(Note: For the purpose of this review I will be calling the application by its US name, Swapnote, as it’s simpler to type out.)
As you open Swapnote for the first time, you will be greeted by Nikki, a mii created by Nintendo to teach you how to use everything in Swapnote. To begin with, she will just teach you how to write a basic letter. At this point, all you can do is write on your letter. You can’t even make use of the 3DS’ 3D and make the writing pop out!
Once you’ve sent your first letter, you will receive another tutorial from Nikki, this time instructing you on how to attach photos to your letter. The problem with these tutorials is that you receive one for every little thing that you unlock, and take much longer to get through than they need to. Many of the things are simple enough to work out anyway! Luckily, these tutorials can be skipped if you want, and can be looked back at if you get stuck afterwards.
The second thing you unlock is Stationery, but all that you can use to begin with are 6 backgrounds for your letters. Later on, you are given the choice to unlock extra backgrounds, but at a cost of 5 play coins each. There are 36 backgrounds that you can unlock with play coins.
After Stationery, you are given a tutorial on how to add 5 second voice recordings to your letters, but this option costs 15 play coins to unlock. The last thing that you unlock is Date Stamps. These allow you to set a certain date for a letter to be opened on, perfect for Christmas or Birthday letters!
Once you’ve unlocked all these things, writing letters is incredibly easy. Receiving letters however, can be slightly more annoying. On occasion, my 3DS has automatically searched for letters via spotpass while I’ve left it in sleep mode, but most of the time, it doesn’t. Instead you have to go into the options tab in the Swapnote applications, and touch ‘Send and Receive’. This will check if you have any letters that need to be sent, and see if there are any incoming letters that have been sent to you. This isn’t too much of a hassle, except it can take a few minutes to check.
The great thing about Swapnote, is that it’s not just a basic messaging service. Nintendo could have just given us a service that only allowed you to sent typed out messages, but they’ve given us this instead, and it’s brilliant. If you receive a message that was sent to you, and other people that you are also friends with, you can reply to the message, and all those friends will receive your reply. It’s almost like leaving a comment on the letter, but you can only leave one. The only annoying thing about replying is that you can’t reply on your own letter. For instance, if someone left a reply saying how great your letter was, you can’t reply on that same letter to thank them, you have to start a whole new letter.
There are only a few minor issues with Swapnote, which could always be fixed in the future. For now, it is a brilliant, fun messaging service. It has some great features that you don’t find anywhere else, and is an amazing way to finally communicate with people on your 3DS friends list, without leaving the system.
Lots of Features
Easy to use
Some Long Waits for Receiving Messages
Having to use Play Coins