Out of nowhere, Nintendo has launched Swapdoodle, a new messaging app for 3DS.

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The software lets you draw multi-page doodles or hand-written notes, then send them to friends.

It's free to download, although there are microtransactions for drawing tutorials and stationary sets should you wish to draw Nintendo characters or in sparkly ink.

In-game packs cost ú1.79 for stationary, ú2.69 for a pack of lessons or ú6.29 for bundles containing both.

There's no mention of it in Nintendo's press release, but the app is clearly a successor to SwapNote (known in the UK as Nintendo Letter Box). This previous 3DS messaging app launched in 2011 but was abruptly withdrawn in 2013 after a report that Japanese children had been targeted by child predators via the service.

It's worth noting that Swapnote let you attach photos and voice clips to messages. Swapdoodle does not.

Swapdoodle also sees the return of Swapnote mascot Nikki, the green-jacketed Mii character who has become something of a cult favourite among Nintendo fans - and who has since appeared in Nintendo Badge Arcade and as a costume in Mario Maker.

Nikki (and her friends Panda and Cat) are back to guide users through Swapdoodle, and pop up in some of the paid-for tutorials.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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