Review: Flipnote Studio (DSiWare)

A DSiWare application that you'll definitely flip over!

It's no secret that Flipnote Studio has been one of the most anticipated DSiWare releases to date. The application has been described as like having your own portable animation studio right in the palm of your hands. Not only can you draw sketches and import photos, but you can then use the animation tools to bring those pictures to life. But exactly how powerful is this DSiWare application and does it offer up enough variety to keep DSi owners coming back for more?

When you first fire up the program you are faced with two choices. The first option allows you to view any Flipnotes you've previously created and saved on your DSi system. You can view them by recent notes, by various days on a calendar, or directly from your DSi system memory or SD card. You can even edit them if you're so inclined. All of these methods make it easy to sort through all of your Flipnotes, even if you've accumulated a large number of them. Your second choice allows you to create a Flipnote from scratch and presents you with a blank page with which to begin.

While the majority of your work will be done using the stylus, you can also use the DSi D-Pad and action buttons for shortcuts to various menu items that you'll need. The D-Pad allows you to press up for the main menu, right or left to scroll through your various Flipnote pages, or down in order to play your Flipnote animation. Accessing the menu presents you with every tool you're going to need in order to create your Flipnotes and it's broken down into basically two parts.

The first menu presents you with your basic functions. From here you can select your drawing tools and patterns. These vary from different types of pencil and pen tips to various spray paint patterns. You'll even find a very useful eraser tool that you'll quickly become acquainted with. The second menu also offers up some very useful tools including choosing everything from the different colors you're Flipnote will feature to the Lightbox option that will display a faded imprint of your last page's display for you to refer to. While it takes a little time to get acclimated to the many different tools you'll have at your disposal, you'll quickly learn how useful they can all be when you begin to create your more ambitious Flipnote creations.

The bottom screen of your DSi is where you'll do the majority of your drawing. And while you can choose to freehand your creations, the application also gives you a few ways to spice up your Flipnotes a bit. For starters you can import any photos that you've snapped with your DSi Camera application and use them in your projects. You can even edit these photos by adjusting their contrast and saturation settings using your stylus. Of course what Flipnote would be complete without a little music and sound effects, another neat feature that Flipnote Studio offers you. You can use your DSi microphone to input not only music, but also three different sound effects to liven up your Flipnote creation. You can even change the playing speed of these effects to given them a lower or higher-pitched tone.

Not only do you get to experience the enjoyment of actually creating your Flipnotes, but once you've saved them off, you can then connect to the Flipnote Hatena web site and upload your creations to your account to share with the world. You can even embed these creations on many of the popular social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. You can also place them on many of the popular internet forums, like the ones found on Nintendo Life for example. And if you'd rather not share your creations with everyone, you can just send them to your fellow DSi owners via the Wi-Fi function. It's up to you how you choose to share your creations.

Conclusion

There's no denying that Flipnote Studio is easily one of the best reasons to date to own a DSi system. While the program is simple enough for people of all ages to create a project, it still manages to offer up an almost endless amount of creative power limited only by the amount of time and effort users are willing to put into their projects. Couple all of this together with the fact that the application is completely free of charge and you have an absolute must-have DSiWare title that should end up providing many hours of fun for you and your friends.