It's simple, it's fun, but honestly it's really really shallow. But like a fun kind of shallow, like jumping in a puddle with rubber boots or like Mean Girls fun.
Miitomo is Nintendo's first attempt into the mobile game market and I'm not quite sure what the point of it is. It's like ask.fm mixed with the Miiverse with a weird voyeuristic spin on it, but the thing is, it makes me want to keep playing it. I'm not actually sure if playing it is the right word, let me break down what you can do in the app.
What do you do in Miitomo?
You have a limited way of interacting in Miitomo. You can either answer questions that your Miitomo friends are able to read, you can read your friends answers and leave comments on them, you can buy new clothes and change how your Mii is dressed, taking photos of your Mii (my favourite part).
From the first few actions you are able to collect coins, which can be spent in a limited ways. You can either buy clothing directly (and they do have a pretty cool feature where they cycle out clothes daily, but I wonder how long they'll have new clothing for before they repeat themselves) or you can play a game called Miitomo drop, where you drop your absurdly reacting Mii down a course, in a pachinko like manner, hoping to land on a space to win exclusive clothing. If you don't manage to win clothing (which is really hard), then you just win candy. Which is incredibly convoluted in terms of finding out what it does, but from some digging (and reading their FAQ), candy is used when other people are visiting your house to get answers to specific questions that they have answered. In the future you might want to use this, but given how little people have played so far, it's pretty easy to get through everybody's answers.
The Good and the Bad
So now that you know what the game is about let's talk about the best and worst parts of the game. For me the highlight is definitely taking photos of your Mii. You are able to move them around completely freely, changing their poses from a set of preset ones to completely customized ones, as well as changing the background that they appear on.
This is the most enjoyable part for me, there's a lot of depth here and the patent Nintendo-style fun really shines through. The other part that I do enjoy are the collection aspect of the game, mainly being an attempt to buy all the clothing (more clothes and changing more gives you a higher fashion level which gives you rewards at each level). However, this is limited by the high costs of the clothes and the limited amount of coins that you are able to get each day.
The worst part is the questions and answers, not because it's not well implemented, but because that is what the app is based around and for me it falls a bit flat. While it does ask unique questions, and has fun elements of interactions between you and your friends, there just isn't enough meat in that core element to carry it forward.
Is it a game? Kind of. It's a weird idle game social network fashion show. It's missing a greater depth of mini-games and greater customization (with decorating your house and buying furniture, which would add a lot more content to the game), but these are literally the very first days of the app. I'm going to keep playing it, but not giving it as much attention as I want to be.
Miitomo is available in both the Apple store and the Google store for free. There are micro-transactions for the coins.
A game designer, producer, production designer, writer and editor, Jason has dipped his toes into many creative fields, perhaps too many. He lives in Toronto, writing, making games and thinking about dogs. Follows Jason on Twitter at @jwestonwong.