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About a year ago, we learned that Nintendo was going to start releasing apps Say Hello to Windows 10, Nintendo Embraces Smartphone Gaming [Tech News Digest] Say Hello to Windows 10, Nintendo Embraces Smartphone Gaming [Tech News Digest] Launching Windows 10, Nintendo goes mobile, reviewing Android apps, reporting Twitter harassment, paying friends through Facebook, and Pixels depicts video games invading Earth. Read More for smartphones, and it had us worried Nintendo Going Mobile – Good or Bad For Gaming? Nintendo Going Mobile – Good or Bad For Gaming? Nintendo has just done a 180 and announced that it will be creating games for mobile devices. What does this imply, and is it a good idea? Read More . For a long time, Nintendo properties had only appeared on Nintendo systems, with rare exceptions.

On March 31, 2016, Nintendo released their first mobile app, titled Miitomo. It’s not a game per se, but a social platform Social Media In 2015, Predictions And Potential Social Media In 2015, Predictions And Potential Today we chose to place our necks on the line and make four future predictions for social media in 2015, along with a few more ideas about what might happen before this time next year. Read More designed to connect friends through Miis. I’ve spent a few days with the app, and I’m ready to give you the scoop on Miitomo.

Miitomo was one of many things that Nintendo released last week; we covered the rest of the Nintendo news Miitomo, My Nintendo, and More: What's New with Nintendo Miitomo, My Nintendo, and More: What's New with Nintendo Nintendo had a huge day at the end of March. Let's take a look at everything they showed us! Read More in a separate post — including the new My Nintendo rewards program and new Nintendo Accounts — so don’t miss that!

Getting Set Up

To get started, download Miitomo for Android or iOS. Once you launch the app, pick your country and agree to the terms and conditions that nobody ever reads 10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To 10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To Let’s be honest, no one reads EULA's (End User Licensing Agreement) - we all just scroll down to the bottom and click "I Accept". EULAs are full of confusing legalese to make them incomprehensible to... Read More . When you sign in, you’ll have several methods to choose from.

If you haven’t already created a new Nintendo Account, it’s a good idea to do so now. By creating one, you’ll be able to earn rewards inside Miitomo for the new My Nintendo rewards program. You can also sign into Miitomo on multiple devices, and you won’t lose your data if you delete the app. You can create a new Nintendo Account right from inside the app, sign into yours, or continue without it.

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Making Your Mii

Next, it’s time to make your Mii! You can use your device’s camera to snap a photo of yourself Stop Hating On Selfies: 3 Reasons You Should Love Them Stop Hating On Selfies: 3 Reasons You Should Love Them Selfies are all too often written off as the egotistical masturbation of brainless teenagers, but that's a superficial take on them. Here's why. Read More that will turn into a Mii, create one from scratch, import a Mii from your 3DS or Wii U using a QR code, or use the Mii from your Nintendo Account, if you linked one. Next, you’ll set your nickname, add a pronunciation if needed, and after setting your birthday and gender, you get to personalize your Mii even more.

Your Mii’s voice can be edited on a radar chart of five values: Pitch, Speed, Depth, Accent, and Energy. Play around with it a bit, or just use a preset if you like (you can change it later if you wish) and you’ll move onto your Mii’s personality. Using another radar scale, you can change your Mii’s manners, movement, individuality, attitude, and expression.

When you’re all done, you’ll be greeted with a little bio of your Mii’s personality, so you can go back and edit its properties if it doesn’t seem right.

Make Some Friends

Now that you’re all done with the setup, it’s time to get into Miitomo proper. Once you meet your Mii, they will explain that Miitomo is a social app The Hottest Live-Streaming Social Apps You Need To Try The Hottest Live-Streaming Social Apps You Need To Try Instead of merely blogging, people are now sharing their expertise on YouTube, doing Q&As on Periscope and getting creative on Vine. And the audiences love it, because they can tune in while they get on... Read More all about chatting with your friends. To get a conversation started, you’ll be asked a sample question — answer it however you wish!

You’ll probably want to add some friends right away so you can start sharing — the app isn’t too fun all by yourself How to Connect with People & Stop Feeling Lonely How to Connect with People & Stop Feeling Lonely We all feel lonely at one time or the other. There are many practical suggestions combating loneliness. A little bit of technology can lend support. Here are seven apps and sites for connecting with others. Read More ! Tap the Friends button on the bottom toolbar to find some friends. You’ll need to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts here, then the app will find your Facebook friends and mutual Twitter followers that also use Miitomo. Since nicknames in the app are short and likely to be first name only, when you tap someone you know from social media you’ll see their profile picture and username so you can be sure you have the right person.

You can also add friends through a “Face-to-Face” method, which has you tap one of four symbols at the same time as your friend to add someone in the same room with you. Aside from these methods, however, the only way you can add friends is by tapping on people who comment on your friends’ posts or by viewing their friends.

This is a drawback of the app for two reasons: if you know a lot people on social media using the app, there’s no easy way to sort through them to see everyone, and if you don’t know many people on social media, it’s hard to start building up friends. If you need friends, try visiting a thread online like Reddit’s Miitomo friends finder — you can find some people who will follow you back on Twitter and become Miitomo friends with you.

Honestly, this feels a little empty. I added a few random people online as friends since I only a handful of people I knew are using the app, and while it’s nice to have people to interact with, I don’t know them at all and so their answers don’t really mean much to me.

Though it beats being lonely, I hope that Nintendo makes it easier to search for people by username or some other method soon. I have a few people I know from Twitter who I wanted to friend, but couldn’t find them due to a crowded “Suggested Friends” list from all the random people I added.

Ask Questions, Get Answers

Once you have some friends, the core of Miitomo is getting conversations going 7 Tips to Start Random Chats Worth Having 7 Tips to Start Random Chats Worth Having Omegle and Chatroulette are the Internet standards when it comes to having random conversations with strangers. We have a few ideas for you to enhance your random chat adventures. Here's a big ol' list. Read More . Tap on your Mii at any time and it will ask you new questions or tell you what it heard from your friends. If you tap the thought bubble above your character’s head, you can see what your friends’ responses to questions were. Every time you see a question answered like this, you can add a heart to show you liked their answer, or leave a comment to keep the conversation alive. This is a great way to meet new friends, too!

You can keep track of new comments on your or friends’ posts in the Recent tab on the left side of the bottom toolbar — this lets you see how many friends have commented on or hearted your answer, plus how your friends answered the same question. if you’re curious, you can also click View online answers to jump on Twitter 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter Twitter has now been with us for seven years and counting. This was seven years to the day since Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet in 2006, at a time when the micro-blogging social... Read More and see how others answered a question.

Every answer you give is collected under the My answers tab of the toolbar; you can skip any question that you’re asked, and they can be later answered here if you wish. Every answer you give a heart is also kept in this tab.

Aside from this, you can visit friends at any time by tapping their entry in your Friends tab — from here, you can talk to them, view what clothes they have on, or see their personality type. You can also rub a Mii’s head by rubbing back and forth on your screen. It’s… strange.

Customizing Your Mii

The two remaining tabs are Shop and Menu, and they’re where you’ll do a lot of customizing to make your Mii special. The shop lets you purchase new shirts, pants, hats, and other items with Miitomo coins. As this is a freemium app, coins can be obtained for real money via in-app purchases What Are In-App Purchases & How Can I Disable Them? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Are In-App Purchases & How Can I Disable Them? [MakeUseOf Explains] "I can’t believe it!" my cousin said to me the other day, "someone’s just bought a $10 in-app purchase on my mother’s phone, and she doesn’t even know what I’m talking about!". Sounds familiar? How... Read More .

Nintendo is pretty fair about this, though; Miitomo coins are given out generously without having to pay. Each day, you’re given some coins for answering questions, listening to friends’ answers, adding new friends, and just signing into the app. You can certainly enjoy Miitomo and buy new clothes without feeling like the app is trying suck your money away 5 Warning Signs For Avoiding Freemium Games That Want To Suck Your Wallet Dry 5 Warning Signs For Avoiding Freemium Games That Want To Suck Your Wallet Dry Many games are free up-front, but bombard players with an endless array of in-game purchases, some of which are impossible to avoid if you want to complete the game. Read More .

In addition to the shop, there are also a few Plinko-like games where you drop a Mii character and get a reward that it lands on — usually a special piece of clothing. These games can be played using game tickets (which you earn from adding friends and logging into the app daily) or some coins. Again, this isn’t mandatory and can be ignored if you want to stick to the regular clothing.

Inside the Menu, you can choose Edit Mii if you want to change the face of your mii, Profile to change the personality and speech info you specified at the start, and Closet to change clothes that you bought in the shop. You can also add four Greetings that your Mii uses when someone visits or when you say goodbye to a friend.

Goofing Around With Miifotos

Whenever you change an outfit or are just feeling generally fashionable, you can take a Miifoto and share it with your friends or the world on Twitter. You can add text and stamps in addition to changing your Mii’s clothing or expression, and even use a picture taken from your phone 6 Reasons Your Smartphone is the Best Camera You Own 6 Reasons Your Smartphone is the Best Camera You Own It might not be a digital SLR, but your smartphone is punching well above its weight when it comes to photography. The next time you go out, leave your old point and shoot at home. Read More as a background.

Some people will definitely have a blast bringing their characters into the real world, but you can also use default backgrounds if you want to stick to the basics.

Settings and Miscellany

Miitomo doesn’t bog you down with settings, but lets you turn off the music, sound effects, or voices if you find them irritating. You can also make your friend list private so that friends can’t view it, turn on a power-saving mode that limits app performance but saves battery 9 Proven, Tested Tips To Extend Your Android's Battery Life 9 Proven, Tested Tips To Extend Your Android's Battery Life No matter how long your phone's battery life lasts, there are ways that you can definitely make it last longer. Let's take a look at some different ways. Read More , and edit push notification options. If you’d like to make a QR code 7 Great Uses For QR Codes & How To Generate Your Own For Free 7 Great Uses For QR Codes & How To Generate Your Own For Free Quick response codes, or QR codes for short, have been used for a few years now to provide rapid access to URLs, messages or contact information. Marketing and advertising departments love QR codes, as with... Read More so you can share your Mii with others, that’s possible too.

Be sure to check the Gift Box inside the Menu every day, because the app throws rewards left and right at you in the beginning. You’ll receive a bonus for signing in each day of the month, along with rewards for using Miitomo at launch, so it’s worth making sure you collect everything from the Gift Box regularly.

The other big part of Miitomo is its My Nintendo integration. My Nintendo is the new rewards program, and allows you to earn coins from performing different actions, including several inside Miitomo such as listening to 10 friends’ answers in a day and getting three hearts on a post each day. You can view these missions right from inside the app in the Menu and most reset every day, so keep an eye on them! If you didn’t link Miitomo with a Nintendo Account, you’ll need to do so before My Nintendo works.

The Verdict

Overall, Miitomo is a good app that doesn’t feel out of place as a Nintendo property — and this is coming from someone who hates free-to-play games like Candy Crush. The app arguably has that distinct Nintendo feel — Mii characters have goofy experssions, some of the questions you get asked are plain weird, the costumes are funny, and the atmosphere is cheery. This certainly isn’t a full-fledged Nintendo game on mobile, but it’s probably better that way.

There’s an appeal here to gamers and non-gamers alike. Nintendo fans should enjoy having a Nintendo experience in their pocket, and being able to earn rewards that you can spend on other games is a nice touch. If you’re not a gamer, the social aspects Top Social Media Predictions For 2016 Top Social Media Predictions For 2016 This time last year, we published our 2015 social media predictions. It seems those predictions were proven accurate, so we thought we’d do the same for 2016. Read More of Miitomo are still fun, and it’s a great network for people who tend to lurk on other social media forms without posting The Lurker Majority: Why You're Not Weird For Reading and Never Posting The Lurker Majority: Why You're Not Weird For Reading and Never Posting For every person who posts on a forum, generally about 99 other people are viewing that forum but not posting. Read More .

Because the app asks you questions instead of waiting for you to post on someone’s wall or tweet, you can share around your answers and see what friends had to say without too much hassle. Miitomo definitely isn’t something you can sit down and play for hours at a time 15 Mobile Apps Guaranteed to Waste Your Precious Time 15 Mobile Apps Guaranteed to Waste Your Precious Time Some apps will add value to your life, making you more productive or helping you improve in some meaningful way. Other apps, well, they'll have the opposite effect. Read More , but it warrants checking a couple of times per day or even once a day — the app will still be fun this way.

Miitomo isn’t groundbreaking, but it is charming. It’s not perfect — adding friends is difficult if you don’t use social media or have tons of friends using the app (probably the biggest issue with the app), and it’s not much fun at all without friends Beat The Loneliness: Find Friends & Let The Internet Help You Beat The Loneliness: Find Friends & Let The Internet Help You Feeling lonely? Virtual friends won't make that feeling go away. The best cure is to meet people and make friends in real life. This can be really tough, but the Internet can help you! Read More — but it treads the free-to-play line carefully and doesn’t feel like an app designed to rip you off.

As a Nintendo fan, I’m excited about Miitomo and I’ll be keeping it on my phone for a good while. You owe it to yourself to check it out — add some friends, answer a few questions, customize your clothes, and take a few Miifotos. It’s worth checking out just to see this piece of history that is Nintendo’s first phone app. Who knows: The next app could be a game featuring a Nintendo IP. We’ll have to find out!

If Miitomo leaves you wishing you could play some classic Nintendo games on your phone, check out the best retro games you can emulate on Android 5 Best Retro Games That You Can Emulate On Android 5 Best Retro Games That You Can Emulate On Android Emulation allows you to play retro games on your PC, but have you tried it on your phone? Here are five fantastic titles to try on your Android device. Read More .

Have you tried Miitomo, and what do you think? I want to hear your thoughts on the apps, including criticisms and suggestions, in the comments below!

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