The Nintendo DS is among the most popular handheld consoles of all time. Its iconic value is right up there with that of the Game Boy and the PSP. There were some amazing games for the system and sometimes it’s easier to keep those games on your phone than to carry around a second device to play them. Sadly, development of the Nintendo DS emulator platform is still quite new so the selections for emulators are scarce. However, there are some decent ones and we’ll take a look at them!
[Price: Free / $5.99]
First up is DraStic DS Emulator and, simply put, it is the best Nintendo DS emulator available. It features a high game compatibility, good speed, and features such as fast forward mode, various display options, and support for Google Drive. It’s rated a 4.6 in the Play Store and it’s the only DS emulator rated over 4.0. It’s $5.99 which may sound expensive but in this instance, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a DS emulator, this is as good as it gets for right now.
nds4droid is the most popular Nintendo DS emulator option. It isn’t all that good but it has been steadily improving. The developer is relatively active but the improvements have been slow coming. It’s a 3.6 rating and there are some games that work well, but there are still many that do not. It’s an open source project so other developers can contribute so there is hope that this app will continue to improve. In terms of quality, it’s a distant second from DraStic.
Open NDS Emulator is another open source effort that is somewhat current. Like nds4droid, it’s not very good but there is hope that the app will improve as updates have occurred recently. A few people have had success with it but generally it isn’t good enough for regular use. The hope is that the nature of open source takes its course with this app and the improvements come eventually.
Pretendo NDS Emulator is last on the list but at least it isn’t the worst. It’s also open source and based on the ds4droid source code. It fairs better than Open DS Emulator in terms of rating and functionality but sadly not by much. Like the others, it is free and you can try your luck to see if it works for you but like the others it’s a work in progress.
For the time being the Nintendo DS emulator app selection is disappointing. DraStic seems to have it right but the competition is still pretty stuck. If you’re here looking for an emulator, our recommendation is to throw down the $5.99 and buy DraStic because it may be some time before these other ones are as good. The reason we included them is because the developers appear to be active (at least this calendar year) and their projects are open source so they represent the best hope we have that the emulator platform gets more diverse. Until they improve, just buy DraStic. If we missed a good DS emulator, please let us know in the comments!