What is Tomodachi Life?
Tomodachi Life is a life simulator game for the 3DS - and one it's hard to sum up in just a few words, due to how incredibly weird it is! Think a game like Animal Crossing, only where all the inhabitants are the cartoony Mii characters you've created on your 3DS, perhaps your friends, family, celebrities, or anyone else you can think of! You play as the owner of the island the Miis live on, watching their interactions, tending to their wants and needs, and generally trying to make their relationships (friendships and otherwise) go without a hitch.
How do you play Tomodachi Life?
The game is based around the interactions of the Mii characters, both with each other and with the player. Each day, your characters will want to do something different, whether they're angling for a specific item or food (thankfully, there are no negative repercussions to not giving them food), some new clothes or a room design. They may also want to make friends with one of the other Mii characters on the island (you can advise them how best to try and befriend their friend-to-be - what things to talk about, where to do it, etc), or, they may simply want to play a mini game.
Whilst the game is rather relaxed, there are some events and happenings that occur at certain times of day based on a real-time clock, so an event happening in the game at 12:30pm requires you to be on your 3DS at 12:30pm in real life. It's also a game that's much more suited to hopping in and out of multiple times throughout the day rather than extended play sessions. With no set end goal to work towards once you've opened up all of the island, this is a game aimed at those who like to experiment and play rather than those who prefer progression and goals.
How easy is Tomodachi Life to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Tomdoachi Life is actually really easy to get to grips with, as there's nothing you can really fail at - the whole appeal of the game is that funny things happen, and you get to watch. Perhaps as complex as things get is that sometimes Miis may ask for items which may have not yet been unlocked in the stores, or may want items from a particular category, such as salty or sweet food, which can make figuring out what to give them a bit difficult. Likewise, the Mii Quiz mini-game will ask you questions about your islanders, such as who has a specific personality type, which may trip up some of the younger players - although there's no real penalty for getting it wrong either.
To be honest, the only real question mark here is the amount of reading required. While most of the game is voiced, each of the Miis in the game speaks with a computer generated voice that can sometimes bungle the pronunciation of names, and often isn't all that clear, meaning you mostly end up relying on the subtitles. Otherwise, the only real reading involved is the odd description of items, or letting you know how a character reacted to a present you gave them - generally basic sentences, and generally sentiments you can tell visually, from the reaction of the characters, they're hardly essential reading.
- "Batman is here with Iwata."
- "He liked it a lot."
- "These bubbles are better outside than indoors. For kids (and grown-ups)."
Tomodachi Life is, like similar Nintendo title Animal Crossing, a safe choice for young children, with no real mature content. There's no bad language, no violence, save the odd comedy-style scuffle between inhabitants, and no gore whatsoever. Whilst Mii characters falling in love (and later getting married and having children) is a part of the interactions seen on the island, it's all portrayed in an innocent light. Once a couple gets married, an icon may pop up a short while later, where the couple will announce they're thinking of having a baby. If you choose the encouraging option (something like "Sounds great!"), a few days later, they'll announce the birth of their new child. There's no rude noises, and no awkward sex scenes - there's even an option that lets you toggle whether babies can be born, if you want to be doubly sure of avoiding any potentially awkward conversations.