Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro Review

Published on June 23rd, 2013 by Gervais D.

I received my Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro a couple of days after its release in North America, and today you’re going to read what I think about it. Before I begin, you should know that the accessory costs $19.99 US at the official Nintendo online store.

What is the 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro? 

The 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro is an accessory for the Nintendo 3DS. Basically, it’s a cradle that holds the Nintendo 3DS XL. It allows players to take advantage of a second analog Circle Pad that is located on the right side of the cradle, for games that support the Circle Pad Pro.

3DS XL Circle Pad Pro Review

The 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro (CPP for short) is similar to the regular Circle Pad Pro for Nintendo 3DS. There are two noticable differences between the 3DS and 3DS XL versions of the Circle Pad Pro. One is the size, which is obvious since the 3DS XL is larger than the original 3DS. The next difference is the slant design on the 3DS XL CPP’s lower right-hand side.

Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro
( Photo of the Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro )

What comes inside of the box :

  • The 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro accessory
  • 1 x AAA (LR03) 1.5V battery
  • Instruction booklet

The 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro is not compatible with the regular Nintendo 3DS, the DSi/DSi XL, the DS, or the DS Lite. The accessory does not consume battery power from the Nintendo 3DS XL. Instead, it uses its own battery. An AAA battery comes with the device, however, when its life fully depletes, you will be required to purchase another and replace it.

The Battery Cover

The 3DS XL CPP has a battery cover since it needs a battery to give it power. The cover is easy to open, however, a screwdriver is required. When I first got my 3DS XL CPP, I did not have a screwdriver with me. Maybe I have underestimated Nintendo in thinking that the cover will be removable by hand. I was wrong. If you’re planning to purchase the gadget, make sure that you have a screwdriver ready to insert the battery.

The 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro Itself

The 3DS XL CPP is 111.4mm wide, 195.1mm long, and 42.8mm thick. If your pocket is large enough to fit the 3DS XL, its Circle Pad Pro will fit. Docking the 3DS XL in its Circle Pad Pro and trying to fit the thing in your pocket is another story. If your pocket is large enough and it somehow fits, it’s going to look really bulky and feel uncomfortable. 

Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro
( Another photo of the Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro accessory )

The 3DS XL version of the Circe Pad Pro three buttons and a Circle Pad. As I mentioned earlier, the Circle Pad is located to the accessory’s right-hand side. As for the three buttons, they’re all at the back. The three buttons are; ZL, ZR, and R. The “ZL” button is located on the accessory’s left-hand shoulder, “ZR” is located on its right-hand shoulder, and “R” is right above the “ZR” button.

Top view of the Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro
( Top view of the Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro, showing its 3 hardware buttons )

The buttons and Circle Pad combination on the 3DS XL CPP are easy to use when playing supported Circle Pad Pro games for the console. If you have never held a controller before (for example, the PlayStation or Xbox controller), you might have a tough start with it, however, it gets easier to use along the way.

Is the 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro necessary to purchase?

Some 3DS games are playable without the Circle Pad Pro, however, some are not. A lot of gamers complained about Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D being unplayable on the Nintendo 3DS without a Circle Pad Pro. I have never played the game yet, therefore, I am unable to confirm this claim. I did play Resident Evil: Revelations, and the CPP helped a lot with its gameplay. It allowed me to move and aim at the same time. In addition, moving Jill around is more comfortable. Therefore, I will say that it depends on the game.

Of course, if you already have a collection of games that support the Circle Pad Pro, it’s recommended to purchase the accessory. On the other hand, if you only own one supported game which is still playable, I can’t blame you for turning a blind eye.

List of Circle Pad Pro supported 3DS games :

  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
  • Resident Evil: Revelations
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance 
  • Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D
  • Samurai Warriors Chronicles 2nd

Is the 3DS XL CPP comfortable to hold?

Yes! It’s large, however, it still feels comfy when in the hand.

Back view of the 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro
( Back view of the 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro )

Overall Experience with the 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro

I highly recommend the accessory if you own two or more games that support the CPP. Although I preferred Nintendo to build another Circle Pad on the Nintendo 3DS, they can not add the three additional hardware shoulder buttons from the CPP without making the 3DS XL thicker – resulting in a heavier console which might not feel comfortable in the hand.

About Gervais D.

Gervais is a Nintendo fan who loves to play a good game. His first owned Nintendo console was the NES, and he currently owns a blue 3DS XL.