Review cover sky3DS (Hardware)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

Review Approach:

I was pretty excited to try out the sky3DS - after all, it's on the bleeding edge of 3DS flashcart tech. Needless to say, I was optimistic.
For the longest time launching backups required a 4.5 3DS system, which was a big hurdle for 3DS XL and 2DS adopters. With the sky3DS, this limitation is no more - the flashcart runs on latest 3DS firmware and does not require the user to use any DS Mode exploits. Is it worth the purchase? Read on to find out!

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GBAtemp Review of the...

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sky3DS
Developed by: sky3DS Team
Sample provided by: 3ds-cart.com
Review by Foxi4 – Completed 11/11/14 and Ryukouki - Complete 12/09/14, comments in blue.

A Big Thanks for the Patronage!

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First of all, I'd like to thank 3ds-cart.com for providing us with a sample of the sky3DS. Their representative was great to work with and really helpful, the delivery was speedy and I can only praise them for their great service. If you would like to purchase a sky3DS cartridge from them, follow this link, it will take you directly to their store. In addition to this product, 3ds-cart.com also sells other flashcarts, modchips, accessories and more - check out their website for details!

Hello everyone, Ryukouki here, doing the first ever double review commentary for the Sky 3DS. I would like to take a moment and thank GBAtemp's sponsor, NDS-card.com, for providing us with a unit to test.

Introduction

The 3DS flashcart market has been dominated by Gateway practically since its dawn. The team has managed to overcome the efforts of cloners (with some casualties along the way), but what they never did overcome was the 4.5 firmware limitation or the rather cumbersome process of using the DS Mode exploit, which by nature required the user to use two cartridges - one for the exploit installation, the other for the games themselves. Here comes sky3DS, a brand-new solution for all your backup needs. How does it stack up against the almighty Gateway? Let's find out how much bang you get for the $89 asking price.

Shipping and Packaging

The kit came in via DHL and I have to say, I've never had a package shipped to me that fast, especially considering the fact that it was shipped from China. Shipping only took three days, so chances are that the "sky" in sky3DS' name stands for some kind of rocket propulsion system, because that's a lot of miles and not a whole lot of time - I expected it to take at least a week or two. For that, 3ds-cart.com deserves a big thumbs up - it's well-worth it to pay them extra for fast shipping.

As you can see in the video above, the cartridge was safely protected by the DHL envelope and an envelope with bubble wrap. The cartridge itself is stored in a cardboard and blister box with a convenient flap, allowing you to easily open it without the use of scissors. Since I am terribly used to packages that take Hulk-like strength to open, I didn't even notice it until my cutting instinct kicked in. Nevertheless, props for the packaging, as it is easy to open.

Ryu: My package from NDS-card came in a simple and very tiny envelope. It shipped via Hong Kong Registered Airmail, which takes a bit longer, about two weeks average, your mileage will vary. Overall, the package was very well protected in transit and didn't move around. As you can see in Foxi4's unboxing above, it's a very simplistic package. Not a ton of bells and whistles, and sadly no freebies included. 

The Card Itself

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Exterior of the cartridge

The sky3DS cartridge is very well-made. The plastic isn't too finicky and although the molding process isn't perfectly uniform, the casing does its job just fine. The connectors are protected with a grill, much like on an original 3DS cartridge, so it's clear that the makers of the cartridge paid a lot of attention to detail. On the lip of the cartridge you can see three things - the microSD card slot (which is not spring-loaded, thus more reliable that its spring-loaded counterparts), a red plastic button for switching games and a blue LED light which signifies whenever the cartridge is switching games. On the front of the cartridge you can see the sky3DS logo with some Trasfo-- *cough* *cough*, I mean, robots, some robots in the background *wink*. Build quality is on-par with similar products on the market, there's little to complain about in that department. The cart took quite a bit of persuasion before I managed to open it up, here's what treasures I found inside, for all the PCB lovers out there:

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Interior of the catridge

Ryu: As far as my own cartridge was concerned, the chip is very solid. Its build quality is good, but it wasn't great for me. I actually needed to perform some extra work on mine, which had some fairly sharp edges that actually cut skin. Nothing a good old nail filer couldn't take care of, but even so this minor quality blemish raised an eyebrow. The plastic felt solid, but poorly cut. I hope it's a one off scenario. I have to agree though with much of Foxi's details above, as it definitely took a bit of time to open the chip up. The red button felt very cheaply made and didn't feel responsive when in action to change games. It took several tries for me to actually coax a response out of it.

Usage

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The DiskWrite utility in action

Setting up the cartridge could not be much simpler. The cartridge is not drag and drop, however the tools provided by sky3DS are pretty self-explanatory and effective at what they're supposed to do. Before you start, you'll have to download two things: the sky3DS DiskWriter and their current Template file, both can be found at http://www.sky3ds.com/download.html. Once you have those two files in one directory, you have everything you need.

The sky3DS DiskWriter tool is used to format, manage and flash games onto your microSD cards. The Template file is a text file containing TitleID's and their SHA1 checksums. To use the DiskWriter, right click on its icon and Run it as an Administrator to make sure that it has all of the necessary privileges, then select the microSD reader you'll be using. DiskWriter will then ask you to format your microSD card and once you're done with that, you can start flashing games onto the microSD card by selecting the Write option from the File menu. Should you wish to format the microSD card again, you can always re-format by selecting the Format option from the file menu. All of your currently flashed games will be displayed in the DiskWriter's window, as seen in the screenshot above. It is important to note that the DiskWriter will refuse to flash any image that is not covered by the Template file, which has happened to me once during testing. Fortunately, the sky3DS team is diligently updating their Template file, so be sure to always use the latest one in order to avoid any problems when using the software.

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Better safe than sorry - set the DiskWriter up to work in Compatibility Mode and As An Administrator to avoid issues!

I would like to add that the DiskWriter utility did not work correctly when used in a Windows 8.1 environment. If you are also faced with that problem, make sure to change its compatibility settings by right-clicking on the icon, going to Preferences and adjusting the Compatibility tab. In my case, setting the program to launch in Windows XP SP3 mode fixed all of the issues I encountered, so that's the option I recommend. You can also set it to always Run as an Administrator in the same tab to avoid having to right-click on the application every single time you need to use it.

With our games flashed and ready, it's time for the fun part - booting the games! This is what I like about the sky3DS - it's completely plug and play and hassle-free from this point onwards. Once you've put your microSD card into the flashcart and inserted it into your 3DS, you're done - the first game will automatically show up like a normal cartridge would and you can cycle through the list of games by pressing the red button. There's no fiddling with exploits, no worrying about SysNAND or EmuNAND - the cartridge just works, and that's a huge advantage in my book. In this regard, the device is very user-friendly - anyone could use it.

Cycling the list of games is relatively quick - it takes aprox. 5 seconds for the cartridge to switch to the next game and this process is signified by the flashing blue LED. Each of the games has its own separate save file embedded into the flashed ROM, so there's no worries about one game overwriting another's save file. At present the DiskWrite utility does not feature an option to backup the files flashed to the microSD card, but I was told that this option will be included in a future update of the utility.

UPDATE (12.11.2014): Today the DiskWriter utility has been updated to v.1.07 which does feature the option to back up and restore both individual games and their save files.

The flashcart operates as well as a standard cartridge would - I haven't noticed any significant slowdown or issues when testing it using my two Class-4 microSD cards. In fact, I was surprised to see that the games I have tested all worked Online without having to use any additional utilities! I did not have to fool around with converting between .3ds and .3dz or looking for headers, the games just work as-is - once again the sky3DS proves to be a very user-friendly device.

So far the cartridge sounds like an ideal solution, but the sweetness of being able to boot ROM's on 4.5+ firmware comes at a bitter price. The sky3DS only supports 10 games total per flashcart, and that means 10 total with no option to change the ones you've flashed. You can remove them from the microSD card, but the flashcart itself has their information saved on its on-board memory which has 10 non-rewritable slots. You have to keep that fact in mind when choosing which games you want to play, because once you've flashed and booted one, there's no going back - the slot is now taken. Fortunately, you cannot fill two or more slots with one game by re-flashing it - the Template file is used to keep track of games that have been installed, so it will not install the same game twice.

In addition to the slot limitation, the sky3DS does not circumvent the 3DS' Region Lock - you not only won't be able to boot any ROM that is not native to your console's region. I was told that such unbootable games will not count towards the overall total of 10 games, however in the interest of saving your time, exercise caution and make sure that the ROM's you want to use are compatible with your system.

As far as Homebrew is concerned, the sky3DS does not support it in any shape or form at present - it is only capable of booting officially licensed games.

With all of the positives and negatives out of the way, time to do some testing!

Tested games

  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (EUR) - PASS (Including Online)
  • Resident Evil: Revelations (EUR) - PASS
  • Bravely Default (EUR) - PASS​
  • Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney (EUR) - PASS
  • Mario Kart 7 (EUR) - PASS (Including Online)
  • Animal Crossing - New Leaf (EUR) - PASS (Including Online)
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (EUR) - PASS
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby (EUR) - PASS (Including Online)
  • Work in Progress - More games to come as I test them

​Hi everyone, Ryukouki here. I received a Sky 3DS unit of my own and have further game tests to share.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS (USA) - PASS
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening (USA) - PASS
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) - PASS
  • Pokemon Y (EUR) - FAILED due to Region Locking

Conclusion

The sky3DS is a hard product to judge. On one hand, it does everything a convenient flashcart should do - it works on up-to-date firmware, it works online and it's easy to use. On the other hand though, it doesn't support Homebrew applications, it does not circumvent the pesky Region Lock and most importantly, it only launches the first 10 games you install on it and nothing more, making the choice of ROM's to use more important than ever. I choose to judge it on what the developers promised to deliver, and delivered they have.

This flashcart is a great choice for all of those users who don't feel like trying to hunt down a 4.5 3DS just for the sake of using a flashcart - that's definitely its biggest advantage. Its plug and play nature makes it ideal for a newbie user who just wants the device to work. If you're interested in storing a couple of your favourite games on one cartridge and don't feel like going through too much hassle, the sky3DS is something to be on the lookout for. It's also the flashcart of choice for current and future adopters of the New 3DS, as it has been confirmed to work on that system as well. With that being said, if you already own a 4.5 3DS and a flashcart, this might not be a product for you. Flashcarts currently available on the market offer a wide range of functionality unavailable on the sky3DS due to the nature of how it operates. This flashcart is designed to support 4.5+ firmware - that's its primary selling point, so future buyers should make their decision based on that.

Ryu: Foxi is right in his analysis above. I have to completely agree here, I honestly had a hard time judging this device, because it does everything that it advertises, and I can't truly compare it to everything else in its competition because the comparison is like apples to oranges. It runs, with no problems whatsoever, on any firmware. The main advantage is that the set up is extremely easy, it's painless, you don't have to pore over hours and hours of discussion about emulated NANDs, or .CIA installations, or any of that. It simply is just downloading two apps, install games, plug in, and play. This type of set up is perfect for a child or someone who is just looking to start out and have games on hand, because it's so easy to use. Its lack of homebrew support, which is starting to gain headway with Ninjhax, is another ding that may affect some users, who like to be liberal with their use of custom applications. The main issue is the region locking and the ten games limit, though. Region locking means that if you flash the wrong game region, you'll end up with one game less, leaving only nine slots - there's no override on that. 

My final thought is that if you have a 4.5 3DS and a flash chip that can run on the 4.5 ecosystem, you're not missing much here, as the competition encapsulates and goes above and beyond what this little guy can do, but for those who don't need all the bells and whistles, this might be something for you.

UPDATE (17.12.2014) - Several updates, actually. For starters, the 10 game limit of the Sky3DS has been broken by creating a conversion tool that modifies standard ROMs into NO EEPROM ROMs, thus avoiding the limitation - it can be unstable, but works. Another method (not recommended) of avoiding the limitation is the organize the ROMs on the SD card in a specific fashion and ejecting the cartridge mid-way through reading. More information on both methods and suppoert can be found here. In addition, a new version of the cartridge without the limitation and a blue button has been released and will be refered to as Sky3DS rev.2 from now on. Finally, thanks to smealum and his NINJHAX exploit, it is now possible to boot homebrew on 9.2 systems via a Sky3DS flashcart.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Compatible with latest firmware to date (9.2.0-20)
  • Supports online gameplay without issues
  • Does not require a DS Mode flashcart for installation
  • Plug and Play use, no need for executing any exploit
  • Useful status LED indicating when the flashcart is busy
  • Confirmed to work on the New 3DS
What We Didn't Like ...
  • It only has 10 non-rewritable slots for games, if you want to play more games, you have to purchase another sky3DS cartridge (refers to rev.1 cartridges with a red button, rev.2 cartridges do not have this limitation)
  • Does not support homebrew (unless through NINJHAX), cross-region games or eShop games
  • Lacks a menu due to the nature of how it operates
  • Relatively high price
7
out of 10

Overall

The sky3DS definitely has a lot going for it, but it does have serious drawbacks as well. The inability to flash more than 10 games or ever change the already installed ones is a glaring issue, but for many users the ability to use the cart online on latest firmware with no hassle whatsoever will outweigh that problem. I can wholeheartedly recommend this product to anyone with a 4.5+ FW 3DS, however if you have an earlier firmware, perhaps you should stick to the more versatile alternatives.
Great review! I think the fact it can run on current 3DS firmwire's are a great selling point like you said. However the 10 non-rewritable slots are a major drawback. Question, can this issue eventually be fixed or will it always remain that way?
 
I can't confirm or deny that - I've heard rumours that it could be worked out eventually, but no word directly from the mouths of the team responsible. For now, I have to review it for what it is. tj_cool aptly described it as a 10-in-1 cartridge, except this time around you're the one picking the games, and that's fine by me.
 
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Excellent review, it's good to see something that finally supports newer firmware and on the New 3DS models. Gateway's gonna have some catching up to do if they wish to follow suit with the New 3DS and newer firmwares ;)
 
The way I see it, sky3DS and Gateway are two different beasts for two different kinds of users. Gateway is a comprehensive solution for those who are willing to go the extra mile, hunt down a 4.5 or lower 3DS and stay on-top of all updates, EmuNAND, SysNAND and all that jazz. sky3DS is more casual - you put the games on, the games work, that's really all it does and it does it well. :)
 
it seems pretty good nintendo did do an update and it worked past the update. the video title said it was on FW 9.1.0-20 before releasing the card unless it was a typing error and the video was meant to say 9.2.0-20
 
I wouldn't know - all I can tell is that my 3DS is up-to-date and sky3DS works just fine on it, including Online. :)
 
I had the video downloaded because youtube sucks on my connection and it was infact 9.1.0-20 J FW before releasing
 
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and the 10 game limit it's the same technology kind of that was used in the Xecuter 2 Mod chip for the xbox in the sense that it had a eeprom bank switch to switch from the Xecuter 2 bios to the retail bios chip to play online
 
Nintendo didn't have access to the card/didn't know about it/already developed the update when the sky video released. Gotta see how it fares with the couple next ones especially if the card picks up sales.
 
i have to say this is a noob's best friend for flashcarts now to find some good 3DS games to play online...

also i'm only going pick the games i like the best.
 
The 10 game limit isn't a real deal breaker for me. However the fact that once you chose the games to use, you can't ever switch them out for new ones is what kills it for me. A product like this is just stupid at the price point they are selling it at. I could justify such a price if they went out of their way to make sure the internal chip was re-writable, but if it turns out that is not the case, then this is a straight up scam product and you should avoid it like the plague.

If it is a physical/technological limitation that justifies that kind of limitation, then perhaps I can see this a reasonable purchase if the price falls to something below $30.

Until then I would rather go out and get a 4.5 console and a Gateway for a proper flashcart. I can't even call this a flashcart. It doesn't operate at all like all the previous ones for this console and the previous generation of it.
 
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Intresting to hear that the cart really works, but... in consideration of:

- 10 game limit
- high price
- region locked
- no homebrew
- ambiguous technology (future-proof?)

sorry... maybe 4 out of 10, or maybe 5. But never 7.

If the 10 game limit never get's removed, purchasing cheap used games makes actually more sense. IMHO.
 
Why not? The cartridge works *as advertised*, the limitation is stated in no uncertain terms, the buyers know about it. I don't see a reason to substract any more points than I already have. It's the only flashcart that works on 4.5+ and it's fool-proof, that's what it all comes down to. It has disadvantages, but it also has advantages.
 
Apache Thunder you can go out and buy 10 $40 games which is $400 and then tell me you don't want this for roughly about $130
 
Why not? The cartridge works *as advertised*, the limitation is stated in no uncertain terms, the buyers know about it. I don't see a reason to substract any more points than I already have. It's the only flashcart that works on 4.5+ and it's fool-proof, that's what it all comes down to. It has disadvantages, but it also has advantages.

You got a point. At least, everything they promised seems to be correct. It's a joke compared to the features that Gateway offers, but as you said: *as advertised*
 
What about eShop games? Specifically, I'm curious about GBA games that wouldn't work with Gateway, because of how the 4.x exploit works. Also, how does the title database of Sky3DS work? Do newly dumped ROMs have to be added, or do the work right away? I haven't read up on Sky3DS, but I did see a mention of a hash and header database somewhere, which was a part of the ROM transfer program.
 
Newly dumped ROM's have to be added to the Template file before they can be successfully flashed onto a microSD card. As for eShop games, the sky3DS only supports .3DS games, so I'm guessing eShop ones wouldn't work without some fancy converting.
 
Perhaps you should also write "Does not circumvent region lock" as a contra in the list at the end, I think it is an interesting missing feature that could make you decide on not buying.
 
J
eShop ROMs will never work with this card, I think that should be added as a Con point.
Additionally, no region free should also be added as Con point.
 
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Good point, I mention the fact that it won't work with cross-region games, but I didn't add it to the con's.
 
Still waiting to see how it holds up with System updates. That'll be a major flaw if it becomes an issue.

Nice review! I think you covered everything spot-on!
 
I wonder if it can play DS games, the K3DS is out which claims it can do that, have you tried that already Foxi4?
 
Etheboss As far as I know, the K3DS is a not-so-elaborate on-going prank, it doesn't actually exist.

...but hey, K3DS devs, if your cart is actually real, I'm keen to review it for you! :rofl2:
 
I'd like to really commed you for the effort, mate. It's a piece that covers all main bases and is sure to inform anyone considering buying this card.

That said, I found it to be a tad too flattering. True objective and neutrality are journalism myths, and should by no means be pursued, but you still come off as complimenting too much the flashcard distributor in particular, but also the team and the card. Maybe keep it a little more to the point next time? I mean this only in a constructive way... I really did like your review.
 
MarkDarkness, to be honest, I was really impressed by how the distributor handled the matter, hence my compliments. All of my reviews begin with a short thank you for the patronage - if not for our suppliers and sponsors, we wouldn't have anything to review! :P As for the team, when it all comes down to it, they broke a limitation no other team has broken yet - they deserve some recognition for that alone.
 
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The 10 games limit is clearly an artificial limitation and customer abuse. Only giving it 0 points would be ethical.
 
I don't see how this is a matter of ethics - the limitations of the cartridge are clearly and prominently displayed and it's the customer's choice whether to buy the cartridge or not. Besides, you're always treading dangerous waters when talking about backups and ethics in one comment.
 
if foxi4 reviewed a 720p TV, he wouldn't deduct points from a score because it doesn't do 1080p - it's a 720p TV, of course it fucking doesn't.
 
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The 10 games limit is a big point of contention and I agree that it's not a whole lot - I'm totally on board with what people are saying about that. With that in mind though, the limitation is well-within the advertised parameters of the cartridge - you're not being scammed, you're buying a cartridge that plays 10 games. A big part of reviewing something is being able to abstract oneself from your personal bias and review the product for what it actually is, not what you'd want it to be. Ultimately the choice is up to the customers themselves - I can merely give you an opinion on how the cart operates, how well it fares at what it's supposed to do and who I would recommend it to.
 
Great review! I think this card is more suitable to those on planning to buy 3 or more games at the moment. I mean yeah, you get 10 games at the price of 3 and thats a really sweet deal at the moment. But the big question is how future proof is this product?? I mean you could buy it now and have 10 games at the price of 3 but what happens in a year or two when future games get released and theres no way on playing them because the low firmware doesnt allow it... This is an excellent product if you just got your 3DS and youre looking on buying as I said 3 or more games, but if youre looking for the long term deal I would personally wait for a clone to come out or just the fact that they will give an ability to spoof the firmware if the card works on a software principle - if its just a hardware thing then theres nothing to worry about.
 
I keep reliability of the cartridge in high regard and we actually plan on revisiting the sky3DS with a follow-up review in the forseeable future to see how it fares with new big releases such as Pokemon ORAS or Monster Hunter 4. The holiday season is coming and there'll be a lot of titles to test, not to mention the New 3DS which will inevitably reach western shores in 2015. A bit of a spoiler, but it's not the last of sky3DS you'll see, that's for sure. :P
 
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I'm going to cancel my order right know.. 100 dlrs for 10 games limit.. No thx.. I think K3DS has no limit.. Im going to get that one
 
Great review. Very much interested in this. Sold my GW at 3DS when this came out.

I currently have a US 3DS and a JP N3DS. What determines the region of the sky3DS? I mean, if I put JP rom in it, it will become a JP flashcart? The other 9 roms should be JP as well?
 
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AEG201 Provided the K3DS does turn out to be a real product and not an elaborate prank, it's supposed to have the same limit. In fact, I wouldn't be suprised if it was just the sky3DS with a different label, judging by the video they have on their site:

http://www.k3ds.com/k3ds-official-released/

narupls From what I understand all three seem to be the exact same thing.

klim28 The region of your system determines the region of the ROM's you can use. Your US system will require US ROM's, your JAP system will only play Japanese ones.
 
So, I guess it's time to let the cat come partially out of the bag here. In a couple weeks' time I'll be doing a follow up review of sorts, and it'll be a sky3DS GBAtemp Dual Review. What it's going to be similar to is a "conversation of sorts" between two reviewers - stay out for that! My review unit is currently in transit to my location, might be a bit depending on the pace of Hong Kong Registered Airmail (No DHL this time :( ).

First off, great review! I think that this chip gives a lot of hope for the future, and I'm glad to see that it's pretty noob friendly. Pushing a button? It doesn't get much easier than that. What I'm (minorly) disappointed with is that the game launcher doesn't have an OS X option for it. I know, I know, who uses OS X these days, but hey, I wonder if we can contact the team to see if they'll work on that?

As far as the price point, I actually think it's fair, contrary to popular belief. They've overcome a limitation that's been eating the scene away for quite some time, now, and I think that's something to be commended. It appears to be a fair option that works as advertised, and I want to see this go further.
 
So I can put 10 any region roms in the cart. But the 3DS will only read the right regions roms in it. I'm thinking of x US and x JP roms mixed. Price is good considering the super high JP price of games. Thanks again.
 
Ryukouki Sorry mate, you'll have to Bootcamp this one or use a virtual box. ;)

klim28 That's how I understand the F.A.Q material. You can flash any 10 games, but the cartridge does not provide any region lock circumvention, so only games that'd work on your system will work with the cartridge. You should be able to mix-and-match, but I can't confirm that since I only have an EUR unit. ;)
 
Foxi4: Oh I know about Bootcamp. I have that as well, I'm just mentioning it for the sake of mentioning it. ;P Shouldn't you be sleeping? :D
 
I think you were too generous in the score. It should have been lower. 6.5 would have been a good compromise.
The price point and 10-ROM limitation kills it, unless it is proven that replacing the SPI flash allows you to set up 10 more games. (I doubt this, but still...)

The number of 3DS titles coming out are very few. (http://www.gamefaqs.com/3ds/releases/region-1) New releases have slowed significantly since the rise in popularity of tablets and mobile phone gaming. For existing titles, I personally can't think of 10 3DS cartridge games that I haven't played yet but want to. And anything I want to get, I can just buy for $40, play, and resell for $30. Shelling out $90 for a limited use cart just isn't worth it for me.


Finally... How many review samples did you get? What are you going to do when you fill your card up?
 
I have one sample, Ryukouki is waiting for another one. Once the cart fills up, I won't do anything at all, I own most of the games that I like on the platform. ;)
 
IBNobody: he got one unit, and I another. I'll be doing a follow up and additional game testing in the coming days/weeks. and technically the cost of the cart multiplied against ten games settles for about $9 a game, so all in all, it's a money saver of sorts, depending on how you look at it.
 
Here's the datasheet for that serial flash chip. Section 6.2.1 is where it discusses write protection and OTP functionality. Maybe someone with a method to read/write it let us know if it is truly OTP or just locked with registers.
 
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Rather interesting. I have no need for it since I already have GW and a compatible 3DS, but seeing how this flashcart fares over the next few weeks (regarding bricks, crashes, that sort of thing), I may end up recommending it to some people.
 
So if you put 5 JP roms and 5 US roms, depending on the region of 3DS you put the Sky3DS cart into, it will only play that region's roms?

(e.g. The 5 JP roms in a JP console, and the 5 US roms in the US console, from the same Sky3DS cart)
 
I'm especially wondering how this will keep preforming when it gets popular.

My best guess is that they try to make a mirror copy of the actual game cartridge, so they have a file which the 3ds uses to recognize the game (which is locked to the 10 games) hence the physical button (it needs to change the active file probably swapping it from a separate chip)
The next thing is the way a game saves, but I imagine that can be done with a software solution.

The thing I am wondering about is if nintendo actually uses unique identifiers in the "bios", if they do, then it could be the downfall for this card if lots of people start using them at the same time with the same bios. If nintendo didn't, they probably can't stop this card whatsoever (as it doesn't seem to rely on software tricks to fool the 3ds from identifying the game).

I guess we'll probably see a couple of clones in the near future which will at least attempt to remove the 10 game limit.
 
Yuck it stinks, the fact it has only a 10 game limit is a real issue for me and at that sort of price the card will devalue quicker than the games you put on it! I can imagine in a few months time when people have bought the card trying to sell them off left, right and center so they can buy a new one to put there next 10 new games on! Good review Foxi :)
 
Foxi4, could you please confirm if the delete option has really been implemented and if it actually works.
Source
Source 2

Change logs:
* backup/restore games function added
* backup/restore save data function added
* delete game function added
* more games title updated in template file.

If this turns out to be true Im ordering mine in a blink of an eye!
 
guitarheroknight The delete function is there and it works, but it doesn't do what you think it does. As I've said in the review, it's for removing games from the SD card, the 10 games limit still stands.

Jayro Precisely.

kthomas The list of official resellers can be found on the sky3DS homepage.
 
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Buck_7 The review would be incomplete without at least one CARD-2 game. Now that I've covered CARD-1 and CARD-2 games, both early and new, I think it's safe to assume that this will run anything you throw at it, so further slots are reserved for brand new games that might have fancy Anti-Piracy measures built into them. Unlikely scenario, but one I have to keep in mind.
 
cracker
"* Note:This feature is available upon special order. Please contact Winbond for details."
Why don't replace it by a normal one? 100pieces cost about $20. :lol:
 
Signed up after reading your review, great work Foxi4 :) But maybe a 6 would've been better haha.

If the Sky3ds devs are reading this, hello and thanks for making this card!~
But if possible, please reconsider your stance for Region Locking and 10 game limits.

Like an earlier poster said, if this is a technological limitation I can understand, but if it is software based... please reconsider

I can live with a game limit(albeit making the card cheaper with this limitation would be a better business model)
the region lock is something many wish to overcome.
This region revolution may also prompt Nintendo to reconsider their own decision (even though they did speak briefly about it in the latest meeting)

Let's see what happens with your product :)
 
MrTotoro I'm glad that you enjoyed the review. :)

Numeric scores are decieving when read out of context, only reading the whole review will give you the full picture. I'm not recommending the cartridge to people who already have a 4.5 3DS or want to get one and use a Gateway instead - the Gateway sports a myriad of features that the sky3DS does not have such as EmuNAND, NAND backups, drag and drop MultiROM and a built-in menu, that's why it's scored 8.5, and if not for the bricking fiasco I would've probably given it a 9 myself.

The sky3DS is a good product for those who have systems above firmware 4.5 and just want to play a handful (up to 10) of games - from that angle, the only real negatives are the lack of homebrew, lack of eShop support (since it only runs .3DS games) and the 10 games limitation - I've deducted 1 point for each of those flaws. It's also not "my product", I'm only reviewing it. :P
 
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Foxi4

I agree with you :) so hopefully everyone reads the full review(especially those who are 4.5 below)

Also I apologise, the last statement was towards the devs not you haha :P
But yeah if this region lock is removed, I will definitely purchase even with those other flaws mentioned.
Though you probably cannot answer that, if you do speak with the devs please fill me in :)
 
MrTotoro I believe they can't do anything about the region lock at present. The cart works by flashing a header onto an on-board memory chip - the 3DS detects that header as a valid game cart, the on-board ASIC re-routes to the SD card and the system boots whatever binary it's directed to, thus launching the game. In other words, the setup spoofs a real cartridge, so "patches" along the way aren't really an option.

I have inquired about the 10 games limit though - some browsing and some evidence on Chinese forums leads me to believe that the limitation is indeed artificial as many people claim and could in fact be removed or non-existant if the cartridge allowed the user to blank the on-board memory. If that's indeed the case, I would love to know if the developers have any intention of removing the limitation. If they do not, then I will have to reconsider the score and adjust accordingly - I only want to be fair to you guys. This site exists for you - the readers. I want you to make educated purchases, so you have to be fully informed. :)
 
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Foxi4

Ah I see! With this information I wonder how this issue can be resolved- but your description doesn't sound too promising :(

About the game limit, I have a feeling Foxi4 sir someone in the community will find a way and that may then persuade them to officially change it haha. Time will tell.

Appreciate it a lot dude :) My Smash Bros New LL is on its way with the game from Japan as we speak so PM me and perhaps we can have a match :D (I haven't read how online works just yet but I think it support region free multiplay)
 
MrTotoro As I've said, supposedly someone managed to blank the chip by desoldering it from the board and using a hardware programmer. That's of course terribly inconvenient and requires the user to own a hardware programmer, and those don't come cheap, so I'm interested in what the team behind sky3DS has to say about this.
 
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Lack of drag & drop is a major con to me. It may seem like a minor thing, but it really becomes a hassle and is a big part of why I barely use my GBA flashcart. Granted when you can only use 10 games ever, you're not going to be changing things that often, but it's still a negative of the product, certainly moreso than the lack of a menu
 
tbb043 You're right, the lack of drag and drop is a bummer, but the tool they give you is pretty simple to use. I assume the games have to be flashed onto the SD card due to how the cartridge actually works, but it'd be nice if it supported simple copy-pasting.
 
Foxi4
A "cheap" Tl866 could do the job. There are even cheaper solutions out. And desoldering isn't necessarily needed. You could just solder 8 cables to the legs of the SOIC instead. So it would be possible to built some kind of connector for programming. Doesn't sound so inconvenient to me. :-)
 
--=ZerO=-- (Seriously? Do you know how hard it is to re-type your nick with all those dashes? :P) Go nuts, man! Eager to see your results. :P
 
I've actually got a few ideas which don't involve a programmer, but I won't experiment on this thing until it outlives its purpose. Once I fill up the 10 slots and get bored with it, it's go time. Maybe there's some way to fool this thing into overwriting itself. :P
 
Cracker, it is not the OTP version, but it isn't the readily available version either. I could not find a vendor that stocked the flash chip they used. Because of the functional difference, not sure you can use the G version in place of the Q version used in Sky.
 
Xenon Hacks As the review says, the saves are embedded between the ROM's. They can be dumped using the DiskWrite utility. Don't worry if they come out funky sometimes (most of my save dumps were 31MB's in size, which I'm guessing is the save plus the gap between ROM's. DiskWriter still needs some updates before it works spot-on :P), they do work if you restore them.
 
Xenon Hacks No. As far as I know, the saves are encrypted. You can do that on a Gateway because a Gateway doesn't care, on a sky3DS such a modification won't work. I guess gamesquest1 would explain this better than me.
 
So, does 'no eshop games' mean no 3DSWare and DSiWare, or no retail game downloads as well? I would like to try the new Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL game if it is ever released as a ROM. That way I know what it's like before I buy it. I don't want to buy it if it doesn't have certain cards.
 
MarcusCarter The cart will not boot any eShop backups, only cartridge ones. If the game you want to buy is not on a cartridge, you'll have to hope for a demo version.
 
--=ZerO=--
Those are the G version, the Q version is what is used in the Sky card. It appears the Q version defaults to accepting commands in the Quad SPI instruction mode.
 
I'm considering buying a sky3ds card for my son
does anyone know If I could add 5 games first and add 5 later?
Or do I have to add all 10 first time.
Thanks in advance
 
Acexxx4 Yes, you can do that. I tried that during testing by putting 3 games on one SD card and 3 on another - the cart had no issues switching between the two.
 
Acexxx4 Just make sure to tell your boy not to update the system when Nintendo releases their next update - we don't know if this flashcart is update-proof just yet, it might get blocked like many others before it. Exercise caution. ;)
 
So Foxi from what your saying is I could have 10 4GB MicroSD cards each containing a game and that would be the 10 game limit? I thought this was the case when they stated even using a different SD counts to the 10 game count. it does seem promising for those like that want to play only specific 3DS games.
 
Foxi4
Hahaha, so I was indeed right in how the little bugger works :) that means a 10 game limit is really artificial :P it might partially be a hardware limit (the chip might not be able to store more than 10 "identification" files at once), but I would assume it could be made to try and swap the "identification" files on the fly, by rewriting the memory bank on the fly (as it does the first time you add a new game).
I would imagine that it would be a pita to have it switch between more than 10 games though XD

And as I said before, how future proof this thing is all depends on how smart Nintendo was ;)
If the identification files are unique for each retail cart, they could potentially block it in a couple of ways, if the file is only unique to a game they won't be able to block this thing at all without breaking older game cards.
 
I was considering buying this, but with the 10 game limit I'll pass.

Even for people just getting into flashcards, I'd still recommend the Gateway over it since it's cheaper long term.

While it'll take a bit of time to find a 4.5 3ds, considering how quickly some people go through games it's better to go with the card that doesn't force you to buy a new unit if you decide 'hey, this game sucks - I wanna try something else" a few times to many.

Buying a nib 4.5 from ebay would cost more then a off the shelf 3ds, but considering that you'd only need one flashcard for it instead of multipules it'd save you money.

Given this limitation, it's simply not economical for what the card is currently priced at. (Though a cut to 50 would make me consider the card again, and 40 would be a quick buy.)
 
Master X why don't you consider the fact of buying a new retail game compared to the card 2 -3 new retail games for the price of 10. everyone is being greedy and overlooking the 10 game limit function due to previous generation of flash cards
 
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Even when considering the price of retail games, all of my previous arguments still apply. The GW, despite requiring a 4.5 3ds, is still more economical since it doesn't have a 10 game limit.

It's nice to see another card coming out to compete with the GW, but its to limited of a card. Even though it can be used on higher firmware, with its limitations it's not a step foward - It's a dead end, perhaps even a step back when considering the game limitation that previous cards started with.

It's a moot point anyway - GW is about to finalize 9.0-9.2 firmware support so once that's out Sky3ds is done since it'll be a limited and more expensive card. (Once that is out, we'll need a comparison review for the two cards - I'm going out on a limb here, but something tells me the GW would be the superior card)
 
Master X 9.x support on Gateway is a rumour - they haven't announced anything of the sort officially.

EDIT: I stand corrected, it is official! Well dang-diggidy! :P
 
Master X Woo-hoo! That's news to me! I thought you were refering to the e-mails from yesterday
I stand corrected, good to see them working on it.
 
they could possibly making a card that is the same as the sky3ds. the r4idsn teams gw clone supposedly was a different card when it really wasn't
 
Celebrimbor360 Yes, I'm aware of that. I'm also not going to recommend it in an official review - to switch games using this method, you have to remove the cartridge while it's reading/writing to/from the SD card and this may cause data corruption, loss of save files or damage to the components of the flash kit or the SD card in it. It works, but it's not safe.

You can discuss about the method in this thread: https://gbatemp.net/threads/wow-sky...it-which-means-you-can-play-any-games.374157/
 
e-fervent I'm just unwilling to propose a work-around that can potentially damage the flashcart or the SD card, or at the very least cause loss of save game data. You're not supposed to remove cartridges while they're operating, period. The safety of users, their data and their hardware is more important than a hack-and-slash method of getting things done. Everyone's free to use this method at their own peril, it's their hardware and their responsibility, but I'm not going to promote it as viable and effective. ;)
 
Dont bother buying this cart get a Gateway cart
Straight from there site
We recently reached a major milestone and now we are happy to announce that we are in the process of finalizing our support for 3DS systems running System Firmware 9.0.0-20 / 9.1.0-20J / 9.2.0-20 natively!
Yes, this includes 2DS and New 3DS!
Yes, you heard us right! If you have a 3DS, or a 2DS or a New 3DS system that is running System Firmware 9.0.0-20, 9.1.0-20J or 9.2.0-20 then you WILL be able to use it with Gateway 3DS!
 
Foxi4 Luckily they've met every (or at least most) of their promises so far. That quote doesn't specify if you'll be able to use it with your current Gateway, though. Could be a new flashcart. We'll see, I guess. Hopefully it's not another Christmas update situation.
 
its a breathrough but gateways new thing will make it irrelavent pretty soon so im going to wait it out to see what gateway comes up with.
 
Waiting for a descent solution :) - Sky3DS looks great, but the 10 game limmit is a NO Go for me, Time will tell what flashcart will be the one to buy :)
 
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So long SKY3DS released, 10 games limit has been cracked, it now now is game free.
I will take one for my Christmas gift
 
How does the game saving work? Does it save just like any other game or do you have to do something special? My gf has Frozen on her Sky3DS and it won't save. Neither will another game. Any ideas?
 
It saves just fine like any other game cart, however you have to make sure to switch games before switching SD cards - the saves seem to disappear randomy if you swap SD's before pressing the red button. ;)
 
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Try formatting the SD card and re-transfer the games with the latest template and DiskWriter, perhaps something went wrong with your card. ;)
 
Added some commentary from my own thoughts, having a unit on hand. Not a ton to write about, actually. It's a plug in and play solution that works really quickly out the door. Score Foxi gave is definitely justified.
 
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So they say. It kind of pisses me off that I bought one early and now they've lifted the limit but refuse to ship me a new one. The instructions for breaking the limit on the old carts are in Engrish and I can't make heads nor tails of them. They should just ship us all a new cart all things considered.
 
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On the last firmware(V9.4.0-21U), and last Mario Kart 7 update (at 12/12/14) the on-line isn't working. When I try online it give an error 002-123 saying something like "Your gamecard can't be used to play online" .

BTW I'm using the red button version, with 10 limit, but using the Smart Card Magic to unlock the limit.
 
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Thank you for your hatred, but this is not enough info to hammer them in another review. I need facts, proof, and pictures to support this point. If I just talk anyhow, I'll just look like I have no idea what I'm saying as stated by Foxi4 which seems to be linked on the Sky3DS website.
 
pipoco That's unusual. Try using an older template file, perhaps sky3DS Team messed up the Cart ID required for online on their later release.
 
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Foxi4, add a game to my card using an old template can't mess with my other games? I removed just a game, from tail of the list, and that action corrupted all save data from my others 7 games :( . So I'm a bit paranoid at the moment... using block by block backups...
 
Angry.. what more do you need? I gave the firmware version, version of the sky3ds, and said that all was on last update. The error code is exactly that one, the message I translated because it was on portuguese. That happens only on Mario Kart 7, I can play Pokemon Omega Ruby online just fine.

Do you need the sha1 of the .3ds file? A pic from my screen of the error? Just tell me... :(

Edit: Btw my rom code is CTR-P-AMKE ... U region.
 
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I have an EUR 3DS so I can't really help you out by testing that ROM. Removing a ROM from the tail end of the list should not do anything to the rest of the ROMs, but if you're concerned about your save files I suggest backing them all up. Using a different template also shouldn't have any effect at all on the other ROMs.
 
Thanks Foxi4.
If someone can tell which version of disk write and template the rom worked with nintendo network, I will appreciate. I got the same error for Super Smash Bros :(
"Error code: 002-0123
It isn't possible to use online service with this game cartridge. For tech assistance, access support.nintendo.com"
As on this pic: http://tinypic.com/r/ngt47t/8

Sky3DS support told me to redownload the .3ds , but until now all sources gave the same error (3 sources for mk7 and 2 for ssb). Googling the error code points me to a bunch of forums, where people argues about issues with gateway for online playing....
 
You're probably getting ROM's with modified headers then or the Sky3DS header in the template's borked. The template and DiskWrite version mentioned in the review made the EUR versions work fine and having played them literally yesterday I'm pretty sure that those work, but a US user speaking up would be preferable in your case. I'm sorry to hear about your issues, I hope you'll resolve them shortly.
 
I made a disk dump on my sdcard to format it, and start over write rom there. If that fix the issue I post here as an edit.

Anyway thaks for all the tips ;)

EDIT: The turn around on the old Sky3ds(the one with red button) doesn't allow to play online... that's my conclusion. I can play, and save, all my games on 32GB of sdcard, but I can only play online the ones which header weren't changed.
If I'm wrong, someone please correct me :]
 
Hello,
i have huge problems with my Sky3ds Flashcard.
i use a 2ds with fw 9.2 (eu) and different micro sd cards (Sandisk 8gb Ultra, Samsung 32gb evo, Transcent 16gb...), but all with the same result.
When i try to Play Kirby Triple Deluxe, Zelda-A Link between Worlds and Donkey Kong Country....
The Games starts, but after a while (1-3 min) during Gameplay the music stops, at this Time the game dont freeze, but when the Game needs loading from the card again, the Display is black and the Game is freeze.
I Already tried all Diskwriters from V1.0 to V1.4 and all released Templates but always with the same result....I even formatted my 2ds and deleted all Data on the internal SD Card, but without Luck....
anyone know a Way to fix this?
 
Review has been updated to account for rev.2 carts with the blue button as well as NINJHAX compatibility which enables homebrew.
 
Can we delete games and add other games easy?? Can we play .nds games or just 3ds? Save game works on both 3ds and ds games?? Little more compatibility list would be helpful. This review doesn't explain a lot someone need to update it
 
It's a 3DS flashcart, it's for 3DS games, not DS ones. Saves work and games management is done via DiskWriter, that's all covered.
 
SKY3DS

Pros

+ Supports Compatible with latest firmware to date V9.4.0-21 U E J

+ Supports online gameplay but .... ---> read the cons

+ Does not require a DS Mode flashcart for installation

+ Plug and Play use, no need for executing any exploit

+ Useful status LED indicating when the flashcart is busy

+ Confirmed to work on the New 3DS

Cons

- no not all 3DS games are supports some of the game got issues

- Does not support homebrew (unless through NINJHAX), no CIA

- no region free game USA EUROPE JAPAN you can only play the game with your system region

- no eShop games

- you can not burn a game some time you will need to wait for the sky3ds team release

a new template file contain your game to let you burn the game

that why you will get this message

the file "your game .3ds" have no resource date yet please update the template.txt

- you cannot play online game you will get this

Error Code 002-0123 some of the old or new template sky3ds team forgot to patch the online header

that why a lot of people get Error Code 002-0123

yes i know you can play online but sky3ds team

need to patch the header in the template file to let you play online

- not like Gateway you cannot just drag and drop as many games into your MicroSD card

- Can only store up to 31 games for now....

can not burn more then 31 game yes i have test them

128GB 64GB 32GB micro sd card red button & blue button sky3ds cards

- Relatively high price

6 out of 10
 
" Angry.. what more do you need? I gave the firmware version, version of the sky3ds, and said that all was on last update. The error code is exactly that one, the message I translated because it was on portuguese. That happens only on Mario Kart 7, I can play Pokemon Omega Ruby online just fine.

Do you need the sha1 of the .3ds file? A pic from my screen of the error? Just tell me... :(

Edit: Btw my rom code is CTR-P-AMKE ... U region."

Yes, pipoco, I could use all of them above for my supportive evidence.
 
Is someone here able to make the RESIDENT EVIL REVELATIONS US version works in your Sky3ds? Mine is "this GAME CANNOT BE READ" error. I already change memory card use all the template and disk writer in sky3ds website but no luck :(
 
S
Have no reviews been done since the orange (dual) button card was released?

No templates, no software of anykind,
just drag-drop-play.

I can't speak to online, I only use it for carrying single games I already own Though I do have problems with cards < class10. Supposed unlimited # of games...
 
^yes indeed, my daughter can now get passed level2 of Kirby 3xDelux, as before it crashed, so she's now on level3!

Sky3DS+ firmware V130 [02/13/2017)
Change logs:
1.The new AP check issue fixed.
2.exFAT support added.
3. Upgrade from FAT32 SD ONLY!(this will always be FAT32)

does anyone make sense of #3? maybe no need for "FAT32, set the cluster size to 64kb" on microSD format....
 
I can't help but to feel salty when plus version released shortly after I bought the blue button one...
Now i'm stuck with disk-writer transferring, when I COULD have had standard file transfer.
 
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