PictoChat (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 10.03.2005 28

Review for PictoChat on Nintendo DS

As a wise male-female duo once sang, 'The best things in life are free,' and it would seem that Mr Vandross and Ms Jackson's sentiments are shared by none other than Nintendo, since it is bundling a nice little treat with each and every Nintendo DS due to hit the European market in a matter of hours. But is the chat programme, Pictochat, an art-form in its own right, or simply drawing blanks?

The whole idea of a free gift with something you have just bought is hardly a new concept, as stores, food outlets and various companies have been using such techniques to help drive sales of items that might not sell quite as high as they would without any added incentive(s). In recent years, though, that idea was thrown out of the window in the gaming Industry. Whilst the Game Boy launched with a copy of Russian genius Alexey Pajitnov's puzzle effort Tetris, future systems lacked a true 'free game' when initially launched, with even the mighty PlayStation 2 only including a disc full of little playing game demonstrations and simple video clips. Thankfully, however, all that has just changed with the advent of the Nintendo DS! Time to get those creative juices flowing, because Nintendo has a wonderful treat in store for you lucky gamers!

Loading up your Nintendo DS system takes you to a screen where you will normally choose whether to play on media card that is inserted into the portable or a GBA cartridge that has been slotted into the bottom. However, in this case, you overlook both of those and head for the other logo that will always be there no matter what, 'Pictochat'. Suddenly you are launched into a plain-looking screen that has the logo at the bottom of the upper screen, complete with a little smiley face in the 'O' and the main choice menu on the lower screen. It is down here where you can choose which room to jump into to commence your communication thrills. But you must be a little patient first and wait to see if anyone else is currently 'online'.

You see, there are four rooms to choose from, labelled 'A' through to 'D', each one being able to house up to sixteen Pictochatters. In order to see which room is the ideal one to select, though, you must sit and wait on this screen as the little green light on the bottom-right of the DS itself flickers on and off, searching the air-waves for other DS signals. Once a sufficient enough number has appeared in a room, then pick up your stylus and tap your way to the new communication highway. Thankfully this is the longest you have to wait on the interactive programme, as once in with your friends (or complete strangers for the matter), everything becomes instantaneous. No delays at all...

This can be played in any situation or locale with the greatest of ease – be it a dark, underground room full of thick separating walls, a fast moving train, from a hotel room in a foreign country or just in a wide open conference arena (three guesses where I have played Pictochat the most!). Stick several people together and the messaging fun can go on, completely unhindered until either one of two things happen; the battery dies after about twelve hours or your friends get bored and switch off to play one of the other addictive games available for the system (Polarium, yes please!).

The in-built feature proves to be a wonderful change from text- and picture-messaging on mobile phones, with the input being quicker and more illustrative as you are actually using the stylus pen to write down your messages or draw your images and then transmit them in real time to whoever is in the room with you. It is extremely similar to a web-based chat module, with the addition of images. But just what is available to you for the aid of interaction?

Well, on the top screen you have a little signal strength icon in the top-left, which lets you know if you are in an area where interference is likely. Here you are also shown which room letter you are in, how many messages there are roughly (the scroll bar on the left), as well as the last few messages sent (all depending on how much of the message box each one takes up

Screenshot for PictoChat on Nintendo DS

But that is not all, for as mentioned many times now, you can draw images using the stylus pen, your fingers or the thumb-strap (if you really want). This proves to be highly intuitive, although the standard stylus takes a little getting used to and does not work wonderfully with some people's normal writing style. But, once you have adapted to the ideal way of using the stylus, you are away! Anything can be written or illustrated, meaning that messages can be conveyed in the clearest possible way, negating any chance of confusion...unless you are terrible at drawing, of course!

There are two settings of line to choose from, the standard thick one, or a thinner line that allows more to be drawn / written on the touch-screen. Then there is the technique of choosing the thick line, covering the whole screen in black by quickly rubbing the stylus or thumb-strap over the screen and then changing the setting to 'erase' and writing that way. This proves the best way to write neatly at times, especially for beginners, as the rubber ('eraser' for Americans...to avoid serious confusion!) seems to be a little more accurate than the pen line. But whichever method you adopt, your can have endless fun with something free. Who else could do that, but Nintendo?

Screenshot for PictoChat on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

So there you have it









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   


I would say 'Go buy it!', but that'd be rather pointless! Hehe Smilie So instead I'll say, 'Go buy the Nintendo DS!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

lol, looks good, i might buy it Smilie

Picto Chat is fun, so many things you can do with it that can be enabled if you use your imagination. Great stuff.

It's fun, but I've not been able to use it much yet. :-(

It is a very good extra feature - especially for free.

Pictochat is fun even solo. Kinda sad, but Ihave not been able to use the DS wireless with anyone at all yet!! :cry:

"three guesses where I have played Pictochat the most!"

The toilet? Smilie

This does sound like a nice freebie, though. Wonder if it'll be possible online?

I like the fact you can drag and drop letters in picochat.
Took me a full two weeks to find that!

Its good for makeing pictures :Smilie

Also, minor point:
You can hear different sounds depending on the "stroak" of the stylus.
Pointless, but its little details like that that make Nintendo what they are.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

"other addictive games available for the system (Polarium, yes please!)."

Yes, too bad it isnt game-share :(
(game-demo shareing yes, but multiplayer? no.
Dispite what Nintendos Europe site says...they obvious havnt played it.
Even their pic is wrong)

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

You'll find that some of the Nintendo Europe info is out-dated, like the fact that PictoChat DOES NOT wake up from stand-by if another PictoChatter is in the area (even though this was even stated in the European Press Release...bad Nintendo! Lies!!).

I turn the volume down when using this, but you're right DarkFlame, they're nice, typically Nintendo touches!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Still not been able to use online features due to nobody being about :-(

I'm wondering if Nintendo's proposed Japanese/Chinese/English translation device that's due out in April will hook up with this and whether there is future potential to upgrade it via Wi-Fi downloads. That'd be very cool indeed!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Good review, but arent the graphics over rated.I mean 6/10.

PictoChat looks great

Revolution is the solution.

It's not just graphics in the way you're thinking - that's a score for the layout and simplicity of use in the programme. It's very plain, but easy to use...see? :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Ah I "see" :Smilie , sorry then, I didn't understand what you meant.

[ Edited by Bz0 On 2005/3/12 17:17 ]

Revolution is the solution.

:lol: :-D

And yes, it's great - and now Europeans everywhere will hopefully be using it regularly to chat with each other! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This is seriously the only multi type game myself and my friends have played. Amazing freebie!

[:: Lee Sanders :: Cubed-3 :: News Reporter :: Writer :: Head Of Secret Operations:: Resisdentual Slacker ::] On Twitter = LeeTSanders I have a Cubed3 limited Edition mug!
DO YOU! So Cute - bit.ly/yIEgXv

That's what many Japanese did, apparently...hope it doesn't prove to be the case over here as it'd be nice to see other games selling as well! :sarcy:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Hmm so the DS does not come awake when someone esle joins PictoChat? Is that one thing that will happen when online DS gaming takes off? I hope so, as the idea sounded very cool.

how dos this work coz the chat rooms r always empty

Very nice review. I agree whole-heartedly.

where can i buy it??
i cant find the game!


does anybody have animal crossing wild world tellme if you do Smilie

tocca said:
does anybody have animal crossing wild world tellme if you do Smilie

You Have Posted in the wrong place again. Please keep Posts to the right topics. Namely for this question, the WIFI forum.

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Sandy Wilson

There are 1 members online at the moment.