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Obscure DS rpgs

jothkijothki Registered User regular
edited October 2011 in Games and Technology
We all know about the 'bigger' RPGs available for the DS. The Pokemons, the Final Fantasies, The World Ends with You, Golden Sun, Radiant Historia, Shiren the Wanderer, and the like. If it's had a thread on these forums that's lasted longer than a few pages, I'm not concerned about it here.

What I'm curious about are the more obscure DS rpgs that I see on the shelves but pass over because I have no idea how good they might be, and can't be bothered to remember them long enough to look them up later. Are any of them reasonably worth playing, even if they're not that noteworthy?

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  • DrakeDrake Blow it all up ForeverRegistered User regular
    Knights in the Nightmare is my favorite DS RPG. It's a well done mashup of tactics style RPGs and Bullet Hell shooters.



    The Izuna games are fun and lighthearted roguelikes that I really enjoy too.

  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    oh god, knights in the nightmare is amazing.

    sorry I don't have more to add myself but I had to say that.

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  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Knights in the Nightmare is even better if you have a DsI XL. I still have my copy.

    Radiant Historia has one of my favorite JRPG protagonists.

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  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    I doubt you're completely unaware of it, but SMT4: Strange Journey is pretty great.

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  • BigDesBigDes Registered User regular
    Infinite Space is an amazing game

    You get a spaceship

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Add Knights in the Nightmare and Infinite Space to the list of stuff I already know about. Yeah, this is kind of unfair to you guys. :P

    I remember that I keep seeing a game called Nostalgia on shelves, what the heck is that?

    To put forth something that I have played, Rondo of Swords is a Fire Emblemish tactical rpg with a combat system that is fairly unique but kind of sucks in practice. I've never been able to push myself beyond about the halfway point on it. It also has the horrible, horrible habit of hiding useful information from you, while still expecting you to make decisions based on that information.

    jothki on
  • ZenitramZenitram Registered User regular
    Infinite Space is indeed amazing, but it's very expensive on ebay, Amazon, Goozex, etc.

    Heard great things about Avalon Code, never played it though.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    In hindsight, I'm kind of surprised that I managed to beat Infinite Space. It's ultimately just the same battle over and over, with very little exception.

  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    I don't know what sort of RPGs you're looking for, what definition you're using. Here are some DS RPGs/SRPGs I've played over the years:



    Deep Labyrinth - A relic from the DS's early years, and a Japanese cell phone game port. Mixes old first person dungeon crawlers with a bit more active combat like Morrowind, but obviously nowhere near as high quality as that game. Two full size RPG scenarios in one game, symbol-based touch screen spellcasting, and a great soundtrack by Chrono Trigger's composer. Not really recommended in comparison to the DS's other games, but not a terrible game either.



    Hoshigami Remix - A port of Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth for the PS1. A punishing SRPG that can be tough to learn and get into. I don't remember a lot about it other than there being some archaic gameplay systems at work. This is par for the course as far as review comments:
    Far too hard at the beginning, even on Easy mode, and all poorly explained. One for only the hardiest strategy fans.
    But hey, it's worth mentioning.



    Infinite Space - A monstrously long space opera RPG. I think when I finished I had spent 80 hours. One of those games where you think you're getting to the end and you find out you're only halfway through. The gameplay wears thin for some people, lots of samey battles, but I enjoyed the story and the upgrade system. You can buy ship blueprints, construct and add them to your fleet, and play Tetris with various types of rooms that confer upgrades - the bridge, engines, crew quarters, rec rooms, etc. A number cruncher's wet dream. I highly recommend checking out this game, but it had a very limited print run and is $60 on Amazon even now. :(



    LostMagic - The first attempt at an RTS on the DS, but with some RPG elements. In addition to choosing and deploying your units, there are almost 400 symbol-based touch screen spells you can cast to buff yourself, debuff your enemies, build walls, create elemental damaging zones, etc. It's really not too bad. I remember enjoying it quite a bit in the DS's early life.



    Rondo of Swords - This one's a bit obscure. An SRPG where instead of splitting your turn between moving and attacking, all you do is move; any enemies you move through get attacked and any allies you move through give you buffs. A really interesting system for a somewhat rote/average plot and presentation. If the video interests you it might be worth checking out.



    The Dark Spire - A great old school first person RPG that I recently finished. Reminiscent of early editions of Dungeons and Dragons in some ways. Enjoyably archaic design in terms of stats, classes, puzzles, maps...on the fly, you can switch between modern presentation and old school DOS/C64 style graphics and sound, and both styles are well done. You will probably need a guide or a lot of outside help, but I really enjoyed it regardless.

    Keep in mind that there may even be some "high profile" RPGs out there that you never gave a second thought - FF Crystal Chronicles, FF12 Revenant Wings, Phantasy Star 0, Suikoden Tierkreis. I especially recommend Suikoden, it's very high quality for a DS game.

    EDIT: And of course I wrote this when there were no replies to the thread, so whatever, there are games you know about already.

    I've heard some good things about Nostalgia but I haven't played it.

    UncleSporky on
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  • BullioBullio Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    There's an awesome hack 'n slash RPG called Soma Bringer that's the closest we're likely to get to portable Diablo. It's a Japan-only release, but there is an English translation done by fans.

    ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat is supposed to be a pretty good tactical-RPG. Another Japan-only release. I recall it being one of the first DS games I saw. Shame it never made it to the States.

    I can't remember the name of it, but there's a first-person dungeon crawling RPG that you control by pressing directional buttons on the touchscreen. It's similar to Orcs and Elves and Etrian Odyssey. Borrowed a friend's copy once. Didn't play much of it, but the bits I did play were enjoyable enough.

    I have no experience with it, but there's a Dragonball Z RPG called Attack of the Saiyans that looks very Final Fantasy-ish. Might be worth checking out?

    EDIT: Deep Labyrinth, thank you. Knew it began with a D.

    Bullio on
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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Hmm, I might have to check out Suikoden, at least.

    I've actually just made the 'mistake' of starting a new game of FFTA2, which is going to hold me for quite some time. Neat game, takes out much of the obnoxiousness of FFTA.

    jothki on
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Bullio wrote:
    There's an awesome hack 'n slash RPG called Soma Bringer that's the closest we're likely to get to portable Diablo. It's a Japan-only release, but there is an English translation done by fans.

    Actually the GBA Lord of the Rings movie license games are the closest we've been to portable Diablo, trust me. :) And now upcoming on the 3DS, Heroes of Ruin looks pretty close to modern Diablo-style games like Torchlight.
    jothki wrote:
    Hmm, I might have to check out Suidoken, at least.

    You don't need to have played previous Suikoden games to understand it, in case that matters. In fact that's one reason it's kind of spurned by Suikoden fans, it's a new universe.

    But yeah, I was impressed by what it accomplished on the DS for its time. Quite long with good looking prerendered backgrounds, polygonal battle system, decent music, voice acting spread throughout, anime cutscenes, it's like a full console game. And it's not all presentation, the story's enjoyable too, at least it was for me.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Bullio wrote:
    There's an awesome hack 'n slash RPG called Soma Bringer that's the closest we're likely to get to portable Diablo. It's a Japan-only release, but there is an English translation done by fans.

    Actually the GBA Lord of the Rings movie license games are the closest we've been to portable Diablo, trust me. :) And now upcoming on the 3DS, Heroes of Ruin looks quite close to modern Diablo-style games like Torchlight.

    Yeah, Heroes of Ruin is on my list of games to say I'll probably get but then probably never actually bother. Steam is a horrible thing for a fan of console games.

    jothki on
  • ChenChen Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Bullio wrote:
    There's an awesome hack 'n slash RPG called Soma Bringer that's the closest we're likely to get to portable Diablo. It's a Japan-only release, but there is an English translation done by fans.

    I'm still a bit miffed this didn't get a localization, especially considering it's developed by Monolith Soft. It's like they lost a bet or something and Nintendo instead decided to localize Glory of Heracles. Not that I have something against Glory of Heracles, despite lukewarm reviews, but would it hurt to bring over Soma Bringer?

    Anyway, Solatorobo is obscure, right? It doesn't have a very deep battle system though apparently.

    Chen on
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  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Rogue Coral Springs, FLRegistered User regular
    Does SMT Strange Journey count? I guess every SMT is obscure, but that one especially.

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  • GilderGilder Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    jothki wrote:
    I remember that I keep seeing a game called Nostalgia on shelves, what the heck is that?

    It's a JRPG that lives up to its name. The story is cliche, it has an airship, turn based battles, sometimes it's hard and sometimes it isn't, stuff like that. If you've played any JRPG before you've played Nostalgia. So if you want a classic feeling "Save the world, rescue the girl" game it might be up your alley. However I cannot recommend it for one simple reason: There's a chance it's unbeatable. One of the last bosses in the game has two forms. In some copies of the game there's an error where they don't transform. This boss is required and there's no way to know what copy of the game you have until that point. It's a risk not worth taking.

    Edit: Oh yeah, let me make an obscure recommendation. Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road. It's actually a decent turn-based RPG, but for some reason it's also pretty difficult. So if you want a challenge then you'll probably get it.

    Gilder on
  • ChenChen Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Speaking of nostalgia and obscure DS RPGs, Magical Starsign and Final Fantasy: Four Heroes of Light are great throwbacks to SNES and NES RPGs of yore if you liked that sort of thing. Magical Starsign looks and plays exactly like a charming SNES game and Four Heroes of Light borrows a bunch of age-old mechanics of the NES period with at times the brutal difficulty. Both games can be picked up incredibly cheap these days.

    Chen on
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  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Fuck Gilder took my pick. WIZROWD is amazing. Especially the graphics. Probably the best looking portable game this generation. Yes, I'm including the PSP.

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  • DaveTheWaveDaveTheWave Registered User regular
    Contact is okay, but quite short. Going from memory, it has a lot of cool ideas that are never really developed properly.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is excellent and I played through it at least 5 times in a row.

    I suppose Valkyrie Profile is more strategy than RPG but I think if Knights in the Nightmare qualifies then so does this. It's no Tactics Ogre or anything but it's worth a playthrough.

    I know these are hardly obscure in the true sense of the word but don't forget the Dragon Quest remakes of IV, V and VI. They are all great and better than IX in my opinion.

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  • BeckBeck Registered User
    Chen wrote:
    Speaking of nostalgia and obscure DS RPGs, Magical Starsign and Final Fantasy: Four Heroes of Light are great throwbacks to SNES and NES RPGs of yore if you liked that sort of thing. Magical Starsign looks and plays exactly like a charming SNES game and Four Heroes of Light borrows a bunch of age-old mechanics of the NES period with at times the brutal difficulty. Both games can be picked up incredibly cheap these days.

    Four Heroes of Light is really underrated. People seem very critical of that game but, it's really quite good!

    Obviously, Dragon Quests are must-plays, especially if you've never pushed into the series. V is the one to start with, as it is the best one, and perhaps the best classic RPG besides Earthbound and Chrono Trigger. 9 is great, though it would probably have been a lot better if Enix hadn't folded to fan pressure and made it turn-based. 6 is a little generic.

    This thread reminds me I need to buy Knights into the Nightmare. I'm just scared it's going to collect dust like The World Ends With You, a game everyone seems to like besides me. I can't stand the artwork and music. They should have put NUMBER GIRL and BORIS on the soundtrack instead. I probably would have dug it, then.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Is Valkyrie Profile as horribly depressing as everything that I've read about it would indicate?

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    jothki wrote:
    Is Valkyrie Profile as horribly depressing as everything that I've read about it would indicate?

    Yes.

    But this will cheer you up. I picked up a copy of Infinite Space for twenty bucks a couple of months ago by requesting it from Gamefly and then "keeping" it. You should try it too!

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  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    jothki wrote:
    Hmm, I might have to check out Suidoken, at least.

    You don't need to have played previous Suikoden games to understand it, in case that matters. In fact that's one reason it's kind of spurned by Suikoden fans, it's a new universe.

    But yeah, I was impressed by what it accomplished on the DS for its time. Quite long with good looking prerendered backgrounds, polygonal battle system, decent music, voice acting spread throughout, anime cutscenes, it's like a full console game. And it's not all presentation, the story's enjoyable too, at least it was for me.

    I found the voice acting to be godawful in Suikoden. The main character talks way too frickin' fast, and there's no way to turn it off. That was a real pain in the butt to deal with.

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  • GilderGilder Registered User regular
    edited October 2011


    Idon'tknowwhatyou'retalkingaboutit'snotlikehetalksasfastasthetextisbeingwritten. Also try to deal with the buzzing, whoever recorded that video needs to learn how to properly record audio. Which is ironic seeing as the whole point of the video was to show off the audio.

    Gilder on
  • B:LB:L Registered User regular
    Sands of Destruction is a SEGA RPG with Xenogears pedigree, about heroes trying to destroy a world controlled by furries.




    I'm only listing it to anti-recommend it, because it's kinda bland and it has a horribly broken-easy battle system. It was styled like a classic old school rpg that had potential. They really wasted that potential though, as the anime based on the game is much better than it.

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  • fadingathedgesfadingathedges Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    holy fuck

    (@glider)

    fadingathedges on
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    Suikoden's still a good game though. It's a pretty minor criticism, nobody else talks too quickly.

    They probably just told him "as the main character you have the most lines, please make the recordings as short as possible so we can fit them all on the DS card."

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  • KelorKelor Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    I quite enjoyed Suikoden DS for what it's worth.

    Front Mission involves giant customisable robots doing battle upon each other in a turn based fashion. So if you're into those it's a worthwhile entry in the series.

    Jagged Alliance isn't really an RPG, but it's a turn based strategy game with a good plot, huge roster of characters and some fantastic interaction between them. The port is okay, but don't spend too much on it since you can get it on GoG for $5.

    Those are the only two more obscure ones I can think of off the top of my head that I own that haven't been mentioned.

    Kelor on
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    Kelor wrote:
    Jagged Alliance isn't really an RPG, but it's a turn based strategy game with a good plot, huge roster of characters and some fantastic interaction between them. The port is okay, but don't spend too much on it since you can get it on GoG for $5.

    It's also on DSiware for $5, buuuut supposed to be a pretty cruddy port.

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  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    Atelier Annie is pretty darn obscure. I love it tho.

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    Oh...my...god.

    I love you all. I thought I'd exhausted my supply of DS RPGs when I finished Strange Journey and Radiant Historia. Methinks it's gonna take some SERIOUS digging to find these titles, but they look fantastic. Infinite Space especially calls to me.

  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Oh myyy Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled is probably pretty darn obscure, I think. As the video shows, it looks like a FF6/Chrono Trigger game because the sprites and backgrounds are almost ripped from them. There's a bit more similarity to Chrono Trigger because depending on your active party, everyone can combine skills and spells together to make interesting dual-techs, and those all have their own field of attack (line of sight, centered on caster, centered on target, full screen, half screen, etc.)

    The game's story is typical. Your main character is the only person around who can't cast magic in a kingdom where everyone else can. You're only protected by close friends and family and everyone else bullies you. You're given a mission to check something out and in the process, wind up in a new world where everyone is more like you, and the magic casters you meet are the big threat. There's also a sword that you come into contact with that gives you magic abilities, but at a price, and it sort of becomes the big McGuffin. There are 8 characters you can mix into your party, though only 6 are mandatory.

    The gameplay is simple, though combat can be a chore depending on your team. Some characters make fights easy because they have powerful full screen abilities that end combat in a matter of seconds, and until mid-way through the game, your party is fixed by the story, so when you lose those characters, it makes you long for getting them back. This is made worse because the game's random encounters come often and frequently. Sometimes, it only takes 3 steps. This is the game's other problem - you can run in towns and dungeons, but on the overworld, the pacing is slow, and you'll end up in battle often. You can run from battles, but you may have to suffer a full assault from the enemies on screen before it lets you.

    It's a decent RPG, despite those faults. Combat will eventually feel tedious, but I feel the story is worth it. 30 hours is about accurate to complete the game. Finding the game may be difficult, as I don't think it sold well at all, and it's a couple of years old by now.

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  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Oh...my...god.

    I love you all. I thought I'd exhausted my supply of DS RPGs when I finished Strange Journey and Radiant Historia. Methinks it's gonna take some SERIOUS digging to find these titles, but they look fantastic. Infinite Space especially calls to me.

    I tried playing Infinite Space three times and I can't get out of the beginning galaxy. It's either a terrible game or I really have no idea what I'm doing.

    Oh, it's not obscure but Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Sky is a ridiculously fun rogue-like.

    Magic Pink on
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Oh myyy Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    Does Dokapon Journey count as an RPG? It's obscure, but it is BALLS hard. I'm convinced the computer cheats. :P

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  • hamdingershamdingers Registered User regular
    Uh wow - Infinite Space looks crazy good. How did I miss that?

  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Fabulously Ford-Free TorontoRegistered User regular
    You guys have covered most of the good stuff already. I'll add in Solotorobo, recently put out by XSEED. It's got anthropomorphic characters if you're allergic to that, but otherwise is pretty fun. The main character is a pilot and there are lots of robots and the throwing of objects as a battle system gimmick.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    hamdingers wrote:
    Uh wow - Infinite Space looks crazy good. How did I miss that?

    We had a thread on it. It's main drawback is that there is no, as in none, as in nada, in-game journal. Thus, you'll get a quest to go visit three planets and chat up three dudes about, I dunno, space drugs, but if you don't write it down when you get it, there's no easy way to figure out which three planets you need to go visit when you come back to the game a couple days later. Queue visiting everywhere in a titanic waste of time.

    Also, in combat against multi-ship enemy groups, make sure to target the guy in front. The game doesn't automatically do this, and you have massively reduced accuracy against enemies in the back row.

    EDIT:

    And does the OP consider the Etrian Odyssey series obscure enough?

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  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    It's not for everyone but I actually really enjoyed Orcs & Elves on the DS. It's super cheap usually and I had a good time with it - but it's not a story driven, JRPG by any stretch of the imagination.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Elvenshae wrote:
    And does the OP consider the Etrian Odyssey series obscure enough?

    Eh, whatever, go wild, I just started this off. It's already reasonably well-known here, though.

  • ArchsorcererArchsorcerer Registered User regular
    It's not for everyone but I actually really enjoyed Orcs & Elves on the DS. It's super cheap usually and I had a good time with it - but it's not a story driven, JRPG by any stretch of the imagination.

    I wanted the Wizardry games to come out in NA.

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