Tomodachi Life Review: Japanese Ant Farm

by David Parizot
  • Developer

    Nintendo SPD
  • Platforms

    Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher

  • Music

    Daisuke Matsuoka & Asuka Ito

Ever since The Sims was released gamers have enjoyed making fools of virtual versions of their family and friends. Nintendo has finally brought over their series of friendship destruction simulators in the form of Tomodachi Life, will this game fill the niche well enough to be worth it?

Paradise found

Like any good humiliation game you are an omnipotent being who controls a piece of land from which no one can escape, in this case a tropical island. Initially your island is uninhabited so you fill it with Miis, you can import them from the Mii Maker, copy them from QR codes, or make one in the game. Whichever way you create your Mii, you assign your Mii a voice and a personality then let them loose upon the island.

Conro stares at the truth

This is where the gameplay of Tomodachi Life starts, you go into your Mii's apartment and start playing around with them. You can feed your Miis, dress them up, give them items, or change what their apartment looks like. Also while in their apartments your Miis will give you tasks such as feeding them and playing with them. Giving your Miis goodies and performing tasks for them will level up your Miis and unlock new areas on your island. Leveling up your Miis allows you to give them songs, special items, exclusive room skins, phrases to say, and money so they can make a trip to space. The new areas will let you perform special minigames and host events your Miis can participate in.

Poking and prodding the little guys

With all those options you'll be able to put your Miis in hilarious situation. The game will auto populate news stories, special events, and mudane actions on the island but you can take direct control for certain activities. Some great moments I got were when a news report showed me a group of Chie Satonaka ducks, having fellow Anime Night editor Conro participate in a rap battle, and accidentally turning Gabe Newell into a child.

Chie Ducks

But even with all the funny moments the shallow gameplay kept me from coming back and I put down the game only after a few days. The length of this review is a good representation of how long I played the game. It's unfortunate that I feel this way because it's one of the funniest games I've played in a while and it's nice that Nintendo is bringing new franchises to the west, but it doesn't stop the game from being a shallow experience.


Article Summary

The Good

  • Genuinely funny
  • Great screenshot and stream potential

The Bad

  • Lack of any real gameplay
  • Mii tasks and minigames repetitive
  • Humourous moments don't come as naturally as you'd hope

Genuinely funny but disappointingly shallow.

While there may be a large number of players who fall in love with Tomodachi Life's quirky Japanese humour, many others will be turned off by the lack of any real substance.

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