Nintendo held a press event in Manhattan this week to introduce the new Nintendo 2DS XL, which will be released on July 28th and priced at $149.99.
My impressions are limited to the press event, as I didn’t get to take one home and run it fully through its paces. Therefore, any in-depth review will have to wait until there is significant playtime with the device and the new games.
However, what I saw was very promising.
Here are five things I came away with from the demo models and an on-site interview with Doug Bowser, SVP of Sales and Marketing for Nintendo.
- There should not be the scarcity issue that plagued the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the NES Classic, according to Bowser. As someone who still hasn’t managed to find a Switch (without a bundle) and has given up on finding the NES Classic, this is excellent news. Also excellent news to those parents promising units for their kids.
- The 2DS XL has all the computer power of the 3DS. The only thing it lacks is the 3D capability. So your games should run faster and more efficiently than on the regular 2DS.
- It’s aesthetically pleasing to hold in the hand. The corners of the device have been rounded, which adds a different feel to this device as opposed to the 3DS or 3DS XL. The top screen is both larger and thinner, which improve the graphics. The clamshell design will no doubt make it easier to protect the screens while the devices are being lugged around in backpacks, suitcases, and purses.
- There will be no more accidentally popping out the games. The games and the micro SD card reader are inserted via slots which are covered. As someone who’s lost games because of accidental ejection, this is a welcome change.
- All games will work on the new 2DS XL. That includes the 3DS games that could not be played on the regular 2DS. This is a result of point #2–the computing and graphics power of the new XL.
At the press event, had a chance to play Miitopia, also out July 28, and Ever Oasis, which will be out on June 23rd. The first is a cute, all-ages game that should be perfect to introduce kids to the words of RPGs. Yet the humor included in Miitopia–such as having a snack before a battle, the cook’s weapon being a frying pan–should make it fun for adults as well. Ever Oasis is a more advanced RPG game, with the quests that are part of that genre. Its graphics are bright and what I’d call pretty. Hey Pikmin is also being released the same day as the 2DS XL.
One last thing I was reminded of when playing these game at the press event: how much room there is to insert yourself.
Of course, Miis are nothing new to Nintendo games but it bears repeating: representation is built into these games. For instance, there are friendship bonding experiences in Miitopia. That can be read as just friendship–which is no doubt what’s intended–but it can also represent a relationship, given all the hearts that show up after bonding,
Should you buy the 2DS XL? The price point is a good one and there will be no lack of games available for it because of the compatibility with the 3DS. So, yes, this would be a good choice for a new hand-held, provided that you don’t want 3D capabilities. In that case, spend $50 more for the 3DS platform.