Top Toy DS Review (Neoflash Version)

Written by Zombie_X
November 2007


INTRODUCTION:

Before I begin I must extend my thanks to Team Neo for supplying me with this review sample. Thanks Team Neo!! You can find where yo buy your own at the bottom of the review.

Neoflash has been around for a while and have a lot of experience with flash-carts. I have used their MK6 carts, and they are pretty good. They just released another slot-1 cart which boasts many essential features that carts should have by now. These features look very promising and this cart looks to be their best yet.


FEATURES:

* 1:1 Original small size
* Build in passme function
* not need patch, just need drag and drop,then plug and play
* support homebrew app & game
* support moonshell movie player
* support soft reset in the game
* support cheat code function, more fun now
* support wireless multi-player
* support brightness adjust in menu
* pure hardware save, never lose data
* tf menu core upgradeable
* support all roms,compatibility = 100%
* support SDHC,up to 32GByte
* the save data can use with NDS EMU directly

 


CONTENTS:

  • Top Toy DS
  • Mini MicroSD USB Reader
  • Information CD


Not much comes with the TTDS

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

I received my TTDS within 2 days of asking Neoflash for a sample. I found it in my mail box upon returning from work and was delighted to see that it arrived so quickly. It was in a tiny little blister box, which looks exactly the same as any other Neoflash products packaging. This isn't bad, but people get tired of the same old thing over and over. The TTDS looks good and feels sturdy. It even had a holographic type sticker on it. I was happy to see a spring loading mechanism for the MicroSD card. Reminds me other the R4DS. When you push the MicroSD in, it gives you a satisfying little "click" that we all expect. But a bad point of the MicroSD slot is that spring loaded ones are prone to problems and may break. The MicroSD is very easy to remove as well. Another good thing is that the TTDS is fully flush with the top of the DS and slides in and out easily, just like a real cart!!

I'd recommend using a different MicroSD reader than the one provided with the TTDS. The reason being as it corrupted my memory card 4 times. I'd just pay $10 and get a really good one, that way you know your data will be safe. It's better ding it that way then loosing 60 hours in Pokemon Diamond, as I did. Luckily I had backed up my files before hand.

The Top Toy DS has really good touch screen support. It's pretty accurate and you won't click anything by mistake. I think it great. At least it better than the R4's by a long shot. But really, which cart doesn't have good touch screen support by now?


This is it's packaging and the cart it self


INSTALLATION
:

On the CD, you will find the TTDS firmware in the TTDS directory. Just unzip it and put it in the root of your SD card. Isn't that simple and easy? Talk about ease of installation. The firmware set up reminds me of the R4DS though, as it uses 2 files (.sys and .dat).



USAGE:

One of the coolest features of this cart is that it will automatically detect where your NDS games/homebrew are stored and it displays them automatically. There is no main menu, instead you are greeted with a list of games and the games internal icons. It displays the file name, size, and the internal file icon. Now in the features list it says it supports AR cheats, adjustable brightness, and soft reset. Unfortunately there were no instructions with the TTDS. I finally figured out that I had to click the "option" button at the top left corner of the screen. From there, there were 5 options. They are as follows: Enable soft reset, Passme mode, GBA mode, Power Off, and Adjust Light. Below I will explain what each option does.

  • Enable Soft Reset: lets you select whether you want it on or not.
  • Passme Mode: Lets you boot a Slot-2 device into NDS mode.
  • GBA Mode: Boots a Slot-2 device into GBA mode, or boots an inserted GBA game.
  • Power Off: Lets you power down the system (doh!!).
  • Adjust Light: Lets you adjust the brightness with 4 different settings.

The main menu and options screen

I also figured out that if you push select while highlighting a game, it brings up each games individual options. These options include activating cheats and enabling soft reset. Cheats are activated by clicking the Cheat button at that top of the screen. The TTDS has a built in cheat database with over 200 games, and each game has a 4 digit identifier which the database assigns cheats to. That is how each game gets it cheats. I noticed that the cheat engine is buggy at times and only acts up once in a while. I noticed that Zookeeper is really buggy and gives you tons of undesired effects. I didn't test many cheats as I don't really cheat in games.

When the options are toggled on in the games options screen, an icon for that option appears below the games name in the file list. It even shows you if the game has WiFi or Download play by displaying the download play icon. This is very helpful if you forget which game support this. So if you enabled soft reset, a little power icon will appear and that shows it is enabled. This quite handy if you want to know what you have enabled for each game.

This is the cheat select menu, looks like the one from the R4DS

     One disappointing thing is that there was no native support for multimedia as the packaging indicated. If you wanted to listen to music, you had to get moonshell. This kinda ticked me off as the package seemed to be misleading. To those who don't know what moonshell is: moonshell is a homebrew application in which you can watch movies, listen to music,and view pictures.

  • how to use the soft reset:
    [1] Enable the "soft reset and cheat code option",and click "save" button
    [2] Hold L+R+A+B+X+Y in the game,then will return to TTDS menu



PERFORMANCE:

NDS GAMES:     
NDS game performance is actually really good. They did a great job with this one as all the NDS games I tried booted up and soft reset worked in all of them. I played Resident Evil DS for an hour, soft reset, and played it some more without problems. I tried various tests such as the Castlevania Intro test, in which you watch the intro video to see if it lags at all, and it didn't. This tests really show how a good a cart is. In my opinion, if it lags, there are issues. Simple as that. I didn't notice ant slowdown in games at all. If there was any, I didn't notice it at all! I played Metroid Hunters since it is fully 3D and I thought it might strain the system, but I was wrong. There were no performance issues to be seen.

     Another cool thing is that R4DS/CycloDS EVO saves work with it perfectly. This means that you want have the nee for any conversion at all. This is a time saver.

     I got a hold of a friends 6GB SDHC card and I didn't even notice a slowdown. I guess that is to be expected as SDHC cards read and write a lot faster than a normal MicroSD card. I'm still blown away by how quick the reading speed is. I have to get my own SDHC card..

DOWNLOAD PLAY:
I was surprised to see that Download Play was working in Mario Kart DS as well as Metroid Prime Hunters. I downloaded as many download play games as I could and tried them out. Every game I tried worked and there were no issues to be seen. From the ones I tested, they all worked. These are all I tried, but the results are impressive!

  • Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
  • Mario Kart DS
  • New Super Mario Bros.
  • Mario Hoops 3 on 3
  • Nanostray
  • Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Big Brain Academy
  • Tetris DS

HOMEBREW: 
Homebrew performance was good as well since this has a DLDI auto-patcher (or so I'm told) and all homebrew is automatically compatible with it. Most flash carts have this feature already and it is critical for any cart now. I tried 8 homebrew to see if they worked and here are the results:

  • A Touch of War - PASS
  • Colors - PASS
  • Phidias - PASS
  • Moonshell - PASS
  • DS DOOM - FAIL
  • nesDS - PASS
  • DSMasterPlus - FAIL
  • Diagnose - PASS

     I don't know why some of the homebrew I had didn't work, my guess is that it wasn't DLDI compatible, or I had an older unstable build. Either way, homebrew support looks promising. I just hope I can figure out why these wouldn't work. With nesDS I played the 3 Castlevania nes titles as well as Mega Man, and all played and saved fine. Colors let me draw and save fine as well. Phidias is a drawing application it worked as well. I don't feel like a broken record so I'll stop repeating all this stuff over and over.



TESTS
:

I performed some tests on the card to see it it can do what it says. Now keep in mind that I tried to keep these tests balanced. I also would like to point out that I did the tests that I consider essential to the flash cart.

  1. TESTS:
  • Action Replay Codes = PASS
  • SDHC = PASS
  • Castlevania DoS/PoR Intro= PASS
  • Download Play = PASS
  • WiFi = PASS
  • Multimedia  = PASS/FAIL
  • Durability = PASS
  • TF Reader = FAIL
  • Homebrew = PASS

      2. EXTRA INFO:

  • The Castlevania test just is playing the intro video and playing a little bit of the game. I played fine.
  • For Durability test I twisted the card a little bit and dropped it a few times. Needless to say it held up.
  • The TF Reader is crappy as I stated earlier in the review. It always corrupts my card.
  • Download PLay test was carried out using Mario Cart DS and Metroid Prime Hunters games and both worked.
  • I gave multimedia a PASS/FAIL score is because Moonshell is not built in with the release.



CONCLUSION:

The card is really good and does what it says. The price may be high for some, but I'd pay it for the performance I get out of it. I'd recommend it as a buy to anyone, that is if you are willing to pay the $60 price tag. If you want something that is a lot better, go for the CycloDS EVO. The TTDS may have some little set backs, but it makes up for it with compatibility and I'm sure more great features will be coming in time.

PROS:

  • Can use SDHC Cards.
  • Fits flush into Slot-1 slot.
  • Easy to insert/eject TTDS from NDS.
  • MicroSD is spring loaded.
  • Great Download Play Support.
  • Action Replay Cheats.
  • Fully Plug and play.
  • 100% Game Support.
  • No in game slowdowns.
  • Very User Friendly.
  • Works as PassMe.
  • Comes w/ TF Adapter.
  • Can Use R4DS/M3DSS save files without any need for conversion.


CONS:

  • Relies on Moonshell to Play Media.
  • TF Adapter is crappy.
  • No Included Instructions.
  • Moonshell is not included with it.

  LINKS:

Team Neoflash Homepage
Purchase TTDS at ic2005