Tomodachi Life

Game review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Tomodachi Life Game Poster Image
Quirky sim engages kids in a virtual doll soap opera.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There's no overt focus on providing positive messages within the game, but players will find that acting positively toward the other Miis on the island will help you boost the happiness of the characters you interact with.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are fairly neutral, although they lean toward being kind. You have some control over the types of actions the Miis choose, and each has a different personality that you can edit at any time.

Ease of Play

There's a strong tutorial to help get kids started. Some activities, such as the Magic Act or helping Miis sneeze, aren't as responsive as they could be. The 3DS touch screen doesn't seem sensitive enough to handle those tasks.

Violence & Scariness

You can play an RPG-style game with the characters where they have to defeat enemies (almost all inanimate objects) by attacking or casting spells. It's extremely watered down and, although characters lose health, there's no blood. When the character's health runs out, they fall asleep until the mini-game is over.

Language
Consumerism

The Miis (avatars) can appear in other Nintendo consoles and games.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tomodachi Life is a lighthearted sim that lets kids create Miis and watch their whole island community evolve over time. Miis become friends, have fights, date, get married, and even have babies (all in mysterious ways, of course). Players have some control over the outcome. For example, if two Miis want to go on a date, you can say it's a bad idea. You can also encourage or discourage friendships between the characters. Miis speak everything out loud, as well as in a thought bubble on screen. Even those who aren't strong readers can understand what's going on. While StreetPass (Nintendo's data exchange feature with other 3DS users) isn't required to play, kids can't unlock one of the island areas without it on, which could raise privacy concerns.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygeorge512 August 29, 2014

Great Game for Everyone who own a 3DS.

Tomodachi Life is a Great Game and you and put your Miis in the game. Nintendo really did it. ...and you can put up to 100 Miis in the game. They will *Fall... Continue reading
Adult Written byklovez December 22, 2014

amazing

tomodachi life is iffy for kids who dont now how to read or learning.
Kid, 12 years old October 16, 2014

Nice Alternative to The Sims, although CAN be iffy for a E-Rated Game

I rented this game from Gamefly, and I played the Demo and the older japanese counterpart before this, and I enjoyed it. This game is a great alternative to the... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 22, 2015
Good game and is funny but can get very boring and can have nothing to do. An can be weird and wrong at there same time such as Miis having babies and the love... Continue reading

What's it about?

TOMODACHI LIFE takes place on a virtual island inhabited by Miis (Nintendo avatars) you've created. Players can make both kids and adults and customize everything from the shape of their nose and eyes to the sound of their voices and even their personality traits -- like quirkiness and seriousness. Most traits (physical and emotional) can be changed at any time. Each Mii moves into their own apartment, which can be customized with fun skins like a Zen garden or an ice palace. From there, the Miis will start making demands of you for new clothes, hats, and food. They may ask for help with friendships or to play a game. When you help, they'll give you gifts and money that you can spend on items for gifts. Over time, Miis may get married and have babies, who eventually grow into children that may either settle down or set off to travel the world (via StreetPass). Things start slowly, but the more Miis the merrier, so ramp up quickly to at least 10 or more so things can get interesting.

Is it any good?

Tomodachi Life isn't a traditional game, and it may not appeal to kids who are goal-oriented gamers. But for those who enjoy open-ended virtual social experiments, this is a real treat. The customization options for characters are vast, and you can even use a picture of yourself to get started. Have a name that's hard to pronounce? You get a chance to enter the phonetic spelling of your name, ensuring that your Miis can both spell and say their own names correctly.

Each day there are different food, clothes, hats, and decor available, so you can see which ones your Miis like best. The games the Miis like to play are tricky, often expecting you to identify a food item from a blown up or pixelated picture. Since the foods available are quite diverse, it's not always easy to guess between the loco moco, tiramisu, schnitzel, and string cheese, but it's fun trying. Plus, the Miis give you treasure when you're right. Tomodachi Life unfurls slowly over time. It may not be a game you play for hours a day for weeks, but it's one you're likely to revisit over and over to check in on your Miis and see what's going on. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about relationships like the ones in Tomodachi Life. How are friendships formed? What do you do when you have a fight?

  • Talk about personalities. How are the Miis alike? How are they different? What about the real people in your lives?

  • Design Miis together, or make one for each family member. See if the Miis become friends.

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love simulations

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