Tech News on G4
Get a life with 'Tomodachi'
Jun 6, 2014
By John Powell - G4 Canada
At one time another, all of us would love to escape our complicated or busy lives and be someone else or be somewhere else. Games like The Sims, Second Life, Animal Crossing and Viva Piñata give players the chance to create a digital world where they can reinvent themselves in a place where anything and everything is possible. Tomodachi Life for the 3DS follows in these footsteps utilizing the Mii avatar creation system as the stepping stone.
A Japanese export, Tomodachi Life is the sequel to the popular Tomodachi Collection overseas. The game begins by transporting you to an unpopulated island and the creation of your first Mii: yourself. As you take up residence in the Mii Apartments, you can deck out your pad with some cool interiors, buy some new clothes to replace those generic Mii duds and fill up on some grub from the Food Mart.
From there, I quickly moved Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle, Tony Stark, Mario, Princess Peach and Cortana in giving them the same welcome to the neighbourhood treatment. In no time at all, friendships flourished, love bloomed, careers commenced and new places opened up. The Mii News Station started updating me on the latest happenings on Survivor Island. A hat store, photo studio and pawn shop opened their doors for business. All on their own, my Miis began hanging out at the beach, amusement park, observation tower, café and park.
Survivor Island was a paradise in every sense of the word until the Miis, slowly but surely, became a needy little bunch.
Bruce Wayne wanted a new suit. Mario was hungry for a veggie burger. Cortana's apartment décor was now passé. Selina caught a cold. Princess Peach became depressed when Tony Stark spurned her advances.
Guess whose job it was to bring peace back to the valley? Me, the omnipotent overseer of Survivor Island.
So much for escaping my complicated, busy world, eh?
Instead of using my imagination to build new places on Survivor Island or personally influence the lives of my Miis, most of my time was spent checking in and digitally babysitting them making sure they were happy and could level up. Tomodachi Life's gameplay is really just completing the same cyclic tasks with little room for you to shape the world.
Sometimes, instead of complaining about this or that, the Miis would invite me to play mini-games where I could earn objects to give to the other Miis. The consolation prize being a box of tissue or toilet paper. Thanks, guys.
The most appealing part of Tomodachi Life is the random, kooky events. I was summoned to the park where one of the Miis directed me in a photo shoot in which real photos were taken which I could save off. Cortana had a clandestine meeting with Mario on the roof of the Mii Apartment during which she imparted some very cryptic messages. At the amusement park, I was asked to play a surprisingly expansive RPG video game in the arcade. Some of the Miis had a beach party. It is these random events that cut through all the micromanaging, I just wish there were more of them.
The allures of life simulations are two-fold: having influence over the digital setting and the world, its inhabitants taking on lives of their own. While my Miis fell in love, got married, had children, competed in a rap contest; I never really felt like I was contributing or interacting with their world or their lives in very meaningful ways and their random actions were too few and far between. There is a lot to like about the oftentimes zany Tomodachi, I just wish there were more life to this life simulation.
Rating: 7 / 10
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.