Tomodachi Life

Tomodachi Life

"I just thought this one smelled better," said Peter Griffin, incompetent father, when asked why he voted for Xbox One over PlayStation 4 in a Judgement Bay poll down at the beach on Radtastic Island. Confused? Welcome to Tomodachi Life, one of the more bizarre life simulation games to come out of Japan. Mr. Griffin's olfactory Xbox One review isn't even the half of it.

Like its peers in the life sim genre, Tomodachi Life puts you in the role of a voyeuristic overseer, keeping an eye on the citizens of your island, helping them out of strife, and watching the ridiculous antics they get up to.

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Your island is populated with Miis, those little cartoony avatars with which Nintendo console owners will be familiar. You can invite them to your island any number of ways: by creating them from scratch, by getting visitors from StreetPass, or by scanning QR codes to use a Mii created by someone else.

The latter is definitely the game's single biggest strength. Thanks to QR code functionality and expansive databases of user-created Miis like, you can invite anyone you like to your island. Celebrities, cartoon and game characters, historical figures, you name it - anyone whose appearance can be captured in a Mii can join your game. While Miis created specifically for Tomodachi Life exist, with some even endorsed by their celebrity likenesses, like Shaquille O'neal, you can use any Mii created with any Mii Maker software.

Jack Black's metal song, "Eternal Darkness," is deep.

With your population sorted, the next step is to look after them. Residents will constantly come to you with problems ("I'm starving," says Abraham Lincoln; "I want to be friends with Batman," says the Joker) which you'll need to solve. As you help them out, your Miis will earn experience and level up, at which point you can give them a reward in the form of items to decorate their apartment, songs, catchphrases, and so on.

When they’re not asking you for things, the residents will be getting up to all sorts of mischief, and this is really where the fun of Tomodachi Life lies. Once a day, a Mii News bulletin will report on the strange goings on around your island (like Taylor Swift being embarrassed and hiding out in a loo, resulting in everyone else wetting themselves because the cubicle was in use.) You can also visit various areas of the island, which unlock as you reach certain milestones, and watch what people are getting up to.

Apparently the island only has one toilet

Unfortunately, as funny as the game is, it really is a one trick pony. Once the initial hilarity of Chie Satonaka beating Batman in a rap battle wears off, there's little else to keep you coming back to. The simulation mechanics are not particularly deep or exciting, and the minigames scattered throughout, though humorous, don’t really survive more than a single play due to how uninteresting they are.

The game setup also means it isn’t the kind you’ll want to sit down and play for long bursts. Rather, Tomodachi Life plays like a casual Facebook or mobile game, one that you'll have on nearby while doing something else, checking in every now and then to see if your people are hungry. There's nothing inherently wrong with this design, of course, but this is a full priced retail game, so one expects a bit more.

I'm still not sure how Chie won this battle

Tomodachi Life is undoubtedly a strange and hilarious game, but there's little to keep you around once the quirky humour starts losing impact. It is, at best, a casual game that you’ll check into periodically rather than one you’ll actually sit down and play for any length of time. Were it a $20 download, or even a free-to-play, microtransaction laden affair, I’d say go nuts - but it’s hard to recommend at the current price being asked.

"Hilarious, but runs out of juice very, very quickly"
- Tomodachi Life
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments Comments (7)

Posted by drunk_monk
On Saturday 7 Jun 2014 8:49 AM
So all that drama for a game that wounds up bring just OK
Posted by woollywol
On Saturday 7 Jun 2014 9:29 AM
You can see this appealing to the younger age range ... but at the price? Maybe bundle deals will appeal. This game seems to be big in Japan, so it'll be interesting to see how it fares in the West.
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Saturday 7 Jun 2014 9:36 AM
And here I was reading through thinking free to play lol if you like to play sim god then this could be a bit of fun but if not then.....
Posted by Koopa18
On Saturday 7 Jun 2014 9:54 AM
Nothing that really appeals to me..... more of an Animal Crossing guy when it comes to life sim time wasters. Though I am intrigued by this dudes pure rapping.... must have some serious flow.
Posted by Jonathan-OverWorld
On Saturday 7 Jun 2014 12:28 PM
I'm picking it up because it looks really funny and something my GF will play as well so I have that, but I agree it should be cheaper... that could be said about many things in the gaming industry though to be honest.
Posted by Bappernz
On Monday 9 Jun 2014 3:56 AM
really don't think i will ever play this game, just really doesn't sound like my thing
Posted by animallover
On Saturday 11 Oct 2014 9:57 AM
Sounds interesting but probably wouldn't get it unless it came down super cheap. Sounds like the novelty wears off quite quickly.