Pictochat (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Rory W. Renehan 15.08.2004 2

Now that the DS has reached completion it's time to focus on making the games as well designed as possible to maximise the features of this new revolutionary console, while still attaining the quality of gameplay we have grown accustomed to. Nintendo also has to use these games to set examples for every DS developer out there and show them what its new baby can do. These games help make the decision between whether the DS is a revolutionary, innovative piece of machinery or just a cheap dual-screened gadget. With only three months to go until the Nintendo DS' American launch, Karn Spydar Lee Bianco and Rory Renehan take a look at some of the Big N's in-house DS software projects.

By far the most whimsical game the DS has to offer, and although being simple is another excellent example of how the hardware can be used. Pictochat allows you to send messages to your friends using the DS's Wi Fi capability. You can use the free draw space with your stylus to send hand written/drawn images, or you can use the software keyboard to type messages like you would a palmtop. The message you are composing is shown on the bottom touch screen whereas received messages are displayed on the top screen.

Screenshot for Pictochat on Nintendo DS

Also excitingly enough Pictochat will support communication with up to 16 other DS units simultaneously, and each persons message being displayed in a unique window with a unique tag (nickname) for each. Your personal window will also have its own unique colour hue. Apart from that though colour doesn't seem to be playing a big part, and visual wise what you see in screen shots is what you get. So the interface may be simple and clean but unfortunately it does look a little barren and basic.

Screenshot for Pictochat on Nintendo DS

Over all the Pictochat software isn't particularly special on its own at the moment. The program is still in development though so hopefully new functions will emerge. Though perhaps the fact that Pictochat offers you a versatile, more personalized text messaging service, as well as it really showing off the new hardware could make this game a potential must have for launch. We can't help but feel that Pictochat being sold at a discount price or as part of a software bundle with the DS would make it far more appealing. Although having said that nothing like this has ever been done so well before on a portable console (save the N-Gage) making it innovation at its best.

Screenshot for Pictochat on Nintendo DS

Use of Dual Screen 3/5
Although the Dual screen is a must for this program it isn't used for anything particularly exciting although the ability to keep tabs of what's being said while replying is helpful.

Use of Touch Screen 4/5
Although a very basic use of the touch screen and very reminiscent of a Palmtop, Pictochat's drawing function more than makes up for any failings in what you can and cant send.

Use of Microphone N/A
So far no use of the microphone has been announced. It would be fun to see a function in which you can make short recordings to send, and although chances are slim it is something to hope for.

Use of Wi Fi 5/5
Although Wi Fi is a must for this game, the opportunity for 16 simultaneous communication, and a maximum range of 200 metres makes Pictochat set to use the Wi Fi function better than any other games shown.

Screenshot for Pictochat on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Seeing as how this is being bundled FREE with the DS its kind of hard to complain about it in any way, shape or form. Then of course there is the fact that Therese very little to complain about anyway, and Nintendo are surely onto a winner here!

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Other

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (10 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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