As seen previously, the Canada Nintendo Examiner has received a Nintendo 3DS and three titles for it. We gave you our look at what the system had to offer out of the box, and have spent the time since then becoming more familiar with some of those features, testing out others, and playing some of the games we were sent (of course).
Following from last time, here are some further observations about the system, soon to be followed by thoughts on the games in subsequent posts.
As we get started here, I wanted to note that I have managed to use my SD card to transfer my Mii’s headshot (you can create images of the head/shoulders, or of the entire body) to my computer, which brings it a little closer to the online accessibility of Xbox LIVE’s Avatars. The Mii, seen at left, was created with the “Create from Photo” option in the Mii Maker (rather than from scratch), and did not require too much refinement this time.
The only downside is that you cannot see my ponytail in the back.
A Play Coin for Your Thoughts
Moving on, one feature which has garnered a lot of buzz is the implementation of “Play Coins,” which look sort of like the gold coins from the Mario games, but are instead adorned with a white 3DS silhouette on the front. These coins are earned by keeping the Nintendo 3DS in sleep mode, and simply walking. Or perhaps shaking the device until your arm is ready to fall off.
In the case of the latter, or some other way of cheating the system, Nintendo has designed the system so that one can only earn 10 coins per day, and up to a maximum of 300 before you have to spend some of them. Fortunately, earning coins is actually a rather simple matter, unless you happen to be a work-from-home writer who has an aversion to cold and/or rainy weather. Then it might become a touch more difficult. But a simple walk up the street to grab dinner and then pick up a few items at the grocery store ensured that I reached my 10-coin maximum quite easily.
Of course, the downside to this is that if you wind up doing a lot of walking during the day, and you’re keeping the 3DS on your person for that specific purpose, the benefits may be outweighed by the relative amount of work performed. More to the point, it may feel like a lot of that walking is a waste of time, at least as far as keeping the 3DS on you is concerned.
On the other hand, if you’ll be playing it while out and about, then no harm, no foul.
Spending Your Hard-Earned Coins
The coins themselves can be spent in different games, with the only ones I’m immediately aware of being Find Mii and Puzzle Swap in the Mii Plaza. In the latter game, the coins can simply be used to purchase more pieces, though my efforts have so far been squarely focused on Find Mii.
And speaking of which, I’ve learned a bit more about the Mii Plaza and Find Mii, the latter of which is not really covered in any of the literature provided in the Nintendo 3DS package. Before, it looked as though you could only use each Mii you met with the StreetPass Tag once, but that’s not exactly true. From what I can tell, it appears that you can use that Mii again for each time you Tag them, but are limited to doing so only once per day.
Plus, it seems you have to have everything– or, at the very least, the Mii Plaza– exited out to the Home menu before putting it into Sleep Mode, or else the StreetPass tag won’t work, thus preventing you from reusing that Mii. On the bright side, it seems that StreetPass Tags help level up recurring Miis, making them more powerful members of your brigade.
Now, as you might have guessed, tagging people is a little bit difficult at this point, as only I and a handful of others spread across North America (and Japan and Europe, technically) even have a 3DS. Fortunately, for people who are having a difficult time finding enough Miis to amass an army, there is another option.
For two Play Coins, you can “Hire a Hero,” who turn out to be various cat-like Miis (or Mii-like cats?) of different experience levels, armed with swords and wielding magic of varying types, indicated by color. On the downside, hiring heroes turns out to be temp work; they only get used in battle until they are chased off by ghosts, or become fatigued. Then its back to the pound for another (unless you hire several in one go).
So far, the rewards yielded have been a Mario hat and a set of cat ears. I do like cats, but wearing the ears seems like it would border on some sort of fascination I would rather not delve into, personally. And since I’ve not found my ideal hat yet (see my pic above for an idea), I’m borrowing Mario’s.
A further downside is that the hats are apparently limited in use; they only appear atop your Mii’s head in StreetPass mode, where they will be worn during his or her StreetPass travels, including those to someone else’s StreetPass Plaza. Still, it’s something.
Raiding Faces All Over the Places
In other system software, I gave Face Raiders another try and destroyed my television. At least, that’s how it appeared in the augmented-reality visual displayed upon the top screen. As with the AR games, Face Raiders isn’t really something one plays while sitting down, as you need a little bit more range of motion to be able to easily shoot yourself in the face.
I should also add that I am still impressed with the range of facial expressions Nintendo has managed to give a single photographic image.
And speaking of photographs, I have given the 3D camera a try. Unfortunately, I cannot show you the results in 3D, but thanks to saving the images to the SD card, I can show you how the pictures turn out in 2D in our slideshow at your left.
That pretty much covers everything I’ve done with the hardware so far. I should check out the Augmented Reality cards, though I think my initial experience provided a pretty thorough look at the ? block card, which seems to be the “marquee title” for that line so far, in a manner of speaking.
Check back soon, as we have nintendogs + cats and Pilotwings Resort reports headed your way!