AR Games - First Impressions

posted 19 Mar 2011, 13:55 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 19 Mar 2011, 14:44 ]
Although I would have much preferred to try this right off the bat, I was still happy that I got to try AR Games at all. This is one of the things I was looking forward to trying the most at the 3DS Demo Station I went to. I had a lot of hopes that this would be good fun to play, but imagine my surprise when my thoughts on the application weren't as positive as I thought they would be.

I started off with "Archery", a mini-game you've probably heard a lot about already. After configuring the settings correctly and ensuring that the system can pick up the AR Card on the surface, I began using the gyroscopic sensors in tandem with the A Button to hit stationary targets. In Round 2, the surface I rested the card on started to warp, creating what could be referred to as a small-sized, slow-moving wave pool. That was even more enjoyable for me to play through since it required a bit more precision. The final round put me face-to-face with a dragon statue. Seeing it come to life was a pretty cool experience; same goes for when it started breathing fire in your direction. It took me longer than I thought it would to defeat it, but I did have fun while trying.

I also briefly played two rounds of "AR Shot", a billiards-inspired mini-game that transforms a small area into a miniature golf course -- emphasis on miniature. Having to position your 3DS at the right angle to hit the cue ball was even more enjoyable than hitting targets. But that's just me. 

While I did have a small degree of fun with what little I played, I encountered a lot of problems that prevented me from enjoying the experience as much as I had hoped I would. Sometimes as I moved the 3DS around my personal space to hit targets, the system would kink out, saying it couldn't recognize the AR Card. At first I started to think the system was being a bit too sensitive (I'm sure I was within the ideal 14 cm range), but I soon realized it was because of the platform itself -- something a Nintendo rep later confirmed.

The glossy surface appeared to have glare that interfered with the 3DS' ability to pick up the card. Not only that, but the feedback of my movements were not smooth at all. In fact, they somewhat resembled the framerate drops I noted in Asphalt 3D, just not nearly as severe. Sad to say, I wasn't playing under the most ideal conditions and that clearly impacted my experience, which was more than a little disappointing. But I already knew I would enjoy playing this more in my own surroundings anyway, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it a lot more under those circumstances.

Don't let my less-than-stellar experience get you anxious about how AR Games will turn out. In fact, I'm not even deterred by what happened. I still look forward to playing around with the other activities but in a private setting. At least I got some exposure of this exciting application to give me yet another thing to look forward to with the 3DS.