New Nintendo 3DS review

Mark Nintendo, Reviews 2 Comments

Nintendo have kindly sent me their New Nintendo 3DS to review. It’s called … wait for it … ‘New Nintendo 3DS’.

Unscrupulous eBay sellers are going to have a field day!

I have a theory on the name. There’s two types of Marketing graduate. The Creative ones who go on to work for paint companies and come up with colour names like Anaconda Tears, Grandmas Whisper and Barely Breathing. Then there’s the rest. Those who see hair of the dog not as a shade of beige but a way of getting through those early Monday morning marketing meetings.

To be fair, the New Nintendo 3DS does do exactly what it says on the tin. It’s unequivocally new in many ways, but more on that later.

My love affair with Nintendo’s hand-held devices began with the Game Boy. Read between the lines of my school late book and you’ll find level twelve of Tetris.

In its early years, the Nintendo DS probably accounted for fifty percent of my annual leave, and I’m not proud to admit I *may have once taken compassionate leave for Zelda.

*I did, please don’t judge me.

I skipped the 3DS generation because the 3D element gave me a headache and, well, Janet was adamant that much like a Scalextric and dart board, it wasn’t a suitable gift for a one-year old?!

On first impressions the New Nintendo 3DS looks and feels much like the old DS, but with softer edges and better aesthetics.

It was only when I picked it up that the improvements became clear, and it’s testament to the design that I hadn’t immediately noticed the additional buttons and controls.

As a long time Nintendo devotee I’ve (un)fortunately evolved a Nintendo thumb that rests perfectly on the direction pad, and yet the transition to using the Circle Pad above it feels instantly natural.


There’s two additional shoulder triggers (ZL & ZR) that I’m sure will be well received by those far younger and more dexterous than I’ll ever be, but more impressive still is the second analogue stick (C-Stick) that sits above the action buttons. It looks and feels like the rubber on the end of a pencil and makes the camera angle easy to manipulate without your thumb ever having to stray too far from the other four buttons. Even my fat fingers can handle that!

As someone who’s studying Computing I’m shamefully ignorant of the specification details, and as such won’t try to explain the upgraded processor in anything but terms I understand, and that’s performance.

The long loading times and lagging menus are a thing of the past. Everything works faster including the downloading of games from the Nintendo eShop. And it’s not just the speed that’s improved because we’re also promised new exclusive and more complex games that’ll harness this additional processing power.

I’ve already mentioned how much I disliked using 3D on the old device. I’d consigned 3D without glasses to the Tomorrows World scrapheap of hover boards and robot butlers.

It went beyond frustrating. The merest twitch and you were left looking at a 3D comic without the glasses. I’d self-diagnosed my migraines as 3DS syndrome. Street performing statues honed their skills of stillness with a 3DS screen. Probably.

As such I held out little hope for this aspect of the New Nintendo 3DS, but I was wrong. Very wrong.

Thanks to what it calls ‘Super-Stable 3D’, or what I’m calling sorcery, it now recognises your face with its inner camera and automatically adjusts the angle accordingly. Not only does this work but does so brilliantly. No longer do I have to choose between travel sickness pills or turning the 3D off. I can finally enjoy the 3D for what Nintendo always intended it to be.

Beyond the obvious gaming there’s many other features packed into the device.

For the purposes of this review I’ll pass these on to the kids for their opinion as I’m clearly not the target demographic.

The quality of the camera isn’t spectacular but then given the hardware you couldn’t really expect it to be. You can take photo’s and video in 3D with surprisingly good effect and the boys love this. Then again, being able to shoot a 3D image of your brother out of the sky, why wouldn’t they?

The WiFi works really well and whilst cumbersome for me, the boys have no problems using the internet browser and YouTube channel.

There’s plenty of downloadable content available in the Nintendo eShop and endless fun to be had from making and sharing your own Mii characters.

It also comes with Augmented Reality games where pointing the 3DS at a card on the table brings the game to life.

There’s a new auto-brightness feature that works really well, and the sound quality is significantly better than before.

It’s also to Nintendo’s credit that it remains backward compatible. Not only can you play all the old 2DS and 3DS games, but many of the latter will be massively enhanced thanks to the Super-Stable 3D.

new nintendo 3ds accessoriesAnd Nintendo have also embraced the younger generations desire to customise anything and everything. You can customise the interior with menu themes and the like, but also customise the exterior design with a range of cover plates.

Now being the cynical grumpy old man that I am, I see this as a gimmick. Hand it over to my boys though and it’s anything but. They’ll happily spend as much time on this as they do the games, so I can only bow to the enthusiasm of youth.

You can also buy ‘amiibo’ characters. Figurines much like those of the Skylander games, that you can touch on the screen and bring the characters to (virtual) life. The kids love this far more than my wallet does, but then such is the life of a parent.

My only real gripe is that it doesn’t come with a power adapter included. Why? I have no idea. You can use the old adapter from a 2DS or 3DS but for people who aren’t upgrading from one of those it’s more than a little annoying. Like getting a toy for Christmas and discovering the batteries aren’t included.

I have to admit I questioned the future of hand-held gaming devices. It was a market I’d assumed the smart phone would make redundant. But with the release of the New Nintendo 3DS I’m really pleased Nintendo have proven me wrong.

If you don’t already own a Nintendo DS in one guise or another I can definitely recommend buying a New Nintendo 3DS. If you do own a previous version then still buy this anyway. Honestly, it’s better in every way.

And from a selfish point of view, finally I might just get my phone back off the kids!

The New Nintendo 3DS – RRP £149.99

{I was sent the New Nintendo 3DS for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are honest and my own.}

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