Yesterday marked the global launch of Nintendo’s first smart device application, Miitomo. Miitomo is a free-to-use social media app where you answer various questions about yourself through your Mii avatar. These answers are then shared with friends, which encourage conversations and other interactions that the app offers. In its first day it topped the IOS App Store’s chart as the current most downloaded game in the United States. But can Nintendo sustain Miitomo’s initial momentum?
Making Your Mii
For Nintendo fans the introduction to Miitomo treads familiar ground by having the user create a Mii character. This can be accomplished in three methods: importing a previous Mii, making one from scratch, or using the phone’s camera, which rapidly spits out a variety of the software’s best guesses. Afterward you can customize your Mii’s traits, including personality quirks and its voice. Yes, its voice. What may seem ordinary to some was personally off-putting. Once you’ve completed the customization the Mii explains how the app works. While dancing and smiling, it says with a chilling robotic voice, “Your friends will share their answers with me…and I’ll tell you everything they say!” This is where I came to the conclusion that Miitomo is equally terrifying as it is charming.
Jokes aside, there isn’t much to do in Miitomo. It’s difficult to predict the longevity of the game that’s still in its infancy. However, if Nintendo neglects continued support for the app with additional content and quality incentives for its users, it’s easy to imagine it falling out of fashion faster than the outfits it provides.
Messing Around with Miifoto
What might possibly keep the hype for Miitomo rolling is a feature almost buried underneath its core design, Miifoto. Miifoto allows the player to take photos of their Mii and friends’ Miis in a number of creative ways. There are a plethora of options such as tweaking poses, expressions, animations, and backgrounds. After seeing a variety of unique “fotos” from friends and Miitomo users on social media like Twitter from around the world, Nintendo’s vision for the app truly became clearer.
When the app is first booted up it gives the option of creating/linking a Nintendo account or starting without one. The benefit of using a Nintendo account is the ability to earn Miitomo Platinum Points by completing daily missions that can be used to purchase items from Nintendo’s new reward program, My Nintendo. So far these rewards comprise of discounts on specific games and additional Miitomo outfits.
However, this isn’t the only currency you can earn, which is where things get complicated. Aside from Miitomo Platinum Points, there are Regular Platinum Points, which serve the same purpose as the Miitomo variant and Gold Points that are earned through digital game purchases. These points expire six months after earning them. Also, there are Miitomo coins, the actual in-game currency used to spend on costumes or on Miitomo Drop, a pachinko style mini-game. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Game Tickets you can use to play Miitomo Drop instead of using coins.
For a free game, Miitomo is harmless and can provide a couple hours of fun. Whether it becomes a sound foundation for following applications to come is up to Nintendo to decide.