Is it a social network? Is it place to dress up avatars? Is a collection of mini-games? Is it a photo app? Miitomo - Nintendo's big gamble on iOS and Android - is all that and more, all the while keeping in mind the Big N’s family focus.
Pull your Mii out of your console
Miitomo starts by having you create your own virtual alter ego - or Mii, as Nintendo likes to call it. From the opening moments, the app is already showing its best cards: endless customization for your Mii, both in appearance and "personality"/voice. Do not worry though, whatever you decide can be changed later.
Once you have your alter ego created the virtual "play" of Miitomo begins. Your avatar moves through your house, asking questions about your tastes. Your Mii can also go to the homes of your friends in the application, responding to their questions or seeing if they have responded to yours.
One of the most fun features of Miitomo is the chance to take pictures. First you select your avatar and several of your friends' avatars, you can then pose them, select a background, add stickers, and take a snapshot. Obviously, all this can be shared on social networks.
In addition, Miitomo has mini-games to get special items and a shop where you can equip your Mii with clothing and accessories. From sunglasses and hats to kawaii accessories... everything about Miitomo is perfectly Nintendo.
The level of customization available for your character unfortunately does not apply to your virtual house. Unlike Tomodachi Life (the 3DS title that inspired Miitomo) here you cannot decorate your room or buy items for your avatar to enjoy ... Too bad!
You can use Miitomo just adding friends via social networks or your phone. However, it is advisable that you associate the app with your Nintendo consoles’ My Nintendo account to bring in settings and friends from there.
A different (and strange) way
In Miitomo, your Mii is not one hundred percent controlled by you as you may expect from a videogame character. Instead it has autonomy like the characters from Tomodachi Life. While you can decide how its dresses or who it visits, you cannot control what it says: that is set by the personality you create and by answering questions during the game.
Thus, Miitomo social element is not so much a virtual chat as it is a way to learn more about your friends through their answers to questions. So, if you were hoping Miitomo would offer some amazing, Nintendo created, virtual social-life you will be disappointed: this is not so much a social network as it is a small community designed for 3DS and Wii U gamers.
While you can spend real money to get items to customize your Mii, Miitomo offers many tickets and coins as rewards for tasks. If you are careful and save, you can deck your Mii out exactly as you want without ever having to pay.
A promising new form of entertainment
Miitomo is in its infancy. For now, the application does not allow for much beyond dressing up or taking funny pictures. That's why you may be disappointed if you expect something more original. But this is Nintendo, so expect it to improve.
Importantly, the concept behind this application is promising: Nintendo is the first console manufacturer to really tailor an experience to the mobile market. Yes, both Sony and Microsoft have "companion apps", but this is a far more unique experience. The Big N seems to get it, and this could inspire a whole new style of entertainment... Nintendo, do not fail us!