Accessory Review: CM4’s Catalyst Slim Cover for Nintendo 3DS


So you’ve purchased yourself a new Nintendo 3DS today, and it sure is a spiffy-looking unit, all sleek and shiny and smooth. You need something to protect it with, right? CM4 has you covered!

Last year I told you about CM4’s Catalyst covers for Wii Remotes, and now the Catalyst line has expanded to include the 3DS. CM4 sent one over last month, and it hasn’t come off my 3DS since.

Available in Black Onyx and Slate Gray color options for $24.99, the Catalyst Slim Cover is a two-piece shell that snugly fits over the 3DS’ outer shell and provides an extra barrier of protection against daily wear and tear.

The two cover plates are made of a sturdy aluminum, but are wrapped in a synthetic leather fabric that is pillowy soft to the touch and gives your 3DS a classy, high-end look on the outside. The inside of each plate is also lined with a fuzzy material, so you can feel confident that the 3DS’ shiny surface underneath is being preserved from dust and scratches.


Unfortunately, with the slim cover attached the 3DS no longer fits in its charging cradle. But it’s still easy enough to plug the power cable into the back of the system and then rest it on top of the cradle – it just doesn’t snap in. You can always remove the bottom plate whenever you need to do a recharge, but this is the type of case that is best left on once you’ve attached it. It’s not that difficult to remove, but it’s one of those things that seems like the more you slide it on and off, the greater the chances of the material wearing down and losing its tight grip around the device.

Other than that potential drawback (depending on whether or not using the cradle is a big deal to you), the cover has cutouts providing easy access to all the necessary ports, switches, buttons, slots and camera lenses. Useability is not limited in any way. In fact, it’s only enhanced.

What I like most about the Catalyst is how smooth and comfortable it feels resting in my hands. The 3DS itself has a shiny exterior, almost excessively so, and something I have been noticing more and more after prolonged use is how the device starts to feel kind of slippery in my hands when my fingers and palms begin to sweat a little. When the device starts to slide down my hands as a result, the bottom corners begin to poke the eye of my palms in an uncomfortable way.


This issue has been completely resolved since I began using the Catalyst. The cover’s plush exterior provides added grip, cuts down on sweaty palm syndrome, and also dampens the corners’ pointy jab.

Obviously, the Catalyst Slim Cover is not the case of choice for a young 3DS owner who is likely to drop, ding, slobber, snot and goo up the device in ways only kids can. It just isn’t built to offer that level of protection. But for more savvy and sophisticated 3DS users who want something that balances style, performance and comfort with a solid defense against the daily grind, this is the case to beat. I just can’t imagine playing my 3DS without it!

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!