Impressions Hands on with CitraVR on Meta Quest 3

Beast or Dud?

CitraVR performs great with easier to run games. Tweaking required for higher end games. Even with tweaking, expect more demanding games to experience stutter.

I have tested out CitraVR on my Meta Quest 3 for a few hours. I played the introductions of two games that I would consider to be on the opposite sides of a spectrum, that measures how demanding a game can be. I tested Pokemon Sun and Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology. In this article, I will cover briefly how to setup CitraVR and talk about my experience with those two games.

Disclaimer: Both of the games that I tested are ones that I own, and created my own backup files of.

As mentioned in our previous article, CitraVR is developed by Amanda Watson, and is available to download from the CitraVR Github Page, or from within the SideQuest application. Either way, you will required to use SideQuest in order to sideload the app. Once the app has been sideloaded onto the Quest, the app will walk you though creating a directory for the app to store it's information in (saves, cached shaders, etc), and a game folder to store your .3ds file backups.

If your eyes just glazed over reading that last paragraph, then I found a decent how-to video on YouTube that you may like, by TruGamer4Realz. Once you are setup, and have copied some of your backed up 3DS games to your Quest, you are ready to go.

When I tried the initial release of CitraVR about a week ago, the performance was not great. I was able to get games running, but it wasn’t an experience I would recommend. Over the last 5 days, however, there have been 4 new versions released with upgrades and bug fixes, and I can say that performance is much better out of the box. However, higher end games will still require some tweaking to get them running as smooth as possible. I expect that over the next few weeks and months, performance will continue to improve, and more games will become more enjoyable to play.

For those who dont know, Radiant Historia was a game that originally released on the Nintendo DS, with the 3DS’ “Perfect Chronology” version coming with with some upgraded visuals, and new story content. However, the game still is remains a mostly 2D graphic game. So, the performance requirements for it aren’t very heavy. Running the latest version of CitraVR (v0.3.1 as the time of writing), this game performs great out of the box.

There are two modes in CitraVR, one that supports passthrough, so you can see the world around you as you play your games, and the other “Void” mode. Void mode just creates an entirely black background that the emulated game displays on for performance reasons. Radiant Historia played great on both modes.

The second game I played was Pokemon Sun. This is a much more demanding title for the actual 3DS to play, and as such, CitraVR had some struggles with it. There was frequent stuttering as shaders were compiled for the game. Even playing using just the Void mode wasn’t enough to provide a smooth experience. I tried going in and adjusting the internal rendering resolution (it is 3x by default) down to the 3DS native 1x resolution. While this did help somewhat with the stuttering, it made the game nearly unplayable. On the bigger virtual screen that you see in the Quest headset, the image quality of the game was highly pixelated and blurry. 2x resolution was better, but still encountered some stuttering as new characters, and new locations were encountered during gameplay.

Overall I think that CitraVR shows a lot of promise. If you are wanting to play some of your favorite 3DS games that use mainly 2D graphics, I think you will have a fun time with it. However, if you are trying to play some of the more graphically intensive games from the 3DS library, you may want to hold off until CitraVR matures a little with on-going updates.

If you want to check how well a specific game may run, I found a Compatibility List that is being updated frequently.