When Nintendo announced their new family member to sit alongside the 3DS and 3DS XL, a lot of people (including us), thought it was a joke. In fact, we had to triple-check that the URL we were looking at was in fact a Nintendo-owned domain, and not The Onion.
Of course, Nintendo 2DS is absolutely real, and while it’s not going to replace the 3DS, that’s not what it’s supposed to do.
Nintendo’s mantra for the baby brother of their portable juggernaut is a more inexpensive, child-friendly portable gaming console. It launched alongside Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, and released just about a month and a half before The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario Party: Island Tour. Oh, and it’s right in time to deck the halls.
So how does this console stack up?
Once we really got to look at the console and size it up for all its worth, the Nintendo 2DS is a very comfortable console, despite its looks. No, it’s not as portable as its older siblings – its hingeless wedge shape guarantees that – but it’s just as powerful, if you’re not looking for 3D, of course.
In fact, we were hard pressed to find things we didn’t like about the Nintendo 2DS. Forgetting about the fact that it doesn’t actually have 3D, which is a non-issue considering its name, the 2DS fills a portion of the handheld gamer crowd that still has parents buying games for their kids. It also happens to be a great entry point, saving you forty dollars on a handheld if all you want to do is play a game or two.
The hardware is remarkably comfortable, despite its design. The display feels larger than it is thanks to the fact that your hands wrap right around it, covering the buttons and bezel. The circle pad feels identical to the one on the clamshell varieties of the console, but the d-pad, as infrequently as we used it, was much more responsive than the 3DS and 3DS XL.
Our one gripe is that the shoulder buttons have a bit of give before they actually make a click, so you’re not going to be able to use these things as hair triggers. It didn’t mess us up too much since we’re pretty rough gamers as it is, but for younger ones playing with the console, it might be odd as to why they have to press so hard to get the button to register.
The home button at the bottom is also spaced far too close to the touchscreen, as even the lightest touch of the button yields an unsettling shift in the liquid of the display. There’s just not enough plastic between the button and the display.
Really, those gripes are kind of ridiculous considering the purpose and function of the 2DS. We wish the price were a bit lower, and we think Nintendo could’ve achieved that by taking out the 3D cameras from the back (really, no one is going to take photos on this and send them to a 3DS just to see them in 3D), but for a fully-featured handheld with Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong titles in its collection, Nintendo 2DS is a pretty great excuse to get into handheld gaming if you haven’t already.