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Nintendo Countdown Calendar - DSiWare App Review

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Nintendo Countdown Calendar

DSiWare | Nintendo | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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Review
16th October 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

I personally feel that DSiWare could use more applications, and so when Nintendo Countdown Calendar released a couple weeks ago, I was somewhat hopeful it would turn out to be pretty decent. After all, Nintendo did bring us the Mario Clock application. And while a good number of sites actually criticized it, we thought rather highly of it. In fact, I still use it on a regular basis. But the question is, will this application see that degree of value a couple weeks down the road? 

    First off, let's talk about the basics. 
As the title suggests, this application is designed to display and allow you to create your very own countdown timers for upcoming events. When you first load up the application, you'll be welcomed with a greeting message that varies depending on the day and the season. So on a day like today, for example, it'll ask how you're enjoying the Fall season. Next, any events taking place that day will appear as an envelope waltzes in onto the scene. Or on occasion, you may get an Event Suggestion where the game recommends you add something to your list, such as turning clocks back. 

    After dealing with these preliminaries, you can then proceed to enter in events that will take place in the future. Selecting the Menu tab, then choosing Events Entry will allow you to do just that. There are three event categories to choose from here: School, Work and General. After choosing a category, you'll be shown a list of common activities that most would experience in a given calendar year. Want to track appointments, business meetings, school assignments or family outings? Well, you can do all that here and more. 

    You can adjust the settings on each event to change the amount of times the event occurs before confirming the entry and inputting it onto your calendar. You can tell the different events apart from a series of preset icons, including a blue backpack, a notepad, party poppers, and other recognizable things. When there are multiple things happening on one day, icons will flash one after the other in a sequenced loop.

    Now what if you want to input an event that isn't available from the list? Not a problem. You can customize your own events and even stamp it with a corresponding icon. Simply select the date the vent occurs on the calendar, then tap "Add Event". You can then proceed to write in your custom event using your stylus. For instance, you can make a note to yourself when a new game is coming out. But I thought it was strange they didn't add in a category for this already.

    
All of the events you add to your Countdown Calendar (preset or custom) will be displayed on the Events List on your Touch Screen. When not accessing the Calendar directly, you can view a sorted list of upcoming events, in the order that they occur. Each event is represented showing the number of days remaining, along with a horizontal bar to illustrate the amount of time that will pass until the day arrives.

    There are a couple other features to the application as well. For instance, you have Hidden Events List which, admittedly, won't see much use in the long run. Then you have specific options to toggle, such as turning on US Holidays or adjusting your time zone. I didn't like the fact that I was basically forced to input these manually since I'm Canadian. At any rate, when you're ready to return to the DSi Menu, you can leave a message for yourself perhaps as a reminder for the next time you open the application. 

    So now, how does the application fare when it comes to extended value and practicality? Well to be honest, I'm a little uncertain. I think some may find it particularly useful for tracking specific long-term things, including (as was previously mentioned) upcoming releases in the gaming industry. But to be honest, you could get by making your own pen-and-paper countdowns using myNotebook, or even just using real lined paper. 

    I'd say my biggest issue with the application is the wasted potential. 
Nintendo's Brain Age releases on DSiWare had special icons on the DSi Menu that changed depending on how many stamps you had acquired. I felt they could've added to this application by doing something similar where you'd see a brief glimpse of how many days left you'd have until the next event. Additionally, some sort of an alarm function or representational image in that vein would have been nice. But unfortunately, nothing like that exists: everything that's presented here is done with some simplicity.

    When it comes down to it, I don't think a lot of people will find Countdown Calendar a very valuable investment. It's very borderline in terms of the value one can derive from it, and the lack of innovation hurts it a lot. This is hardly an essential purchase, and even if you were genuinely interested in this, you might be better of doing things manually using myNotebook instead. I think this application is a modest effort and I can see what they were trying to do, but I still can't help but find this hard to recommend to the vast majority of DSi owners.


17/30 - Okay/Average

Functionality 6/10 - Admittedly pretty simple but it does its job, wasted potential with the lack of alarms and alternating icons on the DSi Menu
Presentation 6/10 - Nothing special, the entire layout is pretty organized, never goes the extra mile, decent animations when events take place
Lasting Appeal 3/5 - Some may find it useful at first but may lose interest as time goes on, can be good to track game releases or long-term events
Value 2/5 - You get what you pay for, wouldn't recommend choosing this over other $2 apps or games, decent amount of content for $2

Equivalent to a score of 57% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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