Nintendo’s Mii characters have been around since the onset of the Wii console back in 2006. The super-deformed versions of you, your friends, or really anyone that you want to put into the game usually show up as characters to represent your profile when playing certain video games, or make cameo appearances in the background of some titles. Occasionally you’ll be able to play as your Mii (like in the recent Mario Kart games as well as the upcoming Super Smash Bros.), but they’re usually just added on as a fun diversion from the main protagonists. Tomodachi Life puts your Mii characters into the leading role, as you get to witness and interact with their daily happenings. Who knew the Miis lived such insane lives!
Tomodachi Life isn’t so much a game as it is an application to play around with and have fun. The game focuses on your Miis and their interactions with one another. It has been described as a sort of Animal Crossing meets The Sims type of game, and that is a pretty accurate description. The Miis will need new clothes occasionally, they’ll need to be fed every day, they can get into relationships with one another (and even have children!), and you can give them new interiors to redecorate their living quarters. It’s simplistic and in some instances mundane, but it’s the quirky charm the game has that keeps you coming back.
Your enjoyment of the game will be directly related to how much effort you put into creating Miis. After you create your “Look Alike” to represent you in the game, you have 23 other spaces left in the Mii Apartment to fill with fellow Miis. You can do what I did and create my family and friends, or go a different route and create celebrities, video game characters, or really whatever you heart desires. The standard suite of customization options is present for Mii creation, but more interesting are the options to add voices and personalities to your creations. Hearing your Mii speak for the first time is equally cute and bizarre, as they all speak in a sort of mechanized, computerized tone. Personality options let you tweak your Mii’s traits like politeness and general quirkiness, giving them the final touches they need to be welcomed on your island! The more Miis you have, the more fun you’ll get out of Tomodachi Life. Putting in more time in the beginning to create more characters will pay off for you more in the end.
The Miis will go about their day to day lives once you’ve given them a place to live. Sometimes they’ll be at the beach enjoying a leisurely walk, other times they may be working their part-time job selling hats, and in other instances they will be gathered in the center of town competing in epic rap battles. Watching your Miis interact with one another is the core experience in Tomodachi Life, and it’s one that is exponentially more fun the more characters you have to watch. I found it particularly exciting when real life friends started hanging out in the game. It was like I created a perfect representation of the real world in the game, expect I was their god.
One of the most fun I had with the game was watching Miis fall in love. Occasionally a Mii will ask you if you think they would be a good friend with another Mii. Assuming you say yes and their personalities match up, they might actually become friends, then sweethearts, and even husband & wife! It was adorable watching my Mom and Dad fall in love almost instantly. It was also hilarious watching two friends who have never met before in real life fall in love and have a child together! Tomodachi Life caters toward the extreme, but in a lighthearted way that makes the game approachable to all levels of gamers. It’s funny and cute and simple enough to have fun.
It’s not all sunshine and happiness on the Island though. Miis have some requests that you need to complete in order to make them happy. The biggest request is to be fed. A huge variety of food is available to purchase, and each Mii has their own personal favorite and least favorite dish. Watching how they react to each meal and scrounging to find that perfect plate is oddly entertaining. Outside of food they’ll sometime request new clothes, of which there is an absurd amount of options. Clothing ranges from casual items like business suits and t-shirts, to ridiculous pieces like hats shaped like gigantic prawns and panda bear suits. Honestly I found it awesome when one of my friends would put on a completely ridiculous outfit and loved it. Kind of like food, finding the outfits that each Mii likes is somewhat exciting as well. Lastly, you can purchase new apartment layouts to decorate each Mii’s humble abode. These tend to be kind of pricey, but they look nice compared to the plain starting interior.
I’ve gone over nearly all the game has to offer and haven’t really gone over anything that would be considered “gameplay.” That’s because there really isn’t much to do in terms of gameplay in Tomodachi Life. Occasionally a Mii will ask to play a game with you. These are usually simple affairs like matching a few tiles or guessing what the blurred out image is supposed to be; nothing I would consider extraordinarily game changing. This is why I label the game more an application than a game: you’ll spend a bit of time with it each day and then put it away, perhaps to check it later in the evening. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still really fun to watch your Miis interact and grow with one another, but if you’re looking for intense gameplay it’s just not here.
I feel the comparison to The Sims and Animal Crossing is justifiable with Tomodachi Life, but only in the most limited account. If you have time to burn and are looking for something fun to do with your 3DS, then you should definitely check the game out. It has plenty of charming attributes and a ton of funny scenarios to witness. The game, however, does get kind of stale after a few days of playing because you’ll start encountering repeat sequences, which aren’t as funny the second, third, fourth time around. Beyond that, Tomodachi Life is a cool game that gives you plenty of bizarre topics to bring up with your real life friends, and is a fun way to waste some time.