5th June 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
Every time you begin playing, the game will access your DSi's Photo Album and search for all of the currently available photos, as well as whatever postcards you've already created. Heading into the Main Menu, you'll be able to make a new postcard, view postcards you've already created, access options or consult the in-game help manual. The top screen will shuffle through photos you've classified as a 'favourite' with the 'myPostcards' logo over it.
When you choose the 'Make a new postcard' option, you'll be presented with three choices: You can take a new photo using the DSi's camera, choose a photo from your photo album or use the photo that was displayed on the top screen when you advanced to the next screen. I think it's great that you have the ability to take a picture straight within the game. If you're on a trip, you can save a lot of time by not having to quit, take the picture and come back. When selecting a photo that's already been taken, you're presented with a single column where you can slide your stylus to advance the strip of photos. Alternatively, if it's pretty far back in your collection, you can also repeatedly tap the photo at the right corner of the screen to make things go faster.
After getting all of that organized, you'll arrive at the postcard creation menu. The top screen will display the selected photo, and the bottom screen will give you an area to actually formulate the content of the postcard. The background image can be changed by pressing the Left and Right buttons on the D-Pad, that is, if you have anything else unlocked. The toolbar at the very bottom has a variety of functions. You can choose from multiple pen thicknesses, choose from one of 5 different ink colours, erase your creations, and even switch between lined and blank pages. I was pleased to see the latter included since this was something that some wanted to see in myNotebook for the sake of doodling, and whatnot. Once you're pleased with it, you can bring up the menu by pressing the arrow in the corner. From here, you can save your postcard, and add a stamp. To do this, all you do is tap the image you'd like, then drag the stylus across the screen to where you'd like to place it and let go.
The final look of the postcards look great even when you view them on your computer, much to my delight. I don't feel that having the advertisement on the side ruins the look of it, because if anything, it's a good way to advertise and get people curious about what myPostcards is all about. But because I'm big on design, I personally felt that the spacing on the exported postcards could've been used more effectively, with the content situated evenly, rather than justified on the left.
There are a few muddy areas in this application that some may find a tad inconvenient. For one, there's no option to save postcards directly to the SD Card or even choose photos from this device. To my understanding, this is an issue on Nintendo's part, and it's annoying to have to go out of the app, copy over the image you want to edit, and then head back. You also can't upload directly to Facebook or an email application which, again, comes with the territory of Nintendo having control. If you want to do this, you'll need to head to the DSi Camera application on the DSi Menu, and upload it from there or save it to the SD Card. And even then, because of the way they're saved into the album, you'll need to head into your computer to rotate them before doing anything with them. I'm not sure why Nintendo isn't allowing developers to make use of these kinds of features for convenience sake, but I can only hope they smarten up in the near future.
From the options menu, you can adjust audio settings, see the credits, and check out your progress in terms of unlockables. There are a total of 59 postcard themes and 40 different stamps, and you'll unlock these through continued use of the application. You'll also be granted special themes for having a save of myNotebook and/or Pop+ Solo, a great feature to encourage those who have purchased other software by the developers. With lots to unlock, there's definitely a reason to return to this on a regular basis, and hopefully this will continue with future entries in the series.
As per usual, the music used for this app was handled by Beat Therapy, and their work continues to shine even in this simple application. There are one or two different songs in this release and they both are a pleasure to listen to. The interface is really easy to follow and since the addage "less is more" applies here, the overall simplicity works.
The overall appeal of this release certainly fits in with Nintendo's focus towards personalization. You can share certain parts of your life with friends and family, who may or may not be far away from you. There's a lot of room for creativity in what you can make postcards of - not just of actual photos of events or weird happenings, but even ones of images you've perhaps created in Faceez or Art Academy. To be fair, you could make the argument that you don't really need this release to add a comment or whatever you want to do with a picture. But to be honest, using myPostcards gives players the opportunity to offer something more personal rather than just an email of a picture with formatted/plain text.
myPostcards is a nice little app to have for keeping people in your life informed on the going-ons in your life. It's especially good to have for trips, but even in normal day-to-day life, it adds a personal touch to images you'd otherwise send with computerized text. It carries a fitting level of appeal, the interface is great, and the unlocks for devoted players is another nice touch. I wouldn't say it's an essential purchase by any means, and even at 200 Points, some may be a bit dissatisfied. All in all, though, I feel Nnooo did a good job with this, in spite of the many imposed restrictions they had to work with.
20/30 - Good
Functionality 7/10 - Simple app that serves as a nice photo-sharing application, variety of functions including the ability to use blank pages
Presentation 8/10 - Great music as usual, multiple songs to listen to this time, impressive look of the final product, nice layout
Lasting Appeal 3/5 - Something you can bring out to share moments with friends on the spot or later on, applying your own touch gives it a personal feel
Value 2/5 - Nintendo's restrictions have affected the success of this release, some areas may be dissatisfying to some users, myNotebook is stronger overall
Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)