The Nintendo 2DS is the handheld equivalent to a Star Wars Rebel Alliance Y-Wing.
Aesthetically, both prompt a moment of initial and questionable design decision. Blocky and seemingly built with a pre World War II, Eastern German form, the 2DS, like the Y-Wing is looking to be Nintendo's workhorse in its family of consoles. Also, you are probably going to attract confusion and revulsion in equal measures when playing it outside the comfort of your own home.
None of these cosmetic asides should dissuade you from investing in the still very impressive and powerful handheld. Nintendo's very calculated decision to design a portable console that is aimed firmly at children was a savvy one. While their Wii U has seemed to have found its sea legs and the 3DS continues to be the best selling console on the market, the release of the 2DS comes as pared down, almost utilitarian console in Nintendo's stables.
Jokes about the 2DS looking like a garden spade have little merit once you realize the 2DS is a 3DS, minus the novelty of a 3D function.
The things that have been shaved away are the very features that define the wedge shaped console. First to go was any 3D functionality, which let's be honest, nobody really used. Second to go was the ability for the console to fold in half. The clamshell design may have provided a certain amount of protection from the elements for the 3DS and the 3DS XL, but the hinges were also subject to wear and breakage. The 2DS removes the problem entirely and succeeds with a heft and thick plastic casing that somehow seems even more reassuring than any fold over design.
The price point on the 2DS is also $70 cheaper than a 3DS XL and $40 cheaper than than a base model 3DS. A late October release also makes the 2DS a completely viable option for the upcoming holiday season. All of the face buttons are in the same place and the stylus is still stored within the console the same way it was with the 3DS. One of the most out of place seeming design decisions comes with the shoulder buttons. They are further away on the 2DS thanks to the consoles elongated design.
In terms of software and interface, the 2DS is exactly the same as the 3DS. Jokes about the 2DS looking like a garden spade have little merit once you realize that 2DS is the 3DS' equal, minus the novelty of a 3D function. If you were somehow in love with the 3D function, you probably already own a 3DS. Personally we can't wait to see what The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will look like on the 2DS.
The 2DS succeeds in exactly what it sets out to accomplish. Nintendo has created an economic option for you to play Fire Emblem: Awakening for $40 less than the 3DS, with the only drawback being your possession of a blunt weapon.