Rating: Skip It (for now)
What do you do when the iPhone threatens your handheld gaming empire? Well, if you’re Nintendo, you make a new version of the popular DS handheld with features to combat the “Jesus Phone.” Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the Nintendo DSi.
So what makes the DSi different from the old DS Lite? It has bigger and brighter screens, low-res internal and external cameras, SD card support for pictures and music files, a more accessible operating system and access to a wireless store for digitally delivered video games (Wario Ware: Snapped is an absolute must-play, by the way).
A bit wider than the DS Lite, long fingers and large hands will come to appreciate it since they don’t feel cramped while playing. Although you won’t notice at first, you’ll come to value the larger dual-screen real estate while playing games like Elite Beat Agents (my personal favorite). All of this doesn’t mean the DSi is a must-buy, though.
My real problem with the DSi isn’t with the gadget itself but with the lack of software support Nintendo has provided for this new portable device. There are no original DSi-only retail games that harness the gadget’s unique features that accompanied the handheld at launch. For now, I’m stuck playing the same selection of titles that were available on the DS Lite. So then, what do I need the two new cameras and higher price point for? Fortunately, this was the same case when the original DS was released in 2004, so expect the handheld’s truly defining titles to appear a year from now.
Should you buy it? No. Not right now at least. Your cheaper DS Lite will do just fine for now. Save your money for the time when titles that make good use of the DSi’s capabilities start rolling in next year. Go buy food instead. Food’s good for you.