The best Nintendo DS emulators for Android

April 14, 2014

    best nintendo DS emulator for android
    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!


    best Nintendo DS emulators for AndroidDraStic DS Emulator

    [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.
    Get it on Google Play
    best Nintendo DS emulators for Android


    best Nintendo DS emulators for Androidnds4droid

    [Price: Free]
    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.
    Get it on Google Play
    best Nintendo DS emulators for Android


    best Nintendo DS emulators for AndroidOpen NDS Emulator (DS Emulator)

    [Price: Free]
    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.
    Get it on Google Play
    best Nintendo DS emulators for Android


    best Nintendo DS emulators for AndroidPretendo NDS Emulator

    [Price: Free]
    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.
    Get it on Google Play
    best Nintendo DS emulators for Android


    Wrap up

    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!

    Comments

    • namesib

      Drastic made all other DS emulators redundant.

      • JosephHindy

        That’d be fantastic. I can’t even do a “best PSP emulators” list because there aren’t any good damn PSP emulators to put on it! It’d be an empty list with a giant sad face as the article image.

        • Hodr

          What are you smoking? PPSSPP is the best PSP emulator for Android.
          If you meant by no contest then yeah, that’s the only PSP emulator.

          But if you meant there aren’t any good PSP emulators, I disagree. I just finished Valkyria Chonicles 3 using PPSSPP, played on Android while commute and continue on PC while at home. You should check it out.

        • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

          So PPSSPP isn’t good now?

          You just lost all your credibility.

    • SuESanders

      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. http://qr.net/stx3

      • JosephHindy

        Really dude? Posting a Titanfall referral link from Amazon? GTFO!

        • SuESanders

          what?

    • rogue3

      How about best OG GameBoy emulators?

      • JosephHindy

        That’s coming up soon. Either later this evening or tomorrow :) keep an eye out in our app list section (found under Apps in the header at the top of the Android Authority website) :)

        • Jaime

          Thanks Joseph!

    • Hodr

      The reason why most DS emulator on Android suck is because they are based on x86 emulator such as open source DeSmuMe.
      DS is ARM -> x86 emulator -> run on Android ARM. No wonder it’s slow!

      DraStic targets ARM from the ground up, starting from OpenPandora handheld. That’s why it runs pretty good on ARM-based Android device.

    • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

      Without emulators there are no good mobile games.

      • Otto Andersson

        Agreed. It’s funny how supposedly powerful today’s phones are, but Mario 64 with emulator is a hundred times more fun than the best smartphone game out there.

        Maybe, I hit that point of being old, but I miss flat rate game prices without ads as well.

        • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

          I hear you. I miss the days where I can get a game and it not shoving apps or in app purchases in my face.

      • Histirea

        The only good mobile games (without an emulator) end up being ports from dedicated gaming systems. Spectral Souls, for example.

    • MasterMuffin

      All the free options are pretty horrible. I tried to play some Pokemon Platinum, got frustrated because laaaggg before first gym and stopped playing pretty soon after it and just played with DeSmuMe. Smartphone screen is IMO too small to have the 2 screens with controls

      • Jaime

        Try drastic, it is really good. Pricey, but good.

        • MasterMuffin

          Yea I know it’s good, but smartphone screen is still too small IMO. I need to get an Android tablet

          • Jaime

            On a 5″ screen I can play without too much problem, but I mostly play RPG’s and Mario Kart. I have an 8″ tablet and it is better for sure.

            • MasterMuffin

              I want Sony to make a 7″ or 8″ tablet, because they make their tablets so thin and waterproof so I could carry it everywhere :)

            • Jaime

              Man, Sony makes beautiful tablets! 8″ thin, dust and water proof would be like heaven!

    • Derek Lanter

      You shouldn’t be discussing emulators. The legality is murky at best. Go buy a DS or 3DS and play them legally and let the developers make money.

      • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

        Because people want to carry lots of different devices with them, I mean why have a camera on your phone when you can carry one with you.

      • Histirea

        Region lock. Can’t play Rune Factory 4 in the UK without importing both US system and a copy of the game, and many great games like Tales of Innocence never leave Japan, so our only option is to emulate it.

        ROMs also have the benefit of fans patching the Japanese version for English audiences.

    • Gulo

      Drastic is by far the only and one option for DS emulation on android. It’s fast, reliable and worth the price. Don’t bother with the others.

    • Jade

      Have you did my boy app, yet?

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