On March 2016, Nintendo released its first mobile app, Miitomo: a personalized communication app to exchange messages and photos between friends with Mii avatars. Miitomo was Nintendo’s first major step in the mobile games market, paving the way for future mobile apps like Super Mario Run and the currently untitled Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing apps announced in the Spring. Over the months since its release, Nintendo has slowly brought free updates to Miitomo with various clothing and items for users to outfit their avatars with and subtle improvements to each feature, and now they have released its biggest 2.0 Update, bringing more changes and new features than before to enhance users’ social experiences, including customizing your Mii’s room, sharing outfits and answers with all Miitomo users, and private messaging between friends.
Login Bonuses: To celebrate the 2.0 update, new login bonuses are awarded to users for seven days, including Splatoon-themed wallpaper and flooring to customize your Mii’s room and a Fire Mario-style suit and cap for outfitting. Along with these daily bonuses, tasks made around the new features, such as sending and receiving messages with friends and liking posts on Answer Central, reward users with special wallpapers and floorings based on Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid to further personalize their avatar’s rooms.
Private Messaging: The first of these new features is the ability to send private messages to your friends. By sending your own Mii or a Sidekick Mii you can now create, you can not only send messages directly to friends, but also use the lively expressions of your Mii avatars to add an entertaining twist to your messages. A Mii representative who demonstrates the private messaging function and provides a free messenger outfit and hat set for your Miis to wear.
Sidekick Miis can be made alongside your main Mii avatar to relay messages between your friends and be used in Miifotos. They don’t ask or answer any questions themselves, but they have their own rooms, outfits, and greetings that can be customized however you want. Up to 100 Sidekick Miis can be made and set to public or private by a single Miitomo user.
Style Central: Dressing up in all kinds of outfits and mixing together different pieces to make custom outfits has been a big part of Miitomo’s fun, and now users can share their favorite custom outfits with other users around the world!
Using the Style Central, other users can browse through the submitted outfits, try them on, leave a like to check them out later, and even buy them for their own Miis to use without having to go to the clothing shop. Sharing outfits (up to 3 times a day) can earn users some My Nintendo points to redeem for rewards on the My Nintendo site.
Answer Central: Miitomo users have always been able to share their answers to many questions with their friends, ranging from everyday happenings to what their favorite TV shows are. Now users can share their answers with all Miitomo users with the Answer Central feature. This feature can simply be seen as an extension of sharing your responses on a larger scale, so keep in mind that these answers are more public than before with this feature.
Room Customization: For the first time in Miitomo, users can design their rooms and their Sidekick Miis rooms with wallpaper, flooring, and posters. Wallpaper and flooring can be obtained in the same way as special clothes and items in Miitomo Drop, using coins or game tickets to try and get the daily selections. Posters can also be placed on the walls of your room using images from your device. Each room has 8 poster spots, but only 1 poster spot can be used for free, as the rest can only be obtained via in-app purchases for $0.99 each.
Ease of Use: Along with the more obvious and major changes to Miitomo, a subtle, but very welcome change was the file size of the app being lowered significantly so that users can enjoy Miitomo without it taking up as much space on their device. For reference, before the update, Miitomo took up at least 1 GB of my device’s storage. After the update, the app only took close to half that amount (taking into account the initial app size + documents and data).
Author’s Thoughts: At its core, Miitomo is a messaging/communication app and not a traditional game with challenges or level progression. There are dozens of messaging apps out there like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LINE, and WhatsApp, to name a few, but Miitomo’s unique gimmick of using voiced and animated Mii avatars to integrate with text and picture messages is charming enough for me to keep using it.
The new features mainly serve to expand the sharing of answers and outfits to every Miitomo user from the app itself without having to screencap or share to another social media site. I like to see it as an opportunity to open up more interactions and make new friends (depending on how “responsibly” people share their answers and outfits, of course). The smaller file size for the app is the best addition for me, since Miitomo was taking up a large part of my phone’s storage. Perhaps that can also lead to a few more people coming back to the app now that it doesn’t take as much space as before, but it really depends on how much they like the messaging style that Miitomo has compared to others in the mobile market.
While I personally would like to see something like an interactive game to play on the side to add to the messaging and Q&A, I’m personally satisfied with what the updates have brought. I’m also glad that, despite the user base not being as high or active as it was at launch, they continue to update it with small, but unique pieces to add to the fun. Will there be more to come in updates for Miitomo, or will Nintendo’s focus now shift to working on Super Mario Run and other upcoming apps? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and tell us what you think about Miitomo’s update!