NEW YORK (CNS) — There's good news for Nintendo fans. The gaming giant has just announced plans to release a new handheld console, the 2DS XL, in July.
At $149.99, the 2DS XL will be half the cost of the Nintendo Switch, the much-hyped system that has been so popular it's still not available in many stores.
For the parents of younger gamers, paying that amount for a handheld that plays all the extant Nintendo 3DS games might be a helpful cost-saving option. All the more so, since the 2DS XL will have a long back catalog, and there have been questions about the number of games that are going to be available on the Switch.
For those same parents, a good place to start with the 2DS XL might be "Mario Sports Superstars." It's a basic game featuring the famous mustachioed plumber competing in five different sports: soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and horse racing. As its Entertainment Software Ratings Board rating suggests, the game is free of objectionable content.
All the sports here have been represented in previous Nintendo titles, and with greater depth. So this is not a game for advanced players. For beginning gamers and those looking for a fun and family-friendly way to spend a couple of hours, on the other hand, Mario's latest outing makes for a colorful diversion.
Most of the games are just what you'd expect. Players direct Mario as he competes against brightly dressed opponents on the field of play. The controls are easy to master, and there are not as many different levels or challenges as players would find in more complex games. This is old-school gaming with lots of charm but limited options for advanced play.
The big surprise here is the horse racing. And one of the most valuable aspects of this feature involves activities off the track. Before racing, players can customize and care for their horses — feeding, grooming and walking the animals. This is a gentle way to teach kids compassion and concern for God's creatures.
The race itself is exciting, rewarding horses with more stamina if they remain close to each other on the track. It's a highlight of this serviceable — if not spectacular — product.
The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is E — everyone.