The Ninjabot

Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler Review: Reel in Some Zombies!

Posted on May 23, 2015 at 11:07 am by Victor Chaves

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I own two 3DS systems (at one point three), a 3DS XL, and a New 3DS XL. Both of these systems I carry around in order for them to StreetPass with each other as well as whomever I walk by. My main 3DS has all the puzzle pieces in Puzzle Swap, I’ve run through every room in Find Mii, I’ve completed all the premium games: Mii Force, Flower Town, Warrior’s Way, and Monster Manor (an emblem appears that notifies when you’ve done so). Basically I am in love with my 3DS’s StreetPass features and games.

If you aren’t familiar with how StreetPass works, just imagine your Mii is a figurative business card that is automatically handed out to others with a 3DS. When you get a StreetPass (a Mii or business card), you can use other people’s Miis as currency to play games. For instance, in Puzzle Swap when you earn a StreetPass from someone, that Mii will provide a puzzle piece that you can use to fill picture frames (a la Banjo-Kazooie). If you have no StreetPasses, you get no puzzle pieces and therefore can’t finish the picture.

Although the premium games are cheap, they serve to extend the longevity of the 3DS systems and therefore keep the user interested in buying new software and hardware. This is probably not the reason, but it certainly can attribute to why the Nintendo 3DS is the king of handhelds. With these new games, the purpose is to offer a drip-feed of quality gameplay that the user will feel compelled to come back to, and with two new games there is even more reason to keep walking around searching for StreetPasses.

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Battleground Z

The setup of Battleground Z is to get weapons from StreetPasses in order fight zombies. Armed with weapons, players fight through several 3-5 minute stages in order to complete objectives. Most of the objectives are killing all zombies, defending something/someone, or searching for supplies. Once a level is completed, you are scored and then a personal leaderboard is created that compares the scores between you and everyone else who has StreetPassed with you who have finished the particular level you are looking at.

I get it, I rolled my eyes too. “Another Zombie game? Next thing you’re gonna say is that it’s different.” Well, it is! What sets Battleground Z apart is the fact that the art style is really cute, the zombies have some variation, the levels are nicely designed, scripted events are entertaining, the gameplay has clever qualities, and the replay value is extremely high!

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Instead of the zombies looking realistic, the art direction leaves the entirety of horror into a more cartoony direction reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The zombies have a cute and goofy visual aesthetic to them that although they are defined as flesh eaters, they have a silly look with a toothy smile and crossed eyes.

Although the first couple stages only have basic zombies, different types start appearing as you progress the game including a rock-studded zombie, a trashcan-spiky zombie, dog zombie, dynamite zombie, dog-dynamite zombie, bouncy zombie, and I haven’t even mentioned the boss zombies! Although the bosses are pretty straightforward, they do twist it up every once in a bit by having them throw you, tackle you, and others.

The weapons you earn from StreetPassing are entertaining to play with where instead of the typical weapon types in zombie games, the player can make use of a Wii Remote, a pencil, a digital tablet, a paintbrush, and even a pillow. Although they all function the same with a three-hit combo, they do have inherent differences in that some attack farther, some hit harder, others move the player, and other qualities. What sets the weapons further apart is that the player can also charge their attack to do a special move related to the weapon equipped; the pillow has the player sleep and attack enemies with sheep, the party-popper offers a huge blast, and the Wii Remote does a giant spin move.  These special moves are limited, and should only be used when attacking large groups or a single tough enemy. It’s a great system, and switching between weapons is a breeze to the point where you can always be well-prepared.

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What brings me back to each level are the four challenges each level has. By fulfilling some side objectives like finishing a level quickly or not losing a weapon, the player earns a medallion where once the player has enough, they are able to unlock new bonus stages. There are some obtuse challenges like “Kill a Rare Zombie” which you as the player never know where they are or how they come about without checking the Internet.

Battleground Z is the rare zombie game that looks on the goofier side of post-apocalypse, and with a lot of challenges, levels, enemies, and weapons, the game is absolutely worth the addition.

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Ultimate Angler

Where Battleground Z pride itself on action, Ultimate Angler is all about collecting. The basic premise is that the people you StreetPass with give bait for you to use to catch fish. Each island and its respective areas within have a set of fish that require a specific type of bait, that bait which is related to the color of the Mii that was StreetPassed.

Once bait is gathered from other Miis, you embark with them all to a location to fish. Each location marks down what fish you have caught, so you can track your progress on your goal to—literally—catch them all. Once your bait is chosen (the menu shows which fish are attracted to which bait) you cast your line and wait at most five seconds. Once a fish bites your line, the earlier you hook the fish, you are then better set up for reeling in your prey. The next is to reel the fish in while balancing the tension of the line and the fish’s distance from you. It’s a bit like Tony Hawk games where you need to keep balance.

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You can gain a stronger advantage by buying and upgrading rods. Much like Monster Manor where you can combine weapons and upgrade them, rods in Ultimate Angler allow you to increase line strength, pulling power, and more. The rods are particularly silly as they never match conventional looking rods; one rod has a treasure chest for decoration, while another has a ship’s wheel!

After catching fish, you return to the harbor where you get money per catch and experience. At the harbor shop, besides upgrading and checking challenges (less interesting than Battleground Z, as the challenges are more progress tracking) you are able to put the fish you catch into aquariums that you can upgrade and decorate. It’s very much like Flower Town but that is definitely not a bad thing.

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There is also a nice leaderboard that compares a species you caught with anyone else you have StreetPassed with. The best way to get the bigger catches is to mix the baits of the same type so as the larger versions of the species you are trying to catch comes forward.

The game offers a great feeling of progress, for as long as you have at least three StreetPasses, chances are high that you will land a new species and progress to the next area (of which there are A LOT). Solid game.

Final Thoughts

Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler offer a lot to keep your 3DS in your focus, not only as time wasters but as genuinely fun games. Where other games of this type expect you to wait five hours for an energy bar to fill up or ask for money to speed up the timer, Nintendo is offering great casual-style games that show that one-time payments are all you need to have a fulfilling bite-sized experience over a long period of time.

Presentation: 8

Gameplay: 9

Replay: 10

LEGACY SCORE: 9.0

Geek Legacy’s review scores are on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see him freak out about Tankfest in the Flying Heritage Collection.

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