Review: Game Genie for DS, DSi and 3DS

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Product: Hyperkin’s Game Genie
Price: $19.99
System(s): DS, DSi, 3DS
Pros: Works on the DS, DSi and 3DS. Runs homebrew. Can play music and video files if you place them on a microSD card and insert it into the device. Can update it over WiFi. Let’s you backup DS and GBA save files on your cartridge or replace cartridge save files. Works with 3DS up to firmware 4.1.0-8U (current firmware release)
Cons: Has no 3DS game codes. Can’t back up 3DS games. There isn’t a huge library of DS codes available yet. I couldn’t find the downloadable Movie Converter program on the Game Genie website.
Rating: One thumb up and one thumb sideways, 80/100, B-, * * * out of 5

It all started with the Game Genie. Back in the day, NES owners who couldn’t take the Nintendo Hard games flocked to Codemasters’ device to make their games more manageable. The brand continued to thrive during the Genesis, SNES, Game Gear and Game Boy years, but eventually disappeared once disc-based systems came around and the Codebreaker, GameShark and Action Replay.

Now the Game Genie is back. Hyperkin has revived the brand and is taking it in a new direction that not only allows players to cheat with the device, but also to manage save files and play other media.

The GameGenie comes back to help players cheat and use their DS in new ways

The Game Genie itself is very simple and easy to use. It’s about two inches long and a little over an inch wide. It’s small, but fairly solid, so it’s easy to shove in a purse or DS carrying case. Using it is easy, as it plugs into the DS/DSi/3DS cartridge slot and you just have to slide a game cartridge into the Game Genie cartridge to apply cheats to it. The device shows up on the system menu screen once it’s loaded in, and all you have to do is tap the icon to start using it. (It’s icon shows up as Game&Watch Collection on the 3DS.)

From there, users are presented with a menu of viable options. You tap Select Cheats when a game is inserted to apply cheats, Saves XTRA to backup DS or GBA saves or replace saves on a cartridge, Cheat Management to add new cheats to the database or Games and Media XTRA to access music, homebrew and movies. Pressing Y allows you to adjust settings or download an upgrade to the Game Genie over WiFi.

There’s another great Game Genie feature that Hyperkin worked into the device. If you place homebrew DS apps, like Colors, into the nds folder on the microSD card and the choose the Games XTRA option, you’ll be able to run homebrew on your system. I only used this feature to try using Colors, and found that it worked quite well.

Functions well, but codes are lacking.

From what I saw, the Game Genie had no problem helping me cheat on games. I was able to find good codes for Pokemon Diamond, Animal Crossing and a number of big name games where people might want an easy way to earn items that could otherwise take days or maybe even weeks to unlock. I also didn’t have any trouble backing up game saves for The World Ends with You, Pokemon Diamond, Pokemon Fire Red and Animal Crossing and then later replacing saves on the cartridge with backed up saves thanks to the Game Genie. The real problem came down to code availability.

One of the main drawbacks to the Game Genie is that it’s currently outclassed by the Action Replay DS in terms of cheats. The Action Replay DS is more expensive than the Game Genie, but it’s been out long enough to develop a following and garner plenty of fan support. Which means while there are at least a thousand games, maybe more, covered by the Action Replay DS due to Datel and fan efforts. Only around 300 games are covered by the Game Genie at the moment. This might disappoint people who’ve owned a DS for a while and perhaps even an Action Replay, because it means the Game Genie can’t completely replace your old device yet.

What might disappoint owners more than the lack of codes is the lack of any support for 3DS games. You can only cheat on and back up DS games, for the moment. The Game Genie did work on my 3DS though, which is a good first step. Especially when you consider that Nintendo has been updating the 3DS firmware to add new features and update antipiracy measures. The device does allow users to update the device over WiFi and the official Game Genie page does promise an eventual device update that will allow people to apply codes to 3DS games.

Of course, what does make up for that are the supplemental features of the Game Genie. It’s much more than a cheating device. For example, people who always wanted to use the original Colors homebrew DS application can with Game Genie. Just load it onto the SD card and in a few steps you’ll be drawing on your DS with it. It also functions as a pretty competant media player, playing both mp3s and videos. I didn’t have a large enough microSD memory card on hand to test video playback, but it played my mp3s well enough.

An admirable multitasking device with room to grow.

The Game Genie is your basic DS cheating and media device. It’s as simple to use as popping it into your DS, DSi or 3DS, possibly popping in a cartridge if you want to use it for cheats and powering up your system. It’s simple to use, quite easy to update and does offer a number of different features which give it an edge over the other major DS cheat device, the Action Replay. However, the Action Replay did have a much earlier start and has many more cheats available. Also, the Game Genie is coming out at the end of the DS life cycle and hasn’t received the update yet that will allow users to cheat on their 3DS games. The Game Genie works well and is promising, but it will still take time for it to take over the Action Replay and become invaluable to 3DS owners.

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  • Christopher

    The Action Replay DS sucks. I bought one recently, and it didn’t have any codes in it, plus the software disc it came with didn’t have the correct driver in it, so basically, I spent $30 on a completely useless product. Screw Datel. Viva La Game Genie!!