Recently, Nintendo launched a couple of new services that have made a good number of people quite excited. Why, their new mobile app Miitomo is already celebrating 10 million users! And it has some direct connectivity with their new rewards program at My Nintendo. But what are these services? Well, I think it’s best to start with Miitomo. I did want to just do a video game review of it, but it’s not really a game. It’s just an app. Not that apps cannot be games or that games cannot be apps. They can be both. Hell, Nintendo’s own Pokémon Shuffle proves that. (And I’ll get to reviewing that whenever I can finally get around to finishing it.) However, Miitomo is really just a social app. Let me explain.
So you start by downloading Miitomo to your iOS mobile device. You can then have the choice to use a Mii that someone has made for, import one from your existing Nintendo device, or simply make your own. A Mii, for anyone who isn’t up on Nintendo, is basically just a cartoon character avatar that you can use in various Nintendo games and apps. Apparently it’s most akin to the character creation in the game Tomodachi Life… but I don’t really know much of anything about that game so I’m as new to depth of the changes here as you might be. After you design your look, voice, and personality your Mii will ask you some questions. You then answer these questions with a limited amount of space, but most of them are rather simple questions. They can hypotheticals, everyday inquiries, or even deep personal questions. You have the choice to skip as many as you’d like, so don’t worry if a question is too personal or if you just don’t have anything to say on the subject. Or just be a completionist like me and bullshit your way through every single question. After you’ve answered some questions, you’ll be getting all kinds of tutorial stuff on the tasks to do next. The next logical step is to start adding friends. How do you do that?
Well you can do it three ways. One method is to be near someone else who as Miitomo and have both of you in the app at the same time. Then try adding them. I’ve not used this method so I can’t speak for how affective it is. The other two methods are through linking social media accounts. Linking your Facebook will auto generate friends from your friends list that also have the app. Doing so with Twitter will work the same way, but with followers. You can also send out a little ad on each to encourage others to check out the app and join you. I actually really like the way this works. It allows you to keep your Miitomo friends based around your actual friends and people you’d actually want to interact with. You’re in control of who you want in your Miitomo. But what good are friends?
Having friends allows you to see their answers to questions. You can even like their answers and leave comments on them. This is a nice way to start conversations around interesting things rather than just making the usual idle chit-chat on other such social mediums. They can also interact with your answers in the same manner. And don’t worry, only your friends can see your answers. So if you want to throw around the F bomb a lot, make sure you don’t add anyone that’s easily offended by it. This is really the main focus of the app, I feel. It’s about socializing with friends in an interesting, somewhat more guided way that offers more than the typical social media experience. Is there any point to this?
Well, I’ll admit that the interaction being so limited makes this app seem a bit lackluster. There’s not really much to it that you couldn’t do on the connected Facebook or Twitter accounts already, not to mention those give you more freedom. This is where the personalization element really kicks in. By doing daily tasks, such as logging in, answering questions, viewing friends’ answers, commenting on others’ answers, and changing your outfit, you can gain in-app currency. This currency will primarily be used in the clothing shop to look for new pieces of clothing for your Mii to wear. The more you change your clothes, the higher your style level goes. This can net you a new title and some rewards, but it’s mostly a superficial addition to make you feel like you’re progressing. You can create full outfits and save them as templates. Though I must admit that every time you DO decide to change your outfit, the app decided you should take a picture of it. A picture?
Yes. It’s called Miifoto. This allows you to take pictures of your Mii in different poses, with different backgrounds, and stickers. You can even add a caption to it. You can then share it with your friends. It’s something that I personally don’t care for, but I basically need to post the picture every time it asks because… like I said before, I don’t skip questions and asking to post it counts as one. So I’ve got entirely too many useless Miifotos saved up. But hey, you might enjoy it. With enough time and creativity, you might even make something pretty awesome. So what’s the catch?
In-app purchases. You can spend real money to get in-app currency if you need it. Why would you need it? Well, many items in the shop are only available daily. If you want too many things at once and don’t have the fictional currency, you can spend actual money on it. I guess it’s no surprise coming from a mobile app, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous. The one saving grace to this idea is that there aren’t really any roadblocks. It’s not like you are stopped from answering more questions or anything just because you don’t have currency. It’s fueled solely by your desire to obtain virtual outfits that won’t affect the main features of the app. Though there is one other place where the currency can be used.
Mii Drop is the only part of the app that actually resembles a game. It’s basically a giant pachinko machine that you drop a Mii into. They will bounce around until they eventually land on one of the many platforms. Whatever items is on that platform is your reward, though they can sometimes come in multiple varieties. This encourages more plays to keep you collecting. You can also obtain candies, generally left for the very bottom of the machines. The candies can be spent on revealing certain answers to your friends’ questions. What determines the level of secrecy of these answers is beyond me, and it feels incredibly silly to limit you in this way to promote the game part, but since you can get candies so easily from them it’s barely a real issue. You can play the game by using game tickets, a typical reward from daily logins, or by spending the in-app currency.
There may be more to it, but that is all I’ve experienced. It could be more fun if you actually have friends that use it… or have friends at all. Some interesting ideas with a slight Nintendo influence. However, I have to admit that I don’t care for the social aspects, much less the clothing collecting. The Miifotos are obnoxious and the in-app purchases are still a bit of a bummer, even if the app itself is totally free. The only part I might actually care about, the actual game part, is so incredibly shallow, short, and luck-based that it’s not even worth it. To sum it up, Miitomo is a poor substitute for social media as well as a joke of a game. Its only interesting aspect is that it’s a social mobile app by Nintendo, of all companies. Beyond that it’s incredibly unremarkable. So why do I even bother using it then?
This is where My Nintendo comes in. My Nintendo is a rewards program. You can create an account on the official My Nintendo site to start. You can then link your Nintendo account, which is not the same thing, or just use this site itself in conjunction with Nintendo’s official online store. The rewards you can get are things like discounts on games, full games, and other miscellaneous 3DS and Wii U related items. You obtain them by spending coins. There are gold coins, platinum coins, and Miitomo coins. Gold coins are gained from making purchases on the Nintendo eShop. Platinum coins are gain through doing certain missions as detailed on the site’s mission page. These may change up over time, but have stayed the same for the few weeks I’ve used the site. They are mainly related to linking other accounts, such as your Nintendo account, your Google+, and your Twitter. You can also get some weekly by signing into the Nintendo eShop and the Miiverse on a Nintendo device. Miitomo coins are gained through daily interactions with the linked Miitomo app. So things like changing your outfit, answering questions, and viewing answers among other things on a daily basis. All coins will last six months, and it seems that both Miitomo coins and platinum coins work towards the same purchases, with gold coins usually being separate. The rewards do change from time to time as well.
But you don’t need to own a Nintendo device at all to use this, as far as I know. You can just make an account, sign in, and start getting those rewards with your Miitomo account. That means that you can basically solely use it to boost your Miitomo experience if you so desire. The Miitomo coins can be used to buy in-app currency, game tickets, and even some exclusive clothing off of the site. So really, this is also another push for Miitomo app, which is another reason why I lumped them together.
So when it comes right down to it, I’d recommend using the Miitomo app in conjunction with My Nintendo to get yourself some free stuff for your Nintendo 3DS or Wii U. You could even just get more Miitomo stuff if you’re digging it. The rewards program isn’t amazing, and I wish the coins didn’t expire, but you’re getting some free stuff along the way so why not? It only takes a few minutes a day, a few more a week, and flat out rewards you for making digital purchases, which you might already do anyway. I personally just got WarioWare Touched today after only a couple weeks with the app and the program. It’s not great fun, but it’s worth the small bit of time if you’re dedicated to getting free stuff. You can follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SamLilly64 so we can help each other get free stuff. And hey, check out my video about Miitomo here… ya know… if you just want to hear me bitch incoherently.