Flower Town: A Practical 3DS StreetPass Game Review
A few weeks ago, Nintendo released four new StreetPass games for the 3DS. Unfortunately, it’s hard to reliably find StreetPass tags even when living in a densely populated area. Luckily, there is a way to guarantee StreetPass hits: conventions! Arcade Sushi recently took our 3DSes to Otakon to see how these games fare under heavy StreetPass traffic, in order to give them a fair review. Our final review is Flower Town, the biggest StreetPass title there is, that still manages to have the least to do.
Flower Town is a bit of an odd beast. On one hand, it's far more involved than any of the other StreetPass games currently available. On the other hand, it’s also one of the least compelling. What this amounts to is a game that you can spend tons of time on, but never really feel like you are getting anywhere, and part of the problem is Flower Town’s premise: growing flowers.
Sure, there have been plenty of great gardening simulators in the past. Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, I am looking at you. But Flower Town boils down all the harvesting, plotting, watering, and caretaking of your crop to the simple process of getting people to come over and water your plants to make them grow. If you boil down Flower Town to its base premise, this is all you are really doing with your StreetPass tags.
However, there are so many bells and whistles tacked on to this simple premise you have to wonder why Nintendo didn’t spend the same amount of effort making games like Warrior’s Way deep and complex. For example, each plant you grow is actually procedurally generated. You will be able to see a preview of what it will look like, and it will have different patterns of branches, flowers, and even colored petals based on the seed you used and the plants harvested to make the seed.
Harvesting seeds is also more complex than it needs to be. The chance of your plant being a totally new breed is based on the “colors” of plants that helped make the seed, and once again these are based off of Mii T-shirt colors. Combining colors in the right way is kind of like genetic splicing, maximizing your chances of getting a plant you have never seen before by the time it sprouts.
You have a lot of options for what to do with your plants once you have watered it enough times to bloom. You can continue watering it to produce more seeds (and to just show it off via StreetPass), or you can set it up in your garden on a small little display shelf. You can also log flowers you grow in your flower journal, as you work your way up toward being a master gardener. The problem is, none of these options actually do anything. They don’t give you bonuses or make it more likely for you to breed monster plants or something. They are just tedious extras tacked on to a linear flower growing simulator.
The same holds true much of the rest of Flower Town. For example, Flower Town has the prestige of being the only StreetPass game with multiple areas and multiple menus within those areas. You can go to your shed to check up on your plants, your garden to look at them, or the courtyard to chat with other Miis. However, going to the garden does nothing but let you look at your plants, chatting with Miis provides no useful information, and has no in game effect, and just about everything important happens in the shed, which really isn’t all that much aside from planting new seeds. There’s actually no reason to have multiple areas and options and the whole game could have been condensed down to one screen. Heck, you’ll have to go through tutorials multiple times before the game just shuts up and lets you play normally.
So why am I upset that there are these extra bells and whistles tacked on to Flower Town? Because it’s a StreetPass game, and you only ever play StreetPass games in two ways. You either A) slowly rack up passes in your day to day life, which means you’ll end up playing them once or twice a month at most, or B) you go to a convention or meetup to get a whole bunch of StreetPass tags at once. However, Flower Town takes so long to do so little that you’ll routinely find yourself missing out of perfectly good tags because you’ve hit the maximum level of 10. You’ll spend a good five to six minutes in this game every time you boot it up and all you’ll have to show for it is a new flower, which is cool if you are in to that sort of thing, but it never feels like you are heading toward a goal like it does in Mii Force, Find Mii, Monster Manor, Warrior’s Way, or even Puzzle Swap.
Overall, Flower Town was my least favorite of the new StreetPasst games for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s almost not worth picking up in the $15 bundle. To this day, my flower garden remains completely untended, and serves little purpose other than to remind me I haven’t played all the games I could have before picking up a new batch of tags.