I got Tomodachi Life for 3DS soon after it came out, and I've been dipping into it off and on since. I finally sat down and spent a focused amount of time with it, and I finally got to the credits. The game is sort of reminiscent of the Animal Crossing series, but with the focus being on building up relationships rather than having a life in a village. Your character doesn't really have a more important role than any of the other Mii characters you create, and much of your enjoyment of the game will be based on how much you enjoy having something for your menagerie of Mii characters to do. If you have a bunch of Miis of your waifus/husbandos or favorite celebrities or relatives, or if you like creating backstories for new Miis you've created, then the silly interactions and relationships that the Miis in Tomodachi Life have will be way more entertaining than if you just have a few Miis that you don't care that much about. I started off importing just a few random Miis, but once I imported a lot more, including Nintendo characters such as my long-time favorite Ike (and also Filsamech and Miyamoto) and Game of Thrones characters and such, my experience with the game improved a lot (e.g., will Princess Daisy choose Luigi or Waluigi? Why doesn't Link want to date Samus?, etc., etc.).
Along with the relationship building, most of the rest of the game is about collecting food, interiors (i.e. apartment designs), and clothes (including hats). The descriptions of all of these are entertaining, and the game has a hidden system where certain items are more liked by certain personality types. The clothes are like the ones in Miitomo, but the difference here is that they're cheap to buy, so you can easily try out different looks for your Miis.
The mini-games get repetitive quickly, but they're not really the focus of the experience and more just a means of earning more money. There are little skits that pop up regularly, when your Miis have surreal dreams or in the news segments that occur twice a day, that feature that particular brand of Japanese quirkiness and are generally pretty funny. You can also teach your Miis songs with your own customized lyrics, although this is a lot of work and so I didn't spend any time on that. The game encourages you to take screenshots, and this is a game that definitely feels like it was made for Miiverse, as you're sure to encounter humorous moments even in just a single play session (although again, much of the humor comes from which specific Miis you're using). The game also makes it easy to edit Mii's personality attributes (although not a Mii's looks themselves, unless the sharing settings for that specific Mii have been set to "on"). The text-to-speech used is a bit on the robotic side, but somehow ends up being endearing overall.
You can get caught up in a cycle of feeding and clothing your Miis and responding to their requests and so even though all the individual moments are pretty darn trivial, the cumulative effect is that you end up becoming involved in these little fictional lives more than you might expect. The game also became oddly poignant for me since I had imported the Mii for the much-beloved Nintendo president Satoru Iwata before he passed away (R.I.P.), and so when I returned to the game I took a greater interest in his Mii. I was happy the game matched him up with Princess Zelda, and I'm pleased to report that they've had a healthy son that the game named Carlos (haha).
I hadn't played any Sims games before, but the sense of humor in this game definitely makes it a different type of game. It does feel a bit like playing with dolls at times, but the presentation makes it enjoyable overall. It's worth noting that the game does feel behind the times, though, in that it doesn't feature same-sex relationships, something the Sims has had since its first iteration. All in all, though, this was even more mindless than the Animal Crossing games, and definitely one best played in short sessions. Still, it's a cute and quirky game and would be good for people looking for something a little more active than playing with dolls.
Cute 'n Quirky Tomodachi Life links:
- Official website
- Nintendo Direct video
- Nintendo Minute video
- Community on Miiverse
- All the info about the game you could need (and its Japanese exclusive predecessor) at tomodachi.wikia.com
- miicharacters.com is a great site for finding Mii QR codes
- Some Fire Emblem: Awakening Mii QR codes I found online
- Review at NintendoLife