Saturday, September 6, 2014

StreetPass Games Revisited: Mii Force

Now that I've had the opportunity to play the four newer StreetPass games a bunch, I'm going to do a quick series of four posts dedicated to each game and my thoughts after so much gameplay.  I can say for certain that there are some common complaints, but in general they're all still worth the money and I'll stand by my original statement of "just buy the bundle".  Each of these posts will also provide some general tips, but nothing that would supplant the use of a guide on GameFAQs or anything.

As the title of this post would suggest, this post is about Mii Force.

Plaza tickets are a somewhat decent but not perfect measure of the amount of time invested in the game versus the intended length of the game, so...  I have one plaza ticket remaining, which I will get once I complete Arcade Mode.  I keep derping in 4-2 or 4-3...  I'll get it someday.

I don't believe I've seen either the mechanic of being able to rotate your weapons around your ship, or the mechanic of being able to reconfigure your weapons at will in any other sidescrolling shooter.  The range of weapons is pretty good, but surprisingly the game is still fairly challenging, especially once you start trying to get the plaza tickets for completing various goals in each stage.  The tasks required to do these things range from annoying to challenging.  Sometimes to get one of the treasures in a stage, you'll have to destroy two large enemies simultaneously, including the final boss on one stage.  Other stages have treasures and alternate routes that require specific weaponry to be on your ship in order to get them.  Pausing and rearranging your weapons can make certain parts of stages easier, so keep that on your mind.  Also, you can rotate your weapons around your ship while you're paused, which can help speed you up in the later stages that tend to have less time between waves of enemies.

If you require a color that you don't have available, or you're in either of the frustrating situations where you have it but the pod doesn't show up until after you need it, or just aren't getting lucky with your StreetPasses, you're boned.  You can alleviate this using play coins to hire old allies, but you still need to have StreetPassed a Mii of the color that you want to hire, and if that color so happens to be brown, you might be out of luck since nobody chooses brown.

The game forces you to sit through its dialogue scenes after you've seen them five million times.  I get it, there's a story.  However, this game is designed to be replayed a lot, so give me the option to skip dialogue scenes and get on with it, please.  Also, at some points, it just flat-out ignores when you're holding R to speed things up.  If you get a game over on a stage, it's actually faster to hit Home and restart StreetPass Mii Plaza than it is to sit through the game over screen.  I get it, I suck, let me deal with it on my own time.

Beating the final boss in stage 5-3 unlocks Arcade Mode on the main menu.  In Arcade Mode, on normal difficulty, you take your squad through the entire game.  However, after the first three pods it gives them to you one at a time in later stages, injecting difficulty, and depending on the pods you get in 1-1, tedium.  In Arcade Mode, on hard difficulty, you select a single squad member and then try to play through the entire game.  Can it be done?  I've done a ton of streetpassing and have yet to see someone with a clear score on Arcade Mode Hard, so... I'm guessing not.

Arcade Mode is the most frustrating aspect of Mii Force.  For me, Mii Force went from being a fun use of my time to "play it once a day and skip it the rest of the time" once Arcade Mode became the only remaining thing that I hadn't done.  At this point, if I go into Mii Force at all after having played Arcade Mode, it'll be specifically to complete stage 1-1 really quickly, just to remove the exclamation point from the game's icon in the plaza.

Arcade Mode makes it blatantly clear that some weapons are much better than others.  My personal tier list:
  • High tier (Useful across all stages or the vast majority thereof)
    • White - Takes out enemy shots that other weapons can't shoot down, and can hit multiple times per shot against bosses.
    • Light Green - Hunts down its prey and latches onto it.  You can use this to hit a boss with this and one other weapon simultaneously.  Can also grab pods, gems, and treasures for you.  Kills the ghosts in 3-1 far faster than any other weapon, and is the only way to get all the treasures on 3-1 and 4-1.  At level 3, it can grab things through walls.
    • Light Blue - The only shots that White can't deal with are the fireballs, which this one handles, but can't handle the regular shots that White can handle.  Also due to its wide spread, can take out multiple enemies with one shot.  Its rapid fire is also very handy.
    • Blue - Homing weapons in sidescrolling shooters are always a "yes, please!" kind of deal.  In addition, it becomes extra powerful on 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3.
    • Red - You can swing this one around to hit things whereas everything else is a projectile or beam whose course can't be actively changed once fired.  Weakened on 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3.
  • Mid tier (stage-specific usefulness, plus decent utility making it a good second choice)
    • Orange - Useful on 5-2 and against anything with a shield when at level 3.  Lining up shots on moving targets is a chore, though.
    • Yellow - Useful for taking out tight clusters of enemies, as well as making it so you don't have to aim as accurately to hit things on walls.
    • Purple - At level 3, when charged, is useful against bosses when you have no other available strategy.  Its rapid fire is of general usefulness throughout all stages.
  • Low tier (low usefulness, or low fire rate)
    • Black - Highly desirable on 2-3 to instantly kill the plants and snakes, and makes short work of the boss at level 3.  Doesn't fire often enough to be useful anywhere else, especially the defense stages (2-2 and 4-2).
    • Brown -  Useful on 4-3, to get rid of the starfish that cover your weapons.  Useful anywhere else because it offers you a close-range weapon in addition to a projectile.  The only problem with this is, approximately nobody has a brown shirt.  That's right, it's low tier because you never see it.  It'd probably be mid tier if it was more common.  Proof that nobody likes the color brown?
  • Shit tier (just makes you facepalm)
    • Pink - Hunting down enemies' weak spots and travelling along walls to seek out enemies seems amazing at first, but its short range limits its usefulness.  Slightly more useful at level 3, but there's better options.
    • Green - Would be useful if there were more stages where you could bounce it off of walls.  All the really challenging stages don't have anything it can bounce off of.
One of the themes of these games is that you get something extra from streetpassing other people that own them, vs. people that don't own them.  I have yet to notice what you get from people that own Mii Force.  Their weapons don't appear to be any stronger or have any extra effects, and that's really the only thing I can think of that they could do.

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