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

5. Is there an actual future for the add-on?

Alright, real 3D camera controls are very important to you, you’re planning to play at least some of the known games the CPP works with, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, and you’re fine with spending money at GameStop. What about the nine months from now? Will the CPP just be collecting dust? Will Nintendo merely replace it with a redesigned system? Without the ability to see the future, we can only guess, but based on past history, the future seems murky.

Nintendo’s own history with add-ons is to start strong and then abandon it. The DS Rumble Pak had its share of supported games, but quickly became scarce at retail with little support from the publisher. And that just followed other peripheral flashes in the pan like N64’s Expansion Pak and GBC Transfer Pak, the GBA-to-GC connector cables, and the Wii’s Zapper. Aside from the moderately supported Wii Motion Plus, Nintendo has a poor history of really taking advantage of things like the CPP.

However, one factor might make this a bit different, as unlike most of those items, the third party publishers seem way more behind this one than Nintendo. Capcom, Square Enix, Namco and Konami have already made some of their biggest franchises work with the CPP, and in Japan millions of Monster Hunter diehards bought the add-on last December to use with 3G and the already announced Monster Hunter 4. That kind of support is hard for any company to ignore and leads us to believe that more unannounced Japanese-developed games will incorporate the optional controls this year.

Setting aside speculation over whether Nintendo will launch a 3DS redesign this year and that the hypothetical  redesign will have a built-in right thumb pad, we’ve yet to see much proof that Nintendo themselves are supporting the add-on. While we could see it being used in Luigi’s Mansion 2, upcoming titles like Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario and Mario Tennis don’t look like they’d benefit from it. If you own a 3DS, Nintendo-exclusives were probably a big draw for you, and if they ignore the CPP, why bother getting it?

Our final verdict:

When it comes down to it, as 3DS owners, we think the Circle Pad Pro is ultimately worth it. We enjoyed using it with Resident Evil, it improves the feel of the system, and there are enough games coming out for it that should be similarly improved that the add-on won’t be collecting dust any time soon. Whether it’s abandoned or not, we feel like we’ll get $20 of use out of it over the next six months alone. Unless you can’t stand GameStop or aren’t buying any of the games the CPP uses, we say pick it up when it goes on sale.

Did we answer all your concerns? Have you made up your minds on the CPP? Let your voice be heard in the comments.


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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