Tag Archives: Miis

2017 Game Review Haiku, #118 – Miitopia

Stop the Dark Lord’s plan
Build relationships, eat grub
Fight faces, some grind

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

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Buy low, sell high, and make bank with Market Crashers

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Remember when I beat Crimson Shroud some time back and opened up a ton of free space on my Nintendo 3DS? No? Well, click here to read more about that and then come back so, sequentially, you are following along with this story. It might help. Right. Well, with all that free space prime for the filling, I went and downloaded a bunch of other things, such as updates to Pokémon Shuffle and that freemium Pokémon Picross thing, which I’ve kind of only touched twice since and not for very long. Aside from those, I also grabbed a free new StreetPass mini-game from Nintendo as part of their promotion of a whole bunch of new StreetPass mini-games, deciding between Slot Car Rivals, a racing game, and Market Crashers, a business simulation game. You can figure out which one I picked.

Ultimately, Market Crashers is a fast-paced decision-making game. You know how in those Telltale games like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones you only have so long to reply to someone before the scene moves forward? It’s all that. Except money is at stake instead of someone’s friendship or, as it often happens, their life. Anyways, you are a new day trader to the market scene, and so you’ll need the help of analysts to ensure you are making the best estimations of the market. This is where the StreetPassing comes in, as each person you connect with will help show a stronger forecast of how the market will play out. That way you know when to buy low and sell high or hold back. Or, if you are like me, buy one share and then immediately freeze up from a panic attack over not wanting to mess up, ironically messing up nonetheless.

You can buy up to ten shares at a time from fictitious companies like Piece-By-Piece Deliveries and Kingfinder Studios. Purchasing a share is as easy as hitting a button; in fact, that’s what you do–the A button buys shares and the Y button sells. As time trudges forward, an analyst might say that there is big news, and this could either be a big drop or rise. The short goal for Market Crashers is to do well and earn money, using those StreetPassed Miis to the best of their ability, and the longer goal is to earn a massive amount of money, with the first flag being $10 million. Hmm. In the two sessions I played, I earned money, and then I lost money, so that longer goal might forever be a longer goal for me.

Stocks are definitely not my thing, both in real life and, now I can confirm, in videogame form. Watching line graphs grow and change isn’t all that exciting, and knowing that an investment is behind those ups and downs is more than enough to stress me out greatly. Then there’s also the requirement of making rapid-fire decisions to get things done. Um, no. I’m not good at that. I’m a thinker, a muller (not to be confused with a mullet), a man of wonder, and I’m always one hundred percent too afraid to instantly commit to something in the matter of a few seconds. Chances are, that never works out great for me. I’d rather assess the scenario, really study it, and then dive in. In the end, I’d make a better analyst than day trader.

I don’t know. Maybe I should have gone with that little car racing game. It’s too late now to go back, and I don’t expect to hit many more areas with lots of people carrying their Nintendo 3DS around–thanks, MICE 2016!–so I’ll just stick with collecting puzzle pieces and earning new hats via multiple playthroughs of Find Mii 2.

Eat bread, make friends, belt out a ballad, and more in Tomodachi Life

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Since its announcement, I’ve been pretty excited for Tomodachi Life. Watching the gang over at Giant Bomb play through some of its silliness and strangeness during one of the latest Unprofessional Fridays really helped seal the deal, and so I went right out the next day to snag a retail copy of the game. True, this is the sort of game one might want a digital version of so they can pop into it any time they want, but I’m a physical collector at heart. Truthfully, I was surprised to see it priced at $40.00 and initially balked, but decided it is ultimately better to support the quirky titles from Nintendo in hopes of more quirky titles from Nintendo. Paying it forward, y’know.

Anyways, you start out by creating an avatar to be your first island inhabitant. Naturally, narcissistic tendencies took over, and I selected the Mii modeled after me from my Mii Plaza. They refer to this dude as a “Pauly look-alike,” which is pretty cute and, at the same time, alarming. The clones will overtake us all. You can then fill an apartment with more Miis; some I downloaded off the Internet, a few more came over from the Mii Plaza, and I made one or two new ones from scratch. If you want a taste of what my islanders amount to, then here: Shaq, April Ludgate, Ron Swanson, Matt Mason, Minerva McGonagall, Satoru Iwata, and more. Plus, I have about six-seven more empty apartments to fill, but I’m in no rush to see those rooms occupied.

Tomodachi Life is a game best played in small bursts, and slowly at that. You navigate the island, which is more or less a collection of different button prompts, via the touchscreen and stylus. You can go to the food store and see what the daily specials are, you can visit the town fountain and watch as your Miis donate some coin, and you visit event spots like the beach or park to see if anything neat is going down. The main meat of the island is the apartment building, and here you can check in on your Miis. Some may be sleeping, some may be out at their day job, and some may be in someone else’s pad, schmoozing and boozing. Here, you can loosely interact with the Miis, giving them food, clothing, and accessories, and they’ll occasionally want to play a mini-game with you. Some are real simple, like grab an item as it falls, and others are more fun, like guessing what a pixelated item ultimately is. As you interact with these Miis, they level up and can gain additional items, songs, and catchphrases, as well as grow to like–I mean that romantically–other Miis.

I love how Tomodachi Life looks and sounds. Let’s start with visuals. We’re all pretty familiar with how Miis look at this point in Nintendo’s history, and despite just how little customization there actually is around them, they always end up looking strikingly similar to their inspirations. Like, my Ron Swanson…it’s uncanny. Speaking of looking like real-life stuff, the pictures of the food you can buy–as well as the hilarious flavor text–really help sell the entries as digital representations that I actually want to purchase. Just ignore that fact that the shopkeeper is a man with a block of wood for a head…

Audio plays a big part, too. There’s not a ton of background music, but what is there is fine. However, it really does all come down to listening to the Miis talk, whether they have a super high pitch or deeply deep growl. And they say whatever you want them to say, granted you can’t get too crass or pervy as Nintendo is wont to censor that kind of stuff. I love hearing the game refer to them by their actual names out loud. In the past, when you get to name a character, like in an RPG, it was always disappointing to never hear other characters audibly call him or her out in a cutscene. Whenever you win or lose a mini-game, an unseen studio audience cheers or boos, respectively, and you can also have Miis perform some karaoke or write your own songs; I’ve not really delved too deep into that stuff, but it seems ripe for silliness.

I’m enjoying my sporadic sessions with Tomodachi Life, though I do find it easy to burn through just about everything it offers in a single session, leaving me to just sit and stare at an apartment building’s windows, waiting for something, anything, to happen. This quirky title is not long for the world, but that’s okay. It’s a great piece of strange and unpredictable side content for Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and it should help fill in the blank days while we all wait–yes, you should be waiting, too–for Fantasy Life this autumn. I don’t know if I’ll write any further on Tomodachi Life, but you never know–it’s so unpredictable, like that time I gave Minerva a bowl of fried rice and she sky-rocketed into space, so delighted in tasting her favorite food. Yeah, it’s bizarre Nintendo at its best.

Oh, and if you want to add me to your island, by all means, show me a great time:

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Disney Magical World simply asks you to collect the world

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I ended up nabbing a copy of Disney Magical World for the Nintendo 3DS a couple weeks ago and have been chipping away at it ever since. The first GameStop I went to, however, didn’t even have a single copy available since, according to the slack-jawed guy behind the counter, “We got no pre-orders for it.” Hmm. I went home defeated, but returned a few days later to a different GameStop and was lucky enough to snatch from the shelves their only copy. I guess the game isn’t in high demand, since everyone probably has Animal Crossing: New Leaf to keep them busy daily, and I get that. But I was also very curious about what Disney Magical World does differently. Surprisingly, a lot.

First off, you’re not the mayor of this magical castle and the realms surrounding it. Instead, you’re you. Well, at least I am. You can either create an avatar from scratch or use a Mii you’ve previously created, and I love seeing my Mii in action in games like Find Mii 2, so I went down that path. Plus, for a game all about customizable clothes, I want to see what I look like in a Mickey-themed apron–and only a Mickey-themed apron–not some passable clone of an avatar. Anyways, you’re dropped into this magical world with no big, hard goal to complete; instead, you’re out to earn stickers, which will help unlock other areas in the hub world, as well as give you new recipes for clothes, furniture, and other stuff. Early on, you’ll unlock one thing after another, so the pacing and progression is constantly rewarding, but around the 28-33 sticker mark, I hit a lull and had to actively plan on getting some stickers to help keep things going forward. Not a major problem, really, as by then there’s plenty of other stuff to occupy your brain even if, technically, progress is stalled.

See, Disney Magical World is one big collectathon. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a combination of collectibles and marathon, and that’s the fuel driving every action you more or less take here. In all the various hub worlds, spots on the ground will shimmer just like in JRPGs like Dragon Quest IX and Ni no Kuni, indicating an item to find, and these glow spots refresh pretty quickly if you’re looking to grind for, say, balloon apples. You can also gain items from fishing, doing miscellaneous fetch quests, and killing ghosts (more on that later). Some of these items are good for selling, some for mixing to create recipes, and some for making clothes and furniture. And some are more rare than others, requiring you to devote a decent chunk of time to fishing or planting crops to gain ’em. It’s a lot of alchemy without the alchemy pot, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s taking one item and fusing it with another to create something even cooler.

Pretty early on, you end up being the manager of the local café, which I decided to call the Drinkpad. This means you can select and create the dishes served for customers, change the room’s layout and theme, and throw big parties, the kind that might even gain the attention of some of the bigger Disney characters, like Stitch and Cinderella. There are even café-specific quests to complete, and this is where you’ll make most of your money, so long as you keep on top of inventory stock and what the people really want. Eventually, you’ll get to live above the café and can also decorate your bedroom a bit; not to the crazy extent of some other life simulator, but enough to make it feel like yours. I appreciate the ability to change your background music.

Strangely, my favorite aspect of Disney Magical World, so far, is the combat. Yeah, you read that correctly–the combat. Whenever I describe the gameplay of Animal Crossing: New Leaf to someone, I always make sure to mention that there’s no fighting, no boss battles, and hand-to-hand violence. That you just live a life and collect stuff and make your own non-violent fun. And the same can be said here as well, but you also get to take on missions that have you dungeon-crawling and zapping ghosts with your wands. It’s not a very complicated system; you can shoot a blast of energy from your wand with a simple button tap or hold to charge up for a stronger shot. Depending on your gear, you also get a set number of magic spells to use, though you can refill these as you go along, gathering items, hitting switches, and exploring the map. Instead of a roll, you can twirl out of the way of enemies by hitting the shoulder button, and that’s pretty important as, so far as I’ve seen, there’s no way to recover your health along the way. At the end of each dungeon is a boss ghost, complete with a long health bar to deplete, and upon kicking its butt, you’re rewarded even more items for your inventory. It’s not very challenging, but it helps break up the pace of simply running around, farming glow spots.

Honestly, there’s a lot to this game. I’ve not even touched on everything, though this post is now getting kinda long. I’ll write more later, I knows it. But yeah, just like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Disney Magical World is perfect for picking up and playing for ten or fifteen minutes only to realize a half hour has gone by and I still need to collect more character cards and check on Pooh’s garden and find a pumpkin so I can go to Cinderella’s ball and and and…

Anticipating the strangeness that is Nintendo’s Tomodachi Life

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Over the years here on Grinding Down, I’ve gotten further and further away from what other websites might call “preview coverage” of the videogames still to come out. Mainly the ones I’m interested in. Which is, without a doubt, dozens upon dozens. Really, I want to play just about anything, though we all know, based on time, money, and the consoles I do own, that is never going to happen. Instead, I prefer to wait until I can actually get my stumpy little hands on the game and experience it for myself, that way the words I’m writing at least come out with confidence and a certainty that you can’t get by imagining what a game might be like. I mean, I remember thinking Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, based on a few screenshots alone, was going to be awesomely magical, and it was everything but that.

Wait, wait, wait. Before we begin, let me give y’all my early thoughts on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. If two full-fledged games and 492 packs of DLC were not enough to sate your hunger for guns and loot and farming pearls, good news–there’s going to be more Borderlands action for you. It’s set on the moon. A new move lets you “ground pound.” You can play as the wise-cracking Claptrap. I’m just setting myself up for disappointment here, as I’m probably going to pick up regardless because, well, I find the gameplay pretty addicting. There, I came clean.

Moving on. Let’s talk about Tomodachi Life, recently announced today in an unannounced Nintendo Direct to be coming out for the Nintendo 3DS this summer (June 6, 2014 to be exact), right around the same time Animal Crossing: New Leaf dropped last year. It’s the localization version of Tomodachi Collection, a unique mash-up of The Sims playful style of gameplay using your customized Miis for a whole bunch of zany nonsense. I think nonsense is a great descriptor for Tomodachi Life, and if you don’t believe, please do watch that Nintendo Direct again. Eyes open, mind open. As of late, Nintendo’s not been afraid to get weird, and I’m really digging that mentality. However, they need to figure out what they prefer–unwavering loyalty to the classic franchises to the point that they feel unnecessary, such as with Yoshi’s New Island, or mixing things up with oddball titles like NES Remix and Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball.

So, what is Tomodachi Life? Well, from the outside looking in, it’s your own personal soap opera. You fill a town with Miis–ones you’ve created or gotten from StreetPassing and so on–and you give all of these Miis distinct personalities. Digitalized voices too. After that, a lot of what happens in this alternate reality is…well, out of your hands. You and your Miis will go on adventures, fall in love, break hearts, be weird, dream a little dream, sing songs, etc. For those looking for a little more guidance, Miis have specific desires for food, clothes, other accessories, and even relationships, and they will sometimes want to play minigames with you, one of which looks like a turn-based RPG in the same vein as Find Mii. It’s not a day-to-day simulation á la Animal Crossing, more like checking in on your gaggle of Miis and seeing what trouble they get into. I personally hope to fall in love with Samus Aran and woo her away from Iwata.

Just like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Tomodachi Life supports Nintendo’s Image Share tool, which means you can expect my Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages to be constantly updated with the batshit antics my Mii gets up to. This push for social media interactivity makes perfect sense for this kind of game, where it is all about the seemingly unexplainable moments. Now you can just share them with everybody else with the click of a couple of buttons and watch the “likes” roll in.

Lastly, and let this be understood–the existence of Tomodachi Life on U.S. shores is a great thing, as it means there’s still hope for Fantasy Life. You haven’t forgotten about that one, have you? I certainly haven’t.

Find Mii 2 really ups the ante

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Find Mii. It’s one of two minigames found within the StreetPass Mii Plaza for the Nintendo 3DS, and the quickest and easiest way to sum it up is a bare-bones RPG that rewards players with new hats for their Mii. Your Mii is captured, and you have to recruit other Miis via connecting with 3DS systems or purchasing cat/dog soldiers to fight off ghosts and save your Mii. Which turns out to be the king/queen of this unnamed fantasy realm. Options for combat boil down to attacking three times with a sword or using magic; there are one or two moments where strategy is vital for progress, but otherwise, so long as you can boost your heroes’ levels or connect multiple times with other Miis, it’s easy sailing. But at least it’s something to do with the Miis you collect other than, y’know, grabbing a random puzzle piece–and sometimes not even that.

I made a huge dent in Find Mii back in September thanks to attending SPX 2011, where a good number of other 3DS champions attended, too. I basically plowed through my second playthrough of the minigame up to the point of the final two or three battles thanks to other comics-loving Mii avatars, especially Madéleine Flores. Then I kinda stopped carrying my 3DS around all the time to collect Play Coins and hopefully tag other people, and so I was a little miffed to discover that the minigame’s sequel, Find Mii II, newly acquired with the latest software update for the system, is only accessible to those that had collected all the hats already. Meaning, I had to blow a bunch of Play Coins just to complete the first adventure and begin to see how the second one shaped up.

So I did that, and now Find Mii II is in progress, and while it is the same minigame as before, it’s also not. It’s Find Mii, but updated to the max. Beyond eleven. It throws in so much new stuff that it’s actually hard to remember it all, but I guess that’s why I blog, to make words permanent and visible and possibly interesting.

Story-wise, your Mii’s children, wig-wearing pieces of epic royalty, have been kidnapped, and you must rescue them. I think your own Mii is taken, too, but I can’t remember. I was a bit hypnotized by seeing my kid represented as a blonde wig-wearing version of myself. Players can now take multiple paths through a dungeon, resulting in different challenges and acquired hats.

Combat used to involve two strategies: melee attacks or magic. Both had their uses, but other than that, there weren’t many other options. Now Mii soldiers can used combo attacks based on the color of their shirts or fuse into one leveled up soldier. Here’s what is known so far:

Team Combo Special Effects
Black + White Break Shadowlight Shields
Red + Pink ???
Blue + Light Blue ???
Yellow + Yellow Clear Poisonous Room

Did I mention that you can also use Play Coins to hire a Mii in your plaza to fight for you? Well, you can. It’s pricey, but worth it when you got some level 4 Miis standing around collecting e-dust. And also comes in handy when you reach a room that requires a certain colored shirt Mii to progress. Some enemies require strategy too, since I’ve come across a ghost that makes a mirage copy version and a slime that heals itself if you’re not effective enough.

Potions are new, too. You purchase them with Play Coins during combat, and here’s the ones I’ve seen so far:

  • Vial of Valor (8 Play Coins) – Calls back up to three heroes who have left
  • Power Potion (20 Play Coins) – Boosts your heroes’ levels

Whew. See? A lot of shtuff.

Considering there’s an Accomplishment for completing Find Mii five times and multiple paths to take, I suspect I’ll be plugging away at this for some time now. Looking forward to the 2012 comics con scene for more tags so that I can show everyone my sweet Laytonesque Top Hat. I’m sure there’s a lot of other cool hats, but for me, that’s all my Mii needs.

Latest Nintendo 3DS firmware update adds Accomplishments, new Mii hats, and more

Last night, Xbox Live got an update, and this morning, my Nintendo 3DS got an update. Of the two, I’m loving the latter way more. Let me show you what it brings to the table.

After simultaneously recharging my dying battery and downloading the update, the first thing I noticed on my 3DS was a new app called the Nintendo Zone, which promises special content when connecting with certain free wi-fi hotspots. There’s none near Grimmauld Place, and I have no idea where any nearby would be. The 3DS Camera app now has a toggle for either taking video or stills; hopefully you can record video for a decent amount of length, and not a mere 30 seconds or something. Otherwise, that’d be a waste, but I’ll have to wait until later to give it a try. Early reports mention up to ten minutes of recording, with time-lapse being an optional setting. Cool.

Seems like the most new additions are found within the Mii Street Plaza. Fine by me! First, we have Achievements. Well, Nintendo is calling them Accomplishments, which is way better than Accolades, but whatever–they work all the same. Do this, and earn a shiny red exclamation point. The nicest thing is that upon simply loading up the Plaza, I unlocked 15+, meaning they are retroactive. I got one for having over 50 Miis in my plaza and another for having Miis from two different regions (United States and Canada, snatch). Speaking of that, there’s a geographical map to show you exactly where all your Miis come from; I’ve got a lot of East Coast staters, with some strangely from California, too. And you can now get Miis from using SpotPass. A music player lets to kick back and hear some battle tunes. There is a sequel to Find Mii, offering new hats, but only if you’ve found all the ones from the previous game, which I’ve not yet done–I’m one hat away. And new puzzles for Puzzle Swap. Oh man, looks like I’m going to be walking around with my 3DS in sleep mode a lot more than usual.

This firmware update now also allows content to be moved between 3DS systems, and the eShop has also been updated to support demos and downloads when the system is in sleep mode.

Whew.

Next on the list before 2011 runs out is us 3DS Ambassadors getting 10 free GBA games. This little handheld of mine is going to be bursting with So Much Stuff. Not a bad thing. Not at all.