It’s no coincidence that the Nintendo 2DS and “Pokemon X and Y Versions” will release on the same day: Oct. 12. Available in the same shades of red and blue as the current 3DS XL, the $130 2DS forgoes the clamshell design of the 3DS line for a slate-like design. Of course, both screens are present, and are about the same size as the original model’s panels.
However, to achieve that puny price point, Nintendo dropped the scalable, glasses-free 3D graphics of its predecessors. And that’s not the only concession of the 2DS: This model loses a speaker, with just one featured on the top left of its matte, black plastic face. Finally, we found the direction pad underneath the circle pad to have more give than on preceding devices. Frankly, it feels squishy.
Negatives aside, the 2DS manages to achieve the same punchiness in its face buttons (A, B, X and Y) as before as well a marked improvement in its shoulder buttons. The L and R buttons on the uppermost corners of the 2DS are much larger than ever before and nearly cushion your entire index fingers. And no squish here; we could hear the shoulder buttons click even above the din of the New York Comic Con show floor.
Nintendo managed to fit every other feature of the 3DS line within the 2DS, including Wi-Fi, an SD card reader, a full size stylus, a headphone jack and even a sliding sleep button. This button toggles the same effect as closing a traditional 3DS does, putting the device into a low power state while maintaining your exact position on-screen.
Nintendo has done everything in its power to ensure that the latest Pokemon games are a success (short of releasing them on smartphones and tablets). While you could argue that fervent Pokemon fans don’t need much convincing, their parents might, and this was a brilliant CYA move by the Mario house.
All in all, the 2DS is much more comfortable than it looks. Just don’t expect to fit this console in your pocket. (Nintendo includes a carrying case.) Of course, this is by no means a gaming console to aspire toward if you already own a 3DS or 3DS XL. However, if you — or your Pokemon-crazed child — are an aspiring DS owner, this is your express lane.