Nintendo Badge Arcade Review – Badge Of Dishonor

Cynicism in the form of a creepy pink rabbit.

01

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Format: 3DS
Released: November 12, 2015
Free-to-play, microtransactions purchased

Nintendo Badge Arcade is the latest attempt by Nintendo to crack into the free-to-play market. Though Nintendo pretentiously calls it “free-to-start” in an effort to make it sound more impressive than it is (Edit: after receiving comments and thinking about it, I’m inclined to agree and change my mind. It IS at least a more honest term). It’s pure freemium stuff, however, and this cynical new 3DS release does nothing but cement such a fact.

What is Badge Arcade? It’s a virtual UFO catcher in which you pay money for almost literally nothing. For a dollar, you get five attempts at a pretend arcade grabber machine, all in the hopes of picking up “badges” with which you can decorate your 3DS home menu.

These “decorations” take up at least one space on the home menu, a menu that’s already an inconvenient and poorly optimized way of navigating software. Essentially, your “reward” for handing over cash is junk. Digital trash that further clutters an already cluttered system.

04

Badge Arcade tries to present itself as a “good guy” in the form of a pink rabbit. The rabbit regularly reminds you how little pressure there is to stump up real-life cash, at such a regular passive-aggressive pace it incidentally comes off as pressure. What makes this especially creepy is how the rabbit is clearly designed to endear itself to children, its words carefully designed to absolve Nintendo of blame should a kid steal their parents’ credit card, while constantly encouraging players to stump up the green.

It’s creepy, is what it is. This lagomorphic huckster, constantly attempting to convince you that you’re having so much fun while doing its best to encourage further expenditure – all while transparently doing its level best to not look like it’s encouraging everything. I despise this rabbit. This cottontailed conman, the family-friendly face of capitalism unchained.

Kill the rabbit.

02

There are no daily free plays, but you get one go on the “practice” catcher a day, with a chance to earn some free plays that way – provided you catch a “bonus” badge. Unlike many other free-to-play games, there’s really not much to do for those who don’t spend. Then again, there’s not much to do even if you’ve paid up. The “gameplay” consists of holding down a button and letting go, hoping chance does the rest.

You can blow through your five plays in literally seconds, then Nintendo Badge Arcade will ask for another dollar.

When I say it’s a virtual UFO catcher, I mean just that. There’s nothing special beyond it, no added gameplay that keeps it zesty. Well, there’s one mode that swaps the traditional claws for a hammer, but it’s ultimately the same game.

Just like real-life grabber machines, it’s a total waste of time and money. Perhaps worse, because there’s not even the illusion of value here. You can “win” these badges using Google Image Search and looking at them all day long. The only potentially valuable badges are the ones that replace home menu functions, swapping out the usual Store of Settings buttons for something a bit more picturesque. You can also “win” 3DS menu themes, if you’re into that.

Is it worth a buck a gamble? No.

03

I can see how this is potentially addictive. As with all free-to-play games, it’s been designed as such, a psychological tick planned to bore into the mind of the compulsive collector. I spent a few dollars just so I could say I was doing my job, but I have no desire to go back. This is hollow fluff, a pure nothing of an experience.

It’s not like I even find it particularly offensive. It’s free, and it’s upfront about what it is, that much I can respect. I just think it’s completely worthless. Its only redeeming factor is that it’s free. Lots of things are free though, like jpgs of Nintendo characters if you need pictures of them this badly.

I remain interested in Nintendo’s F2P endeavors, but this one isn’t even trying. It’s close to Final Fantasy: All The Bravest in terms of providing the absolute minimum amount of “gameplay” in order to act as a dressed up middleman between you and your wallet. It’s not as disgustingly tacky as All The Bravest, but it’s not much better.

And the rabbit’s a total prick.

2/10
Bad

freelancepolicefan11
Guest
freelancepolicefan11

As a game it blows, but as something to pick up once a day out of boredom, it’s alright. It tells you exactly what it is and how it costs money, so I don’t see how you can be so annoyed with it. It’s entirely harmless and optional. Plus you can get a couple of free plays by just playing practice which is nice if you don’t want to bother dropping a cent. It’s a cute concept and you can get some cool stuff by not dropping a cent. Not trying to tell you how to review Jim, but a… Read more »

Stephen Mc Devitt
Guest
Stephen Mc Devitt

Underneath the pink rabbit is Baphomet (Satan with the head of a goat). I’ve started playing Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne/Lucifer’s Call. It’s alright. Old Dante’s in it.

Battenberg
Guest
Battenberg

For some reason I assumed this would be an android/ iOS game; console exclusive f2p games seem daft.

Carlos
Guest
Carlos

I’m not gonna lie if I see some Earthbound sprite badges I’d honestly pay all the money to get those.

Appretaur
Guest
Appretaur

I’m not sure if Nintendo either genuinely lacks creativity or assumes that the patterns of the Free-to-Play market gives them a free pass to be as sleazy as they want, if someone like me can easily think of ways there could at least have been more *game* to this. Like, why not make the badges self-aware entities that actively try to wrest themselves from your crane’s control, and only by maintaining a center of balance with careful button inputs during the carrying process can you keep them hoisted in the air long enough to drop them? And it’s especially egregious… Read more »

SheepishGamer
Guest
SheepishGamer

Thank you for the review Jim, excellent as always.
Just a tiny nitpick though, I think you meant to write “lagomorphic” instead of “lagomophic.” I think this might be a spelling mistake, fully understandable after all it’s not an easy word to write. If it’s not and it’s just a clever pun/joke I misunderstood then sorry.

Peter Schaper
Guest
Peter Schaper

I can understand why a considerable number of people would have no interest, and with good reason. I wouldn’t compare it to All the Bravest or Dungeon Keeper Mobile, though. Those games promised compelling gameplay and threw the microtransactions in your face with no reward, this is being upfront about the reward being cosmetic nonsense. It’s its own oddball of an application.

Lloyd
Guest
Lloyd

While not worth spending money on, I felt that their previous attempts were at least mildly entertaining and did offer free attempts through normal play/waiting. Even as pointless and shallow as the premise is I don’t really have a problem with it. But from the sound of it this is just disgusting cash grabbing. Using the word free at all should be banned, just like with Dungeon Keeper Mobile.

PowerSerg
Guest

This is the biggest scam Nintendo has ever pulled outside of maybe Fire Emblem Fates (Zing). This could have done it’s premise at least a little bit better for consumers. Give actual free plays every day. It still be impossible to get all the badges without paying. It might actually even get people to spend more money by getting them upset they didn’t get the one they wanted. Then at least people with a strand of patience could wait it out. Still be evil but less evil.

The Fool
Guest
The Fool

I think you meant “Kill the Wabbit”, Jim.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGhQ2BDt4VE

Mikko Valorinta
Guest

I guess the idea behind is that you only get the badges you personally want and then more or less be done with it, unless you are a person who has problems and wants all everything. Personally don’t see any problem with it as game is perfectly clear what it costs (tells that it’s 1€ for 5 rounds, not 1€ for 500 funbucks) and super clear what it is and what you can get. Got 1Up mushroom so my folder would look bit neater instead of single letter on it – and got it completely free. ..but as a game… Read more »

LazyGamer
Guest
LazyGamer

Nintendo should just go straight to mobile if this is the kind of shit they put out these days

Mika Rose
Guest
Mika Rose

Nintendo is getting desperate.

Chip Self
Guest
Chip Self

Lol, it’s like Ravio from ALBW got low on cash, after ripping Link off the entire game, so he put on a different colored cap and started this bullshit as his new business.

PanelHopper
Guest
PanelHopper

Wait, just decorations? All that Free to play BS and all you get is decorations? With even any free stuff to at least pretend you have value?

Ben The Wanderererer
Guest
Ben The Wanderererer

This looks really bad. It is a shame Nintendo can’t make good free to play games. I think if they didn’t put free to play shit and focused on gameplay I wouldn’t mind dropping some cash. But not on stuff like this. (Also the rabbit is creepy)

HoddTodd
Guest
HoddTodd

How is “Free to Start” pretentious? I would think you of all people would love that term because It’s outright HONEST. It tells you that you can download and play it for free, but sooner or later you will shell out cash. It’s not like “Free to Play” which sounds like it’s totally free.

I feel like you only hate the term because this is a bad game.

Andrew Brebner
Guest
Andrew Brebner

Dammit nintendo you got the f2p model right with pokemon rumble, there’s no reason to try to pull off this shit.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I must admit I’ve already dumped $30 to collect all the currently available badges. All of them. To be fair, I realize it’s pointless and nothing. But at the same time, I find it moderately fun to practice and get better at the grabbers. It sounds like there’s a ‘possibility’ for future updates to include minigames to play with the badges. I’m sure that’ll add another needed level to the whole experience to make it feel more worth it. (I do realize it’s a pretty weak “possibility”). If you’re moderately decent at the practice grabber, you can get an extra… Read more »

Sotiris Galanos
Guest
Sotiris Galanos

So, it’s in the same level of Candy Crush in BS stuff?

astrogamer
Guest
astrogamer

Pretty much what I expected from your review. If you like to decorate your 3DS, it’s passable, but aside from trying a few times, it isn’t really worth it let alone pay for it.
In concept (trying to make customizing fun), it’s not a terrible idea and some things look cool but trying for a complete set is awful

Chris Taran
Guest

I thought the use of the term “free-to-start” was an attempt by them to be honost, not pretentious.

Free-to-play implies the game will continue to be free, free-to-start is very upfront with “yeah, you get some free game play, but then to continue to play it will cost you.”

So I frankly thought it was laudable of them.

Sperium3000
Guest
Sperium3000

Eh, this is clearly meant to bait the younger players into throwing their parents’ money at Nintendo to get shiny things. Said parents should pay attention that this does not happen, but there are undoubtedly going to be cases of people finding their kids spent their month’s food money to get that shiny mario badge.

Cat Man Dune
Guest
Cat Man Dune

I see it as a free means to occasionally decorate my 3DS as I’m assuming we get free plays daily. I’d never actually spend real monies on this silly shite but I can see some people playing into it if they REALLY wanted some set.

Craig the War Boy
Guest

I guess a company can only go so long before some tunnel-visioned executive smells a free money scam.

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