Feature | Tech Up! - Circle Pad Pro (Nintendo 3DS)

By Shane Jury 30.01.2012 10

When E3 rolled around back in 2010 and gamers worldwide got their first glimpse of Nintendo's new 3DS, a select number were dismayed to see that the device was mimicking the button setup of Sony's Playstation Portable, adding one analogue stick instead of two to the otherwise flawless DS control mapping. Though the 3DS had the backup advantage of the touch screen as an extra input, left-handed gamers in particular were still left out in the cold when it came to control options. Be it external pressure from Third Parties, or simply realising their own mistake, Nintendo has released the Circle Pad Pro accessory, providing a bit more of everything to their handheld baby; buttons, another stick, and more grip space. Does this turn out to be a wise move from the House of Mario, or just a desperate tide-over until the first 3DS revision?
Image for Feature | Tech Up! - Circle Pad Pro (Nintendo 3DS)
Upon taking your brand new accessory out of its packaging -- whether that will be the standalone product box or the Resident Evil Revelations bundle box -- you will notice it has a more matte feel to it than the 3DS unit itself; plastic enough so you would never get visible fingerprints or scratches on it, but it definitely feels very light and hollow for its size. The cradle layout itself contains the right-hand analogue stick that feels just as robust and easy to grip as the main one on the machine itself, and three shoulder triggers; ZL, ZR, and a replacement R as well.

Inside the box comes the usual Nintendo manuals with instructions on how to operate the Pro, and oddly enough a wrist strap not unlike those from Wii Remotes that the guides heavily implore you to use. Using this is not a problem, as you can slide the cable through a small gap in the cradle to attach it directly to your machine, but really only those with the greasiest of paws need worry about it. Also included is one AAA battery to put into the Circle Pad Pro's back compartment, reported to last the gaming equivalent of 430 hours. Usage will put question to whether this claim is true or not, but with the device's infrared communication system, resembling that of a TV remote, it is not too hard to believe.

Your 3DS slides very easily into the Circle Pad Pro, and gives it an added bit of girth to fit easier into your palms, though you will need to remove it a considerable number of times during uses due to the ports that the cradle blocks. The headphone socket at the bottom, and charge socket at the top are still free, as is the volume slider, but the Wi-Fi switch, the SD Card slot, the stylus slot, and most importantly the Game Card slot are all blocked. Those using a dual-stick control setup probably would not require the stylus anyway, and the Pro does not work in the 3DS system's menu, so there is no harm in removing it to change games, but losing direct access to the SD port and Wi-Fi toggle might be a hindrance to some.

The Pro's considerable size does not suddenly stop the 3DS from being a portable console, but it is not really an accessory you would want to carry around with you. The curved grips at the back most definitely provide a more comfortable hold for gamers with oversized claws, but junior would probably have a hard time using this one.

As there is only one game released in Europe that supports the device at this moment, it is difficult to say how robust and effective the Circle Pad Pro truly is over time and across different game genres. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy was reported to support the accessory, but hands-on time with the European version of the game has revealed no use for it whatsoever.

Image for Feature | Tech Up! - Circle Pad Pro (Nintendo 3DS)

The one game that does make use of the Pro, Resident Evil Revelations, does so very effectively. Allowing for a 'move and shoot' control scheme that many fans lamented the absence of in the HD-rich Resident Evil 5, the right-hand stick reacts instantaneously with the on-screen action and will make you forget that this is merely an attachment that only uses an old-fashioned radio wave to connect to the machine. The trigger buttons feel great to use too, providing more of a 'clicky' feel than the L and R triggers on the 3DS. Speaking of those, the 3DS unit's R trigger is not actually blocked off, though only those with the longest of sausage fingers can now reach it; the attachment provides a substitute R anyway so this is not a problem.

Knowledgeable long-time followers of the gaming Industry may notice that this accessory marks the first time that the analogue stick and face buttons have ended up in a side-by-side horizontal position instead of the standard vertical mapping. Switching between the two when playing a game definitely feels strange at first, and the slight distance between them may be an annoyance to smaller-palmed gamers, but it is quick and easy to adjust to.

Tech Up's Final Thoughts

The Circle Pad Pro is certainly not easy on the eyes, and looking at it holding a 3DS may make you wonder why Nintendo even bothered in the first place, but as a grip and a control extension it is highly recommended. How its future usefulness comes into play, whether as a precursor to the inevitable, maybe slightly enhanced 3DS redesign, or a wide catalogue of supporting games, remains to be seen.

Box art for Circle Pad Pro
Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Other

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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I loved the RE Revelations demo and I didn't have a problem with playing just with the 3DS, but I'll try it with the CC Pro before making a purchase of either. Too bad there's no bundle over here since I would have liked to pay only $10 for it (as would be the case in a bundle) and not $20.

Yea I got my hands on the circle pad pro today with Resident Evil Revelations and I need to adjust to it fully to determine how I really feel. First impressions are that it's not as big as I thought it would be and it makes wonder how they will change the design of the next 3DS. On some good points, I didn't have to play with any settings to enable the add-on, it automatically detects it in game and it is very responsive.

I see the Circle Pad like this
Aesthetically revolting
But ergonomically pleasing.

It looks so ugly on the 3DS and I don't think it's something you'd want to carry around with you- it definitely seems like a temporary fix for something that a later model might solve. (idk how I feel about this).
But it's really nice to hold ok! It replaces that annoying sharp handheld feel with something more akin to a controller. The only problem I have with holding it is that the Y button can be a pain to reach.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

SuperLink said:
I see the Circle Pad like this
Aesthetically revolting
But ergonomically pleasing.

I don't find it ergonomically pleasing at all. I think it could have bee shaped better. Saying that, I can still use it without too much hassle, although my hands are fairly small and I find it a little over sized.

I must say I would have liked Nintendo to have taken this oportunity to add rumble in the Circle Pad Pro too. It would have given it more reason to exist as an add on then.

I definitely think the Circle Pad Pro will make some games better to play (Metal Gear Solid will benefit a lot from it) and have used it to play Resident Evil.

Trepe said:
SuperLink said:
I see the Circle Pad like this
Aesthetically revolting
But ergonomically pleasing.

I don't find it ergonomically pleasing at all. I think it could have bee shaped better. Saying that, I can still use it without too much hassle, although my hands are fairly small and I find it a little over sized.

I must say I would have liked Nintendo to have taken this oportunity to add rumble in the Circle Pad Pro too. It would have given it more reason to exist as an add on then.

I definitely think the Circle Pad Pro will make some games better to play (Metal Gear Solid will benefit a lot from it) and have used it to play Resident Evil.

YES! I was just thinking the same thing, if they can add rumble in the thinest of smartphones surely they can add something into this bulk piece of doodoo Smilie

I don't think rumble and 3D would mesh well.

NNID: crackedthesky
My blog, mostly about writing: http://www.davidjlovato.com

justonesp00lturn said:
I don't think rumble and 3D would mesh well.

I agree, but then again 3D and Gyro don't mesh well either.

So one or the other, 3D, Gyro and hypothetical Rumble are all optional features after all.

( Edited 30.01.2012 18:21 by SuperLink )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Rumble won't affect 3D whats so ever, unless you want rumble which makes your 3DS give you a spaz attack, slight rumble like in smart phones would do, not a big ask.

Irfy said:
Rumble won't affect 3D whats so ever, unless you want rumble which makes your 3DS give you a spaz attack, slight rumble like in smart phones would do, not a big ask.
Lol, I somehow read that sentence as "unless you want to rumble along with your 3DS.." and almost died laughing when imagining someone doing that. Smilie

bounlod (guest) 02.02.2012#10

yesSmilie

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