By InGame reporter
NBC News
updated 12/9/2010 8:02:57 AM ET 2010-12-09T13:02:57

Nintendo's best-selling portable DS game machine is loved the world over by gamers of all ages.

And this holiday, if you're hoping to buy a top-notch game for the Nintendo DS owner in your life, you'll certainly find there are a great many to choose from.

But sifting through all the options can be a bit overwhelming. So here, we've compiled this list of some of the best-of-the-best to help you get started.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Rated E 10+
$30

The Professor Layton series of games continues to awe and inspire us. Just like "The Curious Village" and "The Diabolical Box" before it, "The Unwound Future" presents players with the colorful world of puzzle-solving Professor Layton and his boy-sidekick Luke as they (and you) try to solve a series of brain-bending puzzles. The art work, as always, is lovely and the brainteasers are a treat to set your mind against. Meanwhile, the time-travel-themed story is especially well done. This game makes a great gift for puzzle lovers and thinkers of all ages.

Super Scribblenauts
Rated E 10+
$30

This delightful game of word creation and puzzling should be part of every DS owner's library. This is a game that tosses all kinds of challenges and puzzles in your way and then tasks you with creating the items you need to overcome what stands in your way. That is, you write the word for an object and, poof, that object appears in your game. Yes, write "enormous fire-breathing pink kangaroo" and you will have an enormous fire-breathing pink kangaroo right there in your game. "Super Scribblenauts" is creative and thought-provoking fun of the best kind. (For my complete review, follow this link.)

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
Rated E 10+
$40

This ninth installment in the beloved "Dragon Quest" series delivers another enormous role-playing experience in the Japanese tradition. Here gamers create their own angelic hero to play — a hero who winds up among the mere mortals. What follows is a rich experience full of fantastical adventuring, epic quests and lots of turn-based combat. Meanwhile, a multiplayer option lets gamers play with up to three friends. It's certainly a great experience to share during the holidays together.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem
Rated: E
$30

Remember when Donkey Kong was the kind of ape who liked to kidnap fair maidens? Well, DK is at his old shenanigans again in this latest "Mario vs. Donkey Kong" game. And it's up to Mario — and his legion of miniature mechanical Marios — to save the girl. In this absolutely adorable puzzle game, you must guide miniature Marios as well as other Nintendo characters through a variety of amusement-park-themed levels as you try to rescue DK's hostage Pauline. Gamers of all ages will enjoy the sharp graphics and highly creative levels. Meanwhile, players are also given the chance to let their creativity flow as they design their own levels.

WarioWare D.I.Y.
Rated: E
$40

Mario's notoriously uncouth alter-ego Wario has been unleashed in another game sure to get a giggle or twenty out of the gamer in your life. Here you can play a bunch of the wacky, super-short microgames that Wario has made famous. But more importantly, the real goal of this game is to turn players themselves into game makers — hence the "Do It Yourself" title. Like the old "Mario Paint" game, "WarioWare D.I.Y" presents players with an easy-to-use set of tool to design their very own super short games with. Quick tutorials guide players through the process and get them creating in no time.

For moreholiday video game ideas, be sure to read:
Five great Wii games for the holidays
Five great PS3 games for the holidays
Five great Xbox 360 games for the holidays
Game the holidays with these gadgets and gifts
Sing, dance, rock the holidays with music games
Game away those holiday pounds

Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: 3D gaming in your hand coming soon

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments