Best Civ Option on DS
Calling it a civ game is perhaps not the most accurate way to describe DoD. There are ample Sim City elements; there's some treasure hunting and RTS gameplay; and surprisingly, there's a decent story, which ties the game together in a way that makes it feel like a true adventure.
The basic thrust of the game is that you're sent out into the world by your father, the king, in order to settle new lands and gather food for your starving people. The gameplay is bound to the story really well, and the chapters/missions feel very organic. The pacing makes sense, and the writing is pretty darn good to boot.
Gameplay starts out relatively basic -- establish a port, a lumberjack hut that will supply wood for building simple structures, populate your settlement by building homes, construct a fishery to feed your population, and bam -- you've got the foundation for a new, bustling society. As you progress through the story, your settlements will become increasingly more evolved, adding various staples that will raise the status of your people, etc.
With each new mission, you'll learn one or two new ways to further expand and elevate your civilization. There are even bits of action thrown into the mix as well. It's an engaging game from start to finish.
Visually, there's not much to look at, but it's an attractive game all the same. The view is isometric, with a simple camera system that makes it easy to observe your settlements and other gameplay activities. Most of what's here is 2D art, though the boats appear to be polygonal. Despite tons of activity happening onscreen at once, I never experienced any slowdown or lag. There's also a lot of well delivered voice work, and the music makes a nice backdrop to the gameplay.
Word of warning: This isn't an action game, really; it's a city planner/ civ hybrid, but it's also probably the absolute best option on DS for folks jonesing for this type of gameplay. If you're looking for Ninja Gaiden (which is an awesome game, by the way), look elsewhere. If you're in the mood for the methodical machinations of a civ adventure, however, this is definitely worth your time and money.