|Posted by Gioku on November 4, 2015 at 4:00 PM|
SmileBASIC is a programming tool for Nintendo 3DS that can be used to make games and other various programs that can be run through this program, developed by SmileBoom Co.Ltd., available for $9.99 on the 3DS eShop.
I could end this review right now by saying I give this app my full recommendation, but I'll be nicer than that and give you all the details on this lovely little program. Firstly, what can it do? Well, it can do just about anything you set your mind to! This app uses the programming language BASIC (as evidenced by the title), which has been around in use for a very long time; readers of a certain age may remember using it to make little programs on the Commodore 64. Not much has been altered about it for this program, other than some minor changes to enhance ease of use and to make use of the 3DS's functionality. All of this is very well documented in-app and online, so with some reading and practicing, you can get making things in a fairly short time period (I was able to make a very simple game in only a day, and I had never used BASIC before!)
The app also gives you command of all the 3DS's features, as mentioned breifly above; you can use all the button inputs (even the ones on the Circle Pad Pro/New 3DS), the 3D screen (you can make use of the 3D depth, either to make sprites or text pop out or in), the touch screen, and even wireless communication for up to four player games. It really feels like a little game making computer for your 3DS!
Now, this is all fine and good, but these sort of things live and die by their user interface. So, how easy and comfortable is this app to use? Well, overall, it's about as good as you could ask for on the 3DS, though it suffers from being a bit too confusing in a few areas. Navigating the menus to find where to view files or programs and etc. was very confusing to go through, and it took me a little while to get it all under control and start making my own program. The main part of the app, however, consists of writing the programs, so this is where it is most crucial it work well and be comfortable. And here, it exceeds! The keyboard is very well sized and hase everything you need easily accessible. I found the keyboard very easy and intuitive to use, and I got very comfortable with it very quickly. It also makes great use of the circle pad and the d-pad buttons for navigating the text within your programs. I had no issue typing and navigating my program. The language itself is very simple, and you can quickly find out what the different functions do right from the keyboard itself.
Also included is extensive sound, sprite, and map-making tools (with a wide array of built-in options for the less artistically inclined, for for those like me who want to focus on learning the programming side), so this app is quite capable of making a wide array of fully functional games! It's great for beginners and experienced programmers alike. It even has a sprite animation tool, as well.
What good is making games if you can't share them? Well, SmileBASIC has you covered, you can share games online with others on their cloud service (and you can increase your amount of allowed upload space for a small subscription fee), and download games from others! So, as an added bonus, even if you're not into programming, by getting this app you gain access to all the games that other users of the program are making! And with the scope of the app, there is plenty of opportunity for some great things to be made!
The only things that could be considered negatives are that some of the menus and functions (such as saving and loading) are needlessly technical and a bit difficult to understand at first; and also that you shouldn't expect to be able to publish anything you make with this as an actual 3DS game you can sell. This is like a self-contained computer, you won't be exporting anything from this as a standalone 3DS game. The graphics capabilities are fairly limited as well; you can only have 512 sprites on screen at once, and as you approach that limit, your game will lag (as it will if you are displaying too many real-time calculated numbers, as well). So this leaves the games fairly simplistic compared to what the 3DS is capable of.
All in all, theres not much more to be said about this app; it's a great little program for beginning programmers looking for something to use to learn, and experienced programmers alike! It's even got incentive for people uninterested in programming but interested in playing games. And there is something very enjoyable about being able to make games directly on a gaming device. It feels very satisfying and fun! I can't recommend this app enough, it creates a good-looking, comfortable, easy-to-use programming environment right on your 3DS, with endless possibilities and opportunities.
With all that said, I give this app a 9 out of 10. A great addition to your 3DS library!
Review copy provided by SmileBoom