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Do the New Mii Plaza Games Make Sense for StreetPass?

The short answer: probably not, but they’re still pretty cool.

The longer answer…

I have a pretty set routine when I get up for work in the morning. A quick shower, a shave and a hastily-made lunch before I finally depart. About two years ago, I added checking my StreetPass Mii Plaza  to the list. With the exception of that one time when I accidentally obliterated my SD card, I’ve had my 3DS in my pocket every day since.

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Why? Because even in those early days, when naïve early adopters were desperate for software that wasn’t Steel Diver, Mii Plaza was a rewarding, accessible, cooperative time waster. Like Animal Crossing, it has a finite number of gaming bits per day, and it doesn’t tease you in the same way so many free-to-play games do. But best of all was that it’s simple. I’ve sung the praises of StreetPass tech many times on this site, but I think the single greatest reason it works is because you can boot up  your 3DS and check your shared data in a matter of seconds. No friends required.

Puzzle Swap couldn’t be much simpler. Sure, you can buy new pieces with Play Coins, but the emphasis is on collecting pieces virally, passively completing your puzzles by working towards a common goal with strangers. With it’s branching paths, Find Me II is a little more complex, but brute force and patience will usually win out here, too.

Perhaps to justify the new $15 price tag, the new Mii Plaza suite is much more involved. Each game has multiple mechanics – Monster Manor with its interlocking rooms and ghost busting, for instance – and they all have lengthy intros that cause the experience to drag even more. Poor Flower Town probably would have had a better reception if you could skip half the dialogue.

Even if the experiences were more bite-sized, having six games to play suddenly each round becomes exhausting. Puzzle Swap and Find Mii worked because you were constantly working towards a specific reward. Maybe a new hat, maybe a completed puzzle. Now, each game has tons of achievements and a wide variety of new hats to score. I’m sure getting to the end if satisfying, but right now, that’s  nowhere near in sight.

But despite all of this complaining, I’m just happy the games are fun.

I think it’s safe to say that Mii Force is the clear winner of the bunch. It’s basically Gradius with your Miis as the Options, but the wide variety of weapons and Mii configurations give this more depth than I ever expected. Warior’s Way is even more novel. Your entire Mii Plaza population becomes a feudal Japanese army, and you’re tasked with wooing wandering warriors to your side. It’s a very novel way of putting all of those convention-hall allies to good use.

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So I have mixed collection. The games themselves are a great deal of fun, particularly when you’ve passed 9 or 10 people. I just don’t know if you’re going to want to open up your 3DS  the next time PAX rolls into town and your game is suddenly becomes a to-do list.

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