Review: Tomodachi Life, Nintendo 3DS

I’ve played Tomodachi Life enough now that I’ve got through an entire charge on the 3DS several times over and I’m still completely baffled. In fact I’m not even entirely sure that Tomodachi Life even qualifies as a game in the traditional sense. It might perhaps be best to consider it as some sort of Mii extension that has echoes of the Tamogatchi craze from the 90’s.

That’s not to say that Tomodachi Life isn’t addictive though as it is. Incredibly addictive actually. Almost in the realms of “Oh it’s 3am and I still appear to be playing” addictive that’s usually reserved for stuff like Football Manager or FIFA. But I’m probably getting ahead of myself a little, lets take a step back and have a bit more of a detailed look at what you actually have to do in Tomodachi Life.

Tomodachi Life is best thought of as a sort of portable ant farm with the ants replaced with Miis. You know, the little avatars that represent you, the gamer, on Nintendo consoles. Mine is unimaginatively called Daddacool because, you know, it’s easier. Tomodachi Life effectively brings these Miis to life, giving them their only world to inhabit and their own stuff to do. Daddacool ended up on an island with cafes, shops, and a funfair. You don’t get to walk your character about directly though, it’s pretty much a menu driven affair where you chose where to go via a set of options. There are mini games aplenty, from simple card matching games to more complicated stuff that lets you marry off your Mii to any of the other creations you’ve populated the world with.

It’s engaging and baffling by turn and I’m still not entirely sure it’s actually a game but it is good fun and kept me occupied for a good few hours. When I passed it over to the kids, they happily dipped in and out of it between playing more conventional games on the 3DS. It was perfect for dropping in and out of for a few minutes here and there while we were away on holiday. Tomodachi Life can be found at retail for under £30 and is a nice antidote to generic shooters.