Tomodachi Life is a bizarre life simulation game that features Mii characters living life on a small island. As in The Sims, you don't directly control your characters, but you can influence them by making choices for them and by giving them food, clothing, and other items. Much of the interaction comes in the form of mini-games. You may be quizzed on your Miis' status, be asked to identify an item or islander by their shadow or pixelated version, play a card-matching game, or even play a screen-tapping version of sumo wrestling disguised as football. Your Miis live in an apartment building, and you can browse through their windows to sneak a peek into their lives. From there, you can choose to visit one of them to see what's going on.
Moving InYou can create Miis from scratch, make them from a photo, import them from the 3DS Mii Maker, or scan QR codes of Miis created by others. You are then asked to describe their personality by rating their expressiveness, attitude, and so on. The personality you give them will affect how they react to others. You can also customize a voice for each Mii. You'll want to fulfill your Miis' requests to increase their happiness meter. Each time a Mii levels up, you can give him or her a new gift or ability.
Real TimeJust as in Animal Crossing, Tomodachi Life runs on a real-time clock. Some events and sales are only held at certain times of day. And even though stores are open at all hours, most of your Miis will be asleep when night comes. So when you play at night, there's not going to be much to do. You can look inside a sleeping Mii's dream, which can be entertaining at first, and you can draw on a sleeping Mii's face. But those options get old fairly quickly, and the nighttime options are slim pickings. As a night owl myself, I find it very disappointing to not be able to fully experience the game when playing at night.
Family LifeMiis of the opposite gender may develop feelings for each other, and you'll be asked if they should pursue a relationship. If you say yes, the sweethearts may get married and move into their own house. The Miis will still retain their apartments however, and they can still be found there sometimes. Married couples may ask if they should have a baby. If you tell them to go for it, they don't waste any time! The baby will be there within a couple days. You'll be able to visit and babysit to play with the baby. They grow up quickly though; in under a week, the baby will be full-grown and ready to move out of the house. You can then allow the child to move into his/her own apartment, or you can send him or her off to travel the world via StreetPass.
Concert HallThere are a variety of activities and mini-games you can observe or participate in. You can watch the daily rap battle, attend a magic show, or play an old-school RPG mini-game called Tomodachi Quest. But the best activity of them all is performing at the concert hall. There are eight songs to learn, each from a different genre: Rock, rap, pop, metal, ballad, opera, techno, and musical. When your Mii goes to perform, he/she really sings it using the voice you chose for him or her. But the best part is that you can rewrite the lyrics to each song! Want to make your mother rap about killer bees? No problem! Want to make Shaq sing an opera song about beef stew? The possibilities are endless! Creative types will have a blast with this feature.
Wacky Sense of HumorTomodachi Life is loaded with humorous touches. From the puns and wordplay to the ridiculous dreams and "Mii News" stories, to the hilarious animations your Miis will perform when the game is saving, this game is going to make you laugh. At times it will feel like you're watching the game more than playing it, but it is thoroughly entertaining.
Final VerdictTomodachi Life is best played in short bursts, mainly because there's not always a lot to do at any given moment--especially at night. But the more Miis you have (the maximum is 100), the less of a problem that will be. Most of the time, the game is quite enjoyable and funny. A lot of the fun comes from seeing the Miis of people you know (or celebrities) interacting in all sorts of ridiculous scenarios. And it's interesting to see which Miis become friends or sweethearts, and which Miis get into item-throwing fights with each other. While it eventually gets a bit repetitive, the game provides dozens of hours of fun before then. On a scale of one to ten, Tomodachi Life is a solid...
Be sure to check out my Tomodachi Life Blog to follow my ongoing adventures in the game and see what day-to-day life is like. You can also scan my QR codes to add some of my Miis to your island, view a list of kids born on my island, or check out my item collection.
Disclaimer: Nintendo has provided me with an advance copy of Tomodachi Life. This fact has not affected my review score in any way.