Miitomo Life & History: Nintendo bring it back

Nintendo shocked the world when they announced that they would begin developing mobile games on iOS and Android since they had been against it for many years. Many people claimed it was the end of Nintendo even though people always complained Nintendo’s games weren’t on mobile. Miitomo was Nintendo’s first game that they released for smartphones and tablets, this was not what most people expected since they wanted one of Nintendo’s better known franchises like Mario. But Mii’s are what captured the heart of the mainstream audience so was it really a bad idea to launch with it?

People were not happy at the announcement since they were not getting an actual game but some weird social app and we all have enough social apps on our mobile devices to add another one but still this was Nintendo’s first swing at it so many checked it out. What we got was something that most people played around with in the beginning but quickly uninstalled and only a select few stayed around with it. However as months passed more and more people dropped the app, including me. I actually lasted quite a bit but as much as I want to love it there are just some problems with Miitomo.

A game was released in the west called Tomodachi Life, this was a game that was never in my radar and yet when I heard about it, I just wanted to have it. The whole concept was so odd that I just needed to check it out, never had I been that excited about Miis since the Wii launched and we were all making Hitler and Jesus Miis. So after that game I was on board with anything that had a Mii on it once again so when I saw this app I was curious to what it could be, I expected something like Tomodachi Life but maybe it being its own thing. What I got was the very bare minimum of Tomodachi Life. You had stuff like the personality and voice system created for Tomodachi life in it but none of the fun stuff that you can do like fall in love and have a whole building of Miis and activities for them to do on an island. Well it’s not meant to be Tomodachi life so that’s fine but does it have any merits on its own counting that it already borrows a lot from the Tomodachi Collection series?

As previously mentioned Miitomo was made to be a social app so you have your mii asking you questions which it later shares with other miis in your friend’s list and you can read the responses of your friends. This was a pretty cute idea and I loved it, however after a while it starts to get repetitive so you need other stuff to do. You have clothes which is great, I spent a lot of time shopping for clothes and trying to win clothes through a nearly impossible mini-game, it was a lot of fun…until there was little for me to get excited about at the store. Editing your mii is fun but we’ve been able to do that since the Wii came out and with greater customization since the Tomodachi games. One of the coolest things it introduced was Miifoto in which you could put your miitomo in crazy and fun poses. This was a blast and it was great seeing people come up with stuff but it wasn’t enough to carry the app.

Many months later we got a few updates that made the game much more playable, it added the ability to message another friend for example. Yes, that means that Nintendo launched a social app without the ability to message other people directly. You were now able to customize your room, made some things easier to use among others. Not only that but it actually made the app faster since anyone who played it in the beginning knew what a battery hog it was and that it took forever to load. The coolest addition was finally being able to have a second Mii called a “sidekick Mii” which made the game be a little less boring. These little additions helped the game be more fun but it was too little too late for most people to care.

The biggest problem is there just isn’t enough content in there to entertain you for long; Even Tomodachi Life which has tons of stuff to do gets boring after a while, this couldn’t be a stripped down Tomodachi Life but it needed more stuff for it to be able to strive. I really like Mii’s and I enjoy this app for what it is but it’s just a little too simple for me to keep playing and there’s nothing for me to go back to it regularly. I hope the app is not forgotten and I’d love to see the features of Miitomo be incorporated into Tomodachi Life in the future as it would make that game better. I also think if Nintendo was serious with Miitomo they could’ve included it as part of the Nintendo Switch as an OS feature or launch app, since it’s so basic it’s the only way for this app to work and get people interested.

Another thing I forgot to mention is this was meant to launch the Club Nintendo replacement My Nintendo which MyNintendo is a whole other topic in itself since it has its own set of big problems. Like any Free to Play or “freemium” game this had way too many currencies you could use: Coins, Miitomo/Silver Coins, Candy which made understanding them difficult. So while not the best video game or social app, it had potential and I hope that Nintendo does more with it besides “limited edition” clothing. Not only with this but Miis in general since they can be fun and they still have the potential they used to since the launch of the Wii in 2006 and Nintendo still hasn’t capitalized in it.

I kept playing Miitomo for a long time, even if just to try the different gatcha/pachinko try once per day things, eventually they made improvements that made the game more fun, such as messaging, easier to access stuff and some more customizability but not much more was done and many of those were a bit too late as people had moved on from the app and eventually I did as well since there wasn’t all that much to do anymore but did spend plenty of time in it. After the miitomo service was announced to shut off I did login a a few more times, remembered how fun the app could be, and what a wasted opportunity it was. I’d love to see all the features of Miitomo incorporated in a new Tomodachi Life since it’d be a shame to not see them again. Miitoomo just needed something a bit more to get people to come back.

Luigi Kawasaki

social hermit

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