Pokedex 3D review: It’s a guide…it’s an AR funhouse…it’s free!

3DS hasn’t yet become a gaming powerhouse (give it four more days), but as a portable, spectacular little science expo, it’s flat-out amazing. And Pokedex 3D is one polished, impressive freebie.

Raise your hand if you’ve been ignoring Pokedex 3D since last week’s update. Yeah, I thought so. Go on, play with it…even though it’s not a game. Check out the sleek atmosphere, the great use of 3D and the slick, solid character models. You’ll probably find you’ve gained some extra Pokemon since the initial download.

You start with fifteen Pokemon from Black and White. Up to 3 more Pokemon per day can be collected/unlocked via spotpass (hint: exit the software and close the 3DS between each new acquisition). The detailed stats for each creature will assist players enjoying Pokemon Black/White, while even non-players can enjoy the classy presentation and the way some Pokemon seem to reach forward in space beyond the 3DS screen.

The star of this show, however, is addition of 150 new AR characters.

Bring up any Pokemon’s AR code and take a picture of it with your phone. Then set your phone down with the image on screen, point your 3DS at it, and watch Pokemon burst out of the competitor’s technology. And they animate, too. And you can toss musical notes at them to make them roar. No, I don’t quite understand that part, either. Email yourself the code, enlarge it on your computer screen, and you’ll have Beagle-sized imaginary creatures standing on your keyboard. And I’m just dorky enough to be planning on printing out a bathmat-sized card to pose some life-size Pokemon in my yard.

By the way, when you view the photos you take, you’ll find Nintendo has thoughtfully added copyright notices free of charge. Eh, it’s a business.

There’s really not a lot more to say about Pokedex 3D. It’s free. It’s a terrific reference for Black/White players and a zoo full of 150 AR creatures for everyone’s photography fun. And it proves that, even in gorgeous 3D, Vanillish the ice cream cone is the stupidest Pokemon of all time. (I suppose Corndoggio will be in the next adventure).

Am I alone? Anyone else out there amazed by the sight of Pokemon running around your breakfast table? Anyone else think this is just a hint of things to come in the Pokemon 3DS department?