You may recall a year and a half ago Nintendo released four new games for the 3DS console used exclusively via the StreetPass function. The house that Mario built has recently released two brand new games to use with your StreetPassers on the 3DS. These new games use many of the same features as those past StreetPass games, but also add some much needed improvements as well as more dynamic gameplay. Released alongside these new games (and for an additional fee for no particular reason) are a handful of new options to improve your StreetPass experience as well. Though it seemed silly at first to have to pay for more options, if you’re serious about your StreetPassing you’ll want to check out everything Nintendo has to offer.
The first new game is Ultimate Angler, a fishing title that has you trying to collect over 150 different species of fish across several island fishing spots. While that doesn’t sound all that riveting to the non-fisherman in all of us, it gets more exciting when you see it’s basically an RPG wrapped in a fishing simulator. As you pass by people via StreetPass, they give you bait to use based on their favorite color choice (i.e. someone who likes the color orange will give you one specific type of bait, someone who has black as their favorite color will give another type of bait, and so on), which can then be used to attract and catch fish. Naturally some fish are only attracted to certain types of bait so you’re encouraged to tag more people to find that specific bait. Added to the mix are rods that increase your fish catching abilities, a fish tank where you can display your catches, multiple islands to catch different species, special islands only accessible via premium tickets you get from specific Miis, and more. There’s a lot to do here for a game seemingly just about fishing. It won’t grab you like an RPG such as Bravely Default might, but it’s something else to occupy your time on the train or during a lunch break.
The second game is Battleground Z, a zombie infused beat ’em up! Seeing as this is one of my favorite genres, I tend to lean more toward this game being the better of the two. In the game, zombies have taken over the city and you have to find survivors and an escape route before the horde takes over! Each stage tasks you with a specific goal ranging from defend a certain point, to find a set amount of items under a time limit, and even some boss levels where you just have to survive or defeat all enemies. Every person you StreetPass with will give you a weapon based on their favorite hobby, which is easily the coolest part of this entire game. For example, if a Mii’s hobby is video games, they’ll give you a Wii Remote in the game which you can swing like a sword to take out foes. It is a blast discovering all the fun uses of people’s hobbies! I particularly love the reading hobby weapon: A pop-up book that shoots out dragons and spits fire! Each weapon has a basic attack and a special charge attack for those sticky situations. I was impressed at the simple complexity of Battleground Z: Each stage as four challenge goals to obtain which are actually kind of tough, and while they’re not unobtainable they do offer a consistent challenge unlike any other StreetPass game! Out of all eight StreetPass games currently available, I feel as though this is the most fleshed out game of them all, perhaps only comparable to Find Mii or Mii Force.
Like past StreetPass games, you can “Hire” people to play the games instead of having to actually pass by another 3DS user. This is a necessary option since not all of us are in a location where we can StreetPass 10 people on the daily. For just 2 Play Coins (The currency you earn by walking with your 3DS system on and in Sleep Mode) you can hire a person to use in a single game (whereas a physical StreetPass can be used in all games). One huge improvement added to these new games is the ability to hire as many people as possible. Instead of having to manually hire one person after another until you get to your desired limit or the maximum of 10 persons, you can choose to hire the maximum amount from the get-go, eliminating an super annoying problem with previous StreetPass games. A wonderful improvement indeed!
As with past StreetPass games Plaza Tickets are your reward for a job well done. Each Plaza Ticket can be used to unlock hats for your Mii character to display when you StreetPass another player. These range from fun hats like a Santa Hat or Wedding Veil to Nintendo related items like Mario’s cap or an entire Link outfit! There are brand new caps and outfits with this update as well! I have only come across a few so far (including an awesome Splatoon hat I already bought!), but I hope the Nintendo outfits are aplenty and not few and far between. Brand new to this update are customizeable word bubbles, which are seen when you invite people into your StreetPass Plaza. Though not as exciting to me as the hats/outfits having another option to customize yourself is appreciated. And just like the hats there are Nintendo themed bubbles as well (and I already bought the Link Between Worlds theme when it popped up). I haven’t even bought all the previous hats because I didn’t have enough tickets, so the option to have even more stuff to buy with said tickets is a bit daunting. Whether or not you purchase any new games, these new hats and word bubbles will be available once you perform a system update!
That rounds up the new games you can purchase, but there are also some new options you can purchase as well. Known as the StreetPass Mii Plaza Upgrade, this package adds a few new options to enhance an expedite your StreetPass experience. Perhaps the biggest addition in this package includes StreetPass Birthdays. With this option, you will share and receive the birthdates of Miis you StreetPass with, which are then placed in a new Birthdays tab on the Plaza home menu. Your goal is to collect all 366 possible birthdates (Yes, including February 29th!), which to me sounded like a hell of a good time for some reason. You’ll be rewarded for this with Plaza Tickets, which is the kicker for me: all I have to do is just tag a lot of people and I’ll get more Plaza Tickets! Booyah! It might sound silly, but I really like having this bonus option: it gives me just one more reason to take my 3DS with me whenever I go out. Is it worth the $7 alone, definitely not (in fact, it’s something that should arguably be free altogether), but if you’re looking for more StreetPass content you can get it.
Along with the aforementioned birthdays, the Mii Plaza Upgrade also give a few more features. The VIP room allows you to store 100 specific Miis to your system, ensuring they’ll never get kicked out should you tag enough other people. This can be useful if you haven’t completed other StreetPass games like Find Mii and Monster Manor where specific colored Miis are essential. The updated Sound settings allows you, for some reason, to play music from StreetPass through your headphones even when the system is closed and asleep. I guess there’s a lot of music on there, but why I would want to listen to it outside of the actual game is beyond me (you’re not that good, StreetPass game music. Sorry). The Game Vault allows you to move games you no longer play to a vault where they no longer appear on your list of playable games. This makes it so you won’t be prompted if you want to invite new players in without completing your other games, an unnecessary warning for games you’re no longer playing. There are also some nifty new options which let you bypass entire speech conversations with people you StreetPass, making it so you can just welcome them in and start playing the games immediately instead of hearing what they’ve been playing recently and whatnot. The biggest gripe against all this is that it costs money: this is literally a system upgrade that costs money. It should have been included with the free system update, and honestly this doesn’t feel like something Nintendo. I wouldn’t peg them as a company to nickel and dime customers, but that’s exactly what this is. So unless you absolutely want those new features and Birthdays, I say steer clear.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think Nintendo was going to do anything else with the StreetPass Mii Plaza after the first batch of new games back in 2013. Those four new games made StreetPassing pretty damn fun, and I thought after I completed them nearly a year after their release I was done with StreetPass again. But here are a couple of new games and a fun (albeit expensive) new feature that have gotten me back into the StreetPass mode. With a big convention coming up for me that will attract hundreds of 3DS wielding superfans, I am incredibly excited to StreetPass again. And now that I have the option to just bypass all that jargon and unnecessary information, I can StreetPass even faster! So thanks Nintendo, for more ways to play with one of the coolest features on your handheld system! Keep them coming, please!