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Mario Clock - DSiWare App Review

App Info
Mario Clock

DSiWare (Application) | Nintendo | 1 Player | Out Now (200 Nintendo Points)
Related DSiWare Apps: Mario Calculator; Photo Clock; Animal Crossing Clock
More Related Articles: See bottom of page


Review
25th December 2009; By KnucklesSonic8

Ever wanted to have your very own specialized alarm clock? Nintendo seems to think we'd get all giddy over the very notion and so, they've taken the liberty of releasing two Nintendo-themed clock apps on the DSiWare service. The apps are based on Mario and Animal Crossing themes and they cost 200 Points... each. Yes, Nintendo has not only made you pay for this but they've even split up the releases instead of combining them into one. Seems silly, doesn't it? Almost as silly as paying $2 for such a basic app, right? Well, that's where the line gets drawn. Although Nintendo will still be labelled as being greedy by the end of this review, you may be surprised to find that, depending on your circumstances, Mario Clock may very well be worth purchasing. 

    Without doing any research on it whatsoever, the average person would probably delve into this expecting a clock with an accompanying slideshow of Mario photos and that would be the end of it. Thankfully, the app contains more content than you would come to expect. Starting up the app for the first time, you're greeted by a message from Nintendo actually thanking you for purchasing it - how perculiar. When you actually get past the messages that Nintendo greets you with, you'll notice a couple of options on your touch screen to toy with on the main Clock page. Players are given the option to toggle between Analog and Digital time displays (including 24-hour time) which, accordingly, affects the giant time setting on the top screen. 

    Selecting the right arrow will transport you to the app's Alarm page, designed so that you can have up to 3 different alarm settings! Being able to do this adds a level of convenience that you wouldn't come to experience with a traditional alarm clock, having to set your alarm setting manually every night. It makes for an even smaller need to set different alarms according to your weekly routine. For instance, if you have to go to school and work during the week, you have different settings whereby you can set alarms according to the specific day of the week. Once everything is set, all you'll need to do is touch the desired setting the night before - it's that simple. With some standard alarm clocks, the AM/PM settings aren't clearly visible and this can cause you to set your alarm for the wrong time of day! It's highly unlikely that such a case will happen here with the way things are so eloquently set up. Upon choosing an alarm setting, you can set the time you want the alarm to ring by tapping on the arrows and then choosing the AM or PM box. You can then select the desired volume by dragging your stylus along the slider. Then you can choose whether or not to enable the Snooze option - a function available on most alarm clocks as well.

    
Your next choice would be to choose the actual alarm sound and the app provides you with 3 nostalgic alarms that could very well put you in a better mood when you wake up in the morning - or at least better than an annoying "BZZZT!" sound would. You have the traditional Super Mario Bros. theme, the theme for the Starman item and you also have the theme used for the Underwater levels as well (what, no underground?) to choose from in all. There's a pretty good selection of alarms, we must admit, but it would've been nice if there were a few more, especially when you consider all the ones they could've used from Super Mario Bros. 

    You can also opt to go under the "Saved Sounds" option and choose a clip you recorded on the Nintendo DSi Sound application to serve as the ringer for the alarm if you wish. Still, it would've been nice if you had the option to use properly-formatted songs from the SD Card to serve as your ringer too. After finalizing the sound, you can test the playback to see if it's the sound you want, apply the settings and you're all set! Once the alarm actually goes off, prepare yourself for even more nostalgia as little sprite characters from the Mariouniverse float across the screen in a rather delightful show. Now surely you may be wondering if the alarm will still be heard if your DSi is in Sleep Mode, and thankfully, the answer is yes. In fact, no matter how low the volume setting is of the actual handheld, you can set the volume of the alarm itself separately and it sounds great, even at the lowest setting.

    Unless you completely covered the top screen, you'll notice that the app also includes a neat little running animation to further add to the nostalgia of the design. The animation consists of Mario running automatically across a constantly-moving path, and you even have the option to get involved if you wish. For example, you can make Mario run faster by holding the B Button, or you can even make him jump to collect coins and blocks overhead by pressing the A Button. Every 15 minutes, the animation's background will change and Mario will be found running across a different path. Throughout the available themes, you'll see Mario running across clouds, traditional Mario Bros. platforms at both day and night, and even a sample of an underground stage.

    
This 'visualizer' has a couple other quirks that make things even more interesting and nostalgic. For instance, every hour, on the hour, an animation will show Mario reaching a castle, as if to signify the end of his journey. Also, for every 100 coins you collect, you'll get a 1UP and alternate between Mario and Luigi. There's even a secret event that occurs when you collect 1,200 coins in one session (100 for every hour on the clock). As if to represent some sort of "progress", the app even keeps track of how many coins you've collected since you initialized it that day and how many coins you've collected since the first time you've used it. It's these little quirks that really enhance the clock's value. It may seem very small in the long run but when you consider what Nintendo could've done instead - namely, slapping on a clock with Mario on it and having one alarm setting - you develop a bit of a fondness for the nostalgia.

    It's very easy for any DSi-owner to complain over what Nintendo has done in the release of these clock and calculator applications, but when you think about it, the price isn't that unreasonable. Sure it would've been nice if it were free but just think: the money you'd normally spend on an alarm clock from Wal-Mart or even the dollar store would be equivalent to, or even more than the asking price for this app. If you're a person who uses the DSi's alarm (or even a standard alarm) to wake yourself up during the week and the premise appeals to you, then by all means go for it. If you prefer the Animal Crossing theme instead, just be warned that there's more bang for your buck here than there is in the Animal Crossing counterpart. By the end of the week, you may be surprised to find yourself pleased with the 200 points you spent on this useful, nostalgic application.


24/30 - Very Good

Functionality 8/10  - Extra Mario mini-game is excellent and places it above the Animal Crossing clock, not "just" a clock
Presentation 8/10 - Classic Mario feel, nice Mario tune choices, extremely easy to navigate
Lasting Appeal 4/5 - You're likely to use this a lot before bed, some will feel motivated to collect some coins each time they pull it out
Value 4/5 - For 200 points, it does what it intends to and more, provides some nice nostalgia to wake up to
 
Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Mario Clock
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Review by KnucklesSonic8  |  How we rate apps

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