Nintendo 2DS review

Won't somebody please think of the children?

TODO alt text


  • Affordable and durable
  • Perfect for kids
  • Plays all 3DS games


  • Mono speaker
  • 3D camera feels pointless
  • Still not sold on the wedge

Update: If you weren't a fan of the wedge-shaped 2DS we reviewed here, then you might be interested in the new Nintendo 2DS XL. This addition to the DS family combines the clamshell design of the 3DS with the 2D graphics and affordability of the original 2DS. But you can see what we thought of the earlier model in our original review, below.

If you still think the 2DS is completely bonkers, you probably haven't wrapped your hands around one yet. Putting out a slab-shaped version of the 3DS without the 3D functionality might seem odd at first, but when you play it yourself it all starts to make sense.

This isn't a gaming device for the real gamers. At £110/$130 it's a way for Nintendo to get younger children – and possibly even their parents – tapping into the 3DS game library.

Nintendo has a longstanding issue communicating the purpose of its consoles clearly to audiences, but there's a very simple answer here: the 2DS is a cheaper and more robust handheld than its high-priced sibling, and is therefore perfect for kids.


Dropping the clamshell design, Nintendo's 2DS comes in a wedge-shaped slate design that feels (and looks) pretty weird at first. It's also the first non-hinge handheld since the GBA Micro.

But within minutes of holding it we found that these feelings faded away and that, actually, the 2DS is surprisingly comfortable to hold. It's not the most ergonomic thing in the world though certainly better than what we expected.

All the buttons found on the 3DS are here except there's also been a slidable sleep button added to compensate for the lack of hinge-closing functionality. Meanwhile the home button has been blown up a bit and sits under the bottom display.

The start and select buttons can now be found to the right of the screen and the circle pad and d-pad are now further up on the left.


The 2DS comes in either blue and black, red and black, or, if you live in the US, black and red. But the Nintendo 2DS doesn't feel like a piece of premium tech. Instead Nintendo has opted for something that feels cheaper and more plasticky than the 3DS and 3DS XL.

We reckon you could chuck this at something with a fair bit of force and it would be ok, which we guess is sort of the point. Kids and hinges don't tend to get along; kids and delicate touchscreens don't really see eye-to-eye either.


So the 2DS is sturdy and able to take a bit of a knocking. But after enough tossing around even the 2DS will start picking up scratches. So we'd recommend pairing it with a protector case if you plan to put it under the Christmas tree for someone this year.

Although there's logic in the 'stripping down' thought process, we do think Nintendo could have still offered something a tad nicer for the price. For example, the 2DS now comes with just one speaker on the console, which means it loses the stereo sound of the 3DS. It's a noticeable shame.


The camera is perhaps the most curious part of the 2DS. While the handheld no longer owns a 3D display, Nintendo has chosen to keep the two cameras on the back. This means you can still take 3D pictures but won't be able to make them pop unless you transfer them to someone else who has a 3DS.

It also means that you'll be looking at some pretty grainy shots on the 2DS screen given . Really, a better 2D camera would have fit in better here.


We can't see many kids making an effort to get their pictures in full stereoscopic action. Really, we'd have rather Nintendo dropped a camera and added another speaker instead.