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AR Games: Shooting (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for AR Games: Shooting on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Nintendo is touting its Augmented Reality functionality as being the next big thing and is hoping that mini-games based on this technology, launched through one of six cards included in the actual Nintendo 3DS bundle, will make up for the lack of actual retail pack-in game. Cubed3 takes a closer look at one of the six, Shooting to give an idea of what can be expected from the special cards.

One such card features a traditional Question Mark Block from the Mushroom Kingdom, and it can be used to access a mini-game called Shooting. Now, whilst the humble container that generally appears in the various Super Mario Bros. platform romps holds support items, like Mushrooms or Fire Flowers, and golden coins for Mario and Luigi to collect, when viewed through the dual external cameras of the Nintendo 3DS it becomes an entirely different beast - literally.

Those completely unaware of what to expect from any of the Augmented Reality cards will be in for quite the shock. Once the card has been placed on a flat surface, such as a regular desk or table, the next step is to view it through the screens of the Nintendo 3DS and, thanks to the trickery of the cameras, a whole slew of three-dimensional fun pours forth from the card. It is advisable to attempt to maintain a distance of around 35 centimetres between the card and the 3DS system in order for the cameras to obtain a clear view of the card so that they can work their magic, with the system held at a rough angle of 30 degrees. These specifications are shown on the lower screen, whilst the main action takes place on the top of the 3DS.

Within seconds of staring at a card on a table, AR Games: Shooting has several tiny boxes pop up, all with cute little eyes. When the one with a target is hit, it is swallowed by a larger box that then re-opens to reveal a tree with numerous targets placed around it. The objective is to physically move the 3DS unit around, all the while keeping the specified distance away, aiming at the targets and destroying them by positioning the reticule as required, then shooting as accurately as possible with the ‘A’ button.

Screenshot for AR Games: Shooting on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There is a handy on-screen counter that informs players of how many targets remain, and once everything has been cleared a hole appears in front of the large tree, which contains one last board to blast that requires positioning of the 3DS right over the Question Mark Block card. This process continues in different forms, throwing different 3D effects at the player, and this is where the full 3D effect is definitely the most impressive, showing off the full extent of the depth feature. It also adds somewhat of a puzzle element since the counter will state there are a certain number of targets remaining, yet they cannot be discovered or reached until some searching around the area has been carried out, which requires careful manoeuvring of the 3DS.

The next stage of AR Games: Shooting is a ‘boss battle,’ with a gruesome-looking snake-dragon creature with sharp teeth emerging and proceeding to attack, which basically works in the same way, except that the player has to dodge the oncoming assault faster than when moving around the hit the targets previously. The whole process may well be over after about ten or so minutes, yet for a free game to mess around with, it not only is a fun experience, but also goes a long way to showing off the 3D abilities.

Screenshot for AR Games: Shooting on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


AR Games: Shooting is a great way to show off how impressive the 3D functionality of the Nintendo 3DS is, encouraging players to get up and move around animatedly in order to reach the final goal.


Solid 3D visuals and some highly impressive depth effects, with clever positioning of targets, as well as the impressive morphology of whatever real-life object the card was placed upon.


Basic sound effects throughout and nothing more. The music is limited, other than a short fanfare upon successful completion, yet the little ‘success’ jingles at different stages and shooting noises throughout do their job sufficiently, along with the roar and cries of anguish from the end-of-game monster.


The whole game is over very quickly (one to four minutes dependent on your skill and accuracy), but considering the fact that the card comes free with the system it definitely is good value for money! There is also the opportunity to keep replaying to best your previous score, or let others challenge for the High Score honours.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

AR Games: Shooting works extremely well in terms of showing off the 3D abilities of the Nintendo 3DS and its external cameras, as well proving to be great fun as players must get up and move around quickly to shoot at all the targets and the main boss. Thoroughly entertaining for a freebie thrown into the 3DS package.

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

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

These mini-games are really great and I can definitely see these working like Wii Sports in that people will use them to show the new system off totheir friends.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Yes, I agree with the score. Only problem I had playing this was keeping the camera fixed on the card, if you dont you get interrupted, but the gameplay continues once you focus it back in, bit like taking controller out of port 1. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Very good point that I forgot to mention because it only happened once whilst testing it. It's great that it quicy continues the action as if nothing happened.

Also, quite hard to score these at the moment. I love what Nintendo's doing, but I'm sure developments will get better with time. To be honest, I need to look more into how the whole AR process works...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Well, they're free and included with your system purchase so they're added value and maybe scores will be all over the place depending on how much each person enjoys them. Other than that, it's great you give us a peak at what these are like since I won't be getting my 3DS until holiday 2012 since I've got a lot of games to take care of first and a baby that will be born very, very soon.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

We weren't sure whether to do the AR Games in one fell swoop, but considering I was able to bang out a quick 800+ words for just Target Shooting, plus the fact that I felt it'd be beneficial for readers to know about the individual games in more detail, we plumped for the separate review format.

From the reaction, it seems like the right choice was made - thanks Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I like the idea of this! It really adds the the "3d" in 3ds and i recon the very first time i play it i will be like "im trppin ballz"!Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

TinSword said:
I like the idea of this! It really adds the the "3d" in 3ds and i recon the very first time i play it i will be like "im trppin ballz"!Smilie

Exactly - it's definitely a great way to show the impressive 3D abilities of the system. We'll have coverage of the other AR Games this coming week, rest assured Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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