For the past three weeks, Tomodachi Collection: New Life has been the best-selling game in Japan—and in its first week, the best-selling game in the world.
When I picked it up, I knew next to nothing about it. I had heard that it was a sequel to the Japan-only DS title Tomodachi Collection and played like a cross between Animal Crossing and The Sims. And as the original game sold over three million copies in Japan, I was excited to pick up this new one.
But whatever I expected when I thought of “a cross between Animal Crossing and The Sims,” it wasn’t this. Instead, I found myself in a world of my favorite childhood characters, playing very odd mini-games in between listening to their bizarre demands. Check out my notes of my first three-and-a-half hours of play below for the full story.
Minus 2 Hours
After finding out that Miis will be the only characters in the game, I scour the web and fill up my 3DS with Miis of various famous game, movie, and TV show characters.
I start the game and am asked to name my little island. I choose the remarkably unoriginal name “Kotaku Island.”
Now I am being asked to import my first character. I choose, of course, the most beautiful bald man alive: me.
2 Minutes, 30 Seconds
It seems that I need more information on my Mii than what the DS normally requires. Now beside just my nickname, I need my first and last name, blood type, and whether I am a child or an adult.
Now I must choose my Mii's voice and personality. I have chosen to be an active person and a hothead. That won't turn out badly, will it?
I have now unlocked the apartment building. My room is a barren wasteland. Ah, it reminds me of my first apartment right out of college. No furniture, no nothing. Alone and sleeping on the floor.
Unsurprisingly, my Mii does not enjoy living alone in this island city, so it's time to import another Mii.
And who do I choose to live with me in this island paradise? Captain Picard, of course. Bald men unite.
Captain Picard is unhappy. I am hardly surprised. But why is he angry? It seems he's hungry. Luckily for him, a wild fast food restaurant suddenly appears.
You know, I was under the impression this is a game for all ages... So.. Um... Why does the server have a bag over her head? It feels straight out of a horror movie and it's creeping me out.
In my panic to get out of that cursed restaurant as quickly as possible, I buy the cheapest thing I can think of. I hope Picard likes cup ramen.
Lucky me! Apparently, cup ramen is his favorite food. Star Trek fans take note.
Alright, as I have unlocked the city hall, it's time to import more characters! I start with Seven of Nine, Cyclops, Storm, Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Doc Brown, the Joker, Midna (from Zelda), Mog, Solid Snake, Lara Croft, Kefka, Aeirth, Cheetara, Princess Leia...
After importing a few characters, I get a news broadcast about my increase in population. Storm and Chris are now working at the news station it seems.
After ten more characters have been added, I get a new news flash about us having a party. Seven of Nine is working the news desk.
1 Hour, 25 Minutes
After a good hour, the apartment building is nearly full. I had to add first and last names as well as a personality to every character I pulled in. It is not the fastest of processes. In other news, Princess Zelda is now my newscaster.
1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Alright, I have now unlocked a fountain. Everyone lined up to donate money. I made 87 bucks... which I'm sure I will soon spend on feeding the poor helpless bastards.
1 Hour, 43 Minutes
So, um... Seven of Nine wants me to play with her... um... okay. I mean, who am I to turn down an offer like that—
1 Hour, 44 Minutes
Oh. Ooooooh! She wants to play catch. Like literally play a game. OK. Glad that's all sorted out.
1 Hour, 45 Minutes
Wait! She's dropping a piece of coral and I'm supposed to catch it before it hits the ground? Um, that's not how I learned to play catch...
1 Hour, 50 Minutes
Wow... Seven of Nine's dreams are weeeeeird.
2 Hours, 10 Minutes
So one of my friends wants some food. Batman seems to have a new day job working at McDonalds.
2 Hours, 20 Minutes
Spock needs some help. He makes me wave a feather under his nose.
2 Hours, 25 Minutes
Dexter (from Dexter's Lab) wants some new clothes. To the store!
2 Hours, 27 Minutes
I get him a dress shirt and pants. He seems happy.
2 Hours, 35 Minutes
Christ, I do one nice thing... Now Picard wants new clothes, too!
2 Hours, 40 Minutes
One of my real world friends has challenged me to table sumo. It is as awesome as it sounds.
2 Hours, 45 Minutes
Midna wants to be my friend. Sure... as long as she doesn't turn me into a wolf.
2 Hours, 50 Minutes
Sergeant Slaughter is the newest newscaster. Lara Croft opens a hat store. Speaking of Lara, she wants to play a game... and of course it's that bloody “catch” game again.
2 Hours, 55 Minutes
Midna and I think something is wrong with Picard. Time for me to introduce the two of them... and then spy on them while they go on a... date(?) ...I am somewhat creeped out by this.
3 Hours, 10 Minutes
Uh oh, Kefka has a problem. I am scared. Oh! He just wants something sweet to eat (hopefully not the souls of small children).
3 Hours, 11 Minutes
...Oh wait, no, that's just the reward he gives me for helping.
3 Hours, 15 Minutes
Cloud wants some furniture. I'm gonna give him a steampunk room.
3 Hours, 17 Minutes
...But when I try to give it to him, he wants to play memory instead. Still, I kick his ass and win a bathroom set.
3 Hours, 18 Minutes
Cloud does seem to like his new room, though.
3 Hours, 25 Minutes
Aerith wants me to teach her a new word!? Okay, I teach her the word “dodge.” Might save her life one day.
3 Hours, 30 Minutes
Alright! My Mii levels up and buys a rock song as a reward. Then I get to perform it with Princess Zelda, Ensign Ro, Storm, and Mog the Moogle as my backup dancers. Truly this is a wonderful life.
Tomodachi Collection: New Life was released on April 18, 2013, for the 3DS in Japan. There is currently no word on an international release. Stay tuned to Kotaku East for the full import preview later this week.
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