What are the best games based on YuGiOh? Since the YuGiOh TCG and anime series debuted in the late ’90s, we’ve had numerous videogames based on the property. Ranging from slightly aloof strategy games, to out-and-out action games, to straight card game simulators, the history of YuGiOh videogames is strange, varied, and occasionally downright goofy.
Anyone who’s dug into the area can tell you that finding a YuGiOh game that just lets you duel AI opponents or your mates is relatively rare. You’re more likely to get an obtuse lesson on Egyptian mythology, or find yourself a duelling biker, chucking trap cards like red shells to get first place.
If you don’t know where to look, it can seem like you’ll never find the heart of the cards in digital form. That’s where we come in, with our handy list of the best YuGiOh videogames from through-out the years. A lot of these are on older hardware, but there’s a few contemporary entries too, if retro hunting isn’t for you.
Together, they form the Exodia of YuGiOh game lists – though we should add: we cannot help with finding Exodia in any of these games.
What are the best YuGiOh games?
- YuGiOh! Forbidden Memories
- YuGiOh! World Championship 2007
- YuGiOh! 5D’s Wheelie Breakers
- YuGiOh! GX: Duel Academy
- YuGiOh! Duelist of the Roses
- YuGiOh! Nightmare Troubadour
- YuGiOh! Duel Links
- YuGiOh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway To The Destined Duel
- YuGiOh! Legacy of the Duelist
YuGiOh! Forbidden Memories
Many videogames based on Yu-Gi-Oh are loose with the actual rules of the TCG, and this is especially true in its early days. Forbidden Memories, on the PlayStation, has its own approach that draws from the card game and early seasons of the TV show. You don’t sacrifice monsters, you can only have exactly 40 cards in your deck, and a ‘Guardian Star’ system grants bonuses and penalties.
As such, it’s a poor recreation of the tabletop version, but it does capture the mythic energy that drew players in during those formative years. The various dragons and armoured magicians are gloriously chunky in those late ’90s visuals, and the split storyline between ancient Egypt and modern day is silly in all the right ways.
YuGiOh! World Championship 2007
The first YuGiOh! Game to use WiFi for online duelling, World Championship 2007 on the Nintendo DS was the purist’s choice. A huge card selection – over 1600 strong, inclusive of that year’s Strike of Neos set – customisable avatars, strong replication of current rules, and voice chat made it the next best thing for trouncing your mate.
Not only was it good for putting your existing card playing pals to shame, the robust, effective tutorial made it ideal for getting someone new on board. Set the standard for YuGiOh games going forward.
YuGiOh! 5D’s Wheelie Breakers
You think you’re good at duelling? How about we settle this with a duel – on motorbikes? We can’t talk about YuGiOh 5D’s with a straight face because the whole thing’s a bit daft and embarrassing, but we got a rollicking good anime game out of it.
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Wheelie Breakers on the Nintendo Wii attempts to fit the standard YuGiOh processes in with being a racing game. Your monsters, magic, and traps are all to protect yourself while trying to whizz past opponents and leave them in the dust. Over-complicated Mario Kart that’s incidentally hilarious in its absurdity.
YuGiOh! GX: Duel Academy
Remember that Pokémon: Trading Card Game on the Game Boy Color? This release on the Game Boy Advance is the YuGiOh equivalent, where you join Seto Kaiba’s duelling school, and work your way up the ranks to become the King of Games.
Flitting between camaraderie and competition with your fellow students gives some light visual novel elements, but really it’s just about duelling and racking up as many victories as possible. If all you want is to go a few rounds without any fuss, Duel Academy‘s got you sorted.
YuGiOh! Duelist of the Roses
For a while there Konami, the studio that’s published every YuGiOh game and developed the lion’s share, seemed intent on doing everything except bring the card game to consoles. Duelist of the Roses on PlayStation 2 crosses YuGiOh with chess, leading to something that’s a remarkably strong spin-off.
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Both players are on a board, with a monster as their deck leader. Once you’ve played a creature, you’ve to maneuver them to encounters, one block at a time. Standard rules apply for taking life – have more attack than the opponent’s monsters, or make a direct hit for maximum damage. It didn’t sit well at the time, but, in retrospect, a worthwhile experiment.
YuGiOh! Nightmare Troubadour
One of the charms of playing a YuGiOh videogame is seeing the elaborate summoning rituals for the monsters. They’re a large justification for suffering the show’s incessant soap opera. Nightmare Troubadour on the DS has perhaps the best summoning sequences out of any YuGiOh game to date.
Nintendo’s technology makes it possible, with a second screen that’s largely dedicated to the wondrous animations. Red Eyes Black Metal Dragon; Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon; the Egyptian God cards – the heavy-hitters have never looked better.
YuGiOh! Duel Links
With the affinity for handheld platforms, it was only a matter of time before YuGiOh came to mobile. Duel Links offers an in-depth recreation of the card game, with a wide cast of characters from across the seasons of the animated series to boot.
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Beginners and experts alike can find similarly leveled competitors through the online PvP, making it a fertile playground for finding your feet and experimentation. It’s exactly what you’d expect from YuGiOh on iOS and Android, and it’s available on PC too.
YuGiOh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway To The Destined Duel
If you’d like something that maintains how the tabletop version is played, but lets you pretend you’re part of the anime, Worldwide Edition: Stairway To The Destined Duel is the one. Covering the Battle City arc, you rove around, duelling different opponents to earn experience and booster packs. Alternatively, you can enter codes from actual cards to get them in-game.
Rounds are quick and well-animated, the playing field laid out smoothly on the Game Boy Advance’s wide screen. Threat of banishment to the shadow realm adds some tension and substance to the broad narrative arc, but not so much that you’re distracted from getting your next win.
YuGiOh! Legacy of the Duelist
For something readily accessible on modern hardware, well-rounded in terms of interface and understanding of the TCG, and with plenty of familiar places from the established canon, Legacy of the Duelist is where you want to be. You have the sleekest recreation of opposing play mats, a huge catalogue of cards, and some very nicely done animations that make it feel like you’re really sitting across from someone your deck is going to destroy.
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Building decks has never been easier, nor keeping up with the global community better feeling. New duelling simulators may tweak things here and there, but they’re unlikely to ever be much better than this.