Category: 3DS

When Nintendo pitched us Tomodachi Life, they set it up almost like a second Animal Crossing; another portable life simulator this time getting a bit more personal involving your Miis and your own personal friends… Unfortunately, Nintendo once again played it too safe and ended up creating something more socially awkward then a game that’s suppose to teach how life is.

tomodachi-1With Nintendo inviting the comparison; let’s compare Animal Crossing to Tomodachi life. In Animal Crossing you have a mortgage, you’re a mayor so you’re responsible for keeping the town clean and pass ordinances that will help you achieve economic goals, your approval rating depends on how often you help villagers, and you have an obligation to collect fish, insects and fossils for the town’s cultural enrichment.

In Tomodachi Life you’re a Demigod of relationships, food, and clothing. Your only responsibilities are to feed, clothe, and decide whether or not people could be in relationships or friendships. There is also no consequence for not fulfilling your responsibilities. In Animal Crossing if you don’t play the game weeds start to pop up everywhere roaches invade your home and citizens start to move away from your town, if you don’t pay your mortgage your home will soon become to small for all of your items, if you don’t sell or use certain items in a timely manner they may rot or lose value, and if you don’t buy anything the town will never improve in it’s selection making the items you can get stagnant.

There is no consequence for ignoring citizens; citizens rely on you for everything in their life they must ask permission to do anything, and despite having certain personality traits you decide at the beginning of their lives their likes and dislikes don’t matter and the final say is yours. Say a citizen doesn’t like a piece of clothing you give them; they’re forced to wear that as long as you tell them to and they can never leave the island. In terms of a life simulator, Tomodachi Life paints a strange life controlled by a tyrant who’s citizens have very little of their own initiative, where Animal Crossing is much more accurate and a much more positive influence for children.
When it comes to what you can do in the game there isn’t very much. You can make your Miis perform in concerts, feed them, watch their dreams, determine their relationships or play them in mini-games. The mini-games are very basic touch screen based games such as a sumo wrestling game where people are in football uniforms called football, matching tile games, islander trivia, to playing catch. None of these games are challenging and your only reward is money, an item you could only sell, or medicine in case your islander gets sick. The items you can actually use to increase happiness in your islanders aside from food and clothing are earned randomly, such as giving them permission to pursue a friendship and it works out.

tomodachi-2In fact everything in this game is completely random, there is no way of really influencing on which islanders will ask you for permission to pursue a relationship or friendship with. It happens completely at random; I thought the rankings system would at least provide a probability of how things would turn out. However I have a married couple that only had a 10% compatibility rating and two people who are best friends despite a 1% compatibility rating. The only factor that isn’t random is that in order for them to achieve this life they must ask you first, they even must ask you if they want to stop being friends with someone. I must add also that just because they ask you doesn’t mean it will happen, rejections despite being rare can happen.

These factors lead the game to be quite repetitive and random, for example even determining what kind of food or clothes a Mii will like is trial and error, errors only consequence is a decrease in leveling which seems to be completely arbitrary since my Miis that are over level 12 seem to have few differences then my Miis at level 2. The game is suppose to determine life events based on how much you pamper the Miis but my Mii that was married was able to do at level 3, which aside from having a baby is one of the only major events in a Mii’s life. This caused me to lose interest in the game, there’s only so many times I can be amused by random news stories about my Miis or forcing them to sneeze. After 8 hours of gameplay I have done everything there is to do in the game multiple times, and with no goals I really don’t see a need to continue. At least in Animal crossing there are arbitrary goals of maintaining approval rating, collecting everything or building a big house. In Tomodachi Life everything that could be a goal is randomly decided and your only course of action is to approve it or not.

tomodachi-3Despite other gaming media seeing this game’s lack of homosexual relationships being a very problematic social commentary, I say the game has much weirder and creepier social issues. Such as you shouldn’t do anything nice or feed people unless you profit off it, you know what’s best for other people, and other people must be told what to do.  Besides thinking a game that’s so prude that it shies away from the term “Girlfriend” and “Boyfriend” and instead uses “Sweet hearts” and only allows people to live together or have kids if they’re married should give clues that this isn’t a very modern or realistic portrayal of relationships.

Overall Tomodachi Life is an amusing yet simplistic life simulator that you can do everything the game has to offer in a matter of hours. The game’s lack of detail on life paints a very strange and creepy attitude about society that almost feels as if it’s an alien’s portrayal of human interactions. The games lack of activities and repetition make it a very difficult sell at $35, I highly recommend renting it if you’re interested.

5/10

February has only just begun and we’re already beginning to hear some info on the inevitable Skylanders 3. For those of you who’ve stuck around with us since last year you’ll know that in late January 2012, Activision bought the domain SkylandersGiants.com which turned out to be for the sequel that was released in October of the same year.

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Now, one year later, and Activision have done it again – this time buying 4 different domains;

SkylandersKaosAlliance.com
SkylandersNanoForce.com
SkylandersSuperForce.com
SkylandersSwapForce.com

This leaves us with 4 possible names for a Skylanders sequel, or names for future iOS games. One of the more interesting names is ‘Skylanders: Kaos Alliance’. In a tour around the TFB offices, the HD room were allowed a sneak-peak at a large selection of prototype figurines for the Skylanders series; and even some unannounced variants that were later officially released. One thing that stands out however is an image of a group of Kaos’ figurines, that were apparently sculpted for fun after the ending of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.

The article goes on to mention:

I was told he could be in the third Skylanders game and the way I was told makes me think he’s already on the drawing board.

This, along with the ending of Skylanders: Giants, leads me to believe that the title ‘Kaos Alliance’ – or some variation upon that – would be the most likely from the list; or at least the game would have something to do with an alliance with the series’ main villain. Maybe he will even be a playable character that comes with the game?

If the previous two years is to be believed, then we can expect a full announcement from Activision on their Skylanders-related plans within the next few weeks when Toy Fair 2013 starts on the 10th of February.

Crystal Adventure | CIRCLE Entertainment | DSiWare | 200 Nintendo Points/$1.99 | Released: 06/12/2012

Random, unoriginal and broken at it’s core. Samuel reviews Crystal Adventure, a fundamentally flawed RPG that’s not worth the stress.

So, it’s official, the next Skylanders game will in fact be called ‘Skylanders: Giants’. Information was released today by the Wall Street Journal on the new Skylanders game. It says that 8 new Giant Skylanders (almost 3 times larger than regular Skylanders – and probably 2 twice as expensive) will be added to the collection along with 8 new regular Skylanders and on top of that, 4 remakes of characters (nicknamed ‘Bright Light Skylanders’) from the first game that will also light up when near, or on, the Portal. The old portal works with the game too, so the game will still be available in a Starter Pack for $69.99 (£49.99) again but will also be available for a cheaper price without the portal.
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Along with this information, a trailer was also released.

Is it too soon? Yes and no. Yes because not all Skylanders are out yet and no because everything from the first game will still work on this one so you’ve got the advantage of being able to pre-collect a bunch of Skylanders. No news on the systems yet, but from the looks of the trailer it’s still going to be on the Wii  and presumably a PS3, 360, PC and 3DS version are also planned. Apparently they’re “looking into” getting a Wii U version of the game. The game’s set for a Q4 2012 release, but for now we’ll have to wait for more information on the game, which will be released some time during the New York Toy fair between the 12th and 15th of February.

Meanwhile, you can check on the Skylanders walkthrough page on this website for occasional updates on the first game.

I’m not gonna have enough room to store all these larger figures ):

Edit: The starter pack will include a Giant (presumably the life one we’ve been seeing), one of the new Skylanders and a remodeled versoion of an old Skylander