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, the development of the Nintendo DS emulator platform is still a little niche so there aren’t a lot of options to choose from. Nevertheless, we did find a few that worked well so here are the best Nintendo DS emulators for Android.
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 only a handful of games that don’t work out of the box. 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.
The price is $4.99. That’s cheaper than it used to be, and it’s a good bargain. This is the Android Nintendo DS emulator 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 isn’t updated regularly, but neither are most of the other options below. That’s just the state of Nintendo DS emulators on Android.
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 means it looks better than most alternatives. Thankfully, it also works pretty well. We didn’t have any serious problems playing the games we tested. The only major bug we found is that the game will revert to your last save when the screen rotates. Still, it’s a free emulator with advertising. We hope a pro version without ads comes eventually, but at that point, you might be better off with DraStic.
Fast DS Emulator
Fast DS Emulator (formerly NDS Emulator) is one of the newer Nintendo DS emulators on the market. 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 the half a dozen games we tested. The lower Google Play rating is mostly due to 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, listed below. 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, NES, 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’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. Between this and Lemuroid, it’s basically a toss-up, so try both and see which one you like more.