Nintendo’s first attempt at a mobile game falls flat.
Nintendo’s first foray into the mobile gaming space comes by way of Miitomo, a social experience where you answer questions and take photos of your Mii in odd outfits. Miitomo arrived for IOS and Android services in mid-March and after nearly two months I’m confident in saying it’s a bit of a dud.
It’s not so much a game as it’s odd time-waster to pry into your friends or strangers lives, or just make really dumb jokes with the handful of awful questions that are asked. “Players” — we’re using this term extremely loosely here — answer questions, listen to other players answers, hope to get hearts and comments, and then use the coins they’ve collected to purchase new clothing items to take pictures of the Mii character in.
Now you might wonder where exactly the game portion of this mobile experience is. Afterall, Nintendo is a game company. They’ve made video games for the past 30 years. Surely the initial Nintendo mobile piece would include some form of game in it right? Sure, if what you were looking for is a crane-drop which depending on where the Miitomo you dropped lands, gets you themed clothing items or candy pieces. The candy pieces get you answers to more questions from your friends enabling you to skip the sequence where you visit their Miitomo house. Does it sound fun yet?
I understand Miitomo isn’t designed to be game. After all, it’s marketed as a social-networking mobile app. It integrates with Twitter and Facebook enabling you to post pictures to your timeline so others can see the weird outfit concoctions you’ve come up with. And it’s fine for what it is. I even enjoyed seeing the bizarre answers people came up with for even more bizarre questions. But the shelf-life of an app dependent on user interaction without a great hook is short. Twitter is practically a stream of consciousness, Instagram is a haven for photos, SnapChat has those sweet filters, Facebook is a composite resource for just about every social interaction on the web. So what does Miitomo bring to the table that other social apps don’t? Answers to questions we never would have asked or doubling-down on the Mii thing that never really took off on the Wii?
Miitomo already sits in a folder among many apps I’ll probably never use again, waiting to be deleted. Nintendo definitely didn’t hit a home run with this. They probably didn’t even hit a single. Let’s hope the eventual release of the mobile Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem apps deliver better experiences, and preferably, more of a game.