Did your social media behaviour change per 31 March? Miitomo went live that day, which means the first steps of Nintendo towards smartphones and tablets are a fact. Miitomo is a new social network which is all about the Mii’s. Do we want another way to communicate with our friends, even though we have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and whatnot? And is Miitomo the way to go, or is is just a waste of time?
The best way to describe Miitomo is as a social networking spin-off of Tomodachi Life, that is not just free, but also comes out on a non-Nintendo-platform. It is not strange to compare Miitomo to Tomodachi Life, as it comes from the same studio. On iOS and Android systems you can download this application with it’s microtransactions for free, and then you get to build your own Mii on the basis of your selfie and you can give him or her some characteristics and a voice.
The voice is a thing, cause it sounds a bit like that purple monkey Bonzibuddy that you could download on your personal computers in the good old nineties. The creature sat on your desktop and he would say what you would type, but it always sounded weird because the speed of speech and the way of pronouncing a word were a bit off. The same goes for Miitomo and that is not a bad thing; BonziBuddy’s robot voice was very entertaining.
But Miitomo is not just about yourself, cause as soon as you finish your Mii, you add people you know from Facebook or Twitter. Then the ‘game’ starts, cause then you will see your Mii in its living room and you get feedback from your friends. Your Mii will tell you what your friends have done the past few days, which he or she does by telling the answers your friends gave in the app. The app will ask a question each day (or multiple) like: What is your favorite bread, which tv show do you really like at this moment, etcetera. When you answer it, your friends will either be told by their Mii, or they can use candy to discover your answer.
Besides that you can take pictures of your Mii, with the photos on your phone as a background. Those can be shared with friends, and people can give you hearts (likes) or respond to them, just like they can with the answers you have given on the questions. Responding to people will give you coins, and those will allow you to buy clothes for your Mii. If you get a Platinum Point (which you can only receive when your Nintendo account is synchronized with the app), like reading ten answers on a day, Nintendo might give you a special ticket for the game Miitomo Drop. It is a matter of luck (mostly, sometimes you can time it very well), but in this game your Mii will fall down in something that seems to be like a pinball machine. If it lays still on a platform with a certain piece of clothing on it, you will receive that. There are a lot of limited editions in that game, like the cutest cat stockings ever or a blouse that is covered in Danish rolls.
If you run out of tickets, you can still play Miitomo Drop by using your coins, but those run out fast. The app does not really press you for buying new coins with your real money, but it is possible (100 coins is 1 euro, and I think you can have around 100.000 coins for 75 euros or something). But you can also buy clothes in the store, if you do not want your money to be in the hands of some game that is too much dependent on luck and not enough by cool gameplay. 😉
That is a nutshell what Miitomo is about: you dress up your Mii, you take pictures of it, and you read a lot of answers from your friends. It is fun to try to come up with creative answers, but it is too bad there is a limitation in the number of characters to use. I wanted to write a whole story about how I was in the elevator at work and the ceo of our HUGE company suddenly popped up and showed me his shoe (cause I complimented another person in the elevator with his shoes), which was very cute and sudden, but I could not write it down in so little words. Language makes Miitomo difficult in general, because if you have American friends, their Mii’s will speak English, and that does not really mix very nicely with the Dutch sentences my Mii uses. And the other way around is even worse: my American friends do not speak Dutch, so they will not understand a word I say. I wish there was a translate button like in Facebook, cause this social media app is not very social this way.
Another thing that is not too social, is that sometimes loading screens can take forever. Or there are so many pop ups that it takes ages to get to the screen you are looking for. If the loading screens weren’t as long, you could respond to way more friends! Plus, it is very awkward when you sit in a meeting and suddenly there is this Mii sneezing sound coming from your phone, when you have the sound on. It happened to me! But before you have opened the app and have found the place for volume controls, your colleagues have probably lost their patience with you already.
To answer the question that I started my article with: is this a meaningful app or is this just a time waster, you might expect I’d go with time waster as those leading screens keep Miitomo from being a handy app to check a few times every once in a while. But if you take a look at what you can do with it, there are good possibilities. I added a person I used to know to the app, and he Whatsappt me the same day to catch up again. But; the conversation does not really happen in Miitomo, as it is not very easy to have deep conversations on it. If someone says he or she likes a certain type of bread, well, you can respond to that, but those conversations after that will probably not be very deep, but more very flower-y or dough-y 😉
It is possible to have deep conversations, sure, but all conversations start with a weird question coming from the app, so it will not start very serious. The design and the setup of the app are very keen on humor, so having very serious conversations is definitely hard. But on the other hand, there are only a few people you’d have such conversations with, I would imagine, most social media chat is just fun and Miitomo is ideal for that. Many times a day I think about an answer a friend gave to me on Miitomo, that was very original or funny. There are some very creative people out there that can definitely make you smile.
The fact that you do not totally control your Mii, makes Miitomo an app that you just look at sometimes, instead of a highly addictive video game. Your Mii will walk around and it will decide when a question is asked and how. My Mii asked me how many flowers I saw when I pictured a field of flowers, but then my answer (100.000!) was ‘marketed’ by other Mii’s as being the total number of relationships I have had, or something. Sneaky little things! You will totally forgive Mii’s for that kind of behavior by the way: their animations are so adorable, that you will just look all mushy at what your virtual self does.
My verdict is that Miitomo mainly is a fun application to check one or two times a day. It is not easy to load, as it takes very long and there are a lot of popups. Plus, you do not get enough control over your Mii to really influence what your friends get to see. You can’t send any photos of videos that do not contain any Mii’s, which means Miitomo definitely is not a full alternative to other social media. No problem, but that does make the app less essential than it could have been. It is not a total time waster, cause in the end you have a blast keeping in touch with real people, though those famous Mii characters, even if those evil little cuties twist your words into totally different things 😉