Should you buy a Circle Pad Pro? Let’s look at it from all angles

3. Are you fine with your system looking a lot less cool (even when it’s easier to hold)?

As far as functionality goes, we have no complaints with the CPP. Despite it speaking to the system through IR instead of wires, the new pad communicated with the system perfectly, but there was no denying the system instantly felt different in our hands. When the system is closed it’s basically twice the size when cradled in the CPP and despite being a first party peripheral, it doesn’t have that usual Nintendo style of simple design. But don’t judge too soon, because looks can be deceiving.

Though we don’t like how much space it takes up in our bags and we’ll need baggier pants to fit this in our pocket, once we’re actually holding it, the bulky concerns slipped away. The extra plastic adds virtually nothing to the machine’s heft, and the curved back and extended shoulder buttons rest in our hands perfectly. For grown-ups with regular-sized hands, this extra finger real estate was very welcoming.

We’ve enjoyed the Circle Pad Pro’s handling so much that in the days since we completed Revelations we’ve left the peripheral on the system when playing other games. The tiny amount we have to move our right thumb and index finger to reach the buttons is worth it for the extra comfort in the handling. When attached to the CPP your 3DS won’t win any beauty contests, but if you can deal with that and the pocket-unfriendly shape, there are definite benefits to be had.

4. Do you want to give money to GameStop?

Though many have no problem with the mega-corporation, others take issue with the company for one reason or another and choose to spend their gaming dollars elsewhere. While available at many stores in UK/Europe, in the US GameStop is the only retail choice for the Circle Pad Pro, as Nintendo decided to make it an exclusive item. If you want the add-on your only choice is putting down $20 (and tax) there, unless you’d rather order from

3DS owners in North America can head over to the product page on Nintendo’s online store, but don’t expect any special treatment. It’s still $20, and Nintendo charges tax, and then there’s the sizeable shipping charge. So you can pay more to Nintendo and wait for whenever they ship it (they’re hardly Amazon when it comes to delivery speed) or give GameStop your business and get it instantly without paying shipping. If neither option sounds viable to you, then maybe you should wait and see if other retailers carry it eventually.


3DS Nintendo


  • The_Tingler - February 7, 2012 4:56 a.m.

    I was lucky enough to get the Resident Evil/Circle Pad bundle pack, which you could pre-order here in the UK from only one store (Zavvi) but for the same price as Revelations on its own (£29.95). Since release they've upped the price to normal "game + Circle Pad" price (£45), so I basically got the Circle Pad Pro for free. Excellent. And now I have, I totally agree with you Henry. It feels like a regular control pad, and Resident Evil plays just like 5 - with the added crucial bonus of being able to MOVE WHILE AIMING! Wow! Also, I really, really hope Nintendo use it for Luigi's Mansion 2. That's currently my only concern about that game as the GameCube controls were perfect.
  • Pyroco101 - February 6, 2012 2:02 a.m.

    I wouldn't hold my breath for one till a third party comes out with a better design. I've seen pics of a guy who took out the nub from his psp and successfully used it on his 3ds. It even fit right under the face buttons.
  • Ravenbom - February 3, 2012 6:53 p.m.

    Yeah, I think I'm going to pick one up. I'd prefer direct camera control if at all possible.
  • ThisIsMyFuckingThirdAccount - February 3, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    I'll have you know that I have a GBA-to-GCN sitting in my primary electronics drawer right this minute! I swear that I will transfer my Fire Emblem GBA data to my Fire Emblem GCN someday. I just have to find a GBA, and a GameCube, and my copies of Fire Emblem...
  • Shazamin - February 3, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    Thank you Henry for another great article, it was the article we needed... but not the one we deserved.
  • CrazySmurf - February 3, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    I'll probably pick one up, but I'm not going to be rushing out for it or anything like that
  • Yukichin - February 3, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    I'm not going to bother. It's not necessary, and control schemes worked fine for me on the original DS. I hope that, should Nintendo release a 3DS Lite--and I'm not sure how they'll change the design--they don't include the second stick. Again, control schemes are fine with or without it, but I don't want to see it suddenly required for new games, making the original 3DSs completely obsolete.
  • ppopopp - February 3, 2012 11 a.m.

    nintendo, when they will eventually release the 3DS Lite, will incorporate the second analog. Anything less would be a major sellout from Nintendo for not supporting a much-needed enhancement, not like rumble.
  • GameManiac - February 3, 2012 10:42 a.m.

    Well, let's see... I'm sure as hell buying Kid Icarus: Uprising, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. So buying that should be a no-brainer for me.
  • shawksta - February 3, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    Im sure most of you are skeptical but look at this, 3rd Parties are making great use of it,, usually its mostly Nintendo who justifies them, this is definitly a good sign. Im planning to buy one, but not just yet.
  • Darkhawk - February 3, 2012 8:13 a.m.

    I call total bull**** on Nintendo for this. If you're going to release a system lacking functionality, either stick by your choice or release the upgrade for free. Sony at least had the balls to stand by their uni-analog PSP, but Nintendo is notorious for bleeding its consumers with incomplete products: GBA gets a proper backlight only with the SP. NDS goes Lite, then i, then iXL, and so on. Wii only gets proper motion control with the MotionPlus (which at least had a killer app in the form of Red Steel 2 bundled with it). If I'm going to get a 3DS, I'm waiting for the inevitable 3DSLiteXLi to buy used on Kijiji. (Which is what I did for the NDS, natch.)
  • Dadyo238 - February 3, 2012 8:06 a.m.

    Getting it!
  • ZhugeLiang - February 3, 2012 7:43 a.m.

    To ascend, slide the circle pad down. To DESCEND, slide the circle pad up.
  • rob619 - February 3, 2012 7:05 a.m.

    Again great work Gamesradar. Just what I was looking for, is it worth buying the Circle Pad. It is but at the moment I will have to pass. This is because I brought a battery extender due to the standard 3DS battery preety much being crap, and the circle pad pro will not clip on! Waiting for a good third party circle pad pro :)
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - February 3, 2012 5:31 a.m.

    I'd get one if there was a game I wanted that used it but there aren't many Nintendo franchises that utilise dual analogue control as they have always been limited by strange control schemes. It'll work well for Luigi's Mansion I guess.
  • db1331 - February 3, 2012 5:23 a.m.

    Great article Henry. Very insightful. Looks like I may be scooping one of these up. Honestly, as a grown ass man with big hands, the added finger real estate is probably the most appealing aspect of it.
  • wingsdjy - February 3, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    Thinking along those lines, it'd be nice if there was an add-on that gave you the added finger real estate without the circle pad, for games that don't use the CPP.
  • db1331 - February 3, 2012 10:07 a.m.

    Just put it on and don't use the circle pad. Henry said he kept it on even for games that didn't support it, jut for the extra grip.
  • wingsdjy - February 3, 2012 10:36 a.m.

    Yeah, but it extends the distance to reach the buttons on the right side. Might not be an issue for him, but for others...
  • meagaman45 - February 3, 2012 5:02 a.m.

    i will get it for sure when kid icarus comes out but i might get it before then and i have a question could you use the circle pad pro with games that involve moving the camera or clicking the shoulder buttons on the regular ds.

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