M3 Sakura Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Skyline969, Apr 6, 2009.

Apr 6, 2009

M3 Sakura Review by Skyline969 at 5:26 AM (6,597 Views / 0 Likes) 27 replies

  1. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    <!--sizeo:6--><span style="font-size:24pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b><div align="center">M3 Sakura Review by Skyline969</div></b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><u>Introduction</u></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    The M3 Team is well known for its reliable flashcards. The M3 Real is definitely one of the best flashcards out there, and what makes it so great would definitely have to be M3 Sakura, the newest firmware. It's a massive step up from TouchPod, the old, slow, clunky firmware every M3 Real owner cried themselves to sleep over. Those days of TouchPod are (virtually) gone, however, and M3 Real owners can brandish their beautiful cards everywhere knowing they finally have something to be proud of.

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><u>Setup</u></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Ok, so you downloaded the firmware. All you do is delete the old SYSTEM folder on your card and copy the new one over. That's it. If you're an old iSakuReal user like myself, then you have to also delete iTouch, defaultx.nds, and defaulty.nds. Trust me, you're not going to miss them. Once you have the new SYSTEM folder on your card, stick it back into your DS and power it on.

    <img src="http://i42.tinypic.com/1zz5e38.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Tada! You now have a firmware selection menu. Just choose Sakura; it's the reason why you got this new firmware in the first place. Once Sakura loads, you'll get a screen like this:

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/2wgc8bb.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Just choose the options you want and click Ok at the bottom of the menu. Once you have done that, you are immediately taken to the file browser. If this is your first time seeing Sakura, I will pause and give you a minute to salivate over the sexiness of the firmware. Done? Ok, moving on.

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>The File Browser</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    All of your files and folders are visible right off the bat. If there are some folders/files you don't want seen in Sakura, however, it's easy to hide them. When you stick your SD Micro card into your computer, just set the files you don't want seen as Hidden. What you can't see, Sakura can't see, so it makes organization a breeze. However, your homebrew apps will still see the folders and Sakura will still boot up normally. Keep in mind they're hidden, not gone. Anyways, the entire interface is touch-controlled, although you can use the buttons. For this review, I will be demonstrating the use of the stylus. To move around, slide the stylus up and down on the touch screen. To open a folder, slide it to either the left or the right. Yes, lefties, Sakura also caters to your horrible deformity. (That's a joke! I kid left-handed people!)

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/2h6ttfm.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Music</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    When you open your music folder, you'll notice the icons are different for music files. To start a music file, simply slide it to the right. The audio playback is fairly impressive if I do say so myself. To open the media controls, slide any music file to the left. The music controls will open for a brief moment, then disappear. To get the controls to stay put, tap Auto which will change to Lock. From there, you can skip tracks, pause/resume playback, and change the play mode (random, repeat, repeat all). With music, Sakura also has resume play. If you shut off the DS in the middle of a song, it will pick up where you left off when you turn the DS back on.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/34e546g.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Images</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Yes, you can also view images right in Sakura. Simply slide one to the right or left. On the top screen is a fully zoomed-out version of the image. On the bottom screen is a zoomed-in view of the image where you can slide the stylus around to view it. Note the arrow buttons at the top corners of the image on the bottom screen – you can tap those to go to other images. The other icon at the bottom-left of the screen changes the zoom of the image to 50%, 100%, or 200%. To set an image as your wallpaper, change the zoom to 100% and press start. The image will then load and become your wallpaper. If you don't like the "transparency" Sakura sets, press select to go to the options menu. From there, disable transparency for the top and bottom screen at the bottom of the menu. Hit OK and let the image load again. Press start and re-apply the image. To exit the image viewer, press B.

    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/20zqm9h.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Skinning</b></u>

    <!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->If you used Sakura 1.12+a or earlier, you know how easy it is to skin in Sakura. All of the skins from previous Sakura versions are compatible with the newest Sakura, so feel free to use them. To use a skin, simply locate the skin file in the file browser and slide it to the right or to the left. The skin will be immediately applied. The skin I used for this review is called VistaStyle.

    <u>SakuraTemp:</u>
    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/2qbrjwh.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <u>Sakura ClearLooks:</u>
    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/1zwdnjo.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <u>PM3 Sakura:</u>
    <img src="http://i42.tinypic.com/2cooe2o.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Video Playback</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Sakura can also play videos too. The only formats I tested are .DPG and .DSM. With the new Sakura DSM Video Encoder, you can also add a thumbnail that shows on the top screen when you highlight a video. It's a nice little thing to have. To play a video, slide it to the right or the left. The video will play automatically. One thing you will notice off the bat is the sexy player controls. They're pretty straightforward – play/pause, skip buttons, play mode, stop, and a volume meter. Don't adjust the volume over 100% or you may get distorted audio. Also on the bottom screen is a brightness adjust button – tap it to change the brightness. If you tap the white rectangle on the bottom screen, the screen will fade. Simply tap the screen to make it visible again. To exit the video, tap stop. Like music, the video player also has resume play. If you shut off the DS while the video is playing, it will resume where you left off when the DS is turned back on.

    <u>Video Playback:</u>
    <img src="http://i44.tinypic.com/30majrq.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <u>Video Playback (Bottom Screen Disabled):</u>
    <img src="http://i42.tinypic.com/2nrii3r.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Playing ROMs</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    It's simple to play ROMs in Sakura. Simply slide the one you want to the right to start it and it will play automatically. If you want to enable download play, cheats, real-time save, or other various goodies, slide the ROM to the left. Alternatively, press X or Y while highlighting the ROM. It will open the options menu for that ROM. From there, it's pretty straightforward. You have your options to enable cheats with a button combination or to turn them on all the time, an option to enable soft reset or real-time save, and you can change the mode from standard to download play or vice-versa. At least for me, I noticed that if you turn on download play mode, Wi-Fi will not work normally for that ROM until you disable download play. At the top, you also have buttons to select the cheat file, select cheats, set up NDS and GBA linkage, and to back up your RTS (real-time saves). If you place the cheat.db file right in the SYSTEM folder, Sakura should find it without any problems. In that case, just hit Select Cheats and choose your cheats, cheater. When you're done messing around with the options, scroll down all the way to the bottom and hit Ok. The game will then start. If you don't want to keep your changes, hit Cancel and it will return to the file browser.

    <u>A List of ROMs:</u>
    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/5xpnah.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <u>The ROM Options Menu:</u>
    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/fdepfl.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <u>Gameplay:</u>
    <img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/23t11th.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Homebrew</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Alas, Sakura does have its downfall. One downfall. That, however, is a huge one – mediocre homebrew compatibility. However, the homebrew compatibility has skyrocketed from Sakura 1.12+a. In fact, you can <a href="http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=133306" target="_blank">check out how well homebrew works with Sakura here</a>. Some of the homebrew images may appear... mangled. This is normal and it doesn't affect anything at all. To start a homebrew app/game/emulator, slide it to the left or right. If it's compatible with Sakura, it will boot and function normally. If it doesn't work with Sakura, the firmware includes TouchPod which you can use to use homebrew. TouchPod has outstanding homebrew support.

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Returning To The Firmware Select Screen</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    So, you reeeeeally want to use that one homebrew app/game/emulator but it doesn't work in Sakura, huh? Well, you can easily go to TouchPod on the fly. While your DS is booting, hold A. Don't release A until the firmware select screen appears. From here, select TouchPod. Keep in mind that if you want to go back to Sakura, you must repeat this procedure and select Sakura in the menu.

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Conclusion</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Sakura is definitely a sexy firmware that can give all other flashcard users a run for their money. Yes, even CycloDS users now have decent competition.

    <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Pros:<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>
    Sleek GUI
    Responsive controls
    Built-in media players (pictures, music, and videos)
    Excellent ROM compatibility (played every one I threw at it)
    Simple skinning

    <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Cons:</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    Mediocre homebrew compatibility (but option to boot to TouchPod is a plus)
    Download Play is reported to not work on a few games

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Rating: 9/10</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Would I recommend M3 Sakura? Definitely! M3 Reals are cheaper than CycloDSes, so why not get one? In my opinion, M3 Sakura beats the CycloDS any day at a reasonably less price. You just have to see it for yourself.
     


  2. dsrules

    Member dsrules GBAtemp Psycho!

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    nice review...oh the Playing Game part, you could also push X or Y to enter the Game Config screen instead of sliding it to the Left

    and could you please tell me which NSMB cheats doesn't work for you?
    "Cons:
    Not all cheats are supported (a few New Super Mario Bros ones didn't work for me)"

    as far as I know all the NSMB cheats in cheat.db and urscheat.dat should on Sakura
     
  3. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    It was the cheats for pressing certain buttons to shrink/grow. And I'll edit the review to add the detail about the cheats menu. I don't know how I missed it! Thanks for noticing I did though. [​IMG]
     
  4. dsrules

    Member dsrules GBAtemp Psycho!

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    ok, I took a look at the shrink/grow code in the cheat database and the code is in wrong coding, it used 32bit values on an 8bit address

    here's the code working on my Sakura 1.35
     
  5. Nintendude92

    Member Nintendude92 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Sakura is very good. For homebrew, just use a dual loader (included in sakura firmware updates even) and let touch pod do that for you.

    Good review.
     
  6. dsrules

    Member dsrules GBAtemp Psycho!

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  7. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    Aha, so he has. Thanks for the update, dsrules! Updating the review now. [​IMG]
     
  8. Cactuar

    Member Cactuar GBAtemp Regular

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    Thanks for the review. Hm this looks like a pretty nice cart, may have to upgrade my girlfriend's DSTT with one of these. As for me and my CycloDS, I'm not sure yet.
     
  9. Alato

    Member Alato GBAtemp Regular

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    Even has in-game menus.

    But if they can get homebrew working great with TouchPod, why not with M3 Sakura, too?
     
  10. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    Alato, I really don't know. You see, Sakura is a completely different firmware than TouchPod, so they apparently changed something in the loader to make homebrew a little buggy. What those changes are, however, is beyond me. Why they couldn't use TouchPod's loader is also unknown to me, but I'm sure they have their reasons.
     
  11. dsrules

    Member dsrules GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Download Play is reported to not work on every game???????? oh my oh my!!!!

    I'm not sure where you got that info from or have you even tested it yourself..but on the games I tested, Download Play works fine in Sakura
    UMK, MarioKart DS, BrainAge
     
  12. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    @dsrules: Please tell me you tested more than three games before making that claim. I'm just going by what other reviews have said. While the games I used Download Play with have all worked, there's always the possibility it might not work on some games tested. Some Snowboard Kids game was reported to not work with Download Play. It would connect, but as soon as the players connected, there would be a communication error.
     
  13. Advi

    Member Advi GBAtemp Maniac

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    Lol I traded my little brother my AK2 for his Real just to use the official version..........................fantastic flashcart.

    And about the Download Play, I've had some games work on Sakura instead of Acekard and vice-versa. MKDS worked for me only on Sakura. lol it's really damn random.
     
  14. Finishoff

    Member Finishoff GBAtemp Fan

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    Nice review the only thing I would object is the download play compatibility, because I have yet to run into a problem with download play. The only flaw to Sakura is the homebrew compatibility but that can be easily solved via dualboot.
     
  15. dsrules

    Member dsrules GBAtemp Psycho!

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    well, I see "Download Play is reported to not work on every game" which is most not true.. at least test some of the games before making your own review, you can't base the review on some rumors, I mean how many Download Playable games did people tested??

    and the M3Real Review said this: and since Sakura runs on M3Real and uses the same game engine, it would work the same

    "Download Play / Single-cart Multiplayer

    All games are tested using the 'Download Play' button when loading an NDS game.
    PASS: Game plays just as it should on a real game card.
    FAIL: Game doesn't even load or freezes before game play.
    Big Brain Academy - PASS
    Bleach DS 2nd - PASS
    Brain Age - PASS
    Clubhouse Games - PASS
    Daigasso! Band Brothers - PASS
    Diddy Kong Racing DS - PASS
    Elite Beat Agents - PASS
    Jump Ultimate Stars - PASS
    Konami Classics Series - Arcade Hits - PASS
    Mario Kart DS - PASS
    Mario Slam Basketball - PASS
    Meteos - PASS
    Metroid Prime Hunters - PASS
    Nanostray - PASS
    Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City - PASS
    New Super Mario Bros - PASS
    Super Mario 64 DS - PASS
    Super Monkey Ball - Touch & Roll - PASS
    Snowboard Kids SBK - FAIL: Once player has been accepted, a communication error occurs
    Starfox Command - PASS
    Tetris DS- PASS
    Winning Eleven DS - PASS
    Worms - Open Warfare - PASS
    Yoshi Touch & Go - PASS
    The back of the box promises perfect compatibility, and this isn't it, but 96% compatibility isn't bad."

    24 games tested, 23 works, 1 failed...there might be a few games that don't work like the same with soft reset or RTS, but definitely not every game
     
  16. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    @dsrules: I think we might have a bit of a misunderstanding. What I mean is that it's reported that it doesn't work on a few games... aha! Now I see where you're coming from. I'll edit the review now to make up for it.
     
  17. games4646

    Newcomer games4646 Member

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    Most download play games that i tested doe not work for me.
    Game tested are:
    Bleach DS 2nd
    Brain Age
    Clubhouse Games
    Jump Ultimate Stars
    Mario Kart DS
    Mario Slam Basketball
    New Super Mario Bros
    They all failed in download play even if it is turned on.
    does this mean something wrong with my m3 ds real? broughted from echostore
    pls reply
     
  18. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    Did you enable Download Play in those games? Slide the game to the left, scroll down, and choose Download Play. Then hit OK.
     
  19. games4646

    Newcomer games4646 Member

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    yea i stated even if it is turn on it do not work
    thx for ur reply
     
  20. Skyline969
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    Member Skyline969 MENUdo Afficionado

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    That's odd that they won't work. Which version of Sakura are you using?
     

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