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Nintendo 3DS review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £197
inc VAT

A bewildering array of technology in a compact package, the Nintendo 3DS has huge potential.



The real question then is whether developers can make use of all these disparate technologies and bring them together in brilliant games. The 3DS takes similar-looking cartridges to previous DS consoles, but with a tab so they won’t fit in older devices. Old games are fully compatible with the new device, so you can play old favourites, or plunder the back catalogue if you’re new to all this.

Nintendo 3DS cartridges

Nintendo provides a series of mini-games with the DS that showcase how its various features can be brought together to make something truly excellent and entertaining happen. The most impressive of these are the Augmented Reality (AR) games, but it’s far easier to show these than describe them, so here’s a short video we made.

As you can see the camera and processing power of the 3DS combine excellently to create a really intriguing little game. What you can’t get from this is how much the 3D element of the screen adds to the experience, making the AR far more believable and immersive.

Another example that ships with the console is Face Raiders, a rather silly game that captures your face, squishes it into a flying armoured helmet and then makes you chase it around the room shooting it. We’ve seen games like this before, but Nintendo have outdone them all, and the 3D effect again adds a lot to this kind of virtual play.

Nintendo 3DS face raider


The best way to summarise the Nintendo 3DS then is as an ugly duckling. It doesn’t seduce at first glance, with its appearance governed by a bewildering mess of technology, but then Nintendo pull something cute out of the mess, something that makes you laugh like a delighted child, and suddenly it all comes together.

Just like the original DS, it’s now down to software publishers to tease those magical moments from this Frankenstein device. It’s very hard to rate any console at the beginning of its lifespan; but what’s here should create many possibilities for genuine innovation. We’d be amazed if the 3DS fails to bring us exciting new experiences. We’re therefore giving it a Best Buy award, if only for its incredible untapped potential.

Remember to read our Ubisoft 3DS lineup article now.

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