Hey kids! Do you like mobile games!? Do you like Nintendo!? Do you like Facebook!? Have you ever wondered “What if Nintendo made a Facebook?” Well stop living in the past and get into the now, with Nintendo’s first foray into the mobile market: Miitomo.
Miitomo is an odd little product. When it was first announced, I honestly couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Initial screenshots showed Mii creation but little else, making it look like a glorified Streetpass for your phone. What was delivered was something more engaging and more fun that I could’ve imagined; much like Nintendo reimagined the shooter genre to create Splatoon, Miitomo feels like Nintendo reimagined Facebook and Instagram.
Users create a Mii, and answer questions which can be seen and commented on by other Miitomo friends, which can be found through face-to-face interaction, Facebook or Twitter. Answering questions, answering friends’ questions or commenting on others answers will net users coins which can be spent on new outfits for your Mii. These coins can also be used in a Pachinko-style mini-game which can also get you out-of-shop items.
While there’s no direct interaction, answering these questions are a fun way to get to know a person, or open up real channels of creativity to craft elaborate and hilarious answers. Furthermore, this makes social interaction a lot easier as the game gives you questions to answer, stimulating a conversation, as opposed to just allowing for posts of every random thought you may have.
Much like Tomodachi Life, you can also take pictures both in reality or out, including your Mii to share them on social media. Also like Tomodachi Life, the amount of creative range you can have in these pictures is incredible, but the fact that they can be so widely shared through Facebook and Twitter make it much more fun social experience.
As with any free-to-play mobile game, Miitomo does have microtransactions allowing users to purchase coins with real world money. However, Nintendo has made it clear that they’re committed to a quality experience in their mobile games, and the focus on microtransactions is minimal. I honestly wasn’t even sure they were included until I clicked on my money button by accident to be taken to the microtransaction menu. While I can definitely see how this might hamper the overall experience, so far Nintendo has chosen not to shove freemium elements down user throats and focus on what makes the game great.
Nintendo has always had a tough time with convenient social integration. From the archaic friend codes of the Wii, to the extremely limiting Streetpass feature of the 3DS, it seemed Nintendo wanted us to interact, but only on their terms. Fortunately, they’ve finally figured it out with Miitomo offering a fun, engaging and excessively quirky take on social media that will absorb most of your day in the best way possible. While the game is only officially available in Japan, who knows what changes might come to the fray when it is officially released stateside.