Life, but not quite as you would expect.
Tomodachi Life is a bizarre life simulator on Nintendo 3DS, somewhat like a cross between playing Animal Crossing and The Sims. If you’ve had the experience of playing either of those time management titles, then Tomodachi Life isn’t far off and you will slip into the game easily, although there may be a few surprises along the way. The game brings you in a simple, but basic way of managing your own virtual island with the objective of creating islanders to inhabit it.
You’ll start off creating your Mii, with personalization tweaking of facial features to mucking around with various voice tones to get the desired speech you wish your Mii to use, along with choosing everything from hair colour to whether your Mii will be wearing glasses. If you’re creative enough, you can make some interesting characters, both real and imagined, from the world. I personally went on to create Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, and played with the idea of making a Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.
Once you’ve decided what kind of Mii character you want, you can alter energy, speech and mood to provide your Mii’s personality. For instance, you’re character could be very energetic and outgoing, or serious and withdrawn. Each personality is unique to each individual Mii and it’s quite a lot of fun seeing these characters mimic what kind of personalities you have given them.
The personalities are split into four groups, and each of those are also split into four making sixteen different personalities in total, allowing you to create spontaneous and outrageous Mii’s to those who are impulsive and optimistic.
Generally speaking, the vast majority of your time will be spent building relationships and exchanging conversations with other islanders, in a bid for those interested to fall in love, marry and have children. Relationships don’t always work in Tomodachi Life and certain personality types don’t always mix with others. Some of your islanders will be more than happy to indulge in conversations, wandering from room to room, where others may just want to simply be left alone.
Happiness is key to understanding what your islanders want from life and the happier you keep them, the more money you will receive to spend on food, clothes and various items to help keep your islanders content. Creating more islanders allows you to open up new places for your Mii to enjoy, such as cafes to enjoy drinks with fellow islanders, or the park or fairground.
Life isn’t so plain sailing when you have an apartment building of bubbling personalities who crave your attention on a day to day basis. These islanders invariably have problems and this requires you to pay close attention to what they need. Solving their problems may involve anything from purchasing new attire so they feel more confident in their skin, to redecorating their apartment with new and interesting objects they can interact with.
You may be asking yourself how on earth you know whether they are happy or not, and it’s really quite simple. They will either tell you and explain their unhappiness, or visually you can see whether they need urgent attention by the bubble besides them showing what a Mii is experiencing.
Simply tapping on the apartment window allows you to go directly inside their apartment and see to their needs. Your islanders are a demanding bunch of residents and thrive only when you fulfill their needs. The majority of the time they will want to interact and form relationships with other islanders, or they are hungry.
Their hunger will become the bane of your existence at times, because you’ll frequently need to purchase food in order to fill their virtual stomachs. Their tummies are depicted as an outline and you present food to the Mii, in which they will chew over for a while and consume the products. Sometimes, you’ll be spot on with what food fills them up and makes them happy. But there will be occasions when you give them something they don’t like and they will certainly let you know if you get it wrong. You can’t overfill or overindulge the islanders because, quite frankly, they won’t like it and won’t let you. I know this because I tried many times to overfeed my Mii on handfuls of doughnuts and plates full of spaghetti Bolognese, and they just weren’t having it.
Your residents can also get ill and suffer from the occasional cold, and you’ll have to administer a cold remedy to help them to recovery or they become very despondent.
Your islanders enjoy being spoilt and you’ll be able to purchase various objects to entertain your new islander. These provide more happiness and more money to line your pockets. Throughout the week there are events you can interact with, some bizarre and some only a little bit out there, so I’ll let you fully explore these occasions without spoiling the game for you too much.
Throughout the days, you’ll be alerted to Mii Newsflashes, either highlighting areas that have been opened or celebrating birthdays and events. It’s quite good to see, as the news reader is someone you get to create early on in the game. My newsreader was actually Harry Potter and gave me quite a funny commentary rundown of the news, complete with his Harry Potter glasses. Each day, all the islanders fill up the money bank by a foundation, so there always seems to be plenty of money invested in the island.
Islanders can activate StreetPass to receive import goods and explore other islands and there is use of the 3DS’ SpotPass to receive special items that aren’t normally found within the game, which is good.
Tomodachi Life is a good life simulation title with some interesting elements to play around with such as personalities and relationships. It’s quirky and fun, without going into a great depth or detail, and one of those games you can just pick up and play whenever you fancy indulging in island life. However, I personally did find that the experience with Tomodachi Life does feel a little short lived at times, and is very much the same if you progress to the extent you can’t go further. Creating Miis in the early stages of the game does feel exciting, but once you’ve progressed further, the novelty begins to wear off. Taking care of your islanders is rewarding and fun, and there are some visually appealing environments to explore. Keeping your islanders happy is not always easy. Occasionally a disruptive Mii will cause anarchy, but not knowing what will happen or how Miis will interact is half of the fun.
Tomodachi Life is an interesting game, which can be hilarious, entertaining and even challenging. If you’re a fan of life simulations and fancy something a little bit stranger than most, then Tomodachi Life is a virtual island waiting to be explored.