You can't swap notes anymore, but you can still flip 'em!
After a sordid history regarding Japanese players' misuse of Swapnote and Flipnote Studio 3D, and the discontinuation of the StreetPass and friend list sharing of both services, it was becoming worryingly unlikely that the world beyond Japan's shores would ever be able to flip notes on their 3DS.
Fortunately for those in USA - sorry, PAL regions! - Club Nintendo decided to give the animation tool out to anyone who has an active account. This is quite a parting gift to commemorate the service's closure later this year. The original Flipnote Studio on DSi was fun, albeit limited in its usefulness. You could create short flipbook-style animations using up to two overlapping layers and some basic drawing and editing tools. You could choose to draw with a secondary color besides black - either blue or red, but only one extra color per animation.
Flipnote Studio 3D has a much more robust selection of tools at your disposal. There's a large variety of pens, brushes and fill tools to work with, and you can now choose between five colors (and many more with some creative pixel blending like in the first game), and use multiple colors on each page. There are some useful copy and paste options, including resizing and rotating.
The tools have both left and right-handed layouts thankfully, but to access all of them you have to hold down various buttons while selecting different tools and menus, and as such juggling between the tools can be a little overwhelming for beginners.
This one was created at the request of NWR's Zach Miller.
With advanced (3D) options enabled, the 3D layering is quite clever - you get three layers on which to draw, but these layers can be shuffled forward and back between several slots, allowing you to customise the stereoscopic depth and even animate objects coming towards the camera without having to change your layer layout.
There's a basic audio recorder to add sounds to your notes, or you can import clips you've recorded and edited from Nintendo 3DS Sound. You can also export notes as .avi files, and even save single frames as JPGs on your SD card.
The friend sharing and sending options were removed from the Japanese version of Flipnote back in 2013, but sadly the US version of the app has removed the online gallery entirely, and the only way to share notes directly with friends is to use local wireless transfer. It would be neat if there was a way to post your completed works directly onto Miiverse.
Despite some shortcomings, in all it's a great little package for anyone who loves to create, whether you're an animation beginner or a veteran who just wants to practice your tweening skills. The menu of options is deceptively large, requiring plenty of exploration to search out all the "hidden" tricks and tools. The more effort you put into Flipnote Studio 3D, the richer your reward will be in the end.