New Sky3DS(blue button) review released(by GBAtemp )!

Since Blue button new SKY3DS card released is a long time, here must many people has gotten and enjoyed this new sky3ds card which allows players play all 3ds games on all  New3DS/3DSLL, 3DS/XL, 2DS consoles(US,EU,JP) with any FW, even the newest 9.4.0-21U/E/J. More important is there no game limit for 3ds games, players can play numerous 3ds games with it as they want.

Besides, the SKY3DS team also update their template file every several days for SKY3DS, which makes the card better and better.

Here today the GBAtemp has also released their review about this new SKY3DS card with blue button. Now let’s see how the flashcard experts think about it.

Official GBAtemp Review: Sky3DS Rev.2 (Blue Button)

The 10-games limitation the original Sky3DS cart used to have was easily one of its biggest shortcomings, so I was happy to hear that it’s gone in this new revision and I was excited to try it out.
The Sky3DS flashcart was met with mixed feelings by the community. On one hand, the cart supports all 3DS models and firmwares, including the New 3DS, as well as online play. On the other, it had a controversial 10 games per cartridge limit (which has since been broken), making it more of a multicart than a flashcart. The new revision of Sky3DS, often referred to as the “Blue Button” version, goes away with that limitation and allows the users to flash as many games as they want. How does it fare in practice though? Read on and find out!

newSky

Sky3DS Rev.2 (Blue Button)
Developed by: Sky3DS Team
Available at: http://www.3ds-cart.net, nds-card.com and other resellers (list of official resellers)
Review by Foxi4 – Completed 16/01/15

Introduction

The original Sky3DS was an unexpected competitor to the previously unmatched Gateway flash kit, however it used a much different approach towards launching backups. Rather than using a particular exploit in the system, the Sky3DS team opted for attempting to emulate the behaviour of an original 3DS cartridge, thus gaining compatibility on all 3DS firmwares. This came with its shortcomings such as no built-in menu, no native homebrew support, no EmuNAND, no region unlocking and, perhaps most importantly, a rather controversial 10 games per cartridge limitation (which has since been broken on the red button cartridges). What it did was simplifying the process of launching back-ups, making it as much “Plug & Play” as possible, and it did so well. This revision of the Sky3DS flashcart goes away with that last limitation, letting you launch as many 3DS games as your heart desires, which is a huge step forwards for the Sky3DS team. How well does it fare in practice though?

Shipping and Packaging

Sky3DS REV2 New Packaging

The Sky3DS flashcart in its new packaging

Much like last time the cart was shipped via DHL, protected by a bubble wrap-lined envelope and its signature cardboard and blister box with a flap, featuring *cough cough* familiar-looking robots. I’ll spare you an unboxing video as the contents would really be identical to last time, the only difference is that the team used different *cough cough* completely original artwork *wink*. The packaging is very convenient, easy to open and re-usable – so far so good.

The Card Itself

Sky3DS REV2 TopSky3DS REV2 BottomFront and back of the cartridge; some visible imperfections on the grill, they did not impede the use of the device

As far as the quality of the product is concerned, not much has changed. The plastic used is the same and the only visible differences from the previous cartridge are the blue button instead of a red one and a different sticker. The plastic casing shows some imperfections on the grill, however they did not impede the flashcart’s use in any way. The lip of the cartridge features the SD slot (once again not spring-loaded), a blue LED light which signifies SD access and the blue button used to switch games. I’d say the cartridge is on-par with similar products on the market, there isn’t a lot to complain about.

Usage

Main Menu
DiskWriter v1.05’s main menu

Once again the cartridge is mostly Plug & Play in nature and doesn’t require any effort on the 3DS side of things – any worries about SysNAND, EmuNAND, patching and the like are none of your concern if you own a Sky3DS. The initial and only setup you have to go through is flashing the games onto an SD card using Sky3DS’ DiskWriter and it’s smooth sailing from there on out. The DiskWriter tool has been updated significantly since the original review, so I will write in more length about its use.

The DiskWriter tool as well as template files that go with it can be found on the Sky3DS’ website in the Downloads section and are required to flash games onto SD cards. The most current version of the software are DiskWriter v1.05 and template0112.txt and those are the versions that will be described below. DiskWriter does not require any installation – all you have to do to use it is download it.

Before proceeding to use the software, make sure that you also have the latest template file and that you’re running the DiskWriter with administrative privileges. You can either right-click on the file and run it as an Administrator each time you wish to use it or you can set it to always run the program as an Administrator by right-clicking on the executable, selecting properties and checking the “Always Run as Administrator” checkbox in the compatibility tab. While you’re there, you may also want to select compatibility mode for Windows XP SP3 – I have not encountered any issues with the DiskWriter software using those settings, so I stick to them.

Select Writer
Drive selection screen

Once DiskWriter opens, you will be greeted with a screen that lets you choose the SD reader you’ll be using to flash games with – select it and proceed. If the SD card used wasn’t previously formatted with DiskWriter, the software will warn you that the drive you’re using is not formatted correctly.

Drive Warning

The initial drive formatting warning screen – don’t panic!

Clicking OK will take you to DiskWriter’s main menu from which you can format your SD card accordingly. The Sky3DS flashcart does not support Drag & Drop or conventional file systems, any SD card used with the flashcart has to be formatted by DiskWriter before use, so keep that in mind if you’re storing anything of importance on your card. Formatting, among other features, is available in the File menu.

File Menu

The File menu listing all of DiskWriter’s functions

With the SD card prepared for use, it’s time to select the template file you’ve downloaded. Normally DiskWriter defaults to whichever template.txt file is in the same directory as the writer, however you can manually select the template you want to use by opening the Options menu and clicking on the Change Template option.

Options Menu

The options menu – here you can select the template file you’re going to use

This is a pretty convenient change from the last DiskWriter version, as it saves users time spent on renaming and copy-pasting templates. DiskWriter will remember the last template you’ve selected, so be sure to always use the latest template available if you run into any issues.

Header Replacement

Header mismatch warning

Now that the DiskWriter environment is set up and ready to go, it’s time to write some games onto your SD card. To do so, open the File menu again and select the write option. If you are using a clean ROM, a warning will pop up telling you that the header information of the ROM does not match the information found in the template – this is normal, click “Yes” and the utility will patch the game accordingly. Once the image is fully flashed to the SD card, it is ready to play.

Progress Bar

DiskWriter’s progress bar

As you’ve probably noticed from the previous screenshots, DiskWriter now shows not only the Title ID’s, but also the names of images you’ve written to your SD card, which is a huge improvement over the guesswork that was required to operate previous versions. At present the DiskWriter utility is capable of writing up to 31 games per SD card with no maximum limit of games playable per flashcart. In addition to writing and deleting ROM’s the DiskWriter utility can also be used to backup whole games lists (File -> Backup/Restore Games) and their save data (File -> Backup/Restore Save Data) as well as optimizing the SD card in order to make the best use of the available space.

Individual Item Menu

Options available for individual games can be accessed by right-clicking on them

Should you wish to backup, restore or delete individual games or save files rather than the entirety of the SD card, right-clicking on the listed items will allow you to do so.

Sky3DS REV2 Switching Games
The Sky3DS and its blue LED

Once your games are flashed to your SD card, all that’s left to do is insert the SD card into the flashcart, insert the flashcart into your 3DS and… enjoy! The blue LED light on the cartridge should start blinking and the cartridge should load the first game on the list. Switching games is a matter of clicking the button and waiting a couple of seconds – it really couldn’t be any more simple.

Now that the kit is ready for action, it’s time for our favourite part – testing!

Compatibility Testing

Testing was performed on a New 3DS XL on the latest firmware available to date (9.4.0-21E).

Animal Crossing (EUR) – PASS
Bravely Default (EUR) – PASS
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirrors of Fate (EUR) – PASS
Dead or Alive: Dimensions (EUR) – PASS
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (EUR) – PASS
Fire Emblem: Awakening (EUR) – PASS
Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns (EUR) – PASS
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (EUR) – PASS
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (EUR) – PASS
Mario Kart 7 (EUR) – PASS (Including Online)
Mario Party: Island Tour (EUR) – PASS
Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater (EUR) – PASS
Naruto: Powerful Shippuden (EUR) – PASS
Paper Mario: Sticker Star (EUR) – PASS
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (EUR) – PASS
Pokemon Art Academy (EUR) – PASS
Pokemon Omega Ruby (EUR) – PASS (Including Online)
Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D (EUR) – PASS
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure (EUR) – PASS
Scribblenauts Unlimited (EUR) – PASS
Shin Megami Tensei – Devil Survivor: Overclocked (EUR) – PASS
Super Mario 3D Land (EUR) – PASS
Super Pokemon Rumble (EUR) – PASS
Super Smash Bros for 3DS (EUR) – PASS (Including Online)
Tales of the Abyss (EUR) – PASS
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (EUR) – PASS
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (EUR) – PASS
​Conclusions

The new revision of the Sky3DS cartridge can be summed up easily by saying that it’s everything the old revision was and more. While it doesn’t offer a robust function set of the likes of Gateway, it does offer a seamless, plug & play, simple to use, firmware-independent, 100% compatible and online-capable method of booting all of your 3DS backups. My only concern regarding the Sky3DS is whether it will prove to be future-proof, as it doesn’t seem to run any software component aside from the DiskWriter. One could speculate whether or not it could be blocked by Nintendo in future firmware updates, however as it stands today, it operates perfectly fine on latest firmware – bah, even on Nintendo’s latest New 3DS XL, and so far it’s the only flashcart to date that does.

Verdict
Pros
+ Solid build quality
+ Easy to operate
+ Online-capable
+ Compatible with latest firmware to date
+ Compatible with the New 3DS
Cons
– No built-in menu
– No native homebrew support (aside from NINJHAX, only available on consoles up to FW 9.2)
– No built-in region lock circumvention
– Not compatible with eShop titles

Overall
The new Sky3DS is a product worth recommending, more so than the original which was limited to only 10 games. With that limitation out of the equation, a Sky3DS is definitely worth the expense if all you’re really interested in is playing 3DS games. It’s a great Plug & Play solution that really takes the load off the user. There’s no worrying about updating SysNAND by accident, using exploits or patching games manually to go online – you just put the games on it and they work, and if that’s what you want, you want a Sky3DS.

More discussion about it: http://gbatemp.net/review/sky3ds-rev-2-blue-button.250/

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GBAtemp has Published Their Review of SKY3DS Flashcard, let’s see how Professors think of it

GBAtemp has published their Review of SKY3DS flashcard this morning,

let’s see how Professors think about it!

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Exterior of the cartridge

The sky3DS cartridge is very well-made. The plastic isn’t too finicky and although the molding process isn’t perfectly uniform, the casing does its job just fine. The connectors are protected with a grill, much like on an original 3DS cartridge, so it’s clear that the makers of the cartridge paid a lot of attention to detail. On the lip of the cartridge you can see three things – the microSD card slot (which is not spring-loaded, thus more reliable that its spring-loaded counterparts), a red plastic button for switching games and a blue LED light which signifies whenever the cartridge is switching games. On the front of the cartridge you can see the sky3DS logo with some Trasfo– *cough* *cough*, I mean, robots, some robots in the background *wink*. Build quality is on-par with similar products on the market, there’s little to complain about in that department. The cart took quite a bit of persuasion before I managed to open it up, here’s what treasures I found inside, for all the PCB lovers out there:

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The DiskWrite utility in action

Setting up the cartridge could not be much simpler. The cartridge is not drag and drop, however the tools provided by sky3DS are pretty self-explanatory and effective at what they’re supposed to do. Before you start, you’ll have to download two things: the sky3DS DiskWriter and their current Template file, both can be found at http://www.sky3ds.com/download.html. Once you have those two files in one directory, you have everything you need.

The sky3DS DiskWriter tool is used to format, manage and flash games onto your microSD cards. The Template file is a text file containing TitleID’s and their SHA1 checksums. To use the DiskWriter, right click on its icon and Run it as an Administrator to make sure that it has all of the necessary privileges, then select the microSD reader you’ll be using. DiskWriter will then ask you to format your microSD card and once you’re done with that, you can start flashing games onto the microSD card by selecting the Write option from the File menu. Should you wish to format the microSD card again, you can always re-format by selecting the Format option from the file menu. All of your currently flashed games will be displayed in the DiskWriter’s window, as seen in the screenshot above. It is important to note that the DiskWriter will refuse to flash any image that is not covered by the Template file, which has happened to me once during testing. Fortunately, the sky3DS team is diligently updating their Template file, so be sure to always use the latest one in order to avoid any problems when using the software.

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Better safe than sorry – set the DiskWriter up to work in Compatibility Mode and As An Administrator to avoid issues!

I would like to add that the DiskWriter utility did not work correctly when used in a Windows 8.1 environment. If you are also faced with that problem, make sure to change its compatibility settings by right-clicking on the icon, going to Preferences and adjusting the Compatibility tab. In my case, setting the program to launch in Windows XP SP2 mode fixed all of the issues I encountered, so that’s the option I recommend. You can also set it to always Run as an Administrator in the same tab to avoid having to right-click on the application every single time you need to use it.

With our games flashed and ready, it’s time for the fun part – booting the games! This is what I like about the sky3DS – it’s completely plug and play and hassle-free from this point onwards. Once you’ve put your microSD card into the flashcart and inserted it into your 3DS, you’re done – the first game will automatically show up like a normal cartridge would and you can cycle through the list of games by pressing the red button. There’s no fiddling with exploits, no worrying about SysNAND or EmuNAND – the cartridge just works, and that’s a huge advantage in my book. In this regard, the device is very user-friendly – anyone could use it.

Cycling the list of games is relatively quick – it takes aprox. 5 seconds for the cartridge to switch to the next game and this process is signified by the flashing blue LED. Each of the games has its own separate save file embedded into the flashed ROM, so there’s no worries about one game overwriting another’s save file. At present the DiskWrite utility does not feature an option to backup the files flashed to the microSD card, but I was told that this option will be included in a future update of the utility.

The flashcart operates as well as a standard cartridge would – I haven’t noticed any significant slowdown or issues when testing it using my two Class-4 microSD cards. In fact, I was surprised to see that the games I have tested all worked Online without having to use any additional utilities! I did not have to fool around with converting between .3ds and .3dz or looking for headers, the games just work as-is – once again the sky3DS proves to be a very user-friendly device.

So far the cartridge sounds like an ideal solution, but the sweetness of being able to boot ROM’s on 4.5+ firmware comes at a bitter price. The sky3DS only supports 10 games total per flashcart, and that means 10 total with no option to change the ones you’ve flashed. You can remove them from the microSD card, but the flashcart itself has their information saved on its on-board memory which has 10 non-rewritable slots. You have to keep that fact in mind when choosing which games you want to play, because once you’ve flashed and booted one, there’s no going back – the slot is now taken. Fortunately, you cannot fill two or more slots with one game by re-flashing it – the Template file is used to keep track of games that have been installed, so it will not install the same game twice.

In addition to the slot limitation, the sky3DS does not circumvent the 3DS’ Region Lock – you not only won’t be able to boot any ROM that is not native to your console’s region. I was told that such unbootable games will not count towards the overall total of 10 games, however in the interest of saving your time, exercise caution and make sure that the ROM’s you want to use are compatible with your system.

As far as Homebrew is concerned, the sky3DS does not support it in any shape or form at present – it is only capable of booting officially licensed games.

With all of the positives and negatives out of the way, time to do some testing!

Tested games

  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (EUR) PASS (Including Online)
  • Resident Evil: Revelations (EUR)PASS
  • Bravely Default (EUR)PASS​
  • Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney (EUR) PASS
  • Mario Kart 7 (EUR) – PASS (Including Online)
  • Animal Crossing – New Leaf (EUR) – PASS (Including Online)
  • Work in Progress – More games to come as I test them

Conclusion

The sky3DS is a hard product to judge. On one hand, it does everything a convenient flashcart should do – it works on up-to-date firmware, it works online and it’s easy to use. On the other hand though, it doesn’t support Homebrew applications, it does not circumvent the pesky Region Lock and most importantly, it only launches the first 10 games you install on it and nothing more, making the choice of ROM’s to use more important than ever. I choose to judge it on what the developers promised to deliver, and delivered they have.

This flashcart is a great choice for all of those users who don’t feel like trying to hunt down a 4.5 3DS just for the sake of using a flashcart – that’s definitely its biggest advantage. Its plug and play nature makes it ideal for a newbie user who just wants the device to work. If you’re interested in storing a couple of your favourite games on one cartridge and don’t feel like going through too much hassle, the sky3DS is something to be on the lookout for. It’s also the flashcart of choice for current and future adopters of the New 3DS, as it has been confirmed to work on that system as well. With that being said, if you already own a 4.5 3DS and a flashcart, this might not be a product for you. Flashcarts currently available on the market offer a wide range of functionality unavailable on the sky3DS due to the nature of how it operates. This flashcart is designed to support 4.5+ firmware – that’s its primary selling point, so future buyers should make their decision based on that.

More details you can fin it in GBAtemp here:

https://gbatemp.net/review/sky3ds.228/