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Video Games Weekly: Miitomo

If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably noticed that I’ve been playing through Tearaway Unfolded.  I read about it in a video game review, written by Regina Townsend on Teen Services Underground.  The game is awesome, but since it has been already well reviewed, I’m going to talk about a sort-of-but-not-quite video game this week.

tearaway unfolded

What is Miitomo?: In late March, Nintendo released a new freemium app called “Miitomo”.  It was marketed as a new “social media” platform from Nintendo, free to download on smart devices.  You can either create a new username or link your Nintendo ID to the app assuming you are a My Nintendo user.  As of April 12th, Miitomo supposedly has gained over 4 million users, but I’m not sure how long they will stick around.

 

Creating a Character: Nintendo is recycling their “Mii” characters, which have been around since the first Wii came out back in 2006. This is probably Nintendo’s way of streamlining their platform but it is quite annoying because it isn’t new and exciting. The only new feature they added is giving Mii’s a weird robotic voice.  Even then, the robotic voice feature was originally used in Tomodachi Life which came out in 2013!   Here’s an example of what my character looks like:

Miitomo 1

Adding Friends: Adding your friends is a huge pain. You cannot add friends by typing in their username, probably because you are encouraged to name your Mii with your first name.  Instead, you can add friends face to face, a QR code, or linking to your social media accounts.  The more friends you add, the more coins and game tickets you get (I’ll explain what coins are in a minute). The crux of doing anything in Miitomo is having friends, and the game is incredibly boring without them!

The “social part”: Every day you are asked a question, and can respond with up to 190 characters.  Some people use all 190 characters, or you have people like me that answer with a few words.  You can get a certain amount of coins per day for answering questions.

Miitomo 2

Once you add friends, you can see their answers to random questions.  You can “visit” friends in their house to listen to their answers, but it’s not live (meaning both players do not have to be logged in at the same time).  These questions are smalltalk-esque like “What is your favorite food?” or “What is a good movie you have seen recently?”.  You can like, comment, and choose to answer the same question.  If you want to view more of your friends’ answers, you can choose to give them candy.

Miifoto: In my opinion, Miifoto is really annoying.  Every time you log in, change your outfit, or do practically anything, Miitomo will take what is called a Miifoto.  Basically, it’s your Mii having a crazy expression with different backgrounds.  You can create a Miifoto with your friends in it, and post it for your friends to like and comment.

Miitomo 3

Miitomo Shop: Nintendo has to monetize Miitomo somehow, and the answer is the Miitomo Shop.  In the shop, you can use coins that you have accumulated from answering questions to get new outfits.  You can buy shirts, pants, shoes, and accessories.  Of course, if you see an item that is limited edition or one that you want right now, you can opt to use real money to purchase coins.

Miitomo 4

Miitomo Drop: This is a different way to get new limited edition clothing.  Miitomo Drop is a minigame that is pretty self explanatory. You take a Mii, and you try to drop it on the item you want. It’s kind of like Plinko meets pinball.  You can use game tickets or coins per drop.  There isn’t really any strategy to Miitomo Drop other than pure hope that you get that kitten sweater.

Miitomo 5

Connection to My Nintendo: I believe the biggest appeal to Miitomo is if you do things like change your outfit every day, answer questions, etc. you get My Nintendo rewards points. This is a separate reward system where players can redeem points for coupons, free Nintendo games downloads, etc.  The catch is there are different tiers for points, so the points you accumulate on Miitomo will not get you a brand new game for free.  Still, it’s something right?

Miitomo 6

Will it stay popular? I’m not sure.  On one hand, this is Nintendo’s breakthrough app on the mobile market, so that within itself is revolutionary.  On the other hand, Miitomo isn’t really that engaging either as a mobile game or a social media platform.  Sure, your friends can give hilarious answers to questions, but it gets really repetitive.  I classify Miitomo has a “bathroom game”, meaning it’s an app you can quickly use to entertain yourself while you’re on the toilet.  I think Miitomo will have to quickly add new mini games or new elements in order for users to keep coming back or stay longer than 2 minutes.

I also asked my teens if any of them were on Miitomo, and none of them were. They told me it looked pointless, and many of them have never heard of it. I’m not surprised, because the people who will use Miitomo to get My Nintendo points are the kinds of people who are buying their own video games (aka grownups).  I can see Miitomo being really fun for younger kids, but Miitomo has an age limit of 13+.  Besides, teens are already on countless social media platforms that are less niche, so Miitomo is really going to have to step up the game in order to get teens on board.

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

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