Review: The New Nintendo 3DS

by DannyUK

The early days of Nintendo passed me by as a kid. I was far too busy having my time taken up by the ZX Spectrum (rubber keys and all) and then an Atari STE to pay much attention to Nintendo or their gaming systems. I admit feeling a pang of jealousy when the kids in the playground had the Nintendo-branded handheld games, which saw Mario packing boxes in one game and some Donkey Kong themed game in another. These were basic days, kids. Meanwhile, my inability as an 8 year old to tell my mum exactly what I wanted for my birthday meant that I ended up with some albeit enjoyable but non-Nintendo games.

Even the NES passed me by. It wasn’t until a friend at school started banging on about the Super Famicom, a Japanese import games console that was available in the UK (and was thereafter relaunched as the Super NES) that I really began getting interested in Nintendo.

The gamechanger for me was the Gameboy. With it’s black graphics against a green-tinted screen, I spent many hours (days? Weeks?) playing Super Mario and WWF wrestling, as well as the classic Tetris. All of my friends had Gameboys too. From that day to this, my handheld gaming has always come back to Nintendo.

A few years back I invested in the Nintendo DS, falling instantly in love with Mario Kart. The kids had DSs too, and we used to spend ages playing multi-player Mario Kart, either teaming up with or against each other.

Recently Nintendo gave their DS a makeover. Launched as the New Nintendo 3DS it builds on the capabilities of it’s predecessor. It has new customisation options, new speed, new controls, new 3D viewing and overall gives a whole new experience!

New buttons

The introduction of two new buttons - ZL and ZR (which have been added next to the L and R Buttons) allow a greater control over games, and also introduces the prospect of more in depth games. It also has a new C Stick, found near the A, B, X and Y Buttons, expanding your control options even further.

New Nintendo 3DS - Mario Kart 7 game

The game that takes up all of my DS-playing time. Mario Kart 7.

These additions make it easier than ever to surf the internet on your handheld too, though I must admit that despite the ease, I would still turn to my laptop or my phone for internet at my fingertips.

NFC capability

The New Nintendo 3DS also has NFC function for amiibo-compatible software. Being in my late 30s, I had no idea what this meant, but after quizzing my kids (aged 8 to 14), I know now that amiibo are interactive figures that “utilise near-field communication (NFC) to enhance your games in surprising new ways!” (A quote unsurprisingly lifted straight from Nintendo).

Essentially, you can buy figurines that as a kid I would have no doubt posed in battle against some imaginary evil force as I manoeuvred them around the bedroom. With these, you can touch them to the New 3DS and play on software with the same characters.

Naturally, you need amiibo-compatible software to do this.

New Nintendo 3DS ZL and ZR buttons

The New Nintendo 3DS ZL and ZR buttons

Thankfully upgrading your DS doesn’t mean having to reinvest in buying the same software titles you already have on the new platform. New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL are compatible with all current Nintendo 3DS software, and almost all existing Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi games can be played on a New Nintendo 3DS system in 2D. With backward compatibility – which I believe all systems should embrace (Microsoft, I’m looking at you here, with you non-backwardly compatible Xbox One) , you can keep playing your favourite existing Nintendo DS games.


Other upgraded functionality

The camera has had an overhaul, allowing you to take better pictures under dim lighting conditions, and using wireless LAN, you can transfer data directly to and from your PC, allowing you to transfer your pictures and music without removing the microSD card.

Change cover plates

I was never one for vanity, and when the phase of having a mobile phone that you could change covers on came about, I sat stoically with my Nokia 3210 with no doubt an unquenchable desire to beat my high score on Snake.

On New Nintendo 3DS though, you can customise the exterior design of your system with replaceable cover plates! I wasn’t sure if I’d be a fan of this in all honesty, but I have to say that I am rather taken with my Mario faceplates, and they look quite snazzy.

You can buy cover plates come as sets of front and back plates, in a variety of different designs and textures. Although Nintendo happily suggest that you “combine different front and back plates for a totally unique look!”, it’s fair to say that matching cover plates look best together.

New Nintendo 3DS - Mario faceplate

Rather than the plain backplates, my 3DS has a funky Mario cover.

Overall, the New Nintendo 3DS is a definite improvement on what has come before. Although I’d be hard pushed to say that there was a massive difference between the 3DS and the New 3DS, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this system if you’re looking to upgrade from an older handheld device.

The 3D system blew me away when I first tried it a few years back, and it still does today in all honesty. It takes some getting used to, but after an initial cross-eyed feeling, it became almost second nature when I was using it. With that said, the option to turn from 3D to 2D is only a switch (or rather: a slider) away.

If I was going to pick out a negative, it would be the lack of a charger being supplied with the system. I can’t think of any decent reason as to why the New Nintendo 3DS comes packaged without a charger, beyond saving some money. It seems an odd move not to include it as standard.

The basic system also comes supplied without a standalone game.

Buy the New Nintendo 3DS - Black - £139.85 (Affiliate link)

Note: One of the initial issues I had was how to perform a system transfer to the new Nintendo 3DS. Fortunately, Nintendo have a handy online guide which can be found here - Click here

Disclaimer: I was sent a New Nintendo 3DS to keep as part of being part of the Nintendo UK blogging family, while I use the Nintendo 3DS emulator for PC as well. This is an honest review and all views and opinions are my own.

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