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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Impressions: Mii Force and Monster Manor

Ten bucks well spent...?
So Nintendo updated Mii Plaza with some new downloadable titles recently, and there was a great deal of complaining about how anything in Mii Plaza should be free because it uses Streetpass and the games can barely be considered "games" and yadda yadda yadda.

This is half-true. Because half of the games in the newest update can be considered "games" and the other two cannot. The two that actually are fun, are Mii Force and Monster Manor. And if you play the other two... well, I'm sorry you wasted your money.

But these two, they're keepers.

It's a bit obvious to see why these two games stand out from the four titles- Mii Force was developed by Good Feel, of Epic Yarn and Wario Land: Shake It! fame, while Monster Manor was developed by Prope, Yuji Naka's studio and creator of Ivy the Kiwi! among others. Prope has had its fair share of work with low-price digital releases, and in comparison, Chunsoft and Grezzo don't have the kind of reputation for creating oddities like these titles. It's pretty apparent, even when you read the descriptions for these titles. Mii Force and Monster Manor sound like games. Warrior's Way and Flower Town do not. But instead of bashing the latter two, I'll focus on why the first two are great.

Mii Force plays like your typical 2D shmup- the player flies through auto-scrolling levels and uses weaponry to annihilate foes that fly across screen. However, weaponry can only be equipped on your ship by recovering weapon pods that house Miis- these Miis are, of course, those that you have Streetpassed with, or bought back with play coins. Every color has a different style of weaponry, from bombs to missiles to beams to bouncing balls. However, you can equip up to ten weapon pods at once, the four pods the furthest away from your ship being the ones used in battle, and the others used to power up those four or switch in if you're hit- getting hit means losing a weapon pod.

So, if you end up gathering ten Streetpasses, you're in luck- you'll probably be a death-machine of insane proportions and beat the level no matter what. However, the real challenge comes from a lack of Streetpasses- can you make it through a level with only three pods, or one...? Having more pods may increase you chances of surviving, and you do get certain advantages for having a large amount of pods intact at the end of a level- but for those who want to crank up the difficulty, Mii Force certainly doe have it- and you can even use play coins to summon a randomized set of pods for use in the levels. Running through Mii Force's fifteen levels isn't hard, but you'll be able to see the scores of those who also own the game at the end of each level and check if you did better than them- it's an arcade-y and endlessly fun approach to Streetpass, and one that works in a way very different than the other Mii Plaza titles, which often rely on a large number of passes or arrivals to make progress or buff characters- while a large amount of arrivals certainly helps in Mii Force, it only makes the game easier.

Monster Manor, on the other hand, is a dungeon-crawling title that mixes elements of both Find Mii and Puzzle Swap to create an extremely awesome experience. You explore grid-like "floors" of a creepy mansion by laying down block pieces given to you by Miis you've Streetpassed or hired with play coins. Once these pieces have been laid down, you can search through the areas, where you can encounter ghosts who will battle you in real time. Creating larger areas of the same color means you might reveal a treasure chest or two, loaded with new weapons, gems, or items that can help you survive the mansion. It's tetris-esque with a battle system that relies just as much on numbers as it does careful planning of moves in response to how enemies attack. With a whopping thirty floors to discover and plenty of different enemy types to encounter, Monster Manor may not be difficult (you don't lose items or money upon death), but it does have its fair share of challenges. You'll encounter enemies which can only be damaged sufficiently by specific weapon types, bosses with insane amounts of HP and deadly attacks, puzzle boxes, team-up functions and more. It's a lengthy experience that you could invest quite a few play coins into, yet unlike Find Mii, each new Mii feels like they really are adding something to your journey rather than chipping off a few more health points from a massive wall of an enemy. I mean, there's actually something to explore in Monster Manor.

When it comes down to it, Mii Force and Monster Manor have gameplay and difficulty, and while they benefit from Streetpasses, they don't rely on them like a crutch. They're fun games that have replayability or engaging content that lasts them far longer than Find Mii could have ever entertained.

And the other two are kind of just lame mini games.

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