Nintendo showed off the new DSi to the press today, and PCW got in on the action.
We can confirm that the portable console will launch here on the 2nd of April, and will be priced at $399. From what we've seen, this is the DS that could win over the general NZ public, who have been relatively slow in the uptake of the world's greatest selling gaming console.
Check the jump for our five reasons why the DSi rocks ->
The DSi has a pretty snazzy audio player and recorder that has some bells and whistles your MP3 player probably doesn't. You can alter the pitch and speed (the latter of which makes lengthy podcasts a bit speedier), as well as add a bunch of neat effects like echoes, reverse play, instrumental only, and 8-bit tunes. You haven't heard "Any Way You Want It" until it's sounded like an NES game. And if you want to just listen to music, the DSi's good for that too. If you're listening to music when you close the DSi, it'll keep playing as long as you've got headphones attached.
If you've ever messed around with the iPhoto program on a Macbook, you'll probably dig what Nintendo's doing with the DSi's dual cameras. You can stretch a photo, much like Mario's face in Super Mario 64, as well as play with a bunch of cool picture modes like color mode, wherein you take a black and white picture and reveal colors by tapping on different parts of the pic. Mischief mode adds things like moustaches and glasses to your picture. Merge allows you to morph two different headshots, while frames lets you create custom image templates. One bizarre one was someone else's head with the eyes cut out so we could insert our own peepers! Creepy. And if you've got a weird pic to send to a nearby friend, you can do it over local wireless!
With Wi-Fi and a dedicated memory slot, Nintendo is finally allowing the DSi to enter the wonderful world of downloadable games. We got to try three tiny but tremendous downloadable games that will hopefully head stateside. Puro was based off an old Wario Ware microgame. In Puro, you control a small bird who has to eat falling beans before they hit the ground. Speaking of Wario Ware, that series had its own DSiWare iteration, wherein you have to strike wacky poses. And finally, there's Decode, which is bar none the best math game ever. All you have to do is switch and flip numbers (for example, a 2 into a 5) until you line up a bunch that add up to ten. It's more difficult -- and fun -- than you'd think.
Pictures don't do the DSi justice. While it's not the marked improvement of the DS Lite over the original bulky model, the DSi is sleek, the buttons have been moved around for better layout and ergonomics, and best of all, the portable has a matte finish that would make the PSP green with envy. Inside the system, the UI has been made over to look more like the Wii. You can drag and drop games and tools like you would on the Wii or iPhone. It's a definite improvement.
With an SD storage slot, the DS's biggest weakness has been remedied. You can store music, movies and games, and, hopefully, can download firmware updates so that the DSi can keep up with the times. With all the improvements the DSi offers over the original, you might be tempted to, too.
Additional reporting by Dave Rudden, GamePro