In Nintendo Badge Arcade players pay a small fee to access a claw machine-like minigame that awards digital badges, which can be pasted and arranged on the 3DS’s Home screen for uniquely customizable themes.
Nintendo Badge Arcade currently features several crane games that offer badges inspired by Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Animal Crossing franchises. With skilled play, users can unlock multiple badges with a single attempt, upping the stakes for purchased credits.
Collected badges can be combined with Nintendo 3DS system themes in order to create lively and colorful home screen backdrops. An in-game example notes that players can paste Mario Kart 8-themed badges atop a raceway backdrop, simulating the look and feel of the Mario Kart series.
Nintendo Badge Arcade is the latest in a series of free-to-download Nintendo 3DS games to feature content unlocked via micro-transactions. Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, released in 2014, was among the first 3DS games to divide up its content among several possible in-game purchases. Real Deal Baseball also tied its narrative content to player purchases, progressing its storyline only when additional transactions were logged.
Nintendo followed up on Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball in February with Pokemon Shuffle, a free-to-play puzzler in which players can purchase additional plays via micro-transactions. A mobile adaptation for iOS and Android platforms was released in August.
Nintendo Badge Arcade is available as a free download via the 3DS eShop. Players are given a limited number of free attempts the first time the app is launched, and five additional plays can be purchased for $1.