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Nintendo DSi Review Roundup

Trying to decide how to spend your free 1,000 points? We've reviewed all of the initial downloadable games for the Nintendo DSi.

BLUE IS BETTER
I think my favorite part of the Nintendo DSi so far is the music that plays when you're in the DSi Shop. It's a lot like the Wii Shop music, but somehow funkier. But the music doesn't make the purchasing decisions any easier, and the shop itself doesn't really go out of its way to let you know what the five paid applications up for purchase actually are. So it's with that in mind that I set out to write reviews of each of them.

It actually wasn't that tough to crank those out, because most of the available downloads are really simple. And Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face is simply a bad idea. It's essentially asking you to pay $2 for something that would be a bad free demo for Master of Illusion. But by and large, I'm pretty happy with the initial offerings. So here are the five games with links to the reviews.


If you're down to purchase more DSi Shop points, then hey, go for broke. But if you're looking to burn through the free 1,000 points you get when you connect to the shop, there are a few different ways you could go.

If you want to maximize your spending potential (meaning: blow through the entire grand at once), I'd say go with AQUIA and WarioWare. AQUIA is a heck of a puzzle game. WarioWare might not hold your interest for long, but it makes for a good tech demo that shows off the DSi camera.

You could also go with AQUIA and Bird & Beans. Those are, I feel, the two best games available right now. That'd leave you with 300 points that you could spend on Master of Illusion Express, but that's a bad idea. So just hold onto those points for a bit and get something else when it's available.

If you want to just waste the free points on disappointing stuff, get Funny Face and Brain Age Express: Math. Sure, you're getting a bad deal, but why not just waste the free points and be done with it?

AQUIA lets you get some puzzling on wherever you are.
OK, yeah, don't do that.

Of course, you can also download the web browser for free. It's Opera-based, much like the Wii browser. I haven't messed with it much, but it feels like your typical non-computer web browser... no Flash support, limited memory that makes it choke on larger pages, and so on. Actually, I only loaded up the Giant Bomb homepage and when it didn't load, I closed it and haven't tried it since. So one could argue that I haven't put it through its paces. But I never really saw the point to even putting a browser on something like a DS or a PSP. When I'm around a Wi-Fi signal that I have full access to, I usually have a laptop with me. If not, my cell phone does just fine, too. Your situation may vary.

As for the rest of the DSi's feature set, it's a quality device with a slick new UI. It could serve as an audio player, but since it plays AAC files and not MP3s, it's absolutely useless to me. I guess if it was my only portable music option, that could persuade me to re-encode some files... but I'm a firm believer in the power of music-playing devices that were built from the ground up to play music. So, again, you might find that feature a little more useful (or disappointing) than I do.

Of course, it also plays DS games pretty well. The larger screens make colorful stuff like Henry Hatsworth and Rhythm Heaven pop off the display really nicely.

Overall, I don't really think that most existing DS owners need to upgrade, but that's because money is tight right now, and $170 is a bit of a premium for the handful of new features you'll get. But if you don't have a DS yet, skip the old model and start with a DSi. It's worth the extra bit of cash you'll need to start at the top.

Also, if you're a straight-up hustler, get the blue one. It's a great shade of blue with a nice, matte finish. Don't you already have enough black consoles and handhelds in your life? Seriously, live a little.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
45 Comments
Posted by Jeff
BLUE IS BETTER
I think my favorite part of the Nintendo DSi so far is the music that plays when you're in the DSi Shop. It's a lot like the Wii Shop music, but somehow funkier. But the music doesn't make the purchasing decisions any easier, and the shop itself doesn't really go out of its way to let you know what the five paid applications up for purchase actually are. So it's with that in mind that I set out to write reviews of each of them.

It actually wasn't that tough to crank those out, because most of the available downloads are really simple. And Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face is simply a bad idea. It's essentially asking you to pay $2 for something that would be a bad free demo for Master of Illusion. But by and large, I'm pretty happy with the initial offerings. So here are the five games with links to the reviews.


If you're down to purchase more DSi Shop points, then hey, go for broke. But if you're looking to burn through the free 1,000 points you get when you connect to the shop, there are a few different ways you could go.

If you want to maximize your spending potential (meaning: blow through the entire grand at once), I'd say go with AQUIA and WarioWare. AQUIA is a heck of a puzzle game. WarioWare might not hold your interest for long, but it makes for a good tech demo that shows off the DSi camera.

You could also go with AQUIA and Bird & Beans. Those are, I feel, the two best games available right now. That'd leave you with 300 points that you could spend on Master of Illusion Express, but that's a bad idea. So just hold onto those points for a bit and get something else when it's available.

If you want to just waste the free points on disappointing stuff, get Funny Face and Brain Age Express: Math. Sure, you're getting a bad deal, but why not just waste the free points and be done with it?

AQUIA lets you get some puzzling on wherever you are.
OK, yeah, don't do that.

Of course, you can also download the web browser for free. It's Opera-based, much like the Wii browser. I haven't messed with it much, but it feels like your typical non-computer web browser... no Flash support, limited memory that makes it choke on larger pages, and so on. Actually, I only loaded up the Giant Bomb homepage and when it didn't load, I closed it and haven't tried it since. So one could argue that I haven't put it through its paces. But I never really saw the point to even putting a browser on something like a DS or a PSP. When I'm around a Wi-Fi signal that I have full access to, I usually have a laptop with me. If not, my cell phone does just fine, too. Your situation may vary.

As for the rest of the DSi's feature set, it's a quality device with a slick new UI. It could serve as an audio player, but since it plays AAC files and not MP3s, it's absolutely useless to me. I guess if it was my only portable music option, that could persuade me to re-encode some files... but I'm a firm believer in the power of music-playing devices that were built from the ground up to play music. So, again, you might find that feature a little more useful (or disappointing) than I do.

Of course, it also plays DS games pretty well. The larger screens make colorful stuff like Henry Hatsworth and Rhythm Heaven pop off the display really nicely.

Overall, I don't really think that most existing DS owners need to upgrade, but that's because money is tight right now, and $170 is a bit of a premium for the handful of new features you'll get. But if you don't have a DS yet, skip the old model and start with a DSi. It's worth the extra bit of cash you'll need to start at the top.

Also, if you're a straight-up hustler, get the blue one. It's a great shade of blue with a nice, matte finish. Don't you already have enough black consoles and handhelds in your life? Seriously, live a little.
Staff
Edited by joshy9411

omg first!....oops sorry, its just that i was folowing the crowd.....


but anyways, im not sure the downloadable stuff is gonna warrant a purchase of this thing, i mean i barely play my ds as is....though i am a straight up hustler....
Posted by Anthony

I had no idea that it doesn't play mp3 files. Pretty bizarre to not support mp3.

Posted by JoelTGM

JEFF FOR PRESIDENT!  now will you ship me a free DSi

Posted by patrick

I think I'm getting partial to the blue version.

Posted by maladjusted

Where's a clear, see through version, Nintendo?

Posted by needforswede

Nintendo needs to go all color-crazy again like they did with N64 controllers, and all the different variations of gameboys.

If I were getting a DSi, I'd definitely get the blue.  It's an interesting color.  Of course I love black, but it's not everyday that you're given the option of "electric blue."

Posted by TheGreatGuero

I'm not feelin' the blue DSi. It just doesn't look like an attractive color of blue to me.

Posted by License_To_Bill

I think the blue is hideous. Which is why I knew I had to have it the moment I saw it.

Posted by Linkyshinks

Once you go black, you never go back.

Bird & Beans is a neat little game, it's very Game & Watchy in style and is a great time waster. I hope to see many more like it on the service, at the same cost.


Posted by REDRUN
Just had to get this out of the way *cough... Thanks for the review, i am kinda on the fench on this one. I want to get another real portable gaming device (iPhone is not a gaming device), its just the price is up there. I may have to wait a little bit because money is a little tight, for now I still have my DS Fat. I like the fact you can purchase games through the online store. The DSi does look like a justifiable upgrade in my case. Thanks again.
Posted by Linkyshinks

Aye, it's one of many idiotic things that can be found on the internet, frequently. I will never understand why people choose to make themselves look like idiotic drones to nonsense.

Anyway,

DO IT!

Posted by luce

sounds good

i think i'll keep my DSlite though, atleast for now (i need to save up for a ps3 because the Wii isn't giving me much in the way of gaming)

Edited by SuperJoe

Isn't Jeff colorblind?  I'd imagine he sees blue as light-grey.  Anyway, that DSi's shade of blue reminds me of Laffy Taffy.  Blueberry flavor.

Posted by Jensonb

I love my DSi, it's a great upgrade on the DS Phat!

Posted by Hector

I'll stick with my DSLite!

Posted by FlipperDesert
"Actually, I only loaded up the Giant Bomb homepage and when it didn't load, I closed it and haven't tried it since."  Welp, no need for me to ever use that then. *crosses arms*

Blue looks tacky and horrible to me, which is why I'd want that one the most if I was getting a DSi. What? My phone is purple.
Posted by Monkeyking96

i like the fact that it has little pictures while u play music

Posted by Snail

I love my DSi.

Posted by ArclightBorealis

Thanks again for all the DSi Ware reviews, Jeff. I just hope I can some money to buy one, and maybe by the time I do get enough, they will have released another batch of DSi colors (please hope for white one. I need something that can match my Wii atleast)

Posted by MattyFTM

You've been a reviewing monster with all these games.

Moderator
Posted by Chicken008

Yeah, I'm quite content with my DS from launch 2004..

Online
Posted by damnboyadvance

Only plays AAC files? That's completly useless!

As for the DSi Shop, don't spend the points. Save them for later. Some quality games might actually come around some day, but don't bet on it.

Posted by TooWalrus

I actually really like that blue color.

Posted by gesi1223

I'd probably only upgrade when my old DS from 2004 finally dies. Then again that would make my flashcart useless if I got a DSi...

Hard decisions

Posted by Systech

Wondering if I should get the black or blue one... hmm... That is if I actually get one.

Posted by sneakysnake128

Blue is a child's toy.

Posted by Crono

twitter blue looks good in dsi form

Online
Posted by EyeQueue

<-- straight up hustler. I already have a black GBA:SP, DS Lite, and 360 Elite. Not to mention the Gamecube in my closet. Blue was a nice change, I like the colour a lot.

Posted by Godwind

My Wii is white.
My Dreamcast is White.
My Gamecube is silver although my first one was purple.
Snes is Gray and purple.
My top loader NES is gray.
Genesis is black.
TV is black.
My PS2 is black.  I have only been using my PS2 as a DVD player.
DSi is black. 

Besides, my first DS was pink and people thought I stole it from a little girl.

Posted by Media_Master

WHERE ARE THE SEE-THROUGH COLORS? LIKE THE GBA, N64, THE SAME COLORS ARE BORING, "BLACK, BLUE, WHITE...ETC."

Posted by JonathanMoore

Heh... don't think Ill be upgrading just yet.

-- God Bless.

Posted by Hoshnasi

I give my wife all my old handhelds when I upgrade, she then promptly brakes them through dropping repeatedly. She killed my Launch 04' DS and my DS lite will break soon I imagine once I get the blue shocka DSi.

Posted by coonce

awesome jeff - great work bro.

Posted by Linkyshinks
Godwind said:
"My Wii is white.My Dreamcast is White.My Gamecube is silver although my first one was purple.Snes is Gray and purple.My top loader NES is gray.Genesis is black.TV is black.My PS2 is black.  I have only been using my PS2 as a DVD player.DSi is black.  Besides, my first DS was pink and people thought I stole it from a little girl."


That pink DS is worth a fair bit of money now, the Fashionista's in this world will happily pay around $500 for one




Posted by RHCPfan24

Great article, Jeff. I think you persuaded me that this isn't necessary right now, and I should just keep with my DS Lite right now. Still, it looks very good and I appreciate the support you have been giving it.

Posted by FoxMulder

I really want to get a dsi but I dont like the black or blue ones.  I'll probably wait until they release the white one over here.  Why didn't they just release the white the first time around???

Posted by SuperMooseman

Thanks for reviewing the titles Jeff. If/when I get a DSi I will be sure to get Aquia, WarioWare and Birds & Beans. I look forward to seeing what games the service offers in the future.
On a side note, I wish that blue DSi was sold in the UK. We just get plain old white and black.

Posted by AsKo25

I have a decently beat up original DS, and I thought the DS Lite wasn't worth upgrading, but I agree that the DSi is definitely the best one so far. I picked one up on Sunday and I've been loving it. I absolutely agree with the notion that there's too many black portable devices, so I bought the blue one and it looks fantastic. Chicks dig it too.

Posted by JJ

I pretty much feel the same way about the games as Jeff. Master of Illusion was a big mistake, but I wanted to buy everything that night. Time to do my brain training for the day.

Posted by Aaron_G

Jeff, you made me like the blue one. 

Posted by ocdog45

both colors are hideous. waiting to get a white one.

Posted by CL60

Is it worth it too get the DSi if you already have a DS Lite?

Posted by Meowayne

I'll stick with my chrome DSlite for now.

Posted by DerkDigg

"/

no white?