Since we have unfortunately not been able to test this strange device, we will therefore perform a brief overview of the opinions from the specialized press. And there are lots of things to see.
A console with a look turned to the past
Admittedly, the Playdate opts for a fairly rudimentary design. On the side of the buttons, we simply find the keys A and B in the company of a directional cross. However, the machine imagined by Panic hides a little fantasy materialized by a crank placed on the edge. The latter is actually a key in its own right, since it is asked to turn it to progress in several games. It is used for example to turn a paddle, or simply to control a character. Note in passing the presence of a speaker, a USB-C port for charging, a headphone jack, a microphone and an accelerometer. An internal storage of 4 GB is also present.
Thus, The Verge appreciated this design described as “adorable ”. The finding is a little less unanimous on the 2.7-inch monochrome screen (400 x 240 pixels) handicapped by the absence of backlighting. But Video Games Chronicle (VGC ) still relies on the fact that the image remains extremely clean and crisp thanks to the reduced size of the display surface. It must be said that the minimalist games seem to marry perfectly with the shades of black and gray. The Verge has unfortunately noted a certain fragility at the level of the famous crank, regularly put to use by the software.
Original games that are desired
Unlike the Game Boy, the Playdate does not have a cartridge reader. In this area, the miniature portable console has remained in the modern era, since games have to be downloaded. During a period that Panic describes as "season 1", 24 titles will be deployed. VGC applauds the variety of genres, and Le Monde goes so far as to adulate “ the originality of the toy library ”. There is, for example, a sort of remake of Snake (called Snak ), a strategy game reminiscent of Advance Wars in which the player controls monsters that go hunting influencers, or even an adventure mini-game inspired by the great era. by LucasArts.
Alas, Le Monde was a little disappointed by the fact that all of these experiences are exclusively in English and that some games are a little too “ talkative ”. VGC for its part railed against the release schedule deemed “ extremely slow ”. Indeed, two new games are delivered weekly for 12 weeks. But overall, the titles tested so far appear to be of high quality, and several have " some depth ," according to CNET .
Expensive but essential?
Last point, and not least, all the sites mentioned in this press review seem to agree in denouncing the excessive price of the Playdate. The latter is sold at around 200 euros, and the fact of buying it in import (shipped from the United States) will inflate this price. Le Monde even claims that the final amount can easily exceed that of a Nintendo Switch . For a retro console, that's a hell of a lot of money. The Verge also points to the uncertain timing of games that will be released after season 1. There is, for the moment, little visibility on this subject.
Anyway, the Playdate is an ideal portable console for quick games on sometimes daring concept games. The crank brings a real dose of originality, and the set will undoubtedly revive the nostalgic fiber of a large number of players. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to obtain a copy for the moment, because the next deliveries have been postponed to 2023.