clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nintendo's first mobile game is a lot harder to put down than you might expect

Play around with a mini-you

As I'm writing this I'm watching myself wander aimlessly inside a rather bland apartment.

I'm wearing black jeans, a black sports jacket and a white button-up shirt with the collar unbuttoned and open. I've got some sort of VR headset strapped to my face, and I seem concerned about something.

I can tell I'm concerned because there's a giant orange exclamation point floating above my head in a thought bubble.

Miitomo is Nintendo's first mobile app, and it's not yet available outside of Japan. But if you have the time and interest, you can create a free account on the iTunes App Store for that country and download the game yourself.

It's a surprisingly deep experience; deep but narrow. It's essentially a place to create a Mii simulacrum, dress it up with a variety of purchasable clothing, and then fill its head with your thoughts via a constant stream of random questions you can answer. Those answers are then parroted through your creation to the friends you make, who in turn tell you their thoughts.

You can level up your character or, and this is important, separately level up your avatar's style. (You can watch a video on how the game starts and how you create your avatar at the top of this story.) Right now, I have a level four style. I suspect it's because of the VR headset I'm currently wearing.

As I type this I have my iPhone sitting next to me, its screen a window into that tiny apartment and that mini-me. I plod around, scratch my butt, sneeze. I never seem to stop smiling.

Seems about right.

When I finally tap on the exclamation point balloon, tiny Brian turns to me and says hello. He wants to let me know that my style rank went up while I was away; now it's a four. Nintendo decided to send me a game ticket to congratulate me.

While the Miitomo app does have a minigame of sorts, I wouldn't get too excited about it.


It essentially boils down to a very basic form of pachinko. You adjust and then drop an avatar onto a pachinko field and hope he or she falls onto a platform that has some clothing you want to add to your closet. If you miss everything, you inevitably get some candy.

I'm still not sure what you do with candy. But I assume it's as trivial and cute as everything else about this game.

Outfits, it turns out, are a big part of Miitomo. If you're not winning them (it does cost something to try the minigame, either a ticket or in-game gold), you can go to the store and just pick stuff up for the in-game gold. The clothes seem to change daily, or adjust daily. Today, I woke up in the real world, signed in, checked the store and was delighted to discover that NIntendo was selling a VR headset. Ironic. So, of course I bought it.

You can also take pictures of your little person. The setup is pretty great. You can choose from a wide selection of animations and then freeze them in mid-movement to find the pose you want. You can also grab them, make them smaller or bigger, move them around, and twist and turn them.

Better still, you can add text and stamps, and even drop them into real-world photos you take.

Miitomo has strong, very strong, social ties. Photos can be shared on a number of services (including Twitter and Facebook) from inside the game. You can also auto-search for other players among your followers, friends and such. You can stand side by side with a person in the real world to add a friend through the app as well.

When you're not dressing up your character, you're likely to find yourself spending a lot of time texting into the ether through your character. You know that your friends may see these questions and answers randomly, but you're not sure.


And you can write quite a bit. For instance, when the game asked me what I was spending my time thinking about this week, I used the service to talk about how much I dislike Donald Trump. And it worked — no one filtered my thoughts.

I'm not entirely sure Miitomo is a game I will grow to love. Right now I sort of don't like the idea, but I also find myself checking in multiple times a day.

Nintendo also seems a little up in the air on the concept. A day after I installed Miitomo, my mini-me asked me if I was enjoying the game. My answer choices were "yes" or "meh."

"Meh," for now, perfectly sums up my feelings.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.