Game Info:

Tomodachi Life
Developed by:Nintendo
Published by: Nintendo
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Available on: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Simulation
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $35.00
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I'll admit that I'm a bit surprised that I actually bought this game.  After seeing my kids play it, the silly humor got my attention.  There's not much of a story in Tomodachi Life, other than building up an island of Miis and keeping them happy by feeding, clothing and entertaining them.  You can create Miis in the game or import them from your Mii plaza.  My Lovely Island (that was its name) consisted of my family, Iwata, Miamoto, Reggie and some anime/cartoon Miis from miicharacters.com.  You can have up to one hundred Miis on your island - the apartment building will grow as needed to accommodate more people.

When creating or importing Miis, you can specify if they are a child or an adult, their birth date and favorite color.  Answering some questions will determine their personality type.  You can also customize their voice with the presets or the limited randomly generated ones.  Once the Mii is created they'll move into a vacant room at the apartment complex.  I recommend starting off by feeding them until they are full.

There's a wide variety of food and accessories for your islanders, but you don't start off with everything available at once.  New room styles, clothes, and food items become available daily. When it comes to clothing sometimes a new color becomes available versus a new outfit entirely.  Some clothes are gender specific, but there's a lot of universal outfits and costumes.  I enjoyed putting characters in hot dog and hamster suits.  

Tomodachi Life

Strong Points: Silly humor; fun interactions with Miis of varying personalities and food preferences
Weak Points: Easy to sink a lot of time into this game; not much customization with the Mii voices
Moral Warnings: Some toilet humor

The food menu is impressive and there are several categories including meals, beverages and desserts.  The dishes vary in origins and I have served my islanders pastas, lobsters, caviar, oatmeal, pancakes, sushi, Salisbury steak, fried chicken, and even space food.  The list goes on and on and I have yet to unlock everything available.

Each Mii has a different taste in foods and it's fun to find out what their all time and least favorite meals are.  They will also try to establish friendships and romantic relationships that will hinge on personality compatibility.  Nintendo took a lot of heat for only allowing heterosexual marriages in the game.  (If it was any other way, I would not have bought this for my children.)  Sometimes kids in Tomodachi Life will start dating and wish to become married.  If you approve of it, they will give you an “Age-O-Matic” to convert them into grown-ups.   

With marriage comes babies and married couples will ask your opinion about them having a baby.  If you approve, a few days later you'll be greeted with the news and have the option to help name and design the baby.  Out of all the mini-games, the rocking the baby mini-game was my least favorite.  Fortunately, infancy is very short lived and the offspring grow to maturity in a few days.  Once fully grown, they can either become a resident, or travel via streetpass to other islands.  With either option, you are shown a photo album with photos as the credits roll.  Of course, the game doesn't truly end as you can continue to play and unlock items and trade with other islands via streetpass.

Tomodachi Life
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 97%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

I like how my island can import and export items from my kids' islands and travelers who have visited Lovely Island.  Traveling Miis will take photos with your islanders and ask to share them and a phrase of your choosing with their home island, should they return.  The swear filter is pretty good and caught all the obvious words I could think of.  The only objectionable content is some of the potty humor.  I have to admit that I cracked up when I saw Miamoto in his apartment bend over, fart and then giggle afterwards.  While the Mii's can't cross dress, you can give male Miis beauty kits to play with and they will use it.  A Mii will pretty much use any item you give them right away.  

As you make your islanders happy by fulfilling their needs, they will level up when their happiness meter becomes full.  Upon leveling up, you can give them a gift, spending money, teach them a phrase or teach them a song.  Depending on their personality, they will often give you an item in return.  If you give the Mii a camera, they will show you the pictures they have taken.  In later levels the islanders will give you silver or gold coins out of gratitude. You can pawn off these or other unneeded items for cash if you're short.  Every morning there is a donation drive so you start off the day with some cash flow to buy the newly available items.

As you can tell, there is much to see, do and buy in Tomodachi Life.  It's fun to see the Miis come to life and have the ability to interact with them and view their dreams as they are happening.   It was one of the dream sequences that sold me on purchasing this game: the island was in danger from carnivorous banana peels and by the power of apple pie my Mii turned into a super hero and saved the day.  When all was said and done, she said there was nothing to fear but fear itself and spiders.   It's that kind of silly humor you can expect to find in this game.  It's captivated and amused my kids and has kept me entertained for longer than I have anticipated.  I look forward to future releases, if they remain family friendly.


About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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