I love SHMUPs, even though that short form of ‘Shoot ’em ups’ is a bit of a stupid word. From the classics like Asteroids, Overkill, to the more modern Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun, I’m a huge fan. So when a friend of mine told me that Mii Force was a bullet hell shooter, I was excited but skeptical that Nintendo would release one. Bullet hell or ‘bullet curtain’ is a great sub-genre, which involves an utterly insane number of projectiles on the screen at any one time, with you often having to memorize attack patterns and bullet spreads. Don’t worry, he was wrong, Mii Force is not a bullet hell shooter. But, it is a scrolling shooter, and that’s an interesting genre for Nintendo to dip their toes into.
Mii Force is one of the four new StreetPass mini-games available on the eShop for the 3DS. The way it uses your streetpass tags, is that they become your weapons. You have 12 weapon hard points , 3 pointing forwards in a line, 3 pointing 30 degrees up, 3 pointing 30 degrees down and 3 pointing straight backwards. You put each streetpass ‘pod’ (Which looks like the Mii head in a little spaceship) into one of those 12 spots, and those become your weapons. What type of weapon is dependent on the clothing your Mii is wearing, just like in Find Mii. I won’t spoil the fun of discovering what each weapon is, but each Mii you put in a row in one of your 4 firing lines increases the power of it. Having a full 3 Miis makes each shot much more powerful, and having a full complement of 10 makes your ship a flying death machine! You can use the touch screen at any time to mix, match and move Miis to put them in any position in any order, but if you get hit then one of your Mii pods crashes out.
As you can tell, having more tags makes an absolutely massive difference in the difficulty level. Taking on a later level with one tag, so you only have one life and a single pathetic weapon, is suicide. Unless of course you’ve been training with these types of games for decades. Then… let’s just say the challenge is muted somewhat. As I live in a small town, tags are more difficult to come by. I generally make due with a couple that I get from friends or family, and this more than sufficed for Mii Force. Others had different experiences with the game, but it was just far too easy for me.
That said, it has a goofy story, plenty of inventive stages and boss battles, and is a great 5-10 minute diversion. It’s my favourite of the four new mini-games, though that lack of any challenge hurts it quite a lot.