My final verdict of the Augmented Reality Games on the 3DS was that, whilst impressive, they felt more like tech demos than games. All I wanted was some more Augmented Reality modes to try out and, as it happens, there are actually seven more on the system from the start; hidden away in a store that unlocks after completing Shooting, AR Shot (the mini-golf-pool game that I mentioned in part 1) and the Fishing game. You’re able to purchase these for a sum of Play Coins – Nintendo’s form of gaming currency, collected by walking around whilst your 3DS is on standby. So, what are these seven extra modes and how do they fare?
First up, there’s a seemingly simple Clock that sits on your desk, visible only when looking through the magic 3DS screen. Pressing A will make a cuckoo fly out of it and, if you’re close enough, smash right into the screen; this shows off the 3D quite nicely and it’s a little bit of fun, but it won’t keep anyone entertained for long – anyone that doesn’t have a clock obsession, that is. Then there’s a globe; another simple thing that sits on your desk, waiting to be spun around. Picking up the globe creates a nice effect, as if earth is floating next to your hand. Again, this won’t keep you entertained for long but it’s a good thing to have a look at.
Next up is AR Shot 2, an extension of the original mini-game that brings lava which flows up and down, terrain that constantly moves around and an array of other new obstacles, such as a grass patch that the ball falls into. There’s more variety in the second set of levels and these levels are more dynamic, being based more on trick shots, rather than just getting the ball from point A to B. Some of the levels can prove challenging, requiring a mix of skill, timing and good aim to get the ball into the target area. It looks great, too: as well as the area you’re playing on rising and caving in to create a course, props such as trees and pillars are scattered round the area. This is definitely one that shouldn’t be missed (although you might miss quite a few shots whilst playing it)![drop2]The revised Shooting game, aptly named Shooting 2, is the hallmark of the AR Games: it’s bigger, better and much harder than the original game and it’s amazing, really. The targets now roll, fly and dash across the screen rather than being stuck to a fixed point. The best part of Shooting 2, or even the best part of my experience with the 3DS AR Games, is when the card disappears into the surface, leaving a doorway to a temple that has appeared inside your desk, in the ground, under your bed or wherever else you may be playing. Time flew right by when I was playing it, and it lasted 9 minutes on my first go compared to the 2 minute long first game (although I did spend quite a lot of time marvelling at the temple that had appeared in my desk). Unfortunately, as you’ll have to move around quite a lot to destroy some of the targets quickly, the 3D effect soon becomes pointless in this mode.
Finally, the other two modes are based around the Fishing game: there’s a new Free Fishing mode, where you can catch as many fish as you want, rather than being confined to three as you were in the first mini-game. To accompany this, there’s a Gallery mode to view the fish you’ve caught and see the terms of the other fish to catch (some are only available at night, whilst others will appear when the surface you are using is a certain colour). There are 31 fish in total to be caught, so there’s a lot to do if you get into it. The gallery also looks fantastic, as a book will appear on your desk and you can flip over the pages, with the fish you have caught hovering above it.
I’m really glad that I didn’t miss out on these new AR Games; whilst the first batch might have just been little tasters, demos if you will, these (well, ignoring the Clock and the Globe) are full modes. The new AR Shot, Fishing and Shooting modes are nothing short of incredible and well worth investing your time (and Play Coins) in. And you’ll be spending a lot more time with these than you did with the first set of games. Now this, Nintendo, is what we wanted.