Hardware Review: NES/FC/GBA Shells & Cartridge Cases from Krikzz

Never before have I been so inundated with items to review! This box was chock full of fun! Check the unboxing video below for that, of course. But yeah, this review covers a lot but won’t take long at all. They all have the same build quality and the colors are repeated. This leaves me time to get all of the facts laid out on the table without having to get in the weeds about it all. Let’s jump in, and remember, enjoy this review!


Unboxing Video:

Cartridge Shell Pros:

  • Build Quality. Let’s just get the most obvious part out of the way. These shells, these shells right here, these shells right here in my hands, are the same quality as the shells on Everdrive carts. But that makes them the best damn shells that you’re going to find for miles and miles. All of you reading this that have an Everdrive already, you already know that means greatness. For the rest of you at home, it means these quality things. The first thing that you may notice is the inclusion of Torx screws on the larger carts. This doesn’t include the GBA shells, because that would be obnoxious with its singular screw.

    The change to Torx is a small, but logical addition. Getting into the cartridge nowadays should be one of the simplest tasks to do, but should still keep out unsavory characters (kids). Now, let’s assume you put the PCB into the shell. You’ll see that the screws are holding together the shell which is gently grasping onto the board itself. The shell is doing a good job at this. It has a dedicated shape to hold said boards. Once it’s screwed together, nothing moves and in fact, pops right into a top loader NES without causing an issue. That’s insane to me because even some first-party Nintendo games where the boards had a little bit of wiggle.

    With regards to the shell plastic, it’s clearly been manufactured to be sturdy. These are made to look and feel one-to-one to an original cartridge, but I find them to be sturdier. While I can’t test to see if they’ll become brittle over 25 years, I can still tell that this is going to hold up very well. With the larger shells, I did my usual drop test, as always. With the GBA shells, I did a simple sit test. GBA kids know that you likely pocketed and sat on some of your GBA games way back when.

    So I put them in my back pocket and sat on it multiple times to emulate that mistake over years. Then I did drop tests from shoulder height to see if anything happens. I also drop them down the stairs to see what goes down. You’ll be happy to know that all three shell types that I reviewed survived everything I put them through.

  • After all of that torment, the shell itself still has no cracks, scratches, or anything! Spills are a different issue because shells will not be liquid-proof. I recommend once you assemble it to immediately put it into your console and then keep the console on a shelf plugged into the TV. Or put it on your game shelf immediately if you’re not playing it. Keep it as far away from your couch as possible if you have kids. Try to not do any swapping of games and leave the previous game out near liquids.

    Lastly, I want to reiterate that these shells are meant to be 1 to 1 with an official Nintendo type (to the respective console). So I’d like to point out that the finger grips that you find on Nintendo Shells are present here. They’re helpful for those with weak fingers and/or clone systems that are impossible to pull carts out of. Either way, you shouldn’t need them too often, once you’ve set the cart into the console. This is both because you either do the setup once and you’re done for life or because you can simply eject the microSD card from the top. And lastly, on the back, there is a tasteful but adorable Everdrive logo emblazoned in the plastic.

  • Shell Variants. Krikzz has a variety of colors to make them reminiscent of existing shells. These can evoke feelings of nostalgia for Famicom fans the world over. But Krikzz goes beyond that. Here’s a list of the colors that are available for the existing shell styles. Transparent Clear, Transparent Green, Transparent Turquoise, Transparent Blue, White, Yellow, Transparent Smoke, Black, Mint, and Transparent Red. The GBA shells even have a Graphite color that looks color-matched to Nintendo’s official GBA shells!And then Krikzz goes another step further than that. Yes, you can buy these to replace your existing NES/Famicom game shells. You can buy them to house your homebrews! They seem to fit custom flashed or fabricated GBA/NES/FC boards too. There are even places on each of the carts that I reviewed for a sticker!
  • Price. FOUR DOLLARS EACH! That is all.

Cartridge Shell Cons:

  • Branding. I’m not sure how much I like the positioning of the “Krikzz” that is on the inside of the shell. It’s there for a purpose, to remind you that you have a quality product and to weed out clones. However, with the transparent shells, it’s a bit ugly in top loaders because you can see it. Not only can you see it, but it’s mirrored because it’s backward when it’s put into the cartridge slot. It’s not a huge complaint. I’d like to see it be down lower on the cartridge. That’s the part that gets hidden in the console anyhow.

  • Use. So, my next issue is with the opening and closing of the shell. Sure, we discussed that it has a great build quality complete with Torx screws. But without me telling you, you wouldn’t have known that. The description does not include information about the fact that it uses Torx, let alone what size you’ll need. Imagine ordering something that you very likely cannot use when it arrives. I have a screwdriver bit set that has some Torx tips, but most certainly not everyone does.
    The fact that it requires you to have to go out and buy one kind of sucks. And not knowing which one you’ll need sucks more because you’d have to wait for it to arrive and then either buy an entire set of them just to figure out the Torx bit that you need or take the shell with you to a hardware store to find a tool that fits it and then buy that individual Torx driver. It’s very annoying to a regular retro fan. I’m going to share with you now the size you’ll need to buy and you can decide how to proceed. Also, I hope Everdrive.ME reads this and updates their product descriptions for all shells and carts with the Torx screws. I found that the only tip that seemed to work is my T6 Torx bit.

  • Price. There really needs to be a price deduction for buying mass quantities. Buying in bulk and receiving incremental price reductions is a norm the world over and that should also apply with the products here. I’m uncertain that they have wholesale options if you need to have shells for your homebrew that you want to sell. I honestly hope so, imagine Krikzz getting his name out there even more by riding a homebrew game out to people’s homes.

Purchase Links:

NES Shells

Famicom Shells

Game Case Pros:

  • Case Variants. The cases I reviewed exist for N64, Sega Genesis, and more. But, you can do more just buy one of these as a blank box to replace one of your original game boxes. You can also get a custom cover if you want, as long as you’re buying it for an Everdrive. So, let’s say you own an Everdrive for your Genesis/Mega Drive. For the same price, you can also choose a cover that reflects which Everdrive you own. So for the Sega cases, you’ll find covers for the Mega Everdrive PRO, Mega X7, Mega X5, and the Mega X3. The same goes for the N64 game cases. If you own an X5 or X7, then you’ll find that you have cover options available.
  • Additions. If you’re buying either of the cases with a custom Everdrive cover, just know that a couple of those come with a manual! If you own a Mega Everdrive PRO and you buy the box, it’s the one that comes with a manual. If you’re buying the N64 Everdrive covers, just know that the X7 comes with a manual. I do hope to see this be expanded and the other versions get manuals made up so that they can be included. But the fact that even one of these has a manual with it adds even more value to the price that you pay.
  • Build Quality. These shells come complete with a hang tab (weird for N64 games, but all Sega games should). There are clips at the top and the bottom on the inside. This ensures a complete and total seal so that dust and other uckies don’t make their way inside. Most specifically fluids, the last thing you want is your manual to get waterlogged. The game would become corroded as well. On the outside of the box, there isn’t just a plain jane plastic cover. Oh no my friend, this is all out vinyl. And it’s frickin’ textured too! It has a great feel that you just cannot find on cheap game cases.You might be wondering if I did physical testing of the case. Well, I did! But, I didn’t put it through quite as much.You and I already know how fragile game cases could be and I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good one. I did sit on it with my butt and it survived that. It wasn’t a body slam or anything like that, I slowly sat down onto it and it made it through. I dropped it down my carpeted staircase as well and it worked out. Liquid is not ideal to bring near it, but it survived minor fluids. I’m telling you right now that a full-on sticky spill of Kool-Aid is going to get in and boof up the contents within. Otherwise, this thing is pretty solid!
  • Compatibility. The N64 cases worked like a charm straight out of the box. The cartridge goes in and that’s that. The success I’ve had with the Sega Genesis box is a bit mixed. Obviously, I had success putting a North American Sega game in the box. I’ve also found success when I tested out my NTSC-J Mega Drive game. Compatibility extends to the outside as well. The sizing of the cover space is the same as that of an official Sega game. That means if your old case is busted entirely, you can have confidence knowing that the game and cover fit. And if you’re wondering, yes, manuals fit too. Everything about this case appears to be to Sega’s original case specifications. If you’re wondering if games like Shaq-Fu and other EA games fit, they do not. The same goes with the Virtua Racing. Those games had special boxes back in the day and they would need special boxes now too.

Game Case Cons:

  • Compatibility. I’m uncertain if Mega Drive games are actually compatible with this. I would like to think that they are because I got one to work. However, since the clips of the box are so strong, when you open it abruptly, the Mega Drive cart comes popping out. This happened about half of the time. I would say it’s a con because the game is supposed to stay seated until you remove it from it’s home. You don’t want it to pop out and land on a hard floor and crack. Or land in a tumbler with a beverage inside.

Purchase Links:

Genesis/MegaDrive Case

Overall Thoughts:

Look, these products are great. They’re built well and you have a variety of options to choose from. I think that the point has been made. The downside would be if you wanted to make a fully CIB homebrew game that you wanted to piece together yourself and sell hundreds of them. That’s going to be a daunting task but even more so, it’s going to be an unnecessarily expensive one. I would recommend that these items be bought for personal use and keep your own items in them. You’re going to have more bang for your buck and you’re going to have the thrill of building your own or repairing your favorite Nintendo games.

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