Image: Screenshot by MIXED
The Nintendo 3DS emulator CitraVR is out now in beta for Meta Quest. I tried it out and here are my (preliminary) thoughts.
CitraVR is based on the open source emulator Citra, which is available for Windows, Linux and MacOS. Citra has been used to stream 3DS games from a PC to Meta Quest for quite some time. What’s new about CitraVR is that it runs natively on Meta Quest, so you don’t need any additional hardware. The app also supports stereoscopic rendering, so you can see the graphics on the top screen in beautiful 3D.
Quest 2, Quest 3, and Quest Pro are all supported. Most titles can be played using the Touch controllers. But if you prefer, you can use wired or wireless controllers via Bluetooth. I tried CitraVR with Quest 3 and the Touch controllers.
3DS games with impressive depth and size
The great thing about CitraVR is that it renders 3DS games on a large virtual screen, upscaling their resolution and displaying them with a stunning 3D effect. Conventional images and videos do not do justice to the experience because they are not stereoscopic.
You can also play with or without passthrough, so you can choose to have the screen projected into your living room or surrounded by darkness. The software has no virtual environments. I prefer the passthrough mode because it keeps me aware of my surroundings.
When it comes to freely positioning the virtual top screen in space, the emulator is still somewhat limited: You can move the screen upwards in an arc and even play lying down, but you can only adjust the distance and size using the headset’s own calibration and the Meta button. At least, I couldn’t find any other way to resize or move the virtual top screen.
CitraVR needs a bit more polishing
I tried a handful of 3DS games and initially had performance problems with many titles. The graphics and sound were stuttering, so it wasn’t very enjoyable. I later found out that I could reduce the resolution in the graphics settings by selecting one of the lower levels (1-3).
However, stuttering and other limitations may still occur. This depends on the performance requirements of each game. A compatibility list shows which titles work reliably and which do not. You may also want to turn off passthrough for performance reasons, as Quest 3’s GPU is throttled in passthrough mode.
Please note that the app is in beta, so performance issues, crashes, and bugs are to be expected. Developer Amanda Watson writes on Twitter that she’s looking forward to fixing bugs and improving the experience. The cvr-support channel on Flat2VR’s Discord server is a good place to post questions and suggestions.
CitraVR already accomplishes a lot. What it lacks is polish and quality-of-life features, such as the ability to position the screens anywhere in the room. It’s also a bit annoying that you have to close and restart the emulator every time you want to load a new game.
Instructions and more information can be found on Github, where Watson has released the code.
CitraVR is only available on Sidequest and requires sideloading.
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