NeoFlash Magic Kit 2 MK2 Review
Written by CelShader
Note - MK2/3 Menu 0.3 the latest version at this time was tested for this review.
Features may have changed since publication.
The NeoFlash MK2 is is the next generation backup unit from the team responsible for the first
ever commercialized DS backup solution.
The MK2 improves upon many of their original product's shortcomings with such features as direct
loading of clean unpatched images and a working save management system.
The MK2 is NeoFlash's attempt to compete with other products which already use removable flash
cards for loading images.
2Mb save memory
support for 4k, 64k, 2mb saves
8kb Internal buffer
Supports Clean Dumps
Compatible with many flash carts
Compatible GBA Flash Cart
Any Original DS Cart
The installation process for the Magic Key 2 is extremely simple. First, flash your GBA cart with
the latest version of the MK2/3 Menu. This process varies depending on the brand of cart
and the software it uses. If you know how flash any other image to your cart then you are in good
Any flash cart that is capable of running DS homebrew software should work for the MK2/3 Menu.
Since the menu is only 100kb in size any cart capacity should work.
Next, make sure to format your SD card to either a FAT32 or FAT16 file system as the MK2 supports
The word "simple" comes to mind again. Installation of homebrew/backup images is a drag and drop
process. Just place clean, unpatched images onto the root of the SD card and place it in the MK2.
When the DS is a turned on with a flash cart that contains the MK2/3 Menu a basic menu screen will
be shown. A picture of an SD card is displayed on the lower screen. Hitting 'A' mounts the card. When
browsing the card contents all NDS images are shown with their icon, filename on the bottom
screen and information about the image (name, size, release date) is on the top screen.
You can select an image with the D-PAD and the press 'A' to go through the image loading, save backup
and save loader options. If the MK2 has a save in its internal memory it will ask if you want to
backup your save to the SD card first. Save files are placed on the SD card with the extension
If the menu finds a SAV file with the same file name as the image you are loading it will ask
if you want to load it. Then it will ask if you want to load the image. Any of these steps can
be skipped by pressing the 'B' button.
Saves on the MK2's internal 2Mb of memory are only meant for temporary storage. When you are done
playing you must reboot the DS into the MK2/3 Menu and dump the save file to the SD card. You can
then load it next time you want to play. This system makes it very simple to back up save files to
your PC. Just drag and drop the SAV file to a directory on your computer for later use.
By selecting an image with the D-PAD and pressing 'START' you can flash the image from the SD card
to the GBA flash cart. This option is useful for those games that will not load directly from the
SD card while giving you the option of carrying more than one image at a time. This is very handy
when you don't have a PC near by to flash the cart.
While flashing the GBA cart through the MK2 is slow, it is better than nothing. The process
generally takes about 2 minutes for 64Mb images. Loading images flashed to the GBA cart is done
by turning the system on while holding the 'START' button. Flashing to the GBA cart will not
overwrite the MK2/3 Menu.
Images loaded to the GBA cart through the MK2 use the same save system as those played directly
from the SD card. So saves can be backed up and loaded easily through the MK2/3 Menu.
Unfortunately, only NeoFlash and XG 2005 carts are capable of accepting images flashed from
the MK2. All other carts at this time end up freezing the menu when a flash is initiated.
SD card compatibility was an issue I found while testing. The first SD card I used was a 128MB
Lexar. The card mounted fine. I was able to see all the files present on the card, but was unable
to boot most images, and the ones that did run, crashed within minutes.
Figuring that these issues may have been the result of slow media I then tried a 512MB SanDisk.
This card has a speed rating of 60x (9Mb p/s Write & 10Mb p/s Read). This fixed my loading problems with
images known to already work with the MK2.
It is suggested that you purchase an SD card with a high speed rating, such as
Kingston's "Elite Pro" (50x), SanDisk's "Ultra II" (60x), Edge's "Pro Shot" (60x),
ACP's "Extended Performance" (50x) or maybe Lexar's "High Speed" (32x).
Game image compatibility is another issue at this point. I did exhaustive tests with nearly all known image dumps
and found that compatibility is only 55-60%. Not a great number, but
considering MK2/3 Menu 0.3 is the first version that supports direct booting from the SD card
that number could rise.
The game-save management system is only passable. The option to backup saves only is offered
when you select an image to load, and you can easily write the save for one game to the wrong
filename if you are not paying attention. I'm sure that future versions of the menu will
feature a true save management sub-menu. For now, it works, but could be better.
When selecting images to boot the DS system hangs for a few seconds while the data is buffered.
This means that you generally have to wait 5-15 seconds between selecting the image to boot and
getting to the game. As well, load times are increased in some games and almost all games that
incorporate FMV have dominant slowdown.
I would recommend the MK2 only to those who currently own a GBA cart, and are not looking to spend
too much money, or if you already own the original NeoFlash and want the option of playing off the
SD card and flashing images to the cart on the go.
In its current version, MK2/3 Menu 0.3 does not do anything better than its competition. Because
the software is in its very early stages, this device could one day become an excellent product,
but at this point in time, it is only average at best.
+ Low Price
+ Direct Load Image From SD
+ Decent save backup system
+ No PC Software/Drag and Drop!
+ No Need to Patch Images
- No Extra Features
- Low Compatibility
- Slow Boot Times
- Longer Load Times