Review: Photo Clock (DSiWare)

Is Nintendo's second clock application an improvement over their first release?

Photo Clock is actually the second time keeping application to see a release on Nintendo's DSiWare service and isn't really all that different from the first one when you get right down to it. This time around, instead of an Animal Crossing theme, you get to decide what the theme of the clock will be via your various photos on your DSi system. However, much like the Animal Crossing Clock, Photo Clock is basically just as useless an application since the DSi system already has a built-in clock function on its main menu.

The clock function itself in Photo Clock is fairly standard in design. You can select to have the time displayed on the top screen of your DSi system in either analog or digital style. You'll even get the current date and day of the week displayed along with it. The digital display is probably the more practical of the two, but the analog clock has a bit more visual flare to it, especially when it's used in conjunction with your photos.

At the top of each hour you'll be treated to a very faint tone but unlike the Animal Crossing Clock, you can't change this tone in any way. You can set up to three alarms that each feature your choice of three different alarm sounds. One sound is more like a traditional beeping alarm clock, one is a softer melody, and one is a cute musical piece that's quite a bit longer in length than either the beeping tone or short melody. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even use one of your own sound recordings as the alarm. The alarm will sound for five minutes or until you touch the touchscreen or any of the DSi buttons. You can even choose to set a snooze that will cause the alarm to sound for one minute, go silent for four minutes, and then repeat the process for up to one hour. It's also worth noting that the alarm will sound at whatever volume you have it set at on the clock application, regardless of what you have your DSi system's volume setting at.

The main draw of Photo Clock is the ability to place your photos behind the clock function. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can choose to have the program cycle through your various photos at intervals ranging from once every 5 seconds to once an hour. You can also choose which photos you want the program to make use of. You can choose to have photos from any three of the icon stickers you attach to your photos including: the star, club, or heart, and you can also allow the program to cycle through all of your photos that are saved on your DSi system. You can even choose whether you want the program to cycle through your photos in exact or random order. The choice is up to you.

There's certainly plenty of clock and photo functions to toy around with, but having to boot up the program each time you want to make use of them seems a bit silly at times. Of course you'll also want to keep your DSi plugged in while leaving the clock program running for long periods of time as it does continue to run the battery down much the same way a game would if you left it going. Granted, the bottom screen will go to sleep after a brief period of inactivity, but the top screen where the clock resides doesn't turn off unless you exit the program or turn off your DSi system. It's not going to do you much good if you use this program as an alarm clock and then your DSi battery runs down before morning arrives.

Conclusion

In the end, Photo Clock doesn't prove to be any more useful than the Animal Crossing Clock application, even with its ability to use your own photos as clock themes. Sure, it can be fun to have your very own photos displayed behind the clock face, but it's still not enough to make this title worth the price tag. It's also not worth having to launch the program each time you want to make use of a simple clock function that the DSi system already displays automatically every time you turn on your system. This might have been more attractive a package as a freebie, but even at a mere 200 Nintendo Points, it still feels like a waste of money and time.