One of the most tantalising features of Nintendo's new DSi console is its integrated download store -- DSiWare. Using the system's Wi-Fi connection, you can download extra content and features -- some for free, some costing money. We've taken it for a test drive.
Firstly, a word about points. Excluding the free stuff, everything you buy on the DSi costs DSi points. You'll get 1,000 points for £9, and Wii Points Cards can be redeemed as DSi points. Also, should you be stupidly wealthy, you can only have a maximum of 10,000 points on your account at any one time. So spend some, hoarder.
The DSiWare store itself can be accessed from the DSi's main menu, and you're given a very DS-esque experience for browsing content. The selection of content, however, at least at the time of writing, was pitiful to say the least. We were hoping for piles of little apps, cute casual games or some bonus extras for some of Nintendo's own titles. No such luck.
In fact, there were only 12 titles listed on Nintendo's Web site, and of those only six were actually available to download on the console.
One of those six is the free Opera Web browser. Like other apps from the store, it took a couple of clicks to download before it was ready to launch from the DSi's main menu (and it's not a bad little browser, considering the screen sizes it's got to work with).
Games downloaded and installed just as easily, with cute download animations courtesy of Mario, Luigi and his regular posse. We tried out Nintendo's Paper Plane game (200 points, or £1.80) and WarioWare: Snapped (500 points, or £4.50). The latter is a cute collection of micro-games in the typical WarioWare style, but using the DSi's camera to detect the movements of your hands and face. You have to line your hands, face and fingers up to align with objects on the screen, and as daft as it sounds, it's pretty fun.
Really, Nintendo should've had DSiWare populated with more than just six things to download. At the moment, it looks like you've done something wrong, and only a bizarre selection of titles are being shown to you. But give it a few months and the store will fill up, and when it does, we're confident it'll give people the reason they need to cough up the cash and upgrade to the DSi.
Paper Plane: Guide a paper plane around a little maze.
You're given some little screenshots of the game you're about to download, prior to hitting purchase.
WarioWare's intro screen.
Bonus photo: CNET UK on the DSi's free Opera browser. Oh how we treat you.