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. Today we cover Mii Force, a game that takes us back to the days of shoot em ups.

The concept of the game is simple -- you are a commander in a space fleet facing off against the nefarious (and somewhat goofy), gold bone gang. The gang has a huge army of aliens, robots, and assorted space gizmos and you only have your ship and the recruits you find via StreetPass. It’s up to you to save the galaxy from this menace, and maybe meet a few new StreetPass friends along the way.

As I said before, Mii Force is a shoot-em-up and your StreetPass tags in this game act as your weapons. You start with one random StreetPassed Mii as your primary weapon, and then go on to collect more as power-ups throughout the stage. The more StreetPass tags, the more power-ups you can get.

Each weapon’s function is determined by the color of the tagged Mii’s shirt. Purple shirts create basic blasters that can be charged up to create larger shots. Pink shirts create longer range shots that stick to walls and start moving along them. Red shirts produce a close range flame thrower that does massive damage over time. Orange shirts create a laser that can pierce through enemies and walls. Yellow shirts create lightning balls that discharge in different directions when they hit a foe. Light Green shirts create a laser whip that can grab items from afar and slowly drain enemies of their life. Dark Green shirts create a bouncing ball that ricochets when it hits a wall. Light Blue shirts create a large rippling laser that spreads as it gets further from your ship. Dark Blue shirts fire homing missles with limited tracking capability. Brown shirts fire spike balls that can erase other shots. White shirts create sawblade boomerangs that come back to your ship after fired. Finally, Black shirts create bombs that are affected by gravity and explode on impact.

Your ship has four weapon slots in the forward, backward, diagonal up forward, and diagonal down forward position. Each weapon slot also has two upgrade slots that you can fill with Miis as well. When a weapon has an upgrade slot full, it gains a level, generally getting bigger and more powerful. However, whenever you get hit you lose a weapon from one of your weapon slots and one of the Mii’s in its upgrade slot replaces it.

Mii Force is easily one of the bigger StreetPass games the 3DS has to offer. It’s long and interesting levels rival great shoot em ups like Gradius and R-Type. There will be points where your ship is flying to the side, points where it flies vertically, and other strange points where it has to navigate mazes. You’ll even encounter puzzle segments where you have to shoot specific switches in order to open doors to move forward. Bosses are also suitably schmuppy as you face off against space dragons, giant faces, and huge robotic security systems. There are even branching paths to take of differing difficulties and online leaderboards that track your progress.

However, despite this deep and well thought out game structure, there are still some glaring flaws. First of all, many of the weapons are simply useless. In any stage that doesn’t have walls, Green, Pink, Orange, and many other weapons are essentially just small variations on a basic laser. Upgrading weapons doesn’t do a whole lot either. Most of their functions stay exactly the same at any level, with only damage getting a boost.

Mii Force doesn’t really use StreetPass to its fullest capabilities either. Weapons get no bonuses or boosts for tagging a Mii more than once (like level 2 and 3 characters in Find Mii). In addition, you still have to find your Mii based power-ups in the stages you play. So you can tag a full 10 Mii’s and go through an entire stage seeing a mere fraction of them!

Another issue comes in the very nature of StreetPass itself. Any place where you will be able to routinely StreetPass other people, like a convention or meetup, will very quickly fill up your 10 StreetPass slots. While this was all well and good for Find Mii which took a few minutes, if even, when fighting off ghosts, Mii Force stages last several minutes and are huge shoot-em-up affairs. While this makes it a fantastic game, it makes it a pretty crap way to use StreetPass as it will take you a long time before you are able to check your next StreetPass hits. Since your time at hopping StreetPass meetups are limited, you’ll likely only get through a few stages in an entire convention weekend.

All things said though, Mii Force is currently my favorite 3DS StreetPass game. Why? Because it’s the game that feels the most like… well, a game. It has a beginning, middle, and end. It has a story with antagonists. It has an interesting power-up and upgrade system. It has real strategy in how you set your weapons. It has hard to avoid bullet hell patterns of projectiles. It has everything you could want from a shoot em up. For five dollars, or as part of a four game, $15 bundle back, Mii Force is well worth your time.