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Last Updated: January 2nd, 2014

We featured the DraStic Nintendo DS emulator way back when it launched and came away impressed. Version 2.2 of the app is probably the biggest update yet, adding a host of forward-looking features that should improve both performance and overall gaming satisfaction. Android 4.4 users in particular will be happy to hear that DraStic now supports Android Runtime (ART).

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Those of you with a MOGA controller can now use it natively with DraStic, no root or workaround required. It will also work with the tablet-centric iCade controller, which is popular with emulators but not much else on Android. That should be a boon for button-heavy games, and you can always revert to the touch screen for titles that rely on the functionality. The app will now auto-rotate like most other apps, though depending on your preferred dual-screen layout, you may want to disable this in the settings menu.

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The emulator has been tweaked to work better on X86 and Tegra 2 devices, and performance improvements should be visible for anyone with a dual-core processor or higher. Individual game fixes for Golden Sun, Pokemon, Dragon Quest IX, and other popular titles have been implemented, as well as better compatibility in general, improved microphone support, and better auto-saves.

DraStic is a pricey $7.99, but there's a demo version available for players who just want to try it out. You'll still need to provide your own game ROMs, which can only be legally obtained from the hardware itself if you're hoping to play commercial titles.

Update: I didn't notice this since I've already bought the app, but the DraStic developers let us know that the full version has been reduced to $5.99. This isn't a sale, it's a permanent price drop.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Bisazz

    It also has immersive mode from what I can tell. An impressive update.

    • runderekrun

      ...and that's what I was waiting for. Bought.

      Once you play games with immersion mode you just can't go back.

      • Primalxconvoy

        What is immersion mode?

        • templeruins

          Android 4.4 full screen (gets rid of all soft keys). But very easy to still bring up notifcation bar etc with a swipe from top without interupting game

          • Primalxconvoy

            I can do that already on my galaxy note 2. Perhaps "immersion mode" already exists on some devices already?

          • CerealFTW

            Your note doesn't have soft keys anyways. There's nothing for it to hide. But the status bar will still be accessible due to immersive mode though

          • Primalxconvoy

            I see. I can still access the notification bar usually after a few swipes, though.

    • Abhimannu

      I've used forced Immersive mode for Drastic with ROMs till now. A good update indeed. Especially ART support.

    • templeruins

      Is this confirmed? I was waiting for this before buy..

      • Aaron Huffman

        Yep.

        -Ash from the DraStic team

  • SCS

    Yeeeah. Legally ;)

    • Jaime

      LOL!

    • eugene

      I guess buying a used nds game cartridge from ebay can be considered a way to "legally" play nds game on emulator ?

      Even then, I will still download rom from somewhere, dumping rom from cartridge is scary for non-techie people.

      I wonder If buying the same game on different platform will help me to play legally.
      For example, if I buy FF4 Android on playstore, does this also entitled me to play FF4 NDS on emulator ?

      On second thought, buying a used nds game cartridge won't help developer, right ? :P

      • CerealFTW

        Well if you buy a used cartridge, you could be buying it instead of somebody else, who may end buying a copy from the dev because they couldn't purchase the copy you received

  • philnolan3d

    Apparently the price has dropped too. When I bought it it was 7.99. Oh wait, the article says 7.99 but the "Install" button underneath says 5.99

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Apparently, it's a permanent price drop.

    • darkNiGHTS

      Is it just me or is it silly to buy an app to pirate NDS games?

      • philnolan3d

        Who said anything about pirating?

        • darkNiGHTS

          Yeah, I'm sure people are using this to play all the wonderful NDS homebrew /s.

          • Aaron Huffman

            We actually don't yet support the engine that most homebrew games run on yet and, even trickier than that, most of the homebrew games are encrypted where you need to provide your own bios instead of the DraStic ones.

            -Ash from the DraStic team

          • philnolan3d

            Here's a thought. Maybe they're playing games they own. I know the whole concept of not stealing sounds crazy.

          • darkNiGHTS

            It does sound crazy because it's still pirating if you only download games you own. The morality and the legality of it are two things entirely.

          • philnolan3d

            Who said anything about downloading?

          • darkNiGHTS

            If you're trying to convince me that even 5% of people who use this legally back up your games you're completely delusional.

          • philnolan3d

            I'm not trying to convince you of anything, I just said what's possible. You're the one making pessimistic assumptions.

          • darkNiGHTS

            Of course it's possible to use this emulator legally. That's why it's still on the Play store. I'm talking about reality, not fantasy.

          • darkNiGHTS

            And thanks for accusing me of stealing you dimwit.

          • philnolan3d

            I didn't say a word about you. Who are you calling a dimwit? dimwit.

  • MrRageQuit

    I was a bit disappointed when I tried my new Moga Pro with this app Christmas day and it didn't work correctly. Glad they added the controller support, Drastic is worth the money.

    • Primalxconvoy

      It works fine on mine. You need to switch it to the right and use it as a normal controller.

  • Fadakar

    Can anyone chime in and answer if this has mic support? I wanted to buy it when it launched to finally finish Phantom Hourglass, but people said the emu didn't have mic support so you reach a point where you can't proceed.

    • vmlinuz

      The full "What's New" for this update includes "Improved mic support" as one of the items...

      • Fadakar

        Improved being the key word, implying that it already existed when in fact there was NO support for the mic before this version. I'm curious as to what "improved mic support" really means.

        • Bisazz

          It definitely had support previously, I've been playing phantom hourglass and the parts where you had to shout it worked.

          • Primalxconvoy

            I hope they bring out some form of mic emulsion for ouya and other non mic devices.

        • Aaron Huffman

          Mic support is hard to pinpoint really, because on some devices it is less sensitive and on others it is more sensitive and sometimes it just doesn't work. There is also a button to just push static noise through the mic if a game just needs that, its the easiest way. Also, mic support has been present since the first release.

          -Ash from the DraStic team

    • philnolan3d

      I was just using the mic support in Phantom Hourglass.

  • Yorch

    sorry for the ignorance, what is immersive mode?

  • Primalxconvoy

    This emulator works fine with my moga pro power when i switch it to regular joypad mode. I don't see the need for Moga mode compatibility unless older Moga controllers lack this feature?

  • Sir_Brizz

    Why is this better than RetroArch? I played a bunch of DS games on there and they seemed to work fine.

  • Funem

    I love this emulator but the new config options is a step back in my opinion, its all to fussy now and trying to look overly swish. The original options were easier to find what you wanted. That said its an impressive update and nice to see its on-going support. Well worth a purchase.

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