iPhone 4S & iPad Vs Nintendo 3DS: Game Showdown

Apps Magazine


We check measure up Apple's iPhone and iPad format against the best-selling handheld in history, the Nintendo DS.

Published on Dec 13, 2011


There are plenty of great games on both iPhone, iPad and Nintendo DS, but there has been a recent trend of developers bringing DS titles over to iTunes.

And while games like Super Mario Bros. might not exist on Apple's format, there are games that come close to matching the brilliance of Nintendo's series on iPhone.

So we've decided to run down these games side by side to see if you really can get the Nintendo DS experience on iPhone 4S and iPad.


1. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

iPhone price - £2.99/$4.99

Nintendo DS price - £24.99 / $38.99

Capcom’s Ace Attorney series comprises of four main DS games that put players in the sharp blue suit of the rookie ‘Objection!’ shouting defence attorney Phoenix Wright.

This, the first in the series, introduces players to the character and basics of play over the course of five different cases. Using a simple touch-screen interface, you must search for clues, study evidence and question people to build up a solid defence for your client come trial time, and then find holes and inconsistencies in witness testimonies to win the case.

It’s an engaging and unique slant on the point-and-click adventure genre, and brilliantly suited to iOS. Fans of murder mysteries and adventure games will simply love it. Case closed.

Apps Magazine rating - 5/5


2. League Of Evil

iPhone price - £0.69/$0.99

League of Evil isn't out on Nintendo DS, but is best comparable to the Mega Man series.

Some iOS games feel like perfect gaming fodder for DS but aren’t available on the system. League Of Evil is one such example. We urge fans of the challenging Mega Man series to pick up this addictive action platformer, which is crammed with an impressive amount of game for a really low price.

Sharing gameplay similarities with Super Meat Boy, you control a bionic man and must negotiate a huge series of danger loaded levels to reach and kill an evil scientist hiding somewhere on each.

Bonus kudos is awarded for quick completion and retrieval of a briefcase, and the simple d-pad and two button controls make it instantly accessible. What it lacks in visuals it makes up for in simple, addictive and plentiful gameplay.  

Apps Magazine rating 4/5


Cooking Mama

iPhone price - £4.99/$6.99

Nintendo DS price - £17.00/£26.00

The Cooking Mama series started life on the DS and was designed to get kids interested in cooking through the system’s touch-screen controls. As such, Apple’s devices feel well-matched to handle its tactile gameplay, even if the game itself isn’t actually that great.

The gameplay basically consists of you being asked to complete a series of cooking tasks - such as chopping onions by tapping the screen, or frying onions by shaking the iPhone - to cook a virtual meal.

There’s little longevity here and the fact that you have to pay for new recipes is a bit cheeky considering the price. Overpriced and poor value - also, as this game proves, the joy of cooking is the eating.

Apps Magazine rating - 2/5


Touch Pets Dogs 2

iPhone price - Free

Touch Pets Dogs 2 isn't out on Nintendo DS, but is best compared Nintendogs.

The multi-award winning Nintendogs offered DS owners the chance to care for their very own virtual pooch, without the hassle of vet bills, last minute trips to the pet shop, or dog walks in the rain.

Touch Pets Dogs 2 is essentially a free clone. Allowing you to adopt and nurture your very own puppy, contended dogs spill coins and bones, and these can be used to purchase them food, clothes and toys.

Alternatively you can obtain items instantly through in-app purchasing. The only drawback is that it’s online-only, meaning unless you’re playing via iPhone you won’t be able to tend to your pet while you’re out and about.  A decent Nintendogs-alike and it’s free. The only drawback is that it’s online-only.  

Apps Magazine rating - 3/5


Shantae: Risky’s Revenge  

iPhone price - £1.99/$2.99

Nintendo DSi Ware price - £7.99/$11.99

Releasing a string of solid action/adventure games, and renowned for its highly detailed 2D sprite work and animation, WayForward Technologies has become pretty renowned in the DS community.

Risky’s Revenge may be a sequel from the studio but don’t let that dissuade you from a purchase, particularly if you’re a fan of Metroidvania style games, as you’ll delight playing through this charming adventure starring a magical shape shifting half-genie on the hunt for a stolen lamp.

With stunning 2D visuals, and a great soundtrack to boot, this is a solid conversion of the popular and acclaimed DSiWare original. A great port of one of the best platform/adventure games on the DS  

Apps Magazine rating - 4/5



iPhone price £1.30/$3.99

Cordy isn't on Nintendo DS but is comparable to the Super Mario Bros. series.

Cordy is another iOS we could easily imagine appearing on the DS…Well the 3DS. It’s a stunning looking 3D platformer with simple puzzle elements (generally nothing too original, often a bit of block pulling or switch hitting).

With a clear Little Big Planet vibe to its aesthetics, you control an anthropomorphic robot/television that can use his power cord to swing around levels, and, through collecting energy pick-ups, power up and open doors.

There’s nothing here you won’t have seen in past platform games, but the high level of quality and presentation throughout Cordy will instantly draw you to this charming game. Simply one of the most stunning looking platformers on iOS

Apps Magazine rating - 4/5


Tetris for iPad

iPhone - £2.99/$4.99

Nintendo DS - £12.99/£19.99

Thanks to Nintendo’s all-conquering Game Boy no gaming portable since has felt whole without a version of Tetris. Well thankfully a decent official version of the block stacking game is available for iOS.

While the inaccuracy and wooliness of the touch-screen controls are an issue, the virtual d-pad alternative thankfully proves to be a far more solid and accurate option.

With a couple of play modes to add a bit of variety to proceedings, such one which magically alters the blocks - turning them into poppable bubble wrap, or single blocks to handily plug small holes, this is a solid enough version. A timeless classic but ditch the touch-screen controls and play the traditional way.  

Apps Magazine rating - 3/5


Street Fighter IV Volt

iPad price £4.99/$7.99

Nintendo 3DS price - £29.99

Street Fighter IV 3D was one of the big anticipated launch games for the Nintendo 3DS. Well for a fraction of the price you can snag a solid handheld version of Capcom’s smash brawler for iOS.

Ok so the controls, Ultras and Supers have been simplified, the buttons and virtual d-pad take up almost half the screen, and don’t be surprised to find the occasional bit of lag crop up during online play, which also happens to be Volt’s big thing.

But there’s simply no denying this is an impressive feat of home console squeezing and the best and most technically polished brawler on Apple’s format. It's not flawless but a good enough and far cheaper alternative to the 3DS version.

Apps Magazine rating - 4/5


Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition for iPad

iPad price - £2.99/$4.99

Nintendo 3DS price - £19.99

For those unfamiliar with the barmy concept behind Super Monkey Ball, it basically sticks cute cartoon monkeys into see-through balls and then asks players to steer them through a bumpy rollercoaster course against the clock.

It’s basically Marble Madness meets Planet Of The Apes. While the forced tilt-controls make negotiating sharp bends and snaking tracks a bit tricky, with over 100 levels there is plenty of game here.

Throw in a nice selection of mini-games, including Monkey Golf and the addictive Monkey Target, that work well to offer a welcome dollop of variety to all the monkey rolling action. Controls could be a bit tighter, but there’s plenty of game here for the money

Apps Magazine rating - 3/5


ArtStudio – draw, paint and edit photo

iPhone price - £1.99/$2.99

ArtStudio isn't on DS but Nintendo's Art Academy is a great alternative

In addition to games, the DS’s touch-screen controls have seen it offer a host of lifestyle software, everything from cooking tutors to art and design programs. Well if you’re looking for a cheap app to allow you to hone and flex your artist and design skills then ArtStudio is perfect for that.

Solid, clean and simple to use, thanks to its step-by-step art lessons, and an interface that will be comfortable to anyone out there familiar with using Photoshop and Illustrator, you’ll be creating simple works of art and altering your pictures and photographs in no time at all. A must get for budding artists and designers wanting to create on the fly.  

Apps Magazine rating - 4/5


Winner – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney  

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on iPhone and iPad is a pixel perfect port of the Nintendo DS version, and given that the DS edition is occasionally hard to find, some retaillers will hike up the price due to its rarity. 

We say skip all that, download the full thing from iTunes at just £2.99 and enjoy the puzzles, investigation and humour on offer. Above all, the iPhone and iPad version of Phoenix Wright proves that great gaming can be enjoyed for a decent price.



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