New Nintendo 2DS XL Impressions: 'Miitopia' will induce longing stares from Switch owners

New Nintendo 2DS XL Impressions: 'Miitopia' will induce longing stares from Switch owners

Nintendo brought us its handheld console that supported 3D without glasses in 2010, and then brought us the "New" version in 2014. Before the "New" 3DS was released, we got a 2D version, which gave players all the features of a 3DS but left out the stereoscopic view. 

The only problem was it was ugly. Instead of the protected clamshell design, it presented a less portable, rectangular slate look — never to be folded. 

That changes with the New Nintendo 2DS XL.

New Nintendo 2DS XL hands-on: What the 3DS should have looked like in the first place

When the New 2DS XL releases on June 28 for $149.99, it will be the 3DS line's most fully-realized form. As with DS Lite in 2006, the New 2DS XL gives us the design the original 3DS should have had in the first place. 

The top screen and its bezel are both tucked behind glass, similar to a Macbook Pro, and the bottom is all matte. The entire unit is black, save for blue trim on the outside and the blue buttons tucked within. Japan gets the option of white and orange, and we're hoping that we will have that at some point, too.

As the "New" moniker suggests, this latest 2DS supports games that the regular 3DS and 3DS XL can't, like Xenoblade Chronicles.

Nintendo's 3DS line of products still boasts three cameras and a microphone, aiding in taking 3D photos. The two cameras on the back and one facing the front are always visible, whether the unit is opened or closed. If you're worried about Wi-Fi-enabled cameras spying on you, you may be better off with Nintendo's camera-lacking Switch.

It's worth noting that the volume slider is very satisfying to interact with. Switch it to the mute position and you feel a reassuring tactile click. Details matter.

Turning the unit on still uses the power button. Similar to the New 3DS, and unlike the earlier regular 3DS, you won't get a dedicated Wi-Fi switch. Turning off wireless will require tunneling through menus. And, of course, the New 2DS XL is without a 3D button. A non-issue if you, like us, never really used the stereoscopic 3D to begin with.

We did take issue with the device's stereo speaker placement. 

The two sound holes are located at the very bottom corners of the device. If this surfaced memories of playing the old Game Boy and blocking the speaker with your palm, you're not alone. Luckily, Nintendo has the courage to put a 3.5mm headphone jack on the device, right next to the sleek cartridge/micro-SD compartment, which is now protected.

New Nintendo 2DS XL hands-on: Miitopia is cute as hell

The New 2DS XL will launch alongside Hey Pikmin! and Miitopia. The former will be the first Pikmin game to land on 3DS while the second is an avatar-based game in a similar vein as Tomodachi Life

Miitopia looks ridiculously funny. So much so that we wish it had hit the Switch instead. In fact, the game may make Switch owners want to dust off their 3DS (New, 2D, XL or otherwise). The game stars your Mii and any other Miis you add to your party. You fight alongside each other and take on monsters in hopes of saving townspeople's faces. Stolen faces will appear on bad guys and it all looks so absurd.

As with many role-playing games, this RPG has leveling, stat building, food cooking in addition to enemy battling. Miitopia also lets you download Miis if your selection of avatars are paltry, or if you can't quite design the one you want.

Nintendo New 2DS XL: The Nintendo handheld to own 

The New 2DS XL is the latest model in the 3DS lineup and it shows. The improved design, coupled with the best processing power seen in 3DS world, makes this the Nintendo handheld to own. If you can't get your hands on a Switch, that is. 

Nintendo may market their newest console as a Wii U replacement, but that doesn't stop the Switch from being an excellent portable machine. But for half the price, the New 2DS XL doesn't make a bad alternative. Even if your only reason to buy it is to see your friends saving the world's faces in Miitopia.

Check out more Nintendo news and coverage

Looking for more Nintendo Switch news? Check out how blind gamers are using the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo's left Joy-Con issue turns out to be a hardware problem — here's how to solve it. Find out how to buy a console amidst the recent restock. Learn why the Switch cartridges taste so bad. Check out our comparison photos sizing up the Switch to the Wii U GamePad (part one and part two), or find out how to make use of ethernet without the dock and the best way to get alerts when new stock arrives.