Review: MT-Card (Hardware)
With a flood of 3DS flashkits hitting the market there weren't any noticeable differences between them until the MT-Card arrived. It was the first 3DS flashkit to offer the ability to play multiple 3DS roms on a single microSD card by using a physical switch on the cartridge. Otherwise known as mutirom and is a feature constantly asked for in 3DS flashkits. With this new innovation is the MT-Card worth the price? Does it stand up to the Gateway 3DS. Here's a look at a device that raised the bar for 3DS flashkits.
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With the flood of new 3DS flashkits hitting the market there weren't any noticeable differences between them until the MT-Card arrived. It was the first 3DS flashkit to offer the ability to play multiple 3DS roms on a single microSD card. Otherwise known as multirom and is a feature constantly asked for in 3DS flashkits. With this new innovation is the MT-Card worth the price? Does it stand up to the Gateway 3DS? Here's a look at a device that raised the bar for 3DS flashkits.
Thanks to 3DSVip for supplying the review sample.
Packaging and Contents
The MT-Card flashkit comes in blister packaging that has two resealable plastic holders to house each flashcart. On the front of the packaging you have a black stripe on the top, the MT-Card logo on the upper left hand section, and the rest is white. The back of the packaging is black with a grey MT-Card logo in the center and on the bottom there's a barcode. The white shell MT-Card flashcart is the same shape and size as a normal 3DS cartridge, with teeth in front of the contacts to give them a bit of leverage between them and the console itself. This prevents the flashcart from having read issues, which is a major problem for some DS flashcarts. The shell is held together by two small phillips screws. It has a glossy silver sticker on the front with the MT-Card logo in the center, below which it says "MT-Card", and a yellow stripe running on the bottom. On the top of the shell there's a microSD card slot which isn't spring loaded, a plus for those who don't like their microSD cards shooting out of their flashcarts. Next to the microSD card slot there's a micro USB port and on the notch of the shell you'll see a small black button. The grey shell DS flashcart is similar to a DS flashcart in terms of shape and size. The shell is not held together by screws or glue, but by little plastic pegs. It has no teeth in front of the contacts, and the microSD card slot is not spring-loaded. It has the same sticker as the white shell 3DS flashcart except it has a blue stripe instead of a yellow one in addition to having the MT-Card website in the stripe in white letters.
Design and Impressions
Considering the price of the MT-Card, the packaging could have been a bit nicer. It definitely gets a plus for the reuseable plastic holders but other than that there really aren't any extras. (No tin case, microSD card reader, or instructions.) Getting past the packaging and lack of extras the white shell 3DS flashcart itself has a nice sturdy feel to it. The plastic used feels very durable and would definitely survive through the typically wear and tear of usage. Comparing the plastic quality to a retail 3DS game there's only a slight dip in quality. The device has teeth between the contact points which I'm a fan of due to an issue in DS generation flashcarts where they didn't have enough leverage in order to be read by the DS system. This was solved by adding in plastic spacers or "teeth" which gave the flashcarts enough leverage to be read. As for the grey DS flashcart it seems as though it's just a restickered R4 DS flashcart. The quality of the plastic used is a bit cheap, it doesn't have any teeth, and is held together by brittle plastic pegs.
I want to take the time to mention here that when you buy a MT-Card Flash Kit, that you are actually getting two flashcarts for the price of one. One of them is for playing 3DS ROMs on your 3DS, and the other is a DS-Mode flashcart that supports DS ROMs and homebrew.
2x microSD Cards: You can prepare and use the MT-Card flashkit using one microSD card, however I recommend having two microSD cards. One that is at least 2 GBs in size to hold the grey shell DS flashcart's firmware, along with the exploit installer. The other microSD card should be at least 16 GBs in size; due to the fact that the max size a 3DS ROM can be is 8 GBs. Currently, the largest sized ROM dumps are 4 GBs, meaning that you will need a microSD card larger than 4 GBs to get started. However a GBAtemp user by the name of 3DSGuy has created a tool that trims 3DS roms to a smaller size that would allow someone to make a 4 GB 3DS rom small enough to fit onto a 4 GB microSD card. His tool can be found in the download section below.
A micro USB cable: The micro USB cable is used in order to update the MT-Card. It connects to a slot on the top of the white shell 3DS flashcart right next to the microSD card slot.
A microSD Card Reader and SD card reader: Sadly, the MT-Card flashkit didn't not come with a microSD card reader. You will need one in order to drag/drop 3DS ROMs to the microSD card, as well as put the grey shell DS flashcart's kernel files onto the smaller 2 GB microSD card. The SD card reader is needed to copy the required “launcher.dat” file.
3DS unit on firmware v4.1-4.5: At the time of writing this review the MT-Card only supports 3DS/3DS XL units on firmware 4.1-4.5. If your 3DS is on a higher firmware then you'll have to wait for the MT-Card Team to release an update. If you are interested in purchasing a 3DS/3DS XL then the way to make sure you get a compatible unit is to check the back of the box to make sure it says "Trademark of Nintendo 2012". This ensures it will have a firmware the MT-Card currently supports. The Pikachu 3DS XL, Black 3DS XL, and the Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS XL, are units confirmed to have a firmware higher than 4.5. (For the US that is it in other regions the 3DS may come with a lower firmware and still be a special edition 3DS XL.) It's recommend that if your 3DS is lower than 4.5 that you find a retail game with the 4.5 update, and update that way.
1x SD Card (At least 2 GBs in size): All new 3DS units come with a 2 GB/4 GB SD card. This SD card is needed in order to create an emuNAND partition on and store the MT-Card flashkit's required “launcher.dat” file.
MT-Card Firmware file (I can't link the file here directly due to legal issues.)
Grey DS Flashcart's Kernal
3DSGuy's Rom Tool & Instructions
3DS SD Card Set-up:
Assuming you've already downloaded the MT-Card Firmware zip file open it in a program such as Winrar or 7zip. This is shown above in the first image. This archive file contains everything you will need to setup the 3DS' SD card. Once you have opened it you are going to want to extract a file by the name of "launcher.dat" to the SD card and then insert the SD card into your 3DS. The second image above shows this being done in the archival program, Winrar. Once that is completed you are finished with this part of the setup. The reason why we are putting the "launcher.dat" file onto the root of the SD card is because once the 3DS crashes from the corrupt strings in the DS Profile Settings, it turns to the SD card to read data. Once the information is read, the 3DS reboots into MT-Card mode which allows the white shell 3DS flashcart to function. So this is an essential step in setting up your MT-Card.
Grey Shell Flashcart Setup
For this setup you must download and open the zip file containing the Grey DS Flashcart's Kernal files. Once opened go into the folder called "BlueCard" and extract all the folders/files in it to the root of your microSD card.
Insert the microSD card into the grey DS flashcart and then insert the grey DS flashcart into your 3DS. It should show up as a game in the 3DS' main menu after which you should launch it. After it launches you will be at a menu that shows the contents of your micro SD card and you should see a file called "MT_INSTALLER.NDS" hover over it and press A. Then it'll ask you if you'd like to continue or exit; Press A to continue. Next up it'll ask you what region your 3DS console is from with the options "EUR/USA/JAP/KOR", "TAIWAN", "CHINA (iQUE)". From here you need to select the correct region for your 3DS by hovering the option and pressing A. The exploit will be installed onto your 3DS afterwards press A to exit the installer and exit to the 3DS' main menu.
What the MT-Card's "MT_INSTALLER" is doing right now is corrupting strings in the 3DS' DS User Settings in order to allow you to crash the 3DS in 3DS mode. This will then allow the exploit launcher to function and allow you to boot into the MT-Card's menu.
White Shell Flashcart Setup
Now for the last steps to setup your MT-Card to play 3DS ROMs. The 3DS ROMs have a file extension of .3DS. With the latest MT-Card update you can throw any 3DS rom from any region onto the microSD card and have it play on any region 3DS system. With the 16GB or higher microSD card plugged into your computer, format it to FAT32. This can be done with Windows File Explorer by right clicking the disk drive under "My Computer" and selecting the "Format" option. Then drag and drop your 3DS roms onto the microSD card. (If you have a rom larger than 4GBs then you'll have to use 3DSGuy's rom trimmer in order to get them onto the FAT32 filesystem. Which doesn't support 4GB+ files.)
Now insert the microSD card into the white shell 3DS flashcart and insert it into your 3DS. Go into the 3DS' settings, into the other settings option, then proceed to press the profile option and lastly select the option that says Nintendo DS Profile while holding the 3DS' L button. Your 3DS will crash and you will be at the MT-Card menu. You must go back into the Nintendo DS Profile setting, and crash your 3DS every time you turn it off. You must also run the "MT_INSTALLER" homebrew each time you use the 3DS' DS mode (ROMs, homebrew, etc), and do every step thereafter.
Here you'll see the options "Go to MT-Card Menu", "Go Classic Menu", "Select Game", "Backup NAND", and "Format emuNAND". Select the "Select Game" option and it should show you all the games you put onto the microSD card. Select one and then it should bring you back to the MT-Card's main menu. From here you'll want to select the "Go to MT-Card Menu". Once you've selected it the 3DS will boot into the 3DS menu. The game you selected should appear on screen. Press the button on the top of the white shell flashcart in order to cycle through your list of games.
All games were tested on a 16 GB Class-4 SanDisk microSD card.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf -PASS
Fire Emblem: Awakening -PASS
Kid Icarus Uprising -PASS
Kirby Triple Deluxe -PASS
Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon -PASS
Mario Kart 7 -PASS
New Super Mario Bros 2 -PASS
Pokemon X -PASS
Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright -PASS
Sonic Lost World -PASS
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy -PASS
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds -PASS
Zero Escape: Virtues Last Reward -PASS
All of the 3DS roms I tested performed perfectly. Like its predecessors there's a slight delay when launching a game but this is due to the MT-Card taking a couple seconds in order to load your save from the 3DS' SD card. Again like it's competitors the MT-Card isn't able to use a game's online features and attempting to connect to the internet in Kid Icarus Uprising leads to my 3DS giving me error code "002-0123" which on Nintendo's website means that my 3DS is not close enough to my router. This wasn't the case due to my retail copy being able to connect just fine to my router that's about 7 feet away. Local multiplayer works just fine.
With all things considered the MT-Card has a nice build, works as advertised, and is getting updates from the MT-Card team. (NOTE: As of 04/14/2014 the 1.2 firmware update has yet to be release. I was given a beta to try out.) With the release of the 1.2 firmware update the game compatibility of the MT-Card is now on par with the Gateway 3DS. The only downfalls being no online functionality in games, it only supporting FAT32 formatted microSD cards, it currently doesn't allow you to play homebrew, and that it requires a 3DS on 4.5 or lower to use it. My only concern is that the MT-Card just recently came out with an update adding in NAND game support only a couple days after the Gateway 3DS team released an update that did the same. Which leads me to believe that their their work may be based off the Gateway 3DS Team's updates however only time will tell if the MT-Card team is self sufficient. In terms of pricing the MT-Card typically goes for $69 over at 3DSVip. If you're interested in the MT-Card then I would recommend getting one if you're interested in saving some money. (Gateway 3DS is $78 and the MT-Card is $69.) If you're in the market for a 3DS flashkit and are looking to save a few bucks without losing out on functionality then I definitely recommend the MT-Card however do keep in mind there's the possibility that they are basing their work off the Gateway Teams update and that there might be an update they can't copy.
+ Easy setup and use
+ Ability to back-up save files
+ Works with all currently dumped games 04/10/2014
+ Local multiplayer works
+ Region free
+ Firmware spoofer
- No online gameplay
- Only supports FAT32
- No homebrew (yet)
- Requires a 3DS on older firmware
out of 10
With all things considered the MT-Card has a good build, works as advertised, and is getting updates from the MT-Card team. The only downfalls being no online functionality in titles, it only supports FAT32 formatted microSD, it currently doesn't allow you to play homebrew, and that it requires a 3DS on 4.5 or lower to use it.