Nintendo DS Lite Review

Published on November 22, 2006

For my birthday this year, I got a Nintendo DS Lite. Now that I’ve had some time to play with it, I’d like to give you my thoughts on the system, along with the various games that I have picked up so far. I’ve given each a letter grade, for whatever that’s worth.

The DS Lite System (A+)
What first wowed me with the DS Lite was the screen brightness. Having never seen an original DS, I can’t make a comparison between the two generations. However, I can say that my Gameboy Advance SP doesn’t touch the DS Lite brightness levels. It’s literally like night and day. However, the brighter you run the screen, the faster the battery drains. I use brightness level 2 (out of 4, if I remember correctly, where 4 is the brightest). I have been very pleased with the battery life at this level; I charge the system after several hours of play (I haven’t timed it, but I’m guessing somewhere between 6 to 10 hours between charges). And the sound in the DS Lite is incredible. I don’t know how they packed such awesome speakers into a tiny package, but they are really crisp. The added bonus that there are two speakers, and that they utilize stereo to great effect, is even better!

The touch screen is a novel idea and works well, though I find it a little hard to use the stylus in a game that also uses the buttons. And while I’m on that topic, let me say that I am glad that Nintendo included the X and Y buttons. The lack of X and Y on the Gameboy Advance SP really hurt the SNES game ports. Hopefully the DS will help fill that gap. It’s also nice that Gameboy Advance games can be played in the DS (though the X and Y buttons still aren’t useful for those older games). It’s nice to only carry one system around but have support for games from multiple platforms.

Since I’m the only one I know with a DS Lite, I haven’t tried the multiplayer stuff (with built-in wireless). I hear it works pretty well, but I can’t comment since I haven’t used that aspect of it.

There isn’t much negative to say about the DS Lite. Each time you start it up, you get a weird “Health and Safety Warning” that requires a tap of the touch screen to bypass. I find this odd, and a minor annoyance, but I guess Nintendo is trying to get people to be mindful of what they do. Also, the shiny casing is nice, but it shows fingerprints very easily (at least on my black model).

Overall, I nothing but good things to say. I highly recommend the DS Lite as a gaming platform.

The New Super Mario Bros. (B)
This being my first game, I was highly excited about it initially. It evokes classic gaming memories from the NES days, and the game’s action is as fun as ever. But, sadly, Mario’s adventure is a little short. The levels are surprisingly small, and are rather easy (to say the least). New power-ups help ease that pain a little; the giant mushroom and tiny mushrooms are a blast to use. I dislike how worlds 4 and 7 are completely optional (and a little difficult to access; they are only available through secret boss-level exits). The included mini-games are cute, but they don’t draw me back to them again and again. Final verdict? This is a fun game, and a must have for Mario fans, even if it is indeed a short endeavor.

Tetris DS (B)
Six game types are available in Tetris DS, and most of them are decent enough. The only two game types that don’t really excite me are the catch mode and mission mode. The other four (touch, push, puzzle, and standard) are really fun, and I would imagine are a blast with multiple players.

Kirby Canvas Curse (A)
I’ve never played a Kirby game before this one, but I must say that this one is highly entertaining. It uses the touch screen and stylus entirely; you never make use of the game pad buttons. By drawing “rainbow bridges” for Kirby to roll on, you must defeat an evil witch who has turned the world into a painting. Artwork in the game is phenomenal, and the action is pretty intense in some places. The stylus is used to great effect, and was a great twist on gaming. I highly recommend this title.

Yoshi’s Island DS (???)
I haven’t assigned this game a grade yet, because I only yesterday received it from Amazon. The original Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo was a blast, and this one looks like it will follow in its predecessor’s footsteps. It uses both screens to show the game world, which is mildly annoying; there is a physical gap between the screens on the DS Lite, and so there’s a “gap” in what the game shows you at any one time. Hopefully this “feature” won’t be too much of a burden as I go forward. Time will tell.

It appears that I have written a lot on the subject, but hopefully you’ll find this information to be of use. I’ll be taking time off from my posting duties over the holiday weekend so until then, Happy Thanksgiving!

3 Comments

kip

I agree entirely on NSMB: too short and too easy, but still lots of fun. I really want to see a New Super Mario Bros. 2, that is a re-imagining of Super Mario Bros. 2 (in the same way that NSMB was to SMB). I haven’t heard any rumors that any sequel is in the works, but it seems like easy money for Nintendo.

I just got Yoshi’s Island DS, and I’ve only gotten to level 1-7 so far, but I’m liking it so far. I would call the original Yoshi’s Island my favorite platformer of all time (in fact, I already did), so I guess I’m a little biased. I have a DS “Phat”, I’m curious if the two screens are a different distance apart on the two DS systems–I know that the screens are the same size, but they look a tad closer on the DS Lite. If they are different it would affect how accurately you could throw eggs across the screens.

Having never seen the original DS, I’m not sure if the gap between the two screens is larger or smaller. Aiming eggs across the two screens is a bit of a trick, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Yoshi’s Island DS has been really fun so far.

Off to world 2!

Anonymous

Try Meteos for Nintendo DS. You won’t be disappointed.

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