferior in build quality are considerably cheaper than the originals, and guess what? The makers of the original flashcarts and kernels aren’t happy! Some have even gone to draconian methods such as threatening to include software that will permanently damage a fake card and accompanying memory card!

Seeing a pattern here?

I personally find it quite entertaining that people who basically condone to piracy are just as angry when their intellectual property is stepped on. What do you think? Leave a comment and let the world know!