Nintendo, as promised in their recent Nintendo Direct video, released the latest update to StreetPass Mii Plaza this week (4.16.2015) that includes two new games, a set of free updates, and the ability to purchase a set of paid enhancements. Let's dive into all the details!
THE FREE UPDATE
3DS owners should receive a SpotPass notification (via that tantalizing, blue LED light) that the update is available. Upon launching the application, users are treated to a nice overview of the updates—along with a few short download progress bars (that, unfortunately, are not skippable or able to take advantage of the eShop's handy" Download Later" feature).
The features for those who don't want to pay any money are: the ability to hide games in the "Game Vault," the ability to rearrange the order of the games in your plaza, and the ability to use Plaza Tickets to get new speech bubbles for your greeting when people StreetPass with you.
And, of course, the ability to listen to the StreetPass Rabbit's sales pitches for all the paid content.
In typical Nintendo fashion, there are a lot of screens updating you about the updates. They really want you to know that changes are happening; but, hey, that's better than making this stuff hard to find.
THE PLAZA: WHAT'S CHANGED?
Above on the left, you can see a few tweaks to the look of the plaza. Most notably, you'll now get a star icon on some games. I don't know what that means, but I know it wasn't there yesterday. If you know, drop a note in the comments.
On the right, you can see the interface for adding games to the Game Vault (this is a new icon on the main menu). Putting a game in the vault will actually remove it from the menu. I haven't yet purchased any of the new games, and it doesn't look like they've added additional empty game slots, so it's possible that you can only have a total of eight icons (in other words, it might force you to put some games in the Vault if you buy all the available games). I'll update this post if and when I buy some of the new games; otherwise, feel free to share your experience.
THE NEW GAMES
The two new games have to be the most exciting aspect of this update. I'll admit that it's a little strange to get a fishing game and a zombie game in the same update, but Nintendo does like to keep its fans guessing.
Remember that, while each game is $4.99 if you buy them individually, the Rabbit will you let you purchase them together for a discounted price of $7.99. Deals!
Ultimate Angler, the fishing title, will presumably have you fishing with Mii characters that you meet via StreetPass. Maybe you even get to curate a fish collection? More on this when I get a chance to play with the game.
The other game, Battleground Z, is Nintendo's foray into the still-popular zombie craze. Since you're saving the world from the zombie-pocalypse, you'll be relying on weapons and tools from StreetPass interactions with other Miis.
I should note that I am not considering this a review of these games by any means. I haven't even played them yet! For now, this is just an overview of what the games are.
THE PREMIUM PLAZA UPGRADE
Finally, there is an option to pay another $4.99 to upgrade your Plaza in three key ways: the ability to skip portions of the "conversations" when reviewing your latest StreetPasses, a VIP room to permanently store your favorite Miis, and collect Mii birthdays to try to earn a lot of Plaza Tickets.
The VIP Room and StreetPass Birthdays options are new icons on the main menu, while the conversation shortening options are in the Settings menu.
It's also interesting to note that the Rabbit uses a "tablet" to show pictures when you ask to learn more about any of the new features/games. This is, of course, just an aesthetic choice, but it's another indicator of Nintendo's gradual acceptance of the pervasiveness of other mobile devices.
Here's an example of one of the paid features, StreetPass Birthdays:
I don't know that I think $4.99 is totally worth it for the few options in the premium upgrade. If you're someone who really doesn't like reading anything about new Miis that you meet, then perhaps that's enough to get you to open your wallet.
Personally, I like seeing info about other 3DS owners I happen to pass by; it's fun to see more about likeminded folks who unknowingly walked by me, also carrying their 3DS. But, if you live somewhere where you get so many StreetPasses that it's really a burden, then go for it. I'd rather have the option of shortening the dialogue in the actual StreetPass games.
So, will you be taking advantage of any the new options, like Game Vault? Buying one or both of the new StreetPass games? Paying to get the premium Plaza features? Share your story in the comments, and happy StreetPassing!