Review: Nintendo 3DS
Hi I’m doing a review on the Nintendo 3DS, which I got earlier last month (fig. 1).
Since I got it for winning CLICmas is seemed appropriate to write a review on it, even though a Gadget Guide had already been published. This review will focus more on my experience with the device and features.
My prize came with the 3DS, a charger and charging cradle (fig. 2), which the charger connects to. It also came with the game, Super Mario 3D Land, and also the AR Cards, which I will mention later.
You might be thinking, “Hey, why is there a cradle?”. The answer is that the 3DS has an obvious lack of power time without charging than its ancestors. Earlier versions have gone up to 17 hours non-stop without charge. The 3DS, with full-3D and brightness, lasts for only 3 hours. Without 3D and on the lowest brightness setting plus power-saving mode on, the device can last for approximately 5 hours, even though if you snoop around t'internet people have reported longer. I always keep my 3DS on the lowest brightness plus power-saving mode because I can see just fine. Even though the 3DS has an extra brightness setting than my DS Lite, the variety isn’t as big. The lowest one is bright enough, and is easy to get used to. One thing I will keep on for as long as possible is the 3D.
This is the part you’ve been waiting for: the sciency bit. The 3DS’s top screen has parallax barrier technology, which means that little invisible slits in the screen guide bars of the screen to one eye, and others to the other eye (fig. 3). These two images view slightly different versions of the same picture, which creates the illusion of 3D. If you close one eye at a time, you will see the things move. Try it with your hand. Keep it out, to create a little depth along with the background. Close the right eye, everything will move to the left, close your left eye, everything will move to the right. The little slits are what allow the 3DS’s 3D to be altered with the depth slider. It obviously rotates the slits so that the images are even more different the more depth you allow.
And now for the mini tour of the 3DS! At the front of the 3DS there is an earphone slot, a light indicating power and one indicating charging. From the right you can see the 3D depth slider inside and a wi-fi switch. At the back there are the shoulder buttons (L and R), the charger slot, metal parts for the cradle, the game card slot, the stylus and the thing that detects SpotPass and StreetPass. On the left there is the volume button and the SD card slot, with a 2 GB SD card already inside.
Opening the 3DS, there is the all-new widescreen 3D top screen, with a depth slider on the right, which lets you toggle with the amount of 3D-ness it gives you. A new circle pad is above the arrow pad +, which works like an analogue stick. The x/y/a/b buttons and power button are on the right. The start and select buttons are now below the bottom touch screen, with a new home button in between them. This is the first DS to support ‘suspended software’, which lets you close software (similar to applications or those boxes on the Wii Menu), and open one of the basic things at the top of the home menu.
At the top of the home menu there are the brightness settings, 1-5. Next are the bigger/smaller icon buttons which lets you toggle with the size of the software icons. The game notes lets you suspend a game and write notes about it, obviously, and the friends list keeps track of them and lets you share games with your friends. Notifications let you keep track of new things coming for the 3DS in general and about yours specifically. Lastly is the internet browser, which is for convenience, really. It basically is just to check something quickly before returning to your task. I would not use it to update any of my social network profiles, or check my e-mail or anything like that. I prefer my Kindle in this area of hand-held browsers, as my mobile does not have a very good browser either.
I have laid out the Menu specifically, so the most used and important are first, and the lesser important down the line. In my preference there are two rows, the top full of games and software downloaded plus Mii Creator and Mii Plaza, and the bottom row is for tools, such as the Camera, Sound, eShop, etc.
The game, Super Mario 3D Land, might be reviewed in a separate review when I finish the game. I’m on the big castle at the end of World 8, but I looked on a review and it said something about another 8 hidden worlds. I am not sure, but I will tell you when I find out. If anyone else knows, feel free to comment below.
The AR Cards are very good indeed (fig. 4). Place a card on a flat surface in a well-lit area, point the 3DS at it, while on the AR software, and the top screen will show what is on the camera. After a very short calibration, a box appears out of the card! You are able to play six things, as far as I am aware. There’s a shooting game, where you shoot arrows to the specified targets, and a pool/golf-like game where you use a pool cue to poke a ball to the destination, all on your coffee table! Also, there are five character cards as well as the ‘?’ card which lets you play the games. You can use these to take creative pictures with Mario, Kirby, Link and more! Another box lets you take pictures with Miis you’ve made, a Wii feature brought to the 3DS. Two others are hidden until the others are complete.
FaceRaiders is a very good gimmick. You can take photos of you and your friends/family and shoot them as they come at you. Move around to catch them before beating the boss! All levels are ideally the same, with slight twists in each one. You can alter expressions on your friends’ faces if you aligned their eyes and mouth right. You can make them laugh, smile, and even puff out their cheeks. It’s great for pets, too!
Mii Creator is much like the one on the Wii, but this one has a photo option, which lets you take a photo of yourself, and it will match it with a Mii. This doesn’t always work and most of the time it makes everyone much more ugly! Miis also have an extension: the Mii Plaza. The Mii Plaza is where you can exchange Miis and play games with the data you’ve received from them via StreetPass.
The camera is 3D, and has a couple of things that let you play around with that, but that is it. To really get great results, you need to supply them yourself by ensuring you have something good of which to take a photo. Ideally something outside, landscape, with a lot of depth and things in-between. This really helps take advantage of the software. There are many tips with the help of a talkative budgie, which show you more features, and how to combine some to make a great effect.
I also enjoy the 3DS' sound software. As I never had a DSi or DSi XL so this is a new thing for me. This is the same, as Nintendo must not have found anything they needed to change. Another small software title is the DS download. DS download continues through the 3DS, and lets you connect with 3DSs and DS/DSi/DSi XLs alike.
Nintendo Letter Box replaces PictoChat which is a shame. The new feature is a free download from the eShop, and lets you send four-framed “letters” to your friends via SpotPass (over the internet) and StreetPass (if they’re nearby). I really enjoyed PictoChat, and many of my friends own DSis, so I won’t be able to chat with them unless I drag my old DS Lite with me, but that’s a lot of hassle for something small. Every time you send a letter, you get a new feature, like adding a photo, 3D-ness and frames and such.
The Nintendo eShop lets you buy and download things like DSiWare does and the Wii shop. I love this, because it lets you buy games that aren’t worth paying £30, but are still good enough to play and pay. I also love the demos, which gives you a free taste of the game whether you decide to purchase the game or not.
The Activity Log records your progress of things generally and how much you play on specific titles. A graph shows how many steps you’ve taken with the pedometer the device includes.
I’d like to say that an instant camera is available from the home screen by pressing L/R, and can scan QR Codes. This is not a full software thingy and does not include everything the camera has, but the full camera has not got a QR code scanner.
Thanks for reading my review, and I’d like you to post your own opinions. What do you like about the 3DS, and why do you think it can be found cheaper than DSi XL in some places? Bye!
- CLICmas Winner
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- Gadget Guide: Nintendo 3DS
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