Tomodachi Life
| Tomodachi Life

Before we begin the review proper, head on over here and read my opinion piece on Nintendo's baffling decision not to include same sex relationships in Tomodachi Life.

If you come back I'll assume that you're either okay with the developer's choice, or that it doesn't bother you enough to dissuade you from making a purchase.

Tomodachi Life is a fun diversion that will sit on your 3DS for ages, and lets you play out the virtual lives of your Miis. Much like Animal Crossing it begs to be poked at in short sessions over the course of months.

But make no mistake - this is absolutely a "diversion". Anyone going in expecting a game that will enthral them for hours at a time is going to be disappointed.

Island life

You're in charge of the inhabitants of an island composed of your Mii creations.

Before I started the game I'd only made myself as a Mii, but as you'll see in the image gallery, I went ahead and created a bunch more, including famous characters, celebrities, and Pocket Gamer and AppSpy staff.

You need loads of Miis to fully appreciate Tomodachi Life. It's largely a game about social interactions and the humour that stems from everyday life.

In one play session I visited James Gilmour, who was selling crepes from a market stall. Then I dressed Harry Slater in a dinosaur costume, cured Keith Andrew's case of hiccups, and created an elaborate song and dance routine that featured Rob Hearn, Danny Russell, and Mark Brown.

I've introduced Michelle Obama to Professor Oak, and jumped into the subconscious of the guy on the Pringles can as he had a feverish nightmare about SwapNote Nikki, Mia Fey, and Peppermint Patty.

Tomodachi Life is good-natured and, above all, funny. It often puts its characters in surreal situations with pretty daft lines of dialogue to act out.

Eventually though you'll run out of things to do, and the only way to progress is to put the game down and come back to it later in the day.

Life of Brian

Much of the appeal of Tomodachi Life is that there are no set objectives. Instead you make your own fun.

You might want to try and get two Miis to strike up a friendship, or maybe figure out which foods your inhabitants like the most.

Perhaps you want to decorate your Miis's apartments and shower them with gifts, or you might set about collecting all the in-game items.

If you're looking for a traditional gaming experience, then it's unlikely Tomodachi Life will appeal.

Your Miis will ask you to play minigames with them in exchange for special items, but the majority of your time is spent ensuring your islanders are happy.

You need to interact with them, keep them fed, and buy them new hats occasionally. There are events to watch too, all starring your Miis.

It's presented well: the Miis look as good as they always do, and the environments are detailed.

The game isn't afraid to change its style to keep things exciting, either. It swaps from cartoonish naturalism to Monty Python-esque photo-realism at the drop of a hat.

The audio is equally strong, and the game features a wonderfully accurate voice synthesiser that means characters speak in their own "voice".

This is a unique 3DS release then.

If you've exhausted Animal Crossing, and you don't mind setting your own goals, then Tomodachi Life is a pleasant and weird way to waste some more time.

Tomodachi Life

Controversy aside, Tomodachi Life is a pleasingly directionless life-sim-lite that fans of Animal Crossing should investigate further