Tomodachi Life Review

June 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Posted in 3DS Review, Game Review | Leave a comment
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There are many events I never thought I would ever witness in a video game. Mr T skateboarding in the park wearing a pirate outfit. Conchita Wurst and Spongebob Squarepants engaging in a rap battle dressed as chickens. Will Smith dreaming of being Miss Piggy’s key ring. All of these, and many more, happened within my first few days playing through Tomodachi Life. To label Nintendo’s new life-sim as weird doesn’t quite do its zany gameplay and scenarios justice. It’s simply the most bonkers game I’ve ever played.

Tomodachi Life

Title: Tomodachi Life

Format: 3DS

Developed by: Nintendo

Published by: Nintendo

Genre: Life-Sim

Tomodachi Life can be best described as a trippy, digital version of Big Brother, set on a fantasy Island, and populated by Nintendo’s avatars, the Miis. Up to thirty residents can be invited to stay on the Island, with the player able to customise every aspect of their lives; from the clothing they wear, to the food they eat, and the relationships they have.


Inviting characters is a relatively quick and easy process, especially for those players that already have a healthy quota of Mii characters sitting on their 3DS. They can be imported as is, or have their facial features tweaked accordingly . Then it’s a case of filling out their personal details, setting personality traits, and giving them a voice. It’s simple, but there are enough options available to personalise the Miis to your liking, and create a diverse community. The personality types heavily influence the things they like, and the people they get on with most. Just like Big Brother, half the fun is in throwing a mix of different personalities together and watching the sparks fly.


Off on a first date

Off on a first date

Building relationships is one part of the experience, tending to the resident’s needs is another. Fulfilling one of their simple requests – feed me something cold, get me a hat, make me a bath etc. – gives you money, or, occasionally, a special item as a reward. Money can be put towards food, clothes and room decorations; special items can be used to cure colds, hypnotise the Miis, or attend to one of their other needs. This cyclical routine quickly gets boring, no matter how much Nintendo tries to dress it up with quirky humour.


Unlike Animal Crossing, which mixes up the daily chores with seasonal events and near-endless customisation options, Tomodachi Life lacks meaningful variety. Beyond daily updates to the shops’ stock lists, and occasional events held at the Island’s tourist spots not much changes from day to day. The dozen or so mini-games help break up the monotony but aren’t enough to keep players engaged for long. Even levelling up your Miis, which lets you give them a new phrase, song performance or item they can interact with, feels underwhelming after the first couple of days.


Check out your Mii's compatability rating

Check out your Mii’s compatability rating

Individual moments can be fun: marrying off your first couple, or recreating the theme tune to Fresh Prince of Bel Air, for instance. But it’s not enough to recommend this to anyone but a die-hard Sims or Animal Crossing fanatic looking for their next time-sapping life-sim fix.


The whole presentation is also lacking. Graphics are functional at best, and while this type of game doesn’t need flashy effects, having a full world to explore, instead of just navigating simple menus would have helped give it some depth. The music and sound effects are simple, quirky, and fit the game’s theme nicely, but most of the tracks are quickly forgettable and uninspired.


Tomodachi Life is designed to dip in and out of, and playing for any more than ten minutes at a time highlights its lack of depth. This could have worked brilliantly as an extension of the Streetpass Plaza series, but doesn’t cut it as a full-priced retail game.


6 out of 10

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