Selling a virtual DS for the iPhone without the permission of Nintendo is risky business. Being able to do a good job with it is just plain hard. DS Double Sys is an iPhone copy of Nintendo’s highly popular handheld device. It pays attention to detail and feels just right, but is hurt by a lack of content.
The obvious concept behind DS Double Sys is to create a DS ‘emulator’ of sorts that works on your iPhone. When you open the app, you are presented with a closed DS and menu with options to change the color of the system, power the device on, and read the manual.
To open and close the device, you simply double tap the top case or screen. The layout is identical to the DS, but the developer made a great design choice in only utilizing the bottom touch screen to control it. The buttons and D-pad can be viewed by sliding your finger across the top screen.
It’s-a me! Lawyer Mario! I’ve got a cease-a and desist-a for you!
Attention to detail is important, and DS Double Sys gets a gold star in this category. Powering on the device brings you to the opening screen with a health warning (just like the Nintendo DS) and then to the menu, which is virtually the same as the original. To avoid some obvious trademark infringements, the developer omitted the name Nintendo as well as renamed some functions such as Pictochat, which is now called Fotochat.
The settings menu is a stripped down version of what is found on the DS. You can change the menu colors, your device name, and language. Other features including the date, time, and battery are taken right from your iPhone. One more cool detail the developer added is the ability to close the DS at any point to put it in power-save mode, meaning when you open it up you are right where you left off.
There are two games available to play, both which are made by the developer. You start off with Pixel Mania, which is an interesting take on a rhythm game. The idea is that you have four buttons of different colors that you must hit as side-scrolling ‘notes’ pass a white box. The better you perform, the more of a picture is colored in. It’s a great concept and the controls work very well, but its overall execution left us wanting more. With only two nearly identical modes of play and a limited selection of pictures, our interest quickly faded.
The game may be original, but that interface sure isn’t.
Replay value is added through a point system and unlockables, which include a variety of DS colors and the second game, a Mario-themed reskin of Pixel Mania. After each playthrough of the game, you are awarded with a set number of points equal to your performance. These stack up over time and gradually unlock new content.
DS Double Sys does miss some opportunities, however. For one, a wider selection of games would have been nice. Also, the integration of the iPhone’s microphone would take this toy even further.
The most disappointing omission from DS Double Sys is the ability to use Fotochat. Upon opening this menu and trying to enter a chat room, you are prompted with the message ‘Chat Room function is not available in this version.’ We hope this means that it will be added in future updates, as we would love to be able to use this feature over Bluetooth.
DS Double Sys is an excellent remake of the Nintendo DS, but a lack of content for the premium price point of $4.99 may turn off all but dedicated Nintendo fans. There is no guarantee this will stay on the App Store for long, so our recommendation is to pick this up if you are interested. You may regret not taking up the chance in the not-too-distant future.