Here's a tale of the lengths that editorial director Damien McFerran and editor Tom Whitehead went to in order to test out the new StreetPass games - StreetPass Zombies / Battleground Z and StreetPass Fishing / Ultimate Angler. Due to working in a small UK town and not Tokyo, added to the fact that the StreetPass Plaza update obliterated hard-earned hits from a lunchtime quest for Nintendo Zone hotspots, a post-work tour of sunny Loughborough was required.
In scenes that would raise the suspicions of anyone paying attention, your fearless heroes drove to a local Pizza Hut and loitered in the lobby while awaiting the green light of affirmation. Damien's 3DS was quick to oblige, but Tom's refused, causing him to linger awkwardly for a little too long before retreating.
Next up was McDonald's and, to be fair, looking a bit suspicious while pretending to queue meant that your writers actually blended in quite well with the clientele, with StreetPass redemption for both through additional hits.
Why do we do this? To play cute games that reward us with virtual tickets that can be redeemed on daft virtual hats, outfits and customisable speech bubbles. It's futile, but we can't stop.
That's the power of StreetPass, and as we're addicted to its charms we thought we'd share our thoughts on the latest games on offer. We just can't quit these games - the StreetPass Bunny has a lot to answer for.
StreetPass Zombies / Battleground Z - Damien's Impressions
You might assume - like I did - that StreetPass Zombies (or Battleground Z, depending on where in the world you're playing it) would be the most entertaining of these two new titles, but you'd be mistaken. While there's plenty of button-bashing action on hand and hordes of undead enemies to slay in this light-hearted take on the tried-and-tested zombie apocalypse concept, this actually ends up being the somewhat more shallow experience when compared to StreetPass Fishing - at least that's what my initial impressions would suggest.
The game consists of mini-missions with set objectives, such as finding a certain number of items, defending a building from marauding zombies or merely withstanding waves of attackers for a set period of time. The A button performs an attack with your currently equipped weapon, while holding it down charges up a special attack - of which each weapon has a limited number - that can be deployed to deal with large crowds of zombies. The weapons are refreshingly daft, with your arsenal consisting of Wii Remotes, pillows and boom boxes.
People you've StreetPassed appear as survivors in each mission, cowering in fear and waiting to be rescued. When this happens, they'll happily hand over the weapon they have, and you can toggle these on the touch screen. You don't have an energy bar as such - each weapon you equip has its own vitality, so the more weapons you have, the better your chances are of achieving the mission's objective. Play coins can be used to find more survivors, so even if you don't get a lot of StreetPasses where you live, you can still join in with humanity's fight for survival.
There are a wide range of different zombies to encounter, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. This keeps things interesting, as certain foes are easier to take down with certain weapons, and this encourages experimentation. However, it's hard to escape the realisation that StreetPass Zombies is a glorified button basher - albeit one which is enjoyable in small bursts, which is exactly how it will be played.
StreetPass Fishing / Ultimate Angler - Tom's Impressions
I certainly agree with Damien that this is the new StreetPass game with more depth, which is apt considering its subject matter. The concept sounds underwhelming initially, as you capture fish using bait from StreetPass hits, but after delving in I'm left utterly charmed, and slightly addicted.
This shares a number of similarities, in structure, to Prope's other StreetPass game - StreetPass Mansion / Monster Manor. Like real-life fishing there's equipment required for the task, so instead of levelling up and combining guns to zap ghosts, this time around you're doing similar things with Fishing Rods. You can increase individual areas of a rod's capabilities with a limited number of upgrade points, for example, but combining two rods of the same type increases those upgrade options. Beyond the basic act of fishing you're required to level-up equipment, your Mii (to unlock levels with progress) and to earn money. Throw in aquariums that you can buy and populate, somewhat like the gardens in StreetPass Garden / Flower Town, and you've got a lot to think about.
Away from fishing there's a decent amount going on, then, though we like the implementation of StreetPass Hits with the main activity, too. Each arrival is colour coded and hands over bait, of course, and as you visit different fishing spots some fish can only be caught with specific coloured bait. Each site has multiple targets, but there's a 'Challenge' fish to clear in order to move on; using bait individually to try and catch the right fish, or combining them for a larger, more effective option, adds an extra layer of strategy. The fishing itself is simple, too - using either the A button and Circle Pad or just the touch screen, you grab the fish when it bites and then reel it in, trying not to break your line or to let it get away. It's familiar to anyone that's played a fishing game before, and certainly fun.
This is, for my money, certainly one of the strongest StreetPass games, with plenty of depth and items to obsess over. I've already spent about 80 Play Coins on filling up my boat with artificial StreetPass hits (20 coins each time for a full boat of 10), tackled a 'boss' and enjoyed the madness of a 'fishing frenzy', in which you tap icons on the touch screen to capture a ludicrous amount of fish.
To end with an awful pun, I'm hooked.
Have you picked up either of the new StreetPass games? If so, what do you think? Let us know.