The holidays are a magical time of the year. You suddenly find yourself on a break from school or work, which is great. What’s less great is the mass exodus to the airport or to the freeway. The holidays mean it’s time to see all the family members that you don’t get to see the rest of the year. Aunt Maud in Mississippi is going to love seeing you, so get your cheeks ready.
You, however, are not going to enjoy the five hour flight, change over, delay because of snow, and two hour drive to her house in traffic. If you’re as lucky as I am you’re experiencing this trek with two worrisome parents and two whiny younger siblings. What could possibly save your from this anecdotal nightmare? Handheld gaming.
Nintendo and Sony feel your pain. Traveling can suck but traveling with your Nintendo DS or your Sony PSP or even your iPhone or iPad can be a lot of fun. All you need are the right games and the trip from hell could be a holiday break to remember. These are some titles that are perfect for traveling whether it be by plane, train, or automobile. Here are Top DS games to travel with.
Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke have received a mysterious letter. The reason it’s so mysterious is because Luke sent the letter ... from the future! The letter tells of London in turmoil, a world I imagine is just like Blade Runner. The only way to set things right is to help Professor Layton prevent this eventual chaos.
The reason this game is perfect for traveling is because it’s full of puzzles. The Professor Layton series has always been known for its puzzles and in this installment Level 5, the game’s developer, added more puzzles and mini-games. No matter how many layovers you have this game will keep you entertained with brain-teasing challenges and a riveting story with time-travel and fake English accents.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini Land Mayhem
Mario and Donkey Kong have always made great travel buddies. Honestly, you could pick up any Mario game for your DS and experience at the very least mild entertainment. However, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini Land Mayhem is a brand-new adventure with tons of surprises. It seems that Mario and DK are at it again, for the fourth time actually. In this round Mario has opened up his own theme park. As an opening day gimmick he has decided to hand out Pauline dolls to the first 100 guests. I bet you can guess who the who 101st guest is. Donkey Kong just missed the prize and gets angry. He’s so mad that he just decides to steal the real Pauline.
Mario has to save Pauline from Donkey Kong’s evil clutches by chasing him through eight stages in the theme park. Each level has new obstacles and items for you to use like magnetic walls and firing-mini cannons. Engaging puzzles, familiar characters and silly gameplay will easily distract you from the “are we there yet?” mind-set.
Improve your vocabulary and be entertained? Go on. Scribblenauts is a unique game that allows you to simply think of a word, spell it and then that item appears for you to interact with. Dinosaur, zombies, bacon, boat, cheese ... there are 22,000 words in the game’s vocabulary for you to use. The main goal of the game is simple, get to the stars on screen. How you get to them is entirely up to you and your imagination.
Scribblenauts isn’t like any game you’ve played before. What looks like a platformer is actually a chance for you to get the whole backseat involved in trying to find the right word to help you reach that star. It’s easy to get stumped or run out of ideas, in cases like these, get the whole car involved.
Puzzle Quest 2
Anyone who has played a Puzzle Quest game knows it’s a surprisingly jam-packed experience with puzzles and RPG elements. Puzzle Quest 2 has mastered the concept of addictive puzzles. Get ready for some of the most intense “match-3” gameplay you’ve ever experienced.
If you’re new to the series don’t worry. While "RPG" and "puzzles" can sound intimidating, there is a tutorial system that will ease you into the gameplay. Puzzle Quest 2 isn’t weighed down by a heavy story you might expect from an RPG either. It’s an easy game to pick up at any time and play for 20 minutes or six hours.
WarioWare: D.I.Y. is the second WarioWare game for the DS and you can count on all the wackiness you can handle, and then some. The D.I.Y. in the title isn’t to be underestimated. Anything the game designers could do, you can do. You have free range to use the DS control, cameras and microphone to be as creative as you can be. If that sounds overwhelming, you’re in luck: the game also offers an amazing tutorial system that will make sure you’re designing like a pro in no time, which is great for traveling because you have nothing but time.
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of designing video games you’re going to love making your own microgames. You can use pre-made templates or custom art to begin creating. The game “dumbs down” the large task of making your own levels so well that I highly recommend creating a level and passing the DS down the aisle. Let your travel-companions play what you’ve created and then when they pass it back you can experience what they’ve made.
I’m sure you’ve traveled just as much as I have. What’s your favorite DS game to play while while traveling?