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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Tomodachi Life (2014) is a social simulation game where you develop an island to accommodate inhabitants and offer them a fuller life. You do this by interacting with islanders and solving their problems to earn buildings that expand the options for your island inhabitants. It's unusual because you end up curating relationships a bit like a miniature soap opera.

You play the game by creating characters who move into an apartment on your island, and by making sure their stay on your island is a good one by solving their problems or meeting their needs. This might be helping an inhabitant with a broken heart, assisting with their confidence or finding a favourite piece of clothes or food.

As you progress, you add more buildings and unlock locations, such as the Concert Hall, the Observation Tower, or the Park. This involves dealing with problems that your islanders express, often focusing on their social interactions or primary needs.

It sounds a little like other games, but stands out because of its focus on social interactions and the related emotional intelligence it encourages. It's a game that works for young players who can just tinker around meeting inhabitants, but also for more experienced players who can focus on progressing more quickly. It's quirky and strange but also heartwarming and relaxing throughout.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Tomodachi Life 23 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 21 months ago.
There are lots of games similar to Tomodachi Life. Here are some we picked for you:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Narrative and Simulation game with Communication, Creative, Role-Play and World Building elements. This is a single-player game. You can share characters with other players who have the game by connecting in the same space via WiFi, by creating a QR code for your character, or via StreetPass (where the 3DS swaps game data with other nearby systems).

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: This game will take between 20 hours and 50 hours to complete. Tomodachi Life is a continuous game, meaning that it never truly ends. There is no specific storyline to complete, aside from unlocking every building.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 3.

In the US, ESRB state: Players can shop in towns, build relationships among characters, and engage in turn-based combat against “cartoony” enemies (e.g., fried eggs, steaks, beads); the brief battles are accompanied by smacking/zapping sounds and colorful light effects. The game includes mild instances of bathroom humor: a baby emitting flatulence with a gas cloud; a news reel broadcast containing the headline “Who Logs the Most Toilet Time?”
There are sections of the game where you see inside characters head to see their dreams. These are often surreal and a little scary like running away from a rolling head. There's an item in the game that lets you hypnotise characters to gain more information.

There's a mini-game you can play within the game, called Tomodachi Quest that takes things in a combative direction.

Skill Level

6+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need to be prepared to persevere with interactions and be patient about getting buildings. Younger players may need help reading and understanding the requirements to unlock different buildings.


You can only play this on older systems (Nintendo 2DS|3DS) but can usually find it second hand on eBay. There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 06/06/2014

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Narrative, Simulation (Communication, Creative, Role-Play and World Building)

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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