More than a year after its launch in Japan, Nintendo's quirky new 3DS life simulation, Tomodachi Life, is now available at retail and on the eShop. There were some questions before launch about whether the game deserved to be positioned as a regularly priced game--it sells for $35--and with its release today, we now have a number of reviews to provide some sense of what to expect.
Tomodachi Life made headlines recently due to its lack of same-sex relationships. Confusion over a patch for the Japanese version led some to believe Nintendo had deliberately removed the presence of gay marriage, but the company claimed that was not the case. A petition to have Nintendo add the option for the Western release of the game started up, and even comedian John Oliver chimed in on the subject. After Nintendo released a widely-criticized comment on the situation, it corrected itself by committing to "strive to design a gameplay experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players" if it develops a sequel.
Over on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, Tomodachi currently sits with an average review score of 71. Check out the reviews we've collected below and feel free to share your QR codes--allowing you to bring other people's Miis into your game--in the comments.
Destructoid -- 9/10
"In all, Tomodachi Life is filled with pure, unbridled joy. It puts a stupid grin on my face and keeps it there through its duration. Some might complain that it is 'not a game,' but they can go on hating. It does require the player to put in some love, flair, and wit, but what comes out is magic." [Full review]
Edge -- 7/10
"Given Nintendo is considerate enough to publish an annual report discussing how its practices could effect positive societal change, it's doubly disappointing that Tomodachi Life promotes a lifestyle that will exclude many, with some features gated off until two characters get married and have a child. Otherwise, this is a delightfully strange and often surprising piece of work; it's more plaything than game, perhaps, but the smiles it generates will be broad and frequent." [Full review]
GameSpot -- 7/10
"What you're left with is a sophisticated Tamagotchi, and a repetitive cycle of feeding, nursing, and entertaining that is hardly the most absorbing of pastimes. A much deeper system of development for Miis would have gone a long way towards keeping things interesting. That said, there are so many hilarious and curiously bizarre moments to be found along the way that even if the journey to fully fledged family life is a short one before the repetition sets in, it's well worth the trip." [Full review]
Eurogamer -- 5/10
"Tomodachi Life is a simple, throwaway toy, then - one with plenty of cute tricks, but not quite enough of them to stop you from tossing it aside after a handful of hours. There's no shame in that, of course - especially from a company that's excelled in novelty ever since Gunpei Yokoi's Love Tester, a device obliquely referenced in the metrics that measure the compatibility and chemistry between each of your islanders. Yet despite its exuberance and eccentricity, it's hard to recommend a life simulator with no real sense of simulation, and very little in the way of life." [Full review]
IGN -- 8.4/10
"Tomodachi Life offers a great kind of humor: it's just fun to laugh at yourself and your friends in absurd situations. Nintendo gets a lot out of mileage out of this Sims-like concept, but still manages to find ways to make it simple, accessible, and entertaining. The stiff, robotic voices could use improvement, but the effect of hearing the Miis speak is still novel in its own way. The easy-breezy pace makes it ideal for short bursts of play, and it leaves me eager to check in on my town early and often." [Full review]
Joystiq -- 3.5/5
"I don't regret the time I spent in Tomodachi Life's strange alternate universe, but like Animal Crossing, the experience loses its luster once you've seen the bulk of what it has to offer. Tomodachi Life wore out its welcome for me quicker than any Animal Crossing game ever did, due to its comparative lack of structure and progression, and its brilliant spark of creativity fades much more quickly than you'd like." [Full review]
"[T]hat's basically the appeal of the game in a nutshell: The ability to create stunningly faithful cartoon renditions of everyone you know and love, then set them free to be weird. To let them have odd conversations and pursue impossible romantic relationships. There's a certain therapeutic value to the game as well — a chance to woo your secret crush, or torment the avatar of someone you hate. Like so many of Nintendo's casual titles, it's the kind of game you don't play in marathon sessions but rather return to regularly for little sessions to lord over a tiny world and watch it spin into hilarious chaos. And it's the kind of game that makes you want to return for those little sessions for a long, long time to come." [Full review]