March 17th saw the release of the first smartphone app by Nintendo, the polished game developer oft stuck in the past. Also on that day was the release of Miitomo, part social network, part Nintendo experience. So, just what is Miitomo and how does it fare?
In Nintendo’s own words, “Miitomo is a smart-device app that sparks one-of-a-kind conversations between you and your friends.” Essentially your Mii will ask you questions and will share your answers with your friends Miis. The goal being that you’ll learn something about your friends you might not have considered asking.
As soon as you open the app Nintendo’s touch is immediate. The graphic design, the sound effects, this is without a doubt a Nintendo app. It then prompts you to make your Mii.
The Mii making process is very similar to what’s found on the Wii U and 3DS, using your camera the app will attempt to make your Mii for you, use the Mii face most similar to your face, and polish the results. After choosing a voice and personality your ready to go.
Miitomo is often compared to a hybrid of Tomodachi Life and the Everybody Votes Channel, this is a mostly accurate comparison, though Miitomo has one additional component in the mix, interpersonal interactivity. Tomodachi Life is a lone experience, just you and your Miis, and while the Everybody Votes Channel is a group poll, you know little about the masses that voted with you, while in Miitomo, the entire point is to get to know those around you.
There are a few other features lifted from Tomodachi Life in Miitomo, including the various clothing articles and outfits, as well as the Mii voices. The Miis will repeat whatever you answer and comment on it, as well as reporting your friends answers.
The Miis have various gestures based on what they’re saying, you’ll hear a cat’s ‘meow’ every time the word “cat” is spoken, or a coin sound when your Mii says “Nintendo” and so on. The Miis are oddly charming, speaking almost deadpan while wildly jumping around excitedly.
Your friends can heart or comment on your answers, this typically results in 10-15 mini conversations about the best features of a cat, to your favorite color, to your dream date. Hearting, commenting on, and giving your own answers all give you various amounts on coins, this coins can be spent on the aforementioned outfits.
The outfits seem to be directly lifted from Tomodachi Life, including astronaut suits, hot dog costumes, and like, fifty types of jeans. The coins can also be spent on Mii Drop, a pachinko style game that can win you other outfits as well.
Your Mii can visit your friends, talking with their Mii and asking them special questions, “Just between us, what do you think is my best quality?”
The only other feature Miitomo has is Miifoto. Here you can make your Miis pose, give them crazy expressions, with explosive backgrounds. This feature is pretty divisive, I don’t find much appeal in it, while other believe it to be Miitomo‘s best feature.
So, the final question is… is Miitomo any good?
It depends on what you want. Miitomo is by no mean a game, nor will it ever replace Facebook or Twitter, instead Miitomo has found its own little niche. Miitomo finds itself somewhere in between a game and social network, and seems to be happy with the way it is.
Miitomo certainly won’t be for everyone, but for me, well it’ll stay on my homescreen for quite a while. The plain and simple truth is that Miitomo is fun, it’s hard to express the joy of being read quirky little facts about friends by their little doppelgangers read in a deadpan tone while leaping about. It’s honestly something you should try out for yourself.
*The copy of Miitomo used was the Japanese version, thankfully the game had a comprehensive English mode, US release is rumored to be by the end of the month.