Review: New StreetPass Games for Nintendo 3DS
On July 12th, 2013, Nintendo 3DS owners were treated to a system update which allowed for four new StreetPass games to join Find Mii and Puzzle Swap. Unlike those freebies, these cost $4.99 each, or $14.99 for all four, but how do they stack up?
The first game you’ll encounter in the lineup is Mii Force, which is perhaps the most classically-styled game of the lot.
Unlike Find Mii, you actually get to take control of your own Mii in each of these games, with Mii Force putting you in the cockpit of a starfighter for a space-themed shoot-em-up. Each time you StreetPass with someone (whether they have the game or not), you can have them join your crew for a mission. Alone, you’re defenseless, but with a crew of ten Miis manning their weapon pods…
Where it gets interesting is that, as in Find Mii, the colors each Mii indicates what weapon they’re bringing to the fight. For instance, white attire will equip you with a buzzsaw-like cutting blade which boomerangs from your ship and can destroy small energy blasts; purple, on the other hand, equips a drill which can devastate enemy forces and breakable parts of the environment.
There are ten slots in various positions around your ship, and as you pick up your crew members, you can choose where they will be positioned across the rotatable circuit, adding a sense of customization and strategy to the proceedings. As it happens, some weapons seem more effective in some stages than in others, so retrying with different colors when possible can allow for better results.
Once you’ve set your crew in place, you have three tries to complete a course. Across the map, you’ll have opportunities to choose from more than one planet that the nefarious Gold Bone crew has chosen to occupy in their schemes. For the most part, the stages are auto-scrolling, feature a boss at the end, and the core gameplay is ultimately reminiscent of such titles as Gradius or R*Type, but with a more cartoonish aesthetic. Suffice to say, it’s the one StreetPass game which requires a certain sense of more traditional gaming coordination and skill.
There are plenty of jewels to collect in each, including some hidden ones which appear under special circumstances, adding replay value to each level. Furthermore, there is the added goal of finishing a level without losing any crew members (who act as your life meter), and you can earn different ranks to share with those you StreetPass (couldn’t pass up Gargoyle Class here).
Finally, completing a stage not only earns you a bounty of bonus gems, but also one ticket for the StreetPass Mii Plaza’s hat/costume shop, whose stock rotates each day.
Of the four games released, Flower Town seems to be the most polarizing. In a sense, it’s much calmer and slower-paced than the others, and interestingly enough, perhaps the least-reliant on StreetPass interaction.
Your goal is to become a Master at growing flowers of different types, colors, and breeds, with the benchmark set at 20 varieties. Part of this is accomplished by having others bring their flowers by through StreetPass (whether they actually have the game or not), and they’ll water yours to produce seeds which contain a certain percent chance of yielding something new. You’ll also keep logs for each of them in a journal as they grow.
Beyond that, there’s a bit you can do without StreetPassing anyone. You can decorate and arrange your garden, for instance, or partake of the shops in town. You can not only purchase different things there, but take on jobs, too, thus earning more money for more flowers and decorations. But even though you’ll find things to do without a StreetPass taking place, you can only do so much without someone to help you grow your flowers, which remains central to the game.
Flower Town is the slowest-paced of the four titles, and can take a few rounds to settle into a groove of sorts. Until that point, it’s the slowest-moving of the group, but once things are established, it’s not bad.
In most games, you’re usually out to stop those who would conquer the world. But in Warrior’s Way, you’re in the unusual position of being the one attempting to conquer it!
Your loyal servant sees the world in disarray, and believes that you are the one who can bring peace to the world through the act of conquering all the other countries on the map. “Peace through tyranny” is a rather Megatron-like way of seeing things, but it works.
As you get started, you can choose from three different styles of castle and aesthetic: Medieval, feudal Japanese, and futuristic (I went with the latter– my castle has a satellite dish and a sliding gate). From there, you amass an army to fight by StreetPassing with other generals, some of whom will join you. Others will come to see your castle’s splendor for themselves, and you can choose to greet them peacefully or by attacking them.
Once you have an army the size needed to challenge another country, you can engage them in battle to win troops, building supplies to improve your castle, and so on as you extend the reach of your nation. The battles themselves take place in a Fire Emblem-esque sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors style, but the only strategy really required is in how many troops you allot to one of three fronts. Win two of the three encounters, and you add another country to your stable, and occasionally make your castle bigger and better until you’re King of the World.
It’s a fun and simple game, though it drags a bit if you don’t get numerous StreetPasses very frequently as you wait to accumulate enough forces to proceed. Of course, as in all StreetPass games (including those above and below this), you can also use Play Coins to help things along a bit.
Monster Manor, the final of the four new StreetPass titles, feels like an odd inclusion so soon after the release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. But despite any thematic similarities, the two games could not be any more different.
In this game, you’re a detective who follows your assistant to a haunted house. Inside, you find that you are trapped with numerous ghosts roaming the grounds. Your goal is to find the stairs on each floor of the house, and make your way to the top to escape.
Along the way, you’ll meet with other visitors via StreetPass who want to get out just as much as you do. To do so, they’ll give you a puzzle piece which corresponds to their color and extends the reach of what is accessible on the map. In addition to the stairs, you’ll also find treasure chests with valuable weapons and items, mystic orbs for refining them, and encounter ghosts who you’ll need to fight off with the assortment of space-age weaponry at your disposal.
All four games are fun in their own unique way, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Mii Force. Still, if you’ve enjoyed the sensation of receiving a new StreetPass tag, then all four are great to have on hand. The best part is, if you haven’t purchased any yet, you can get all four for the price of three at $14.99. I was hesitant about Flower Town, but as I was going to get Mii Force, Warrior’s Way, and Monster Mansion anyway, getting Flower Town was a no-brainer. And while I like the other three games more, I don’t regret getting it at all– it’s a nice bonus, and it was smart of Nintendo to price these in such a way that any hesitation towards one game can easily be hand-waved away.
Plus, as mentioned, these games are essential for getting the new full-body outfits and hats available in the StreetPass Mii Plaza. Different games have different ways of earning tickets, with Mii Force perhaps being the quickest and most reliable.
On a personal note, I finally got my cowboy hat, thanks to this update. If I can just bring it into Mario Kart 7 and other such games, I’ll be all set! Or at least I will be until I decide I want my Mii cats to follow me around in-game.
The only problem with the games is the same as with Find Mii and Puzzle Swap, in that if you can’t get StreetPasses frequently, then the pacing slows to a crawl. Fortunately, this is a great time of year for StreetPasses, particularly if you like to frequent conventions and other such events where a lot of people also have their own Nintendo 3DSes on hand. Plus, Nintendo’s new relay system at SpotPass points should help as well.
The only thing left to say is that I hope Nintendo can find a way to mimic this on the Wii U– my Mii’s head is looking a little bare over there.
Mii Force, Flower Town, Warrior’s Way, and Monster Manor were released for the Nintendo 3DS on July 12th, 2013, at a price of $4.99 each in the Nintendo eShop, or all four for $14.99.
Review copies were provided by Nintendo of Canada.