Since Nintendo’s decision to begin releasing games in the mobile market, avid gamers and Nintendo fans alike have waited impatiently to see just exactly what the big N would fire out first. One of the initially-announced games after their partnership with DeNA was Miitomo, a socially-integrated app not unlike one of their 3DS games, Tomodachi Life. Releasing alongside Nintendo’s revamped rewards program My Nintendo, Miitomo seemed to bolt out of the starting blocks and capture audiences.
For those of you who haven’t played Tomodachi Life, basically think of it as Nintendo’s answer to The Sims; players create a Mii, trade and share other Miis with other island owners, and basically help life go on for their island. Outfits, meals and even rooms are available for purchase, and your Miis can fall in love and even have children.
Transitioning this idea into a mobile game, Miitomo removes the life-sim element from Tomodachi Life and effectively makes it a social app – users create a Mii and add their friends through social outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Coins are earned either through micro transactions or by answering questions in-game about yourself or your friends; these coins are used for character customisation.
At first, it seemed like Miitomo would be the next breakout hit – people were downloading it and going absolutely crazy, with the app briefly hitting the number one download on the App store and rating highly on Google Play. I had at least 20 friends in a few days, and questions were being answered at a crazy rate; with silly and over-the-top answers coming thick and fast. Without a typical Nintendo filter as we’ve seen in recent times, players could be as vulgar and offensive as they wished. Just hearing your digital companion’s voice reading out such answers as ‘fapping’ (a VERY common answer) and different swears would be enough to send you into hysterics.And then just as fast as it had arrived, the craze died down significantly – answers were flowing through less frequently (or in some people’s cases, not at all), and responses were light. Even new friend requests dried up pretty quickly. So what exactly happened?
I would chalk it up to the fact that the game itself had nowhere to go – once you look past the humour of dressing your character up as a breadstick and making them answer questions with a string of obscenities, the game was over. There was no room customisation, no other mini-games (the only mini-game being a pachinko-style Mii drop), and void of response from friends which led to becoming extremely stale. With no real goal to strive towards, Miitomo faded as quickly as it entered – and people started to become worried about the game’s data-mining capabilities. In-game ‘sweets’ were practically useless (their only true use as of writing this was to hear an answer to a question again) and coins and game tickets could run out fairly quickly. As Nintendo’s first mobile outing, Miitomo was fun, but ultimately not enough; and while it could be said that they are waiting to see the impact of the game, interest is dropping at an alarming rate. I find myself considering uninstalling the app, because there’s only so many questions you can answer ‘furious masturbation’ to before it just isn’t funny anymore.