There was recently a Nintendo Direct covering Nintendo 3DS games, including an update to the 3DS StreetPass system, and five new games, including Mii Trek, Feed Mii, Market Crashers, Slot Car Rivals, and Ninja Launcher.
Before looking at the games themselves, there is an addition made to the StreetPass Premium status. Previously, signing up for Premium was $5, and it meant you could "Favorite" the Miis that you Street Pass, as well as some other minor benefits. With this update, there are two new additions, Birthdays and the ability to StreetPass with up to 100 people at once.
When you upgrade to VIP, you'll receive a new calendar icon with your Street Pass applications. Whenever you pass a Mii, their birthday will be added to the calendar, and gathering many birthdays will give you Tickets that can be spent on Mii accessories and hats. The other part of the update is going to be what really grabs people's attention. When upgraded, you can now continue gathering Miis that you Street Pass beyond 10, and keep gathering them up to having 100 Miis in reserve. You still process them 10 at a time, for the sake of the games that use them, but you can immediately go into the next batch of 10 after you're done with the current group. You're also given a Quick Pass mode, which lets you quickly welcome new Miis and access the games within seconds, and very few loading screens.
One of your free choices after downloading the update is Market Crashers, a game about the stock market. Your initial goal is to earn ten million dollars by playing the stock market, buying stocks when they're low, and selling them when they're high. As you progress, new companies will be unlocked and in an interesting twist, you're actually buying the stocks of the other Street Pass games, like the flower shop game, or the Find Mii game. When you bring in Miis that you've passed, they give you an idea of how the stock market will go in real time. You get to see how the market will go before each round, but it can be unpredictable at times, which is where the Miis come in. You can also buy and sell stocks for each company without needing any Miis, however, you can only buy or sell at their starting or ending price of the session.
The other free game to choose from, Slot Car Rivals is a game based on toy racing games, like Anki Drive. You are given a toy car, and you race against other Miis that you gather. It's not a traditional racing game, you don't control direction at all, just the speed by pressing A. You can't just go full speed the whole time, tracks will have sharp turns where you have to slow down at the curve and speed up again when you pass it otherwise you'll crash. More track mechanics get introduced over time, like jumps and speed boosts, but there isn't anything else to it.
Progressing doesn't mean winning races, it means beating a track within a certain amount of time, but if you do win a race, you can get a replica car of someone you beat. You can freely design and customize your car's appearance, but there isn't any customization about your car's performance. All cars are equal, but after each race, you get a random boost for the next race, which is made better by the more Miis that you bring with you per round.
After you choose one of the free games, you can buy the other four for $3 each, or together as a bundle for about $9.
Mii Trek is a game where you trek through various forests looking for ancient treasure. Along the way, you can encounter moments where you have to take a picture at the right time, animals which you have to tranquilize, and obstacles which you have to mash-A your way through. You also have to choose what path you want to go down, trying to find your way to the treasure of the area. This can be somewhat of a gamble because the amount of distance you can cover, is equal to the total combined steps that each Mii's you passed and brought with you. While this is an interesting and unique game mechanic, it is easy to feel like you wasted steps when you walk down a long route and end up at a dead end.
In Ninja Launcher, you are a ninja and are launched out of a cannon towards an enemy. As you fly through the air, you have to grab scrolls that your StreetPassed Miis hold up for you. Grabbing scrolls give you equipment, and grabbing multiple scrolls in a row gives you even better equipment to do even more damage. When you start the round, you have to line up the Miis so that you fly through their flags, only you can't switch their locations, you can only move them back and forth, and hope you can get as many as you can. There really isn't anything else to Ninja Launcher, they introduce stronger enemies and environmental hazards like wind, but there isn't anything else to it.
Lastly, is Feed Mii, a game about cooking. In another funny twist, like in Market Crashers, you are cooking for the heroes in the Find Mii game. When you bring in Miis, you get an ingredient, like pork, chicken, onions, mushrooms, etc. The game then tasks you to cook something using your available ingredients, but it doesn't tell you what you specifically need to use.
Having to figure out what extra ingredients could give you a better rating is part of the challenge. If you need to make steak and hashbrowns you might think to use beef, potatoes, and onion. This would likely give you an average rating of 3, but if you were to add tomatoes for extra flavor, you could earn an artisan rating of 4. Or if you use a lot of the ingredients you know you need, you could make a Jumbo portion with a rating of 5. Getting a higher rating earns you more points at the end of the meal. Afterward, you can save a few ingredients in the fridge for the rest of the day, or you can practice making meals with what you have to save them in the cookbook.
In regards to the VIP update, I highly recommend it if you use Street Pass a lot. It's perfect for conventions where I pass hundreds of people at a time. I got to try this for Pax West, and I finally felt like I wasn't wasting or missing passes by not constantly playing Street Pass.
As for the five games, they really do come off as half-baked when compared to all the other games that have been released and that's reflected in the price too. These games are cheaper, they're not as in depth, and their replayability is lacking. Choosing one is going to come down to personal preference. I personally like games about the economy and exploration, so Market Crashers, Feed Mii and Mii Trek all appeal to me more than the others. I did find that Market Crashers is the better free game than Slot Car Rivals, as it's just more complicated, it's more involved and it requires more thinking than a racing game that's more about reflexes.
Mii Trek is fun because it's simple, using a unique mechanic which takes into account the steps of the people you pass. Additionally, it doesn't require a lot of attention, making it another great game for conventions. The biggest downside is that the game itself is somewhat bland, the only interactivity is short minigames like taking pictures or tranquilizing animals. Feed Mii is probably the longest lasting game next to Market Crashers because the goal is to fill up your cookbook, and getting to experiment with new recipes.
Out of all the games, Ninja Launcher is by far the worst just from a gameplay perspective. I'd call it a bad puzzle game but it's not even a puzzle. You're given random heights for the scrolls that you have to grab, and you can't rearrange your Miis, you can only move them back and forth and get as many you can within the time limit. I don't feel clever solving it, and ninjas launching themselves out of cannons just feels forced as a theme.
While the games themselves aren't as great as past entries, the update as a whole is quite solid. The ability to pass 100 people at once without it capping at 10 is a huge boon, gathering birthdays is another nice little collection aspect, and the worst thing you could call these new games is simple. I recommend getting the update and upgrading to Street Pass Premium, or at the very least grabbing one of the free games on offer.