Best Nintendo DS Games for Girls
Fun NDS Games Girls Love
Nintendo has a strong reputation as a family video game brand, so it's only natural we have many games for families with young gamers. The DS, especially, has an abundance. Finding the best games for a particular age group can be difficult and time consuming.
I've put together this list based on my family's experience, featuring fun, highly-recommended, and top-rated games sure to delight and entertain the little girl gamers in your life.
Note: DS games work on all Nintendo DS systems including DS Lite, DSi, 3DS, and the new Nintendo 2DS.
Games For Girls Ages 2-6
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan
In Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: New Year's Celebration, players can help Kai Lan bring in the Chinese New Year.
The game offers two modes: Story Mode, and Free Play. Story mode is set up like an episode of the show, taking the player through Kai Lan's day as she gets ready for the New Year's celebration. Free Play allows players to participate in their choice of activities.
The game characters give directions verbally, perfect for non-readers. Gameplay is appropriate for beginning gamers.
Dora and Kai-Lan's Pet Shelter
In Dora and Kai-Lan's Pet Shelter, players help Dora and Kai Lan take care of lost pets and find their families. Activities include vet check ups, bathing, feeding, grooming, training, and dress-up.
Gameplay is kept appropriate for preschoolers and non-readers, requiring very little parental help for little gamers to have a blast with their favorite Nick Jr friends.
Dora the Explorer: Dora Puppy
Dora Puppy is a virtual pet game for the youngest gamers. Of all the pet games my kids have owned, it is, by far, the best for this age group.
Features: 10 different activities including: Caretaking, Puppy play, Training and Dress up. Caretaking includes feeding, bathing, and grooming. Activities to play with puppy include: fetch, hide and seek, tug of war, and bubble popping.
At 2 1/2 and 3 years old, my little ones loved taking care of their puppies, and rarely needed to ask for help.
Nickelodeon Team Umizoomi & Dora's Fantastic Flight
Adventure awaits with Nickelodeon Team Umizoomi & Dora's Fantastic Flight. Players help Dora, Boots, Geo, Milli, and Bot explore a range of environments in search of the missing pieces of an airship, power it, and set off across the sky.
While they're having fun, preschoolers are also picking up Pre-K and Kindergarten skills as they practice number recognition, identifying shapes, problem-solving, and completing patterns.
Pinkie Pie's Party
Pinkie Pie's Party is a simple and engaging title for the youngest my Little Pony fans. There is some text, but the important points and goals are explained in narration as well, enabling non-readers to play on their own.
Players can explore Ponyville, visit familiar sites like the Sweet Shop, Star Song's bus, and Pinkie Pie's Balloon House, and play with Pinkie Pie and her friends in 8 mini games as they get ready for and celebrate a very special pony's birthday.
Most recommended for kids 3-5 years old.
Games for Girls 6-8 +
Super cute virtual puppies!
The Nintendogs DS games are adorable fun for all ages, with realistic puppies to walk, train, and care for. They can even enter competitions for trophies and prize money. Playing with and caring for their puppies is easy enough for non-readers but mine, at age four, sometimes dissolved into tears if she accidentally "lost" a puppy for not being able to read (they can be turned in to make room to adopt another dog if a player has the maximum, but they can also be stored in a hotel - as a non-reader, she couldn't tell which option she was choosing), so I've listed this with the early-readers age group.
Each cartridge only supports one player profile, which is a pain for multi-child families or families with a parent who wants to play. Her dad and I picked up our own cartridges. One thing that's a blast if you have multiple Nintendogs cartridges in the same family is the ability to take your puppies for walks together and give each other presents. She loves to do that.
Each version of Nintendogs has different puppies you can access from the beginning, but are otherwise the same.
Yoshi's Island DS
Mario Bros, babyfied.
In Yoshi's Island DS, baby versions of our favorite Mario Bros. characters give Yoshi special abilities as he explores the new floating island which suddenly appeared, just before all the other kids from Yoshi's island were abducted. Together, they face familiar Mario Bros. style platform gameplay and enemies as they solve the mystery.
Gameplay can be challenging; best for dedicated gamers 6-8 and over.
This isn't one of the easiest games to find. There's a list of eBay deals in the feed below showing any current auctions, to help.
Littlest Pet Shop 3 Biggest Stars
LPS on the road to fame.
In the three Littlest Pet Shop 3 Biggest Stars games, the popular Littlest Pet Shop pets enter the spotlight on a quest for fame. Ten mini games help them along as they strive to become the best dancers, models, ice skaters, gymnasts, flyers, or fashion designers. Players can even design accessories for their virtual pets to wear.
One thing to be aware of with these, is that you can only have two profiles per game without deleting one to start over, so multi-child households may have conflict over that unless you get more than one copy. As a mum of four, I find that a problem, but that's my only "con".
We have Pink Team. Typically, with Littlest Pet Shop DS games in a set like this, there's little difference between the individual games other than possibly a little variation in pets, and, in these, we can see Team Uniforms are different colors. Because of that, I've featured all three on this page as though they were one game. Just pick your fave after clicking through to amazon via the picture.
Games for Girls 8-10+
Disney Fairies TinkerBell
Enter Pixie Hollow.
Disney Fairies: Tinkerbell takes players into Pixie Hollow as our favorite fairy: Tinker Bell. Her wardrobe and accessories can be customized, her world explored, and, just as Tink loves to help her Fairy friends, so can players taking her role.
Game play involves time-based activities and mini-quests. For the environments in which Tink lives and plays, the game uses the DS real-time clock, so that the gameworld changes to reflect the actual time of year or time of day. For example, snow falls in the wintertime, fireflies come out at night, and, on Halloween, the Fairies don costumes.
My eleven-year-old has ranked this game as one of her favorites for years.
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands
Harvest Moon games are a cute farming simulation series, with the ability to befriend the villagers - or even romance, eventually marry, and have a family, all in a very g-rated way. Fishing, mining, farming, and attending festivals are all typical Harvest Moon activities available in the Sunshine Islands.
In Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands, players revive a sunken island chain. As they seek out the necessary Sun Stones and keep up their farms, they may also befriend wild creatures such as sparrows, monkeys, and badgers.
Players of MySims Kingdom can create houses, bridges, fences, and contraptions as they rebuild the Kingdom. Their quest will take them across varied lands to help many different people. These characters are quite quirky, even downright hilarious.
Rebuilding is not as straightforward as I've made it sound; there is an abundance of challenges to solve. This is a light RPG with a great deal of customization available, which my daughter enjoyed as much as I did. Even after the storyline is done, there is a lot left to do, with the variety of mini-games and activities.
Imagine and create your way through.
Scribblenauts is an innovative, creative game allowing players to summon nearly anything they can imagine into the game to meet its challenges. On one of the earliest levels, for example, the star the player must reach is in the top of a tree. How will they reach the star? Chop the tree down by calling a lumberjack and giving him an axe? Summon a beaver? Climb somehow? Fly? The puzzles get more complex from there, and seeking the limits of what you can summon is a major part of the fun. Even better is when summons interact with each other, as can happen when you create more than one living being or a force which can change an object's behavior.
In addition to the work with problem solving skills, spelling is strengthened through practice during play. Reading and spelling skills are needed.
Super Princess Peach
Roles are reversed in Super Princess Peach: The Mario Bros. have been abducted. Using her parasol and her unique powers, it's up to the Princess to find Bowser, defeat him, and save the world's favorite plumbers.
Girls can help Peach traverse worlds of the classic gameplay people expect from the Mario Bros platformers, with an unusual twist on her feminine powers: Joy flows through her like a cyclone, clearing enemies and lifting her into the air. Gloom causes her to weep, in response to which plants grow. Rage sets her aflame, burning her way through obstacles. Calm grants her invincibility and restores health.
Kids can try their hands at running a boutique clothing shop in Style Savvy. From buying and maintaining inventory to giving customers full style makeovers, they'll do it all.
Girls will like the abundance of customization options for their character, allowing them to represent their own personal flair or try out a new "me" within the game.
This game is not only fun, it gives a great basic education in the world of retail, giving a close up view of what it takes to run your own shop.
3DS Games for Girls:
The 3DS is quickly catching up with the DS' library of awesome games.
If the young lady gamer you're shopping for has a 3DS, or you're considering buying her one, don't miss my other article: