looking back at 2013, it might surprise people to see what my most-played games of the year were. yes, fire emblem awakening (65:10) and animal crossing: new leaf (52:43) are up there, but streetpass mii plaza clocks in at 43:07, and is my most-played 3DS game overall with a whopping 71:53 of play time and rising.
i blogged about the two launch titles in streetpass mii plaza, puzzle swap and find mii in late 2011, 3DS’s first year, and at that time had praised the cleverness of streetpass in general. i hadn’t gone into great depth on the games themselves, but find mii was a nicely tuned, casual take on an RPG with different miis providing different benefits based on the color of their shirts. shortly after that post a second quest was added, find mii ii, that not only included a more-complex and involved adventure (including a host of new mechanics including: being able to hire previously met miis, create combo attacks, and purchase potions), but also included a “secret” quest as an additional third adventure, in addition to a range of useless achievements and new hats. these additions really tipped the experience over the border of “entertaining diversion” to “dangerously addictive” territory, and after finally getting the last puzzle swap piece somewhat recently and thinking about how adroitly the designers have balanced the streetpass mechanics with a casual yet still engaging basic RPG and how much time i’ve sunk into the games i’ve had to somewhat belatedly induct this along with puzzle swap (the pair of streetpass mii plaza games) into my all-time greatest games hall of fame.
earlier this year nintendo had one of its out of the blue releases, an additional four streetpass-based adventures released in NA in mid-july in the form of mii force, flower town, warrior’s way, monster manor. although different people will have their favorites the general consensus is that mii force, a streetpass take on a shoot ’em up, and monster manor, a hybrid tetris-esque puzzle and very light RPG game, are the highlights. my money’s definitely on monster manor b/c to me it better captures the essence of the streetpass mii plaza experience, which is brevity, and which mii force‘s breaks due to its fixed-length stages (so much so that now whenever i play through my latest batch of miis i play all the games except for that one).
it’s impossible to avoid comparing them to the perfectly balanced experience of find mii and find mii ii, and after having played the set of games for months now, as a collection i’d definitely have to rank them below the initial streetpass offerings. as a group they still manage to make it near the top of my list of games of the year, and there’s no question that i’ll continue to be coming back to them again and again as i work my way bit by bit towards completing each game’s objectives as i have done since they were released, made even easier than ever thanks to increased 3DSes in the wild and the streetpass relay functionality that nintendo rolled out a few months ago and that provide streetpasses in bulk at fixed locations and which i’ve never taken advantage of (to find your nearest location, see this tool at nintendo.com). all in all streetpass continues to be, in my mind, a big part of my enjoyment of the system as a whole. the little green flashing light that indicates a streetpass is always a pleasant reminder that everywhere i go there are people who are enjoying nintendo’s unique experiences just as much as i am.
some addictive and varied streetpass mii plaza games links:
– nintendo.wikia.com has a lot of good info on the various streetpass mii plaza games
– the wiki on gamefaqs is the best reference for the games
– this thread at gamefaqs has info on the exact, completely non-obvious method for getting the final key in find mii ii’s secret quest
– and for other games games have streetpass functionality, check out this list with details, at nintendo.wikia.com
– impressions at nintendolife