3DS XL – no glare but should you care?

This week can only be described as being like a ‘special dream’ for Nintendo fans – not only is there a new piece of hardware out, but also half a dozen or so new releases to go alongside it.

Oddly, the 3DS XL launches this Saturday rather than on Friday as you may expect. The price war kicked off earlier this week – Asda are currently the cheapest, selling it for £169 compared to Tesco’s £175. GAME have a nifty deal though – if you trade in a 3DS (which must be boxed) then you get the handheld and a free charger for £79.99. They even give you 24 hours to take your new toy home and transfer your data. Don’t go leaving the country now, will you?

If you trust the postal service to deliver your system in time for launch, online retailers The Hut and Zavvi are both offering it for £167.95. Beating this deal are Sainsbury’s – if you sign up to their site as a new customer and use code SETENJ12 or SECOSMO you can get one for £161.

We’ve spent a little bit of time with a 3DS XL and although the screens have reduced glare the overall build quality feels a little cheap. It doesn’t come with a charger either, which is something that makes GAME’s deal even more appealing for those looking to trade-in.

There are four new 3DS releases to consider if you’re thinking of picking one up. New Art Academy is the sequel to the surprise DS million seller and offers 3D tutorial videos and the chance to swap pictures via StreetPass and Nintendo Letter Box. It has been spotted online for £20, as has the retail release of Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! The eShop version was well received, netting a 7/10 from Pocket Gamer and a curiously high 89% from the Official Nintendo Magazine.

We’re somewhat less confident in recommending One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP2 and Mensa Academy. The first One Piece for 3DS was critically mauled. Square-Enix’s Mensa Academy meanwhile has a whiff of shovelware about it. The Wii version is also out this week while Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are due later in the year.

Nintendo aren’t forgetting about their older formats this week either. Pokemon Conquest for DS is well worth a look, especially seeing as IGN dished out a 9.0, while Quiz Party for Wii is in fact being published by Nintendo themselves and features the vocal talents of Roy Walker. We’re sure they must have seen some potential in it to pick it up. Either that or they thought they’d better release something between now and the release of the Wii U.

Not a fan of the purveyor of the portly plumber? Bad news for you, son – the only other game out this week is Brave: The Video Game. American gamers received it last month to tie-in with their release of the movie. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions reviewed favourably – EGM even gave the 360 iteration an 8.0 – but the Wii and DS versions were panned for feeling lazily made. The film didn’t go down too well with the critics either – Time Out New York said it was “Pixar on preachy autopilot.” Erk!

Next week: Risen 2: Dark Waters for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and that could very well be it.