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3 Great DS and 3DS Emulators for Android

It’s no secret that Nintendo 3DS is one of the best-selling handheld consoles ever, and there are hundreds of great games for the platform. However the time of handheld consoles is over and now it’s impractical to carry a 3DS around all the time.

So what’s the fix? Use a Nintendo DS emulator for Android! You can play Nintendo games on your Android phone with these DS and 3DS emulators for Android. There are a ton of games to enjoy on your Android device thanks to a large Nintendo 3DS library and easy availability of enjoyable games.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options here. Although there’s now an official Citra 3DS emulator, it was riddled with system errors and bugs but recently has been playable and works on plenty of devices. The Nintendo 3DS hasn’t seen as much popularity as PlayStation consoles when it comes to emulators. The big reason behind that is because the Nintendo 3DS uses a dual-screen system built for 3D playing, which is hard to replicate on a smartphone.

Fun Fact: DS in the Nintendo 3DS stands for dual-screen.

Now, there’s also DS emulators for Android, which can be a great alternative to use while we wait for stable Nintendo 3DS emulators for Android. But to save you from all the hassle, I listed Nintendo 3DS and DS emulators for Android that I found!

Related: Best Emulators for Android


The Best 3DS Emulator for Android

Citra Emulator

Citra 3DS Emulator for Android logo
Citra Emulator

With this emulator, some games work smoothly and some crash. Use it on a device with a Snapdragon 845 processor or better to have reasonable results. Before, the Citra was filled with bugs and was barely playable. But now, not only is it playable, but it can also play games at a constant rate; even reaching constant frame rates of up to 60 fps.

To play some games like Pokemon Y, you will have to dump system archives and the associated shared fonts to run them. There are still sound errors, skipping, and glitching in almost all of the games (the emulator does not have a shader cache) – but having the ability to play 3DS games at 60fps on your device is a milestone compared to how the 3DS emulator for Android was before.

According to users, the PC version of the Citra emulator has less bugs, and is more playable compared to the Android port.

The developers are constantly improving the app. Now, instead of losing hope on the app – we now know its potential and how it can change the landscape of handheld emulator gaming. Citra will become a great 3DS emulator for Android (and for PC.)

Download the early access version on the Play Store or get the emulator directly from their site!

Google Play

From the Citra Emulator site:


The Best DS Emulators for Android

If you’re looking to get DS games on your Android instead, you can try these DS emulators for your Android device. Developing an emulator is complicated! So don’t expect a perfect app right off the bat, let’s wait patiently and let developers do their work.

Disclaimer: Not all ROM games work on these apps, and you will experience crashes and bugs on some of them.


1. DraStic DS Emulator

DraStic DS Emulator for Android logo

If you need the best and the most stable DS emulator for Android, DraStic DS Emulator is the best choice, and there is no doubt about that. However, it’s also a paid app, which may put off many people. The distinct lack of a free demo version also makes it a hard choice for many people, especially those who want to play just one game.

DraStic DS emulator for Android - Playing The Detective
DraStic Emulator

However, several great features make DraStic DS Emulator the best DS emulator for Android, and that justifies its price point pretty quickly, especially if you are an avid fan. If you have a mid to high-end quad-core device, you’ll be able to utilize the app’s full capacity. You can also customize the size and placement of the DS screens, both for portrait and landscape modes.

Playing with a DS emulator for Android at constant fps
Play at a stable frame rate

DraStic DS Emulator also fully supports controllers and physical controls featured in devices like Nvidia Shield. I also like the inclusion of synchronized online saves, which uses your Google Drive space. Finally, the DraStic DS Emulator includes access to a database of thousands of cheat codes.

Although don’t forget that the app is still under development. If you use this app – you’ll definitely encounter bugs, freezes, and glitches. This app has potential, and buying the app to support the developers will work wonders. But if you don’t want to spend money for the app, there are other apps that you can use to play DS games on Android.

Download this app on Google Play now!

Google Play

2. nds4droid

nds4droid DS emulator for Android  logo
nds4droid logo

Based on the DS emulator for PC named DeSmuMe, nds4Droid looked promising. Unfortunately, the nds4droid is now a dead app and hasn’t been updated for quite a while now, but you can still use it with some games.

For starters, it’s a pretty decent emulator to try some games and get a feel of playing DS games on Android. Also, the app is entirely free without ads, so you don’t need to worry about any in-game distractions while playing.

Playing Pokemon on a Nintendo DS emulator for Android
Playing Pokemon on nds4droid

The DS emulation can be a bit slow, although the app has a frame skip feature to help you with that. You can also easily save states of the games on nds4droid, which allows you to resume the game from exactly where you left it.

Being a dead app, you will experience a few bugs or crashes on your device. And for a lot of games, playing on the app is unbearable. Still, nds4droid is one of the only “working” DS emulators for Android out there.

Google Play

3. RetroArch emulator

RetroArch Emulator for Android logo
RetroArch logo

RetroArch isn’t exactly a Nintendo DS emulator for Android per se. It’s an open-source emulator that consists of all the features and controls that are required for a great playback experience. It’s an emulator that can emulate systems such as the Playstation, GameBoy, and Nintendo DS.

This app is slightly more complicated than the other ones because you are required to download certain games to play. RetroArch is straightforward and intuitive to use, and there are no annoying adverts, despite the emulator being free.

The app can play DS games decently, although you will have difficulty with some games that aren’t compatible with the RetroArch emulator.

That’s not surprising though, since this app is open-source. You can download this emulator for free from the button below, it’s a great emulator – even though there are some issues present, as with the other emulators.

Overall, this is a great free emulator to try playing DS games on Android devices.

Google Play

Frequently Asked Questions


Playing Nintendo DS on your Android Devices

These were a few DS and 3DS emulators for Android that will help you play your Nintendo 3DS and DS games on your tablet or smartphone. The emulators on this list are still under constant development (except for nds4android), and will need time and support for it to develop into a reliable DS and 3DS emulator for Android. I know these are not the perfect emulators we all want, but they’ll get the job done.

If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments section below. I’ll be sure to check it out.

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8 Comments

  1. None of the emulators are 3DS emulators, my God feels, because: the Android system is not capable of handling the 3DS running environment. I mean, come on, even Citra on the PC isn’t perfect, could one really expect anything on the American yet? The furthest Android can go as of now in terms of running an emulator is the ps2, albeit beta released, there is a PS2 emulator on Android capable of running very few games with some bugs and errors.
    As for you, topic creator and writer, I say: very well played sir, very well played. One might think on first reading that “maybe this guy has something on him”, but fooled be not fellow netizens. It is a fool topic to think that the 3DS might even see tge coming of a beta emulator on the Android platform before nary a ten years at the least. Topic creator, you should keep in mind, misdirection and misinformation is not a very pleasant thing to indulge in, for it speaks volumes of a person.

    1. I think we are all in agreement that your words speak the truth. The creator of this article is a shameful being, and mayhaps be a troll.

  2. Bro you’re a big loser for writing all this for nothing . It’s called drastic ds not 3ds. I own this app personally . And no way in hell can it play 3ds games. Fkn loser get a life .

  3. As per Site Profile : Teo is an engineering student that is constantly amazed by technology. She’s quite a lazy person….(Now we know why this site isn’t Accurate) *Copy and Paste*

  4. PS : I’ve Read there may be a Citra 0.5 (or something) “AKA Alpha” Android Version out, However I haven’t Tested it or Neither do I know whether or not the Games need to be Decrypted much like the PC Version.
    Requirements : Android v5.0 and Not sure of The Hardware Requirements.

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