Nintendo may have seen the Wii become a roaring success in Western territories thanks to the inclusion of Wii Sports free of charge, yet it managed to sell a plentiful supply of consoles in Japan alone without the need for any retail title. Therefore, it is now taking the same approach with the Nintendo 3DS, choosing to leave games out of the deal. However, there are a few little extras included in the hardware itself that will not only act as a fantastic example of the technology, but will also undoubtedly keep gamers busy until they decide to purchase a full price gaming product.
Nintendo has been touting its StreetPass features as a great way to interact with other people whilst wandering around in day-to-day life. Simply stick the 3DS into Sleep Mode and carry it around wherever on your travels, then come back home to see what data has been transferred from the 3DS unit of any random passersby, be it new Mii characters or even updates on games that have interacted with partner titles found in systems taken on the road. However, Nintendo has decided to include two further reasons for people to bring their 3DS along for the ride - StreetPass Quest and Puzzle Swap. The former is a simple adventure filled with turn-based battles using heroes that look like little cat Mii characters, with some rabbit ones turning up every now-and-then.
In terms of storyline, the main Mii created on the 3DS, classed as the Ruler of the 3DS kingdom for all intents and purposes, has been kidnapped and locked away in a cage atop Mirage Tower. The only way to rescue him/her/it is to find heroes through the StreetPass feature and have them battle through thirteen different rooms to daringly rescue the King Mii. For those that do not have the opportunity to gather friends / strangers for addition to their collection, though, the ever-sagacious Nintendo has added the option to ‘Hire a Hero’ for the cost of two coins a pop (coins being accrued via the internal pedometer that awards one for every hundred footsteps done with the 3DS in Sleep Mode, with a maximum of ten coins bestowed per day). Once five valiant warriors have been amassed, choosing ‘Venture Forth’ leads to the arduous trial of StreetPass Quest commencing.
At this point, upon breaching the entrance of the Fort of Summoning, each Mii animal character faces off against spirits, using magic or physical attacks to defeat the ghostly apparitions blocking progression to the summit of Mirage Tower. Along the way, encounters are with ghosts of varying sizes - small and large, small with shields, as well as ones with heavy armour that prevents Level One warriors from even making a dent. A crew of five may infer a lack of difficulty, however, players should be wary that travelling fighters grow weary quickly and desert the team during the adventure after one mere round of attacks, meaning that new warriors must be enlisted on a regular basis. The incentive to keep plodding along is that, upon defeating an enemy, sometimes special treasure chests appear that contain items such as Mario’s Cap, a Kirby Cap or Red Pikmin Hat that can be worn by your StreetPass Mii.
The music for StreetPass Quest definitely helps to set the tone perfectly throughout, helping to make the experience even more enjoyable. It is thoroughly Olde English at the start, with pan pipes, trumpets and cymbals all cleverly mixed together, but when in the actual battle stages, it becomes an entirely different beast and the soundtrack takes on a far more triumphant tone, akin to the overworld sections of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, merged with the running drum, strings and emphatic peaks often found in classic turn-based Squaresoft RPGs from the 16-bit Golden Age of the Super Nintendo. Audio-wise, Nintendo has put considerable effort into StreetPass Quest, although sometimes the 3DS speakers do not quite do it justice, so use of earphones is recommended. In the visual stakes, StreetPass Quest uses the usual limbless style Mii 3D models, yet on the small 3DS screen they look as equally alluring, if not more so, as on Wii. Players are lavished with plenty of bright colours throughout, although the medieval theme is employed for the setting as players work their way through the basement of the Fort, through Gloomy Grotto caves and up into the Mirage Tower where the monarch is being held captive.
Every aspect of StreetPass Quest shows care and attention that would not normally be expected from a free product. The game may only consist of a set number of turn-based battles, yet the mixture of ghost types, different strength of heroes, and the strategic use of magic (each warrior has a colour, twelve in total, with different colours representing magic types - ferocious fire, mighty sandstorm, poisonous gas, strengthen the next hero, and so on) makes for a surprising amount of depth, as does the option to choose ‘Next’ to change the order of fighters when faced with the tougher ghosts further into the adventure. With a total of sixteen hats to collect, not all of which can be collected the first time you play through, as well as the fact that play can be fast-forwarded by holding R to skip repeated scenes and animations, Nintendo has thought of almost everything to ensure StreetPass Quest is enough to keep the attention of 3DS owners.
The turn-based mechanic is a tried-and-tested gameplay technique that works just as well as ever. However, Nintendo’s addition of an ability to switch the line-up around in order to use the best tactics without losing a turn is ideal given the circumstances surrounding heroes leaving your team after one round of fighting. Simple, addictive fun right to the end.
Nintendo has used the cute and colourful 3D Mii models from Wii, thrown in some fantastic graphical touches to add extra flare, as well as mixing it all with some atmospheric backgrounds and magical effects.
There is nothing scaled back for this soundtrack, with a multitude of different pieces of music stretched across the various rooms visited. StreetPass Quest’s tunes rival some of the classic 16-bit era RPGs from Squaresoft and even The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past from Nintendo itself.
What needs to be remembered is that this free of charge title is meant to be played over a long period of time, trading 3DS coins for Hired Heroes, as well as collecting more warriors via StreetPass on your travels. The thirteen main ghost-filled rooms that need to be overcome, the extra tests and incentive to come back for more are good enough to be paid for, so having it all completely gratis is a real treat.
StreetPass Quest is the sort of adventure that could easily have been sold for 200 Points on the DSiWare service, but Nintendo has decided to include the highly enjoyable turn-based RPG completely free of charge and added plenty of incentives to ensure players come back repeatedly to complete the challenge, as well as collect everything available. This is definitely one of the many reasons to keep Nintendo 3DS owners happy until they find a retail game truly worth buying.
There's definitely more going for it that Nintendo suggest - infact it's hardly mentioned in the instruction manuals, but this and StreetPass Puzzle are two minigames to really take over your time (Quest more so), get you walking around with your 3DS on Standby too.
Good review! Haven't really gone this far with it, good to know what it's like further on.
I haven't seen any website yet showing off pictures of the actual "exploring" in this game, only the battle scenes. I wonder what it looks like.
But wait... there actually isn't any exploration, is there ? So it's just chaining battles with nothing in-between ?
( Edited 18.03.2011 00:55 by Kafei2006 )
This is only battling. The 'adventure' itself is using StreetPass in the real world and collecting new friends
Really great free addition to the 3DS, and has been encouraging me to carry my 3DS in Sleep Mode everywhere I go!
What other types of magic are there and how does it work? Interested to know more about this. Nobody seems to talk about it!
The 3DS just keeps getting better and better, huh? Free games for everyone with their purchase!
I really like the idea of steet pass mii and this just adds to it. I feel most 3ds users will be encouraged to take their 3ds along with them when they go out to get the coins which will also bring on meeting other Street pass quest players without even arranging it! I really like this idea as I live 50km from the city and rarely encounter other pple with a ds, so this hopefully bring more interactions!
please come on Mii Streetpass. Thanks Katie.
At the moment, even the Mii characters I picked up at the launch event were only Level 1 or 2 wanderers, but presumably if the character levels increase the more StreetPass is used...