Review by KeyBlade999
"It has longevity; I'll give it that."
Note to the reader: The actual content of this game can vary depending upon what version your system has been updated to. This review discusses things available as of update version number 4.4.0 10U.
~ Review in Short ~
Gameplay: A few modes based heavily on Play Coins. Two of them are RPG-like, whereas another is just collecting. There's also an achievement system. Mildly entertaining.
Story: Given only to the Find Mii RPG-like modes, it is sort of like the original Mario storylines - save the kidnapped monarch to save the kingdom.
Graphics: They are pretty good. The main portion of the game is a bunch of Miis, and there's not a lot of animation, however. The 3D is great as well.
Sound and Music: The sound effects are small in number. However, there is a large number of background themes, all of which are quite amazing.
Play Time: The actual amount of time spent playing should go around forty hours. However, the main longevity comes in for earning Play Coins - it could take you six months or more.
Replayability: Low. This mostly is only given to the Find Mii modes. While one of them has slight non-linearity, they generally are the same, each time around, and usually used just to get Accomplishments.
The Verdict: Given that this is pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS, there is not much I can say in the way of buying it or not. Still, this is a pretty good game to play. It can be a little boring at points, but this can't be (legitimately) oversaturated like other boring games because of the limited amount of Play Coins you can earn. In short, you'll play this on occasion, and those occasions are pretty good.
~ Review in Long ~
If you've paid attention to some of Nintendo's video game strategies in the past few years, you probably have noticed their trend towards socialization. Many of their games are playable with multiple people - Pokemon Black and White Versions (1 and 2), New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Star Fox 64 3D, and many more. The Nintendo DS encouraged wireless multiplayer that people could easily play because it wasn't as tedious to set up as a bunch of Game Link cables. The Nintendo Wii offered motion gaming with up to four players at once for both Wii and GameCube games, not to mention a variety of channels in which you give your opinion on something.
So, in 2011, the Nintendo 3DS comes out. Nintendo probably wants to keep this idea of socialization in tact, but yet, improved in some way. So Nintendo added two options to many games - StreetPass, in which you pass people in real-life that have 3DS's to transfer info, and SpotPass, which is basically connecting to the Internet to get information. These came along with a number of other ideas, including a pedometer, 3D graphics, and augmented reality gaming.
The StreetPass Mii Plaza is a set of games that uses StreetPass, SpotPass, and the Play Coins (earned by the pedometer), and is the primary example of what some of these modes are capable of. Is what they are capable of good, though?
There is definitely not a lot to say as far as this portion goes. The StreetPass Mii Plaza application is pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS, and the Nintendo 3DS came out on March 27, 2011 - for the U.S. anyways.
There are three main modes in this application, in addition to a number of things on the side. The main modes are Puzzle Swap, Find Mii, and Find Mii II (must be downloaded from the Internet). The extra modes include an Accomplishment system, much like Achievements and Trophies but without actual tangible rewards; a Music Player, which can play much of the background music in the game; and a StreetPass map, used to show the home locations of the Miis you've StreetPassed.
A number of these modes will largely be aided by the use of Play Coins. Play Coins can be obtained by putting a turned-on 3DS into Sleep Mode and then walking around. You are able to gain one Play Coin per one hundred steps, and up to ten Play Coins daily.
Puzzle Swap is a fairly idle mode. The basic goal of this is to collect the pieces to a number of puzzles. You can collect pieces by spending Play Coins on them, or by getting pieces from StreetPasses that have pieces you lack. Spending Play Coins is risky, however, as you may get a piece you've already obtained, which does nothing. Each puzzle has fifteen pieces, and there are seven puzzles in all. Additionally, I have seen people with other puzzles that involve many more pieces.
Each of the puzzle pieces will begin to fill in some sort of image. These images are based upon games Nintendo has made - this includes Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, among other Nintendo titles. So, it seems like each puzzle wouldn't take too long to finish, right? I mean, you could finish each one through Play Coins in under a week.
However, there's one thing I've yet to mention. You do not have access to every puzzle board initially. Initially, you'll get one puzzle board. How do you get the others, then? You will need to StreetPass people who have pieces to a puzzle you don't have and then earn a piece to that puzzle. In the end, once you finish a puzzle, you'll basically be able to look at a cool image in 3D, and a lot of these images are also animated in some amazing away. All in all, for such little effort, really, it is quite a decent reward.
Find Mii / Find Mii II:
Both of these games rely on similar principles, especially how they are like turn-based RPGs. In them, you will first need heroes, or warriors. You can get these for free through a StreetPass, or you can spend Play Coins on them. Find Mii II also allows you to spend Play Coins on StreetPassed Miis you've used before. Each hero has a Level from one to seven, which also equals their Strength stat. Play Coin heroes only can be Level 1 or Level 2, whereas the StreetPassed Miis can be up to Level 7, depending on how many times you've already StreetPassed them.
In addition to their Level/Strength stat, the heroes also have a kind of magic associated with them. For StreetPassed Miis, it depends on the color given to the Mii in the Mii Maker; for Play Coin heroes, it is random. This magic can be the traditional RPG-like magic, such as casting fire or water, or inflicting a status, such as sleep or causing a freeze. The spells can also be used to solve various puzzles - for example, to put out fire, you need...? Magic also has elemental properties attached to it which can hit weaknesses, much like you'd expect in Final Fantasy or other RPGs.
In Find Mii II, there are a few other techniques you will need to make use of. Firstly, you can have two characters form a team, which greatly increases their power. They will act as one unit and attack more powerfully. If their magic have similar colors, they can also dual-cast a magic spell, a factor used in solving some puzzles. You can also spend Play Coins on potions. While this does waste the turn of the current hero, this can also help you greatly by raising your damage dealt or by bringing back heroes that have left the battle.
During the course of the game, you'll progress through around a dozen levels. In each, you'll fight some enemies. These enemies have specific amounts of HP and Defense, the latter being subtracted from your Level/Strength so as to subtract from enemy HP. Each hero can generally hit up to three times physically in a round, or more if the enemy fails to attack. You can also cast magic, but only once. If you defeat an enemy, you get to attack again. Otherwise, the enemy will attack and, usually, your hero will flee. Then you have to continue with the next hero in the line-up. Once you run out of heroes, you cannot go further until you get more of them.
The game generally will progress linearly. After finishing a room's enemies, you may receive a hat. This hat is shown on your StreetPass Mii Plaza Mii in StreetPass Mii Plaza. You then go to the next room. In Find Mii II, there are some areas you can choose to go to whenever the path branches off, but, like in Find Mii, you'll still end up at the end of the path for the big boss.
There are a few other modes found in this game that can be used. One is the Slide Show, which is basically a sequential showing of the puzzles in Puzzle Swap that you have completed. Another mode is the Music Player, which can play any of the background music tracks in the StreetPass Mii Plaza that you have heard. There are 35 tracks as of system version 4.4.0 10U. There is also a mode in which you get to look at a map detailing the regions from which you've StreetPassed Miis.
Perhaps the most impressive of these other modes is the Accomplishments listings. Here, you can find a listing of which Accomplishments you've achieved. There are 78 in all, and not every one of them gives their conditions. A number of these are mostly for hallmarks - for example, getting StreetPassing 500 Miis, or finishing Find Mii. Trying to accomplish all of these will take some doing - I have been playing this thing for about eighteen months now and have only met about half of the Accomplishments!
The storyline in this game is applied only, really, to the Find Mii and Find Mii II modes; obviously, Find Mii II is a sequel to Find Mii, to some extent. They both have a similar storyline. Basically, as to take over the kingdom, the monarch of the kingdom is kidnapped by a number of demons, and it is your goal to rescue the monarch.
This story isn't all that bad. However, it is broadly interspersed throughout the game - at the start, and at the end. That's all you really get, plot-wise. Additionally, this type of story just feels over-used. A number of Nintendo's games rely on a similar storyline - a primary example being Super Mario Bros.
For what they are, they aren't too bad. There are a lot worst video games, graphically, although there are some that are better. This "better" side of games in relation to StreetPass Mii Plaza primarily comes in the way of variety. Most of what you'll take note of are a bunch of Miis. That is - backgrounds are pretty much plastered on the back. Oh, sure, they fit, but the only things you'll truly pay attention to are the Miis. They can be quite colorful and full of "emotion", and are overall good to look at, as are the background, but it just leaves me wanting for more than a static background.
SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC: 9/10.
The number of sound effects in this game is admittedly low - most of those consist of the random attack-based sounds from the Find Mii games. However, the background themes are definitely the main focus, acoustically, of this game, and they are quite good. There are around thirty-five tracks in all, each with a varying theme. Most of them that appear in the games are rather fitting - final bosses get rather fast-paced, dark themes, for example. All in all, quite nice.
PLAY TIME: 9/10.
As I stated in the title of this review, this game has longevity, and a lot of it. Let's assume you play the game in an honest manner (i.e. don't cheat to get your Play Coins by messing with the date on the 3DS). It can take you around two to four weeks just to finish one playthrough of either Find Mii game, and that's assuming a fair number of StreetPasses. For me, it was more like a month and a half.
The Puzzle Swap puzzles - seven in all - can take awhile. You will take about 11 days, minimum, to get the Play Coins and pieces. For me, it took me about fifteen months solely because you don't normally get a lot of StreetPasses nowadays. The Accomplishments are mostly incident with gameplay - it's taken me about the past eighteen months to rack up around 35 of the 78 Accomplishments.
All in all, while you will barely spend forty hours actually playing this game, it will likely take you around a year to actually finish it fully, and that's a bare minimum. For me, it'll probably take another year or two.
There is no replaying StreetPass Mii Plaza, to a point. Firstly, it would be annoyingly stupid to delete your progress - while your rewards are intangible, there are certain ones you'd want to keep. Most of your replaying will actually, thusly, come in the Find Mii games.
Replaying these games really doesn't go far beyond the Accomplishment completionism. They are already quite similar in their mechanics, so you are, to a point, playing the same game twice. The only real benefit towards replayability comes in a slight non-linearity for Find Mii II, in which there are multiple paths to take towards the final boss, which basically gives you a slightly different set of puzzles and the like. All in all, though, this is not exactly a game worth replaying.
THE END. Overall score: 7.25/10.
As I have hopefully conveyed to you, StreetPass Mii Plaza is an excellent show of the StreetPass and SpotPass capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, as well as the pedometer and Play Coin system to some extent. Overall, though, the experience given to the player in this set of games is not really exceptional. The gameplay is fairly simplistic and brief, yet forced over many days, weeks, and months due to the limitation of Play Coin gathering. The games are annoying to replay due to repetitivity, and will take years, possibly to complete.
All in all, the StreetPass Mii Plaza is just a "meh" kind of game. It is by no means a Game of the Year candidate (for 2011), and yet, I have played many worse games. It does make carrying around your 3DS somewhat worth it, I'll admit, but this game is not so entertaining you'll want to cheat the system just to get more Play Coins to play the game with.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/13/12
Game Release: StreetPass Mii Plaza (US, 03/27/11)
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