By Paul Hunter
A new addition to the Nintendo family of handhelds has arrived: New Nintendo 2DS XL. This sleek new portable, available in Black & Turquoise, is a redesign of 2013’s Nintendo 2DS. Coinciding with the launch of this new console are a pair a new games, the platformer Hey! Pikmin and the role-playing game, Miitopia. Nintendo was generous enough to send me over the new hardware and games, and here are my impressions of each:
Like the Nintendo 2DS, the New 2DS XL console has all the same features of the New 3DS XL, minus the 3D display. Compared to the standard 2DS, its screens are a whopping 82% larger. If you’re looking for a Nintendo handheld console and 3D images is not an essential factor in your eyes, this device is worth considering.
Here are the main features of New Nintendo 2DS XL:
For years now the 3DS has been an essential console for me, whether that’s playing at home on the couch or on the road. The catalogue of available games is huge, and there are games for all types of players. While I was initially wowed by the 3D depth, over time I’ve noticed I’m playing more and more games with the 3D slider turned off. For me, the New Nintendo 2DS XL’s removal of 3D is not a big deal, and in practice I hardly cared. In fact, a lot of new 3DS games don’t even utilize the 3D slider, with the most recent example being Hey! Pikmin.
The first thing I noticed with the New Nintendo 2DS XL is just how light is, especially when compared to the New 3DS XL. Nintendo’s newest portable weighs a mere 260g, as compared to the beefier 329g of the New 3DS XL. That’s about 21% less weight, and it’s apparent from the moment you pick it up.
From a form factor perspective, the obvious advantage the New 2DS XL has over the 2DS is its clamshell design. The 2DS couldn’t fold at all, which means you need to buy a carrying case to protect the screens and buttons. With the 2DS XL you can simply close the lid and have the most important components fully protected.
As well, in the New 2DS XL the game cartridge and the MicroSD memory card slot are protected by a plastic cover. The helps to eliminate the accidental removal of said components, which happened to me a few times with my 3DS XL.
Perhaps the biggest change from past 3DS/2DS iterations is where all the buttons and components are located. For the New 2DS XL, everything is positioned on the bottom half of the console, including the volume control and speakers which used to be beside the upper screen on the New 3DS XL.
As for the overall comfort, it feels similar to the New 3DS XL, but with less weight it’s easier to grip and hold over long periods. Aesthetically, I thought the turquoise outer rim looked neat, and I liked the grooved line design on the top case.
There are two areas though where the New 2DS XL console disappoints a little. The first is the position of the home button, which has been moved to below the D-Pad. On the New 3DS XL, this button was below the touch screen and relatively out of the way. Over several lengthy game sessions with the New 2DS XL, I accidentally pressed the Home button a couple of times—a slip up that never happened on the New 3DS XL.
Perhaps even more egregious is the miniscule stylus that comes with the New 2DS XL. Compared to the one you get with the New 3DS XL it’s quite a bit smaller, I’d say by about 1/3. For children with small hands this won’t likely be much of an issue, but if you have larger hands the reduced grip is disappointing.
On the bright side, the New 2DS XL includes a wall charger, an accessory that was oddly missing from the New 3DS XL box. The New 2DS XL is quite a bit cheaper too, so from an overall value perspective, I find it much better than its 3DS counterpart.
Now that we’ve had a look at Nintendo’s newest console, let’s examine the games that released alongside it!
The platforming game Hey! Pikmin is a nice companion for the New Nintendo 2DS XL as it’s completely playable in 2D. It also makes good use of the larger screens with levels using both the top and bottom screen to present levels.
In this adventure, Captain Olimar’s ship crash lands on a mysterious planet, and discovers it’s inhabited by many different coloured Pikmin. The cute plant-like creatures must help Olimar collect Sparklium to refuel his ship, the S.S. Dolphin 2.
Pikmin on this planet come in five types: red (fire), blue (can swim), yellow (electric), black (hard as rock) and pink (winged). Each one helps you overcome various obstacles, be it crystals the black Pikmin can smash or electric coils the Yellow Pikmin can charge. As you travel through levels be on the lookout for many hidden treasures that give you a big boost of Sparklium.
I’ve always been a big fan of Pikmin’s unique charm, and that’s mostly retained in this latest game. The puzzles are quite a bit easier than the console games though, so be aware this entry is aimed squarely at kids. Alongside the game also comes the release of new Pikmin amiibo, which unlocks Secret Spots where you can collect more Sparklium.
Overall, Hey! Pikmin is a Pikmin-light game sure to appeal to younger audiences. However, fans of the console entries may find the low challenge and modest campaign to not be quite enough.
The second game to release alongside the New 2DS XL is Miitopia, an entry-level RPG starring Nintendo’s adorable Mii characters. It begins one day with the peaceful world of Miitopia getting turned upside down after the evil Dark Lord steals the faces of its inhabitants. To make matters worse, the Dark Lord then places the faces on wild creatures across the land.
As your Mii characters, it’s up to you to lead a team of heroes and retrieve the faces. There are several different jobs you can assign Miis, including RPG mainstays like a Warrior and Mage, or funny unusual ones like a Cat or a Flower.
What’s great is Miitopia will check your 3DS/2DS console to see if you have any created Miis, including ones you made in games like Tomodachi Life. I ended up getting funny characters like Ronald McDonald and Scooby Doo in my Miitopia adventure.
Don’t expect too much in the way of challenge with Miitopia—it’s probably the easiest RPG I’ve ever played. Walking is mostly done for you automatically, and you only control one of four party members during the turn-based battles. Needless to say, Miitopia definitely caters toward the first-time RPG player.
When it comes to charm, this is something Miitopia has in spades. During field walks and inside Inns your Miitopia team will babble on about how cute they each are, what they ate for breakfast, and other random nonsense. The closer you place Miis together the greater relationships emerge, including Miis falling and love and getting jealous when their love interest hangs out with another Mii. In a sense, a bit of EA’s The Sims is thrown into the RPG mix.
Nintendo has taken the fun of Tomodachi Life and taken it one step further with Miitopia. Now you can take your created Miis on a 30-hour adventure through spooky forests, haunted castles, and scorching deserts inhabited by deadly creatures. You can even choose Miis for NPC and enemy characters, which I found very amusing. It’s certainly not a tough game to complete, but its charm definitely won me over.