“I’ve seen a giant skyscraping Gabe Newell emerge from a harbor, and I’ve never been happier” Tomodachi life is a life simulator, or more aptly soap opera simulator for the 3DS. My initial thoughts were for a game very similar to The Sims, mixed in with a little bit of Animal Crossing, although I saw the similarities it couldn’t have been further from the truth.
First time play of the game, much in the same style as The Sims and Animal Crossing, you’re given the option to make a Mii to populate the island, and also given a personality exam and the choice of a voice, you’re then given an Island and/or a house to keep, which you are given the option of naming. At this point I toyed with the idea of using a couple of obscene place names, but eventually decided upon “Beeville”, After this I was promptly given management of the island and a lot of things to do, although at the start with only my Mii populating the island, things were a little isolated, and dare I say boring.
Much like many games, this game relies on other people to make it fun, as such the use of additional Miis is not only recommended but usually it’s necessary to fulfill conditions on the island to unlock additional areas and things to do. I set about creating new Miis, which included friends and some family, but I decided to make celebrities also; Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and Gabe Newell are to name but a few. As my island population grew I witnessed the game truly spring into life. Each personality you give to a character not only affects what they do, but also who they like, don’t like and who they are attracted to, as such it dictates who they hang out with, who they develop relationships with and who they have as a rival. Whilst my thoughts on this idea were skeptical, the concept grew on me and after watching each Mii go about their life, developing friendships and relationships by going to the coffee shop, taking walks on the beach and stopping by each other’s apartments, I started to grow fond of the game, and I now find myself picking up my 3DS now and then to see how each of them is getting on.
A video game is nothing without its gameplay though, and this is where Tomodachi life both is successful and falls slightly flat. At the beginning of the game you’re given a large amount of things to be done around the island, such as helping characters with relationships, minigames to be played which are in the same style as warioware and tasks to be completed in order to unlock areas of the island. There are additional items aswell, such as things and problems to complete for each of the characters on the island. These problems can range from anything to helping find a lost ribbon, to helping a character sneeze. Each problem is given to you in a lighthearted way and you find yourself laughing at the resolutions of each. The only downside is that after 7-8 hours of playing you find yourself completing the same problems but for different characters.
There are a large amounts of events to completed on the island such as a fairground, a coffee shop, a question game where you create the questions and stores in which you can buy items for your miis including food, clothes and a change of room design ranging from a quick and cheap change of color to an entirely different scenario such a island paradise and UFO, The list goes on. Although, it does become slightly repetitive after a couple of hours of playtime.
The relationship aspect of tomodachi life plays a major part in the game aswell, with each Mii becoming friends with each other and starting to develop close relationships with one another, one such example for me was when I created my Father and The Merc with a mouth, Deadpool. The two quickly became best of friends in game, and would spend days dancing in their rooms with each other and playing games. The game is incredibly light hearted and I thoroughly enjoyed watching my Miis develop over time, utilizing unique and interesting ways of telling a relationship and the events that surround them, one such example involved Beyonce heading to the harbor, where a giant skyscraping Gabe Newell emerged, giving her the fright of her life, it was hilarious and something that was completely unique for this game, as events such as this are common throughout.
Relationships can progress beyond the friendship level, wherein characters can fall in love with each other, this usually results in them asking for your opinions of the Mii in question and whether or not to continue asking them out, this is also a core part of the game and had provided me with many an hour of shock and awe, much akin to watching a soap opera. At times it does seem slightly forced however when two Miis who’ve apparently never met suddenly find themselves in a relationship, who said that love at first sight isn’t real?
Overall, if you want to enjoy a lighthearted life simulation game that combines both The Sims and Animal crossing and adds a splash of Japanese surrealist humor into a 3DS game give the demo a try and see if you like it! If you want a game with a lot of humor and charm, then look no further than here.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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