Photo from Nintendo
By Stephen Infantolino
StreetPass Mii Plaza, a pre-installed applications on all 3DS and 2DS consoles, first launched on February 26, 2011 in Japan and became available in North America a month later on March 27. The purpose of the application is to allow users to interact with other players by automatically exchanging Mii data wirelessly with every 3DS that a player passes by.
Once data is exchanged between two 3DS owners, they can then use the Mii data collected to play a variety of different games. Some, like Puzzle Swap and Find Mii, are free while others may cost extra to unlock. Additional games have been added to the StreetPass Mii Plaza lineup over the course of the last five years, with the latest one coming out earlier this month on September 1.
One of the first updates that was added to Mii Plaza in 2013 introduced four new games: Mii Force, Flower Town, Warrior’s Way and Monster Manor. It also added Plaza Tickets, which are obtained by completing certain tasks within those games. Plaza Tickets could be exchanged for new hats and outfits for your Mii character.
The second update for Mii Plaza came in 2015 with the release of Ultimate Angler and Battleground Z. These games functioned the same way as its predecessors, awarding players plaza tickets for completing in-game challenges. In addition to these games, new hats and customizable speech bubbles were introduced.
Premium StreetPassing, meant to be a primary element of the update, added the ability to save Miis obtained in StreetPass in the VIP room and to collect Mii Birthdays. However, these features seemed too minuscule to warrant paying $4.99 for them.
However, the September 1 update changed much of how the StreetPass Mii Plaza functioned. The first major change was the addition of the Quick Plaza. This new plaza is accessible from the main Mii Plaza menu and allows players to have easier access to the StreetPass Mii Plaza, thus, launching applications faster.
The update also added a new feature for those that opted for the Premium membership. Those with it are now able to StreetPass with up to 100 people at once instead of only 10. This is something that should have been a thing in the first place and somewhat justifies the $4.99 purchase. Some minor features also include a special gold pin that their Mii can wear and the ability to possibly score multiple Puzzle pieces from one StreetPass in the free Puzzle Swap game with this.
The most important part of this update, however, was the addition of five new games. They are Slot Car Rivals, Market Crashers, Feed Mii, Ninja Launcher and Mii Trek. These new games are designed to move at a much faster pace than all the previous StreetPass Mii Plaza games and are also designed around the ability to StreetPass tons of people at once, taking full advantage of the new ability to StreetPass 100 people in one session.
Each game can be purchased separately for $2.99 or together as a bundle for $8.99. Players can also choose between Slot Car Rivals and Market Crashers and download them for free.
Slot Car Rivals is a really simple and easy to understand slot car racing game. Players are given a slot car at the beginning of the game, which can be switched out with another slot car later in the game.
The goal of Slot Car Rivals is to come in first and win the race. That is how you progress from track to track, with each track progressively more difficult. Your opponents vary and completely depend on the people you StreetPass.
Control-wise, Slot Car Rivals is as simple as can be. Hold down the A button, and it causes the car to move. Letting go causes it to slow down and eventually stop. If the car comes up to a red corner too fast it will crash and cause a delay when restarting. This means you have to corner at just the right speed, and when you pull it off successfully and multiple times in a row, it is extremely satisfying.
Slot Car Rivals was the one that caught my attention the most out of any of the games they have released thus far over the past updates. It does not disappoint, it is fun, easy to understand and can easily be played on the go. I would suggest that this be your free download.
Still, Market Crashers, the other option you have for your free download, does not disappoint either even though it sounds extremely boring on the surface.
Market Crashers is a game about buying and selling stocks. With each trade, you can pick between two different companies— one that will always rise and lower in value in a particular pattern and another that will be more volatile. The Miis met over StreetPass Mii Plaza will act as insiders and give you tips about the current trade.
Like trading real stocks, the point is to buy them when they are low, and sell them when they are high. You follow the stock ticker on screen, and you make your decisions as the prices go up and down. Again, this is another great game to play on the go, but if you are deciding between the two, Slot Car Rivals is more entertaining.
Feed Mii is the third game that comes in the latest bundle, and it is the most complex. The goal of the game is to cook up meals for heroes so they can go off, and save the world.
The Miis you StreetPass give you food items to make a meal. You click on the items on the bottom of the screen to combine them and make a dish. The better the dish is, the further the heroes will get on their quest.
This sounds simple on the surface, but it can get complicated. The game does not outright tell you all the recipes and what works best, it is just something that has to be figured out over time.
What really makes it more complex are the artisan dishes. Artisan dishes are made when extra ingredients are added to the recipe to give it extra flare. You benefit more if you StreetPass with more people and get more ingredients, which gives you a better variety.
Feed Mii was fun at times, but out of the five games I found this one to be one of the weaker ones. It was still fun, I just do not think I would play this one every time I StreetPass with someone.
Ninja Launcher is the fourth game that comes in the latest bundle, and I have to say it is actually one of the better ones in my opinion. You defeat monsters by launching yourself out of a cannon, grabbing more gear along the way as you soar through the air.
To collect gear, you move the Miis you have collected over StreetPass along the bottom screen, lining their kites up with your character’s trajectory. The more kites you get in your trajectory the more items you collect, thus making it easier to defeat the enemy.
Although enjoyable, Ninja Launcher has a similar problem that also plagues Feed Mii and that is the amount of StreetPasses. If you only StreetPass one or two people, you will not get enough gear to be able to defeat enemies.
The last game that comes with the bundle is Mii Trek, and it is the one that I personally found to be the worst.
The Miis you collect give you footsteps, and those footsteps allow your character to advance through the woods or forest and to find treasure. Along the way you also encounter photo-taking opportunities and wild animals that you have to tranquilize.
The path the character takes is predetermined, allowing you to only pick new ones depending on if you are at an intersection or not. That is fine, and I am okay with that as it is not supposed to be this big heavy game. However, Mii Trek presents the same problem as Feed Mii and Ninja Launcher.
Unlike Slot Car Rivals and Market Crashers, where they can still be played if you only StreetPass one person. This game is pretty much impossible with a single StreetPass. The amount of steps you get from a StreetPass is solely determined on the step counter of the person you pass for that day, which means that even if you StreetPass a lot of people, you may still not receive a good amount of steps anyway.
This can make the game almost unplayable as it solely depends on luck, an aspect that the game would have been really fun without.
All of the StreetPass games can still be played without StreetPassing anyone by using two play coins from your 3DS Pedometer to purchase one character to play the games with. This is a good alternative for those that do not StreetPass often, however it is important to keep to mind that the characters are randomized.
Overall, the new StreetPass Mii Plaza update is great. The games are a lot of fun except for Mii Trek. The cost of $8.99 is both affordable and worth it as the games can be played anywhere. I have purchased every single Mii Plaza game bundle that has come out so far, including the Premium Membership, and it is something I would suggest.
Getting everything for your Mii Plaza, including every game bundle and Premium membership will cost you around $25, which gives you the five new games and six old StreetPass games.
Personally, I am extremely satisfied with the latest update.