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5 best Nintendo DS emulators 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, and it’s one of the best-selling consoles in Nintendo’s storied history. 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 is a little niche so there aren’t a ton of options to choose from. Nevertheless, we did find a few that worked well so here are the best Nintendo DS emulators for Android.
We’d also like to give an honorable mention to nds4droid. It’s really old and hasn’t received an update in a very long time, but it may work well if you have an older device.
The best Nintendo DS emulators for Android
DraStic DS Emulator
DraStic DS Emulator is probably the best of the Nintendo DS emulators right now. During our testing, it played pretty much every game we threw at it. There are probably only a handful of games that don’t work right. The emulator comes with a host of features, including screen layout customization, controller customization, support for hardware controllers, fast forward, Google Drive support, and high-end devices can enjoy some improved graphics rendering if they so choose.
The price is $4.99. That’s cheaper than it used to be. It’s a good bargain. This is the one we’d recommend first by a long shot. The rest of the emulators on this list are just in case this one doesn’t work for some reason. The only downside is that it hasn’t seen an update since 2020, and that’s a bit long.
EmuBox is a newer emulator with a bunch of compatible systems. That includes PlayStation, SNES, and, yes, Nintendo DS. This is one of the few emulators with Material Design. That makes it good-looking. Thankfully, it also works okay. We didn’t have any serious problems playing the games we tested. Some have lamented some bugs with the emulator when using too many cheat codes, but otherwise, the Google Play reviews are also mostly positive. It’s a free emulator with advertising. We hope a pro version without ads comes eventually.
Fast DS Emulator
Fast DS Emulator (formerly NDS Emulator) is one of the newer Nintendo DS emulators. It has all of the basic features, such as external controller support, save states, load states, and customizable on-screen gamepads. In terms of compatibility, the emulator did fine with our test games, but we only test about half a dozen games. This one doesn’t have the highest Google Play rating, and it’s because the emulator does have some bugs and issues. However, this is also one of the few DS emulators in active development, so we hope the developer gets those ironed out.
Lemuroid is much like RetroArch. Both are multi-console emulators that use Libretro cores to emulate a variety of consoles. Yes, that includes the Nintendo DS. Lemuroid features the usual stuff, like save states, customizable on-screen controls, hardware controller support, and more. It also includes some modern amenities like cloud save syncing. We think it competes very favorably with RetroArch, and you can use either one and still be making a good decision.
RetroArch is an all-in-one emulator. It supports a variety of game systems. That includes the Nintendo DS, Game Boy, SNES, Game Boy Advance, and plenty of non-Nintendo systems. You have to download and install each system individually within the app. That means you’ll have to download this, get the Nintendo DS core, and then you can finally play games. It supports all of the basic features.
It’s not the easiest to use. However, it is completely free with no in-app purchases or advertising. There is an older version of RetroArch, but we think the RetroArch Plus version (which is also free) is the better option so that’s what we have linked. There is another emulator that is very similar to RetroArch called Lemuroid (Google Play link).
See also: The best retro games for Android
See also: The best NES emulators for Android
If we missed any great Nintendo DS emulators for Android, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.
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