Monday, April 11, 2016

Well, Crap. I Downloaded Miitomo.


Initial impressions from other reviews about the new Nintendo mobile app had me concerned that this was going to be very similar to Final Fantasy Portal app. It's really not that bad. At least for now until Nintendo adds in a content filter system to keep Mii's out of trouble and swearing off the radar. So enjoy putting your Mii in photoshopped-esque precarious situations while spamming your Facebook and Twitter with images of your success.

As it stands right now, Miitomo is a simple and easy way to connect with people who are already in your friend's circle on Facebook and Twitter by using a more visually stimulating interface of a talking bot. There is no goal. No end game. You create a Mii, answer questions about yourself as your Mii talks to you, read through your friend's answers, dress up your Mii, and play a mini game to get more outfits for your Mii.

That's it.

There's nothing fancy or over the top about it. No Nintendo news or product updates. No insight into Nintendo headquarters. Just an app to play dress up with your Mii and talk to your social circles in a different way with silly questions.

You can earn Miitomo coins through daily login bonuses, answering questions, faving and commenting on friends responses, and through various achievements. There are also Miitomo Points, that allow you to purchase exclusive items that rotate every month. The month it's a Mario suit. The Points are earned by doing other daily tasks, receiving favs and comments, linking your social media accounts, and changing your Mii's wardrobe. The Points are only for the rare items and buying tickets to the mini-game Mii Drop. The coins will get you more clothing.

You can buy more Miitomo coins with real world cash. But it's also fairly easy to earn coins on your own. Yesterday I started out the day with 1,300 coins and jumped up to 7k within a few moments just by doing daily tasks and earning achievements with my clothing/friendship levels. You don't need to buy more coins if you don't want to. You can earn them at a decent enough pace that you won't feel yourself scrambling to get more coins for the daily special.

Clothing options are pretty good to start with. There's a decent enough variety that you can come up with your own outfit, with daily unique items that only appear for that time before they are gone and can not be purchased in the regular shopping menu. Thus the dinosaur head I have procured. Quite awesome. You can choose colors at the checkout screen with some pieces. And every time you change your clothes, you'll be prompted by the game to take a photo commemorating the moment.

That's probably where the majority of the fun with Miitomo lies. Putting your Mii and your friend's Mii's in really funny photos. You can add in text boxes, icons, different emotes and poses that the possibilities are only limited to your imagination. You can also import photos that are on your phone and incorporate them into the background.

This is a very powerful and very dangerous tool. Why has Nintendo not placed barriers on this yet?

As you can probably imagine as gamers, we are very immature and have set a number of our Mii's on fire or popped them in locations/situations that are completely inappropriate.

I'm not saying it isn't funny. Because it totally is. I'm just waiting for Nintendo to step in and turn off that feature, or restrict the image use to the pre-generated backgrounds they have provided.

Let's talk about the mini-game. Mii Drop allows you to collect more clothing items and candies to use in your Mii adventures. You have to use a game ticket for each turn. And you will always win something if you play one of these games. So don't worry about losing your ticket. Mii Drop is very much like The Price is Right's Plinko game. You start your Mii (or a friend if you've built up a friendlist) at the top of the arena and drop it wherever you like. The Mii bounces around along the course and wherever it stops, it'll claim the nearest item.

There are currently 9 courses available in groups of 3 - each group is associated with a costume type. Right now there is a Ninja costume, Food costume, and Cat costume up for grabs.

As mentioned, one of the items you can receive is candy. Candy can be used when talking to your Mii's friends at their homes to open up more questions and answer options. I didn't see much of a use for the candy, since eventually you'll see all of the questions if you open the app often enough. The questions will start to repeat.


Hopefully they will be able to convert the candy into coins down the road.

Some other pros to talk about: you can't add people at random. That might seem like a "uh...what?" kind of thinking, but this app is centralized around you and your real world friends in a Mii setting. You can only add friends through linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts, or by doing the Face to Face sync setting (great for those who do not have a social media account, or don't want to friend their boss on Twitter). There is an option to block people, but given that all of these people are in your social media circles, it seems a bit weird.

I've yet to run into any bugs, either. Everything with the app has been running very smoothly. It's an easy interface to jump into and I haven't had any slow-down times, even with the "improved battery life" setting turned on. Though I will say that the app is a major battery sucker. There's a common misnomer that apps will eat up batteries, but that's very rarely the case. Your phone's background light settings, the background itself, and GPS are the biggest culprits because they access more of the phone's functions to be active. It's rare to get an app that will do the same thing...and Miitomo qualifies. I have a feature on my phone that allows me to see exactly where battery life is expended. Typically I'm 6-8% in the screen lighting area. Apps don't typically make it past 1%. Miitomo nearly matches my screen lighting every time I open it. So be aware that if you're on Miitomo, use it sparingly unless you are near an outlet to keep your phone charged at all times.

Otherwise, it's a silly app. Nothing special or grand about it. I think it would be more engaging if the app could utilize a Nintendo news reel, or some connection to the Wii and Wii-U. It's a fun time waster.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Mii that needs to be set on a fire background with hilarious thought-bubbles.

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