The introduction of the circle pad on the Nintendo 3DS was a welcome addition to the portable platform, but of course it left many wondering, "Why not a right pad as well?"
That's the odd thing about the Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro. Its right pad feels so natural and comfortable that it really makes you wonder what exactly Nintendo was thinking by not including it to begin with. It's that realization that becomes my biggest gripe about the Circle Pad Pro: its very existence proves that the device it's intended for is flawed.
Confusion and frustrations aside, the Circle Pad Pro is available only in black through a number of retailers or through Nintendo directly. Strangely enough, some outlets are selling this for upward of $40, but don't you dare spend more than $20 on it. That's what Nintendo is selling it for.
By itself, the Circle Pad Pro is a lightweight piece of plastic that requires one AAA battery for operation. When the 3DS is installed, it anchors to the left side of the unit (which we'd imagine) and juts out on the right side, providing a circle pad. It also adds two extra trigger buttons on either side of the system, an LZ and RZ, and it repurposes the R shoulder button, which is rendered useless when the contraption is installed.
A series of rubber bumpers lets the 3DS sit snugly in its new encasing, and there are openings for access to only some of the 3DS' ports, like the headphone jack, charging port, and volume slider. With the Circle Pad Pro attached, there's no access to the SD card slot, game card slot, wireless button, or stylus. The device talks to the 3DS via an infrared port (IR) that lines up when attached. Games that support the accessory will ask for a brief setup when you begin a game.