Today's "Ghost's Arcade" was supposed to be all about examining the Legend of Zelda series in an attempt to figure out which game is the best of the best thus far. It was supposed to feature two other people presenting their arguments about how their chosen game is the best in the series. I keep saying the words "supposed to" because as you can clearly tell from the title that's not what happened. Lots of shame, shenanigans, and forgetfulness was had so we are going to be talking about Tomodachi Life today instead. Don't expect the Legend of Zelda thing anytime soon... it'll probably be next year.
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Ghost here, thanks for joining!
Since I didn't have an actual review for this week planned thanks to the before mentioned tomfoolery, I had to dig around for an idea and one just so happened to fall in my lap. Actually truth be told it was more slapped across my face with the force of a train. My Facebook was spammed by my friend and co-contributor to this blog, KoD with thousands of pictures from a game called Tomodachi Life. He eventually convinced me to purchase this game and I figured... eh what the heck. I'll do the review about this!
Oh Tomodachi Life, what can I say about you? Seriously... what CAN I say about you? Generally when I review a video game I analyze the good and bad points of the story. I then talk about the gameplay and level of difficulty. Once that is complete I pick out one or two positive and negative things about the game and move on. Tomodachi Life however has no story line; there is no plot to drive what's going on. I could talk about gameplay but it all boils down to tapping the touch screen with the stylus, finding the right time to tap the touch screen with the stylus... or if things are getting intense you may even have to slide the stylus across the touch screen. Finding something to really discuss is going to be harder than normal.
What is Tomodachi Life?
Tomodachi Life is a Nintendo 3DS title that is an"alternate universe" life simulator of sorts. I say of sorts because it's not as if you are playing out your daily life in a town such as with the Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon series. Rather, you are watching the lives of other people as a sort of benevolent ruler or deity who grants them existence and trinkets. It's more along the lines of the Sims though nowhere near as complex (or confusing) as those games tend to be. Since it is a Nintendo handheld product and it is the first game to be produced under this title, the game definitely has the feel of "Junior's First Life Sim" but not in a bad way and certainly not in a way to imply it's childish to the point of being for toddlers. Let me explain.
|Katie and Wes hanging out.|
|Katie and Tharja having a conversation on their own.|
Now that you understand what this game is, let's look at what it does well and what could use some improvements if the franchise is to continue production.
What Tomodachi Life Does Well
|Population of My Island as of 9/21/15|
Did I just say voice? You bet I did! This game has done something that I haven't really seen in another game before; it has incorporated voice recognition of the text presented in the game. Now I don't mean that the game is fully voice acted, many games are fully voice acted. I mean that every bit of text in the game is read and interpreted by the game to be spoken sort of like when a GPS reads you the name of a road. Yes it does sound very robotic at times and yes making them pronounce certain names (like Katara from Avatar The Last Airbender) is a chore but it's really neat to hear the game actively mention what you put into it. This goes beyond just the names of characters. You can assign catchphrases or things for them to say when they are happy, worried etc. No matter what words you put in there, the game will do it's best to pronounce what you have put in there.
|Lynn performing a Rock & Roll song|
|Angel, Looney, KoD, and TL showing off various fashions|
Last but not least is the Quirky Questions. When you unlock the use of the Tower you can find there is one event that happens 24/7; this event is Quirky Questions. The game selects a random sampling of six Miis to stand together and answer questions provided by you. The game gives you three options to choose from that all have a blank spot for you to fill in. "Who's mother resembles ____" is just one such option. At first this seems a bit silly in all honesty but if you have a creative (or disturbed) mind this can become quite hilarious in the process. Below are just a few such examples of the weirdness that is in store.
What Tomodachi Life Needs To Consider
This section isn't necessarily things that the game does poorly. It's only a few features that I think should be implemented though I'm not entirely sure how they could be used without fundamentally changing the game. These are things that need to be considered at least.
|Darion watches his real-life girlfriend dating another person.|
Now this next topic I really wasn't going to mention...however I'm guaranteed a flogging by a particular individual if I don't at least mention it. The game actively discourages time travel. If you go into the game and modify the time or date you are penalized for a single day. If you change the 3DS' time or date rumor has it (I didn't bother looking up if it were true or not) that you can be penalized up to five days! What is this penalty? Effectively time stops for the amount of days it has chosen in one form or another. The shops, morning sale, and afternoon market do not change their items at all during this time. What you had the day you changed it is what you are going to be stuck with till it's over. If you have a couple who will be having a child, they will hold off having said child till time re-starts and then they will wait their couple of days. I understand why this feature was put in there and for the normal person I don't really see why they would mess with time in the game but for those who do I can understand the frustration. Animal Crossing doesn't really punish you for time traveling it just keeps going forward as if it hadn't happened. I don't know... again I understand why this was put in place but at the same time I can't help but see that it's a bit of a harsh punishment for something so simple.
Things That Need To Change
|Traveler Campground Feature utilized only by Street Pass|
|My Father-In-Law and his partner can't be in a|
relationship in this game.
It doesn't matter where you lie on the "gay debate" scale...
What you simply can't deny is the fact that gay and bisexual people do actually exist. Friends of gay and bisexual people do actually exist. These people play video games and would generally like to have the option to have themselves or their friends represented in a game which you personally choose who to add to your game. Now in the spirit of all fairness, Nintendo has apologized directly for this oversight and has said they will look into the option of same sex relationships if any future Tomodachi Life titles are released. The only question left would be why this wasn't automatically a feature to begin with. It's as simple as an on/off switch on either individual Miis or the game as a whole. They already have an on/off switch for baby functionality so this could be just as simple.
There are hundreds of little things that happen in this game that I didn't cover for the simple fact that I didn't want to be here all day discussing every minute little detail. It's the little things in this game that add together to make it such an interesting and wonderful experience. The wacky news broadcasts, the dreams that the Miis have, finding out a Mii's Super All-Time Favorite Food which sends them blasting off into space, the photography studio, rap battles, world travels, weddings, raising babies, heated arguments etc; all of these can be witnessed if you play this game long enough. Yeah it's basically on the same level of skill as many Flash Animation Games found for free online but all the personalization, customization, and weirdness that comes from this game make it worth while. I never expected to enjoy this laid back experience as much as I have. If the lack of same sex relationships isn't a problem for you then I'd suggest picking this title up for something low key to do in your spare time. You won't regret it.
This is Ghost and I leave you with a montage of Tomodachi weirdness and awesomeness!
|My island's address|
|Jeff acting weird|
|Maybe this is why Katie rejected my Mii|
|Crosby Vs Travis Rap Battle|
|Nick apparently spends a lot of time on the toilet.|
|Mary's Underwater Dream|
|The Doctor being a traditional superhero|
|Jasmine goes into orbit after eating Fish Sticks|
|Katie and TL on vacation in Africa|
|Mary's matchstick dream|
|The Doctor and Daman are concerned for Daman's weight|
|Well here's an unlikely combo of people... The Joker, Shaggy, and The Doctor|
|My Parents had a baby. Clearly I had to name it Mini Mii|
|I go Super Saiyan with anger.|
|Ugh... that's terrible!|
|Emma Watson and Crosby in space!|
|Miis celebrating Karina's birthday on her actual birthday|
|KoD reacts to the evil just born in his game|
If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!