My Sky3DS cartridge arrived a little over a week ago, and for a 3DS player who owns a number of games I’ve found it to be so far the best option for me to carry all of my games with me every where I go without the need of having my more expensive, physical carts to hand.
Glacier Gaming does not condone piracy. The review of this product is for backup purposes only
I really am quite fond of my 3DS. As of late, I have found myself playing it more and more. I pretty much take it wherever I go. That means I also take my 20 or so games with me as well. That’s a lot of monies worth of games. I had an incident one evening where I left my games behind. I didn’t realise for a few hours. Luckily, I was able to retrieve them, but imagine if I hadn’t?
I made the decision to purchase a backup cartridge. After all, if this is always in my 3DS the likelihood of me losing it is pretty slim. I found a vendor online which operated in the UK, which promised the cartridge would be with me within 5 working days, fully tested and working. My initial surprise was the price. The Sky3DS will currently set you back about £60 plus postage, whereas the closest competitor the Gateway 3DS will set you back about £50.
Apart from the price, the Sky3DS has a massive advantage over any of the other backup cartridges I found online; the Sky3DS works with any version of the 3DS software – both old and new versions of the console. It is my understanding that it emulates the original games through the use of a template file that you load onto the microSD card instead of taking advantage of a flaw in the console’s firmware. I won’t go into the details here. It also only allows the use of 1:1 backups, meaning it won’t play anything that has been altered or hacked. I quite liked this idea as I’m not a huge fan of hacking; especially when it comes to online play.
When the cartridge arrived I noticed that the packaging is very minimalistic. I ordered the blue button edition, which means it is not limited to how many games can be loaded onto the microSD. The packaging as well as the sticker on the cartridge sport an image of everyone’s favourite yellow Transformer. There’s probably a reason for this, but not something that is explained (The red button version is accompanied by the leader of said transformers faction). There is no description on the back and no instructions on how to set up your cartridge for first use. A little intimidating but in the age of the internet, this isn’t too much of an issue. The Sky3DS website has all the information you need to get going.
Writing your backups to the microSD is pretty simple. Unlike most other cartridges you cannot just drag and drop; you need to use a program called Diskwriter (again this can be downloaded from the Sky3DS website). The software its self is pretty straightforward, it allows you to write to the microSD, delete, perform full backups as well as backing up and restoring save games. This is also where you define your template file. If a game isn’t in the template file, you won’t be able to write it to your microSD card. If the team at Sky3DS have not yet added a release to the template file you won’t be able to play it. At the moment there is no way to generate your own template file. Once you’ve written your backups to your microSD card, playing your backups is as simple as putting the microSD card into the Sky3DS and loading it into the 3DS console.
The cartridge I found was a little bit flimsy in comparison to official cartridges but this is hardly surprising. The plastic used seems to be a little bit thinner. The connectors seem to be the same, but I did notice a little bit of resistance when loading it into my 3DS for the first time. Its main noticeable differences are the microSD card slot, the LED and the blue button on the top of the card. By pressing the blue button the cartridge will cycle between any games that have been loaded onto the microSD card. The LED will flash to indicate the game is being changed and the save state is being loaded into the ROM.
Changing games take between 3 and 8 seconds depending on the size of the ROM. I found having a faster microSD card works better to reduce loading times but I didn’t notice any bearing on playing any games. Having a high number of games on a single card, while practical in theory, it’s not practical in everyday use. The button will only allow you to cycle forward through the ROMs in order. Miss one, you’ll need to scroll through every other game to get back to it. Which may take some time. On the bright side, you can have a number of microSD cards and switch them out when you need to.
Overall the Sky3DS is a sturdy option if you’re looking for a backup option. Not only does it work with pretty much every game on the market, everything you can do with an original game cartridge can be done with the Sky3DS – for example, you can still use the Pokémon Bank with it.
It might be slightly more expensive than its competitors but this is massively outweighed by the fact that it doesn’t rely on a firmware exploit so it’s pretty much future proof. Storing a higher number of games on a single microSD card can be a bit tedious if you need to switch games a lot, but this can be overcome by using a couple of cards to store your backups on instead. If you’re looking for a backup option and you’re still on the fence, I can highly recommend the Sky3DS card.