Review: Animal Crossing Calculator (DSiWare)

The Animal Crossing theme adds charm to this basic application - but is it ultimately enough to justify the cost?

With the popularity of the applications available for Apple's iPhone, it comes as no real surprise to see Nintendo releasing apps for their DSi system. Animal Crossing Calculator takes the standard calculator function and builds an Animal Crossing-themed DSi application around it. At first glance it's difficult to gauge how practical an application a calculator program would be for a game system like the DSi, especially considering most people already own several calculators of their own (and devices such as mobile phones come pre-loaded with such features), but Nintendo has managed to toss in a useful unit conversion function that does at least add a little value to the package.

The calculator program itself features pretty much your basic set of calculation tools. You have your addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division functions as well as a percentage calculator. Of course the standard set of memory functions are also available as well. It's nothing overly fancy, just your basic everyday calculator with a cute Animal Crossing theme tacked on for good measure.

The program features a full set of calculator buttons on the DSi touchscreen and a 13-digit readout where your inputs and totals will display on the top screen. As a nice bonus, you even get a History Box that displays every computation you've made. You can even use the "L" and "R" shoulder buttons to scroll back and forth through the History Box if need be. It's a small touch, but a useful one nonetheless. You'll also get a Memory Box at the very top of the top screen that shows any numerical figures you have placed into the memory function.

While the calculator functions are the focus of the application, it's the bonus Unit Conversion tool that proves to be the program's best overall feature. The application provides unit conversions for length, weight, volume, time, area, speed, temperature, and age. And each conversion tool features all of the various measurements, both standard and metric. You can even toggle between the various measurements with just a simple click of a button on the touchscreen. It's that simple.

The application is called Animal Crossing Calculator for a reason. Nintendo has carefully added in a few audio/visual tidbits from their Animal Crossing series to give the whole package a little more charm and personality. While it's nothing over-the-top, it will probably add a bit of appeal to the application for fans of the series. The top screen where your calculations are displayed features a border of tree leaves, not to mention a readout display presented in chalkboard-style writing. To further push the Animal Crossing theme Nintendo has also included the cute animal voices we've all gotten used to hearing throughout the various Animal Crossing releases. Each time you press a number key on the touchscreen, you'll hear the number announced in a cute animal voice. You'll even hear the familiar ringing sound when your calculations are tallied up.

Conclusion

It's difficult to judge an application like Animal Crossing Calculator. While the program itself is quite well executed, it's still basically just a standard calculator, and most people already own at least one of those in some shape or form. The unit conversion tool is a nice bonus but it still feels like this basic application would have been better suited as a freebie instead of costing the 200 Nintendo Points it retails for. At the very least it should have been bundled with the Animal Crossing Clock program that debuted alongside it on the DSiWare service. If you think the unit conversion tool would be useful for you, this application might prove to be worth it, but for everyone else who already owns a calculator, you'll likely find this a waste of 200 Nintendo Points.