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 is a little niche so there aren’t a ton of options to choose from. Nevertheless, we did find a few that worked alright so here are the best Nintendo DS emulators for Android!
AseDS is one of the newer Nintendo DS emulators (comparatively speaking). It boasts a few features, such as cheat codes, custom button layouts, screen display options, and some performance tweaks to help smooth game play (like frame skipping). During our testing, it seemed to play most of the ROMs we threw at it without too much trouble. Not everything played perfectly. However, most of what we tested was playable. It's free to download with no in-app purchases. That makes it a little difficult to complain. The ads are a little annoying, though.
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.
NDS Boy is another one of the newer Nintendo DS emulators. This one works. However, it's a little rough around the edges. It only supports popular, higher end devices. Otherwise it won't work right. Aside from that, it supports the basics. That includes save and load states, customizable controls, and support for most NDS game files. It's another free one with no in-app purchases. The advertising on this isn't very good. It's a good option for those on a budget after buying their new high end phone.
nds4droid is one of the older Nintendo DS emulators. It hasn't received an update in a while. However, it is open source. Thus, developers can use this as a base to make their own. As an emulator, it's okay. It does have some issues. That includes slower emulation. It does include a frame skip option to help mitigate this, though. Otherwise, it's completely free with no in-app purchases and no advertisements. It's a good starting point. If it works for you, all the better.
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. It's also in active development right now.
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!