Review: Mii Force, Warrior's Way, Monster Manor and Flower Town reign as Kings of Streetpass
The very idea of Streetpass is rather genius. Nintendo has figured out a brilliant way to utilize your 3DS handheld when you're not actually playing anything on it. Even while it sleeps away in your pocket, your 3DS becomes a portal so other Miis from other 3DS handhelds can migrate over, visit your game worlds, and even help you out in various activities. Until very recently, the 3DS had only two "games" to use Streetpassed Miis, Find Mii I & II and Puzzle Swap. Neither really offered much in terms of gameplay, but they proved to be entertaining diversions for those who got excited whenever the green notification lit up. The 3DS is now home to four more Streetpass titles that play more like actual games than the two minimalistic titles that came before.
Easily the best Streetpass game of the bunch, Mii Force tasks you to take your Streetpassed crew of fighter pilots on various vertical and horizontal scrolling levels of pure shmup action. Much like how Find Mii relied on the color of shirt to decide what magic attack each Mii had, the color decides the type of projectiles they shoot. Dark blue-shirted fighter pilots shoot homing missiles, Pink shoot a sticky shot that travels along edges, Green shoot out an electrical beam, etc.
There are slight nods to Gradius in terms of weapon placement and leveling them up. Each Mii pilot can be placed in one of four spots around your main ship. Straight ahead, diagonally up or down, or in the back. If you have at least four Mii pilots with you, you can shoot in all those directions at once, making survivability that much easier. However, weapons can also be strengthened. Placing a Blue shirted Mii in the front and then any other Miis behind it in the same weapon slot will power up that first weapon, giving those homing missiles some added damage potential.
You're also tasked with three secondary goals aside from making it to the end of each level. A medal is awarded for not losing a single Mii copilot, for achieving that level's score goal, and for picking up five, often hidden, silver crystals, giving some replay value to levels that you've already completed but haven't picked up all the medals for.
Of the four new games, Flower Town is easily the most relaxing. If you can even consider it a game, that is. Then again, what it lacks in gameplay, it makes up for in depth.
Flower Town will have you planting seeds in pots and having Streetpassed Miis come over to water them for you. However, they usually bring a flower of their own with them, cross-pollinating with yours to produce new seedlings.
Therein comes the frustration though. Planting a new seed yields a percentual result, meaning you have a chance to grow a completely new plant or end up with the same one you have. Considering you're going for 20 completely different flowers, having the same flower sprout up can be a bit disheartening.
Aside from that, you can eventually visit the mall to buy new pots and seeds, as well as sell your current stock of flowers and seeds to make some more cash.
Honestly, it's tough to make this title seem exciting, because it's not. If you got a thing for flowers or gardening, you'll find enjoyment out of this one, but otherwise, you're probably better off skipping Flower Town.
If you're a fan of Risk, and generally favor world domination, Warrior's Way is the game for you. After you choose the type of castle you want (Samurai, Space or Medieval), it's time to amass an army and take over 20 countries.
The big key difference in how Warrior's Way utilizes Streetpass. Instead of adding single Miis to your army, it adds the total value of Miis currently in your and other player's Plaza. For instance, if you Streetpassed with five different people that each had exactly 100 Miis in their Streetpass Plaza, it will add a total of 500 units to your army. This is one of those times I wish I lived in a more gamer-populated state like California or New York, as Streetpassing there must be an everyday occurence. The rare Streetpasses I get here usually yield about 10 Miis each, barely ever growing my army as it is.
When it comes down to battle, it's pretty much a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Your enemy will have some sort of combination of these three units and it's up to you how you divide your army to overcome theirs. Having a low amount of "Scissor-type" soldiers go up against a high amount of "Paper-type" will still go in your favor, whereas if you're going up against a stronger unit, you generally need to have a much higher soldier count than they do to win. Not to mention, going up against a stronger unit will most likely cost you soldiers too.
It's partially luck, since you never know what army the enemy will send out first, though before each battle, dividing your forces shows you if that section has a definite chance of winning. Since you only need to win two out of three battles, making sure that at least two of your forces have a guaranteed win is the key to success.
Lastly, you explore a mysterious, ghost-filled manor in Monster Manor. Streetpass is rather simple here. Each new Mii you come across will have a piece of floor layout, which you can place down on a blank space on a given floor. Your Mii will automatically move to that newly created room, either to wait for more floor layouts or to battle a ghost (which I'll get to in a bit).
There is some strategy to be had as the Mii's shirt color will yield that color floor layout block. Combining two or more of the same colored floor blocks will create bigger rooms with chests in them, often yielding better equipment or healing items.
A ghost encounter plays out as a real-time shootout where you're actively shooting and dodging various ghost attacks. However, your actions are tied down to a battery meter. Continuously shooting will drain your batteries quickly, and dodging an attack will also take off a chunk at once. Not doing anything will recharge them back up. Really, it's all about timing, as you don't want to exhaust your batteries by rapidly firing, and you need to make sure you have enough in case you need to shield yourself.
Are they worth it?
Since three out of the four can certainly be described as actual games rather than simple diversions with Mii characters, you're finally looking at more fun things to do with Streetpass. The big factor that needs to be considered is location. If you live in an area where there is little to no Streetpass activity, you're not really going to get a lot of mileage out of each game. Sure, you can spend play coins to bypass that, but with only 10 to earn a day, you'll need a lot of patience.
It's a shame that fantastic titles like Mii Force and Monster Manor are strictly tied down to Streetpass, as those are two games I could easily sink a bunch of hours into, perfecting my score and hunting down ghosts. If anything though, the fact that these simple games can elicit such a reaction from me is a testament to the developers who created such addicting little titles.
Mii Force and Monster Manor come highly recommended. If you have a limited budget and can't decide, get those two. Warrior's Way gets a nod as well for being a rather simplistic take on world domination. And, while I can't honestly recommend Flower Town due to its rather boring nature, if you do plan on buying the other three, you can get the fourth game free thanks to the promotional bundle you can purchase within Streetpass Plaza.