Sometimes the decision to buy the hand held unit is the easy part-there are so many games at so many different price levels, (nobody wants to dump $40 on a game that sits on a shelf) that I thought I might steer you toward a purchase that was both fun and educational, so I’ll get off my soapbox now and give you some of the best bets for DS games-some of my choices are also those by other Internet review sites, such as CNET reviews, and Parenting.com.
The game did have some problems, and one is the reliance on some of the same objects to solve the problems, and there were some movement difficulties, so get the newest version, Super Scribblenauts, because it not only addresses all of the first games shortcomings, it now lets you add adjectives to things you ask the game to create (i.e. Exploding volcano, not just a volcano). The game will also create just about any non-trademarked object (with notable exceptions that keep the game kid friendly), and it really is one game that you yourself would enjoy. This game was number one on Parenting.com
And if you want to solve puzzles and enjoy more of a story with your quest, then why not add one of the Professor Layton DS games to your gift bag. My son will be getting the latest version, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, although the other games play out in the same manner: Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke are trying to solve a mystery, but along the way there are smaller puzzles and riddles to be solved. The games are like interacting with a mini-movie, with added conversation and 3-D effects that really make it enjoyable. This game was number two on Parenting.com
For older kids (10 and up) you can’t go wrong with any of the Zelda adventure games. The latest, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is said to be the series best, and again you are helping the main character, Link, problem solve. Take note that there is some swordplay with "bad guys" involved, although nothing I would consider too graphic. This game has made the top ten list on many gaming review sites, and it is also recommended on the Parenting.com site.
And then there are those games that are classics for fun like Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, and who doesn't love Mario? My daughter enjoys the DS Cooking Mama game that let’s you cook different recipes along with mama, and although I don’t think it’s particularly educational, sometimes a good game is great because it's fun to play. Happy shopping!
All game screen shots were used for the sole purpose of review and fall under the fare use act of the copy write law. The opinions expressed are my own and were done without compensation of any kind, including the receipt of any games for review. And although Parenting.com was referred to and used as a resource, I do not agree with many of the games listed as top children's games on their site.