Friday, June 20, 2014

Tomodachi Life (3DS) Review

We cap off the week with a review of Tomodachi Life, a game once riddled with controversy. Now that the game is actually out, we can see how the game's quality is. Here is my review of Tomodachi Life.

Life's What You Make It.


If you asked someone about Tomodachi Life several months ago, you would have been met with a bunch of answers regarding the entire same-sex marriage controversy. Now that the game has released, the discussion has since shifted to the actual quality of the game. Tomodachi Life presents an incredibly quirky life simulator where your Miis can mingle with one another, marry, and even start a family. Its amount of content is only met by its amount of weirdness, but don't be put off-- this is a great kind of weird.

Welcome to your island getaway! 
Tomodachi Life has you having your Mii take up residency within your island's apartment complex. If you want a more involved experience, then inserting as many Miis from your 3DS or 3DS XL system into the game or via reading QR codes is recommended. You can set their speech pattern, tonality, quality, and speed; how Mii nicknames and real names are pronounced (you can even bypass the nickname by inputting a custom pronunciation); and set up a personality profile to get a feel of what personality type that given Mii is categorized in. You can have over fifty unique Miis in the apartment building, each having desires and needs.

Wouldn't that be an improvement?
Thankfully you need not babysit and tend to every Mii if you don't want to. Tomodachi Life isn't really an experience similar to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, where an absence from the game will have a negative affect on what happens. No Mii will move out, no weeds will need to be plucked from the ground, and so forth. In this regard, it's quite refreshing and much more relaxing. I never felt like I had to play Tomodachi Life when I didn't want to just to make sure my virtual friends were happy.

Captain Falcon exclaimed, "I didn't
mean for it to kill her. I swear!"
When a Mii has a desire for your attention, the window of the apartment they are in will present itself with an icon. The most common icon has a Mii that wants you to do them a favor. Again, this isn't like Animal Crossing where you have to trek across town searching for another villager who has that other villager's box of crayons. No, these favors are much more basic in nature. It can be something as simple as feeding them some food, giving them a change of scenery with an apartment makeover, or dolling them up with a new hat or outfit.

Introduce your Miis to other island
residents to create friendships.
An orange icon in the shape of a Mii's head means that apartment resident wants to interact with another Mii in some way. These events are how friendships and relationships flounder or flourish between fellow apartment complex inhabitants. When wanting to be friends with a new Mii, the apartment resident will first ask you if you think the pair is a suitable personality match. If so, then they'll ask your advice on what to talk about or how to present their greeting to their potential friend. There's other times where Miis just won't get along, and a third party will want to jump in to weather the storm and fallout if the intervention does not work.

Oh, no you didn't, Bea Arthur!
The final kind of icon notes when a Mii wants to play a game of some type with you. From memory matching games to quizzes that test your knowledge on Mii residents, food dishes, and other items, each win grants you a pick of one of three prizes, some more expensive and rarer in value than others.

Short little games like this reward you
with trinkets that can be sold for cold-hard cash.
Each Mii has a list of things they like and dislike, whether it be food, clothing and apartment styles, and personality types. When entering a Mii's apartment, you can see their current hunger level (based off of how empty or full their stomach is), who their best friend and sweetheart are, if applicable, and list of fed foods they really love, like, and detest. It's very common to see Miis in one another's apartments, just hanging out, or even at various locations around the island.

Ah... A nice sunny day to sit out and
watch the old carousel...
If two Miis are really close and of the opposite sex to one another, the possibility of a romantic relationship arises. This can end up in marriage, and not only that but they can produce their own baby, an entirely new addition to your personal island of Mii madness.

Oh, God. My mom and David Letterman
are bonding! 
You earn money and Miis gain experience points of sorts through positive interactions with you, the player. Doing tasks and helping them out by fulfilling their various desires fills a meter up. Each time it reaches its full capacity, that Mii levels up, allowing you to grant them a gift of sorts, whether that be an actual gift to tinker with like video game systems and exercise equipment, giving a Mii the power of song, refurnishing their apartment with a new room model, or creating a phrase for a Mii to say pending on their mood.

There's a large amount of room interiors
that you can give your island inhabitants.
Outside of the apartment complex where Miis reside is a whole slew of different locales on the island. Most of these open up as simple conditions are met within the game, such as solving a certain number of problems that Miis present to you. This equals even more things to do and a greater variety too. There's a restaurant where food is purchased, a clothing shop where different outfits are sold, a hat shop that specializes in headgear, a pawn shop that buys back won treasures from games, and a room showcase that offers up a selection of room types for apartments. The shops which sell different items regularly change their selection on a daily basis.

Sure, a veggie burger is a healthier
alternative, but give me meat any day!
Other than stores that buy and sell goods, you can visit various locations around the island that have timed events that only happen during special hours of the day. There's rap battles, barbecues, 8-bit RPGs starring your Miis on a quest, nighttime markets, and trips to the cafe to see Miis mingle at different tables. It's hilarious to see David Letterman ask Jay Leno if he's in or out on eating a boatload of soda crackers at the cafe.

Truer words have never been spoken.
In essence, that's the true fun of Tomodachi Life-- seeing your Miis, whether they be folks you know in real life, caricatures, or famous people, interacting with one another or just set loose to do as they please. There's something sensationally satisfying about seeing Bea Arthur, Betty White, Batman, and Conan O'Brien on stage singing a custom-lyric heavy metal theme together, or looking at two of your closest friends who don't even know each other in real life perform yoga together and eventually become romantic sweethearts.

I couldn't do this in real life
due to stage fright.
Tomodachi Life has a very simplistic graphical style to it, no doubt to fit the basic designs of the Miis that the game stars. You won't be seeing complex geometry and massive amounts of polygons in the world of the game, so don't expect to be wowed by the visuals. That said, there's an immense charm that Tomodachi Life gives players with its visuals, and the fact that it all runs so smoothly with incredibly minimal loading times helps things exquisitely.

This scenario would NEVER happen.
Me not playing with the GamePad!? Please!
For those looking for an absolutely mad game from our friends on the other side of the Pacific, Tomodachi Life is a great pickup. The amount of content featured is amazing, seeing how your Miis interact with the island's various locales, eccentricities, and other Miis is infinitely entertaining, and the flexibility in what you can do is astonishing. While you most likely won't log in anywhere near the amount of hours as you would with Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Tomodachi Life is a fantastic and quirky game that acts as a great diversion for 3DS owners looking for something atypical on the system and in gaming in general.

[SPC Says: 8.5/10]

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