Tomodachi Life is living up to its namesake as Nintendo today announces that every full version of the game will feature two download codes for a “Welcome Version” of the game, allowing purchasers to invite their real life tomodachis (friends) in to sample what the game has to offer.
Nintendo isn’t typically known for going to oddball route when it comes to game development, but Tomodachi Life fits nicely into that category. A sort of Sims and Animal Crossing hybrid, the game invites players to create a whole bunch of Miis, give them personalities and voices, throw them all onto an island together and watch how life unfolds. Your island inhabitants will take part in all sorts of random activities, like playing video games, hitting the beach, singing karaoke and the like. They may also fall in love and, for those of you who get more creative with your Mii creations, that could mean an opportunity to create a world where, say Belle falls in love with Jacob instead of Edward.
Yeah, I just made a terrible Twilight reference. What?
While the game proper will allow you to transport all sorts of Miis onto your island and have them take part in a lifetime of zany activities, the Welcome Version you can gift to friends allows for the creation of just three Miis and a trek through only the opening portion of the game. You can play the Welcome Version over and over again, according to Nintendo, but only your most recent save will transport to a retail version of the game, assuming your free sample is enough to draw you to the full course. You’ll earn a special panda costume by completing the Welcome Version, too, just in case you needed a silly incentive to keep on trucking.
At first glance, I wondered why Nintendo didn’t just release a demo of the game to everyone gaming on a 3DS. It seems like casting a wider net would be the best way to catch as many new fish as possible with a niche game like this. But I suppose the Welcome Version code system does create a sort of chain letter effect amongst groups of friends and, assuming you receive a code from someone, you now know you have pals who are actually playing the game, too.
Along with watching your Miis’ digital lives unfold in real time, Tomodachi Life allows the player to have a helping hand on the island; helping Miis solve various problems and guiding them about like some sort of stylus-wielding god. The more you experience within the game, the more new secrets and functionality you’ll unlock.
Honestly, my first thought upon hearing about Tomodachi Life a month or so ago was to roll my eyes. But then I started thinking about the modern gamer and the type of things that keep them coming back for more. Assuming the gameplay mechanics are fun and interesting, I could definitely see Tomodachi Life pulling players back for more again and again, afraid of what they might miss if they close their 3DS for too long.