|Mode(s)||Single-player with drop-in local and online mutliplayer|
|Age Rating(s)||ESRB: EVERYONE 10+|
The game is designed to take advantage of the Display's controls and features. Generally, the left pad is used to move, and the right pad to rotate the camera around. The face buttons, shoulders, triggers, and even camera and microphone are also used in several ways throughout the game.
Life consists mainly of single-player gameplay, but also supports 2-player via the Display's wireless technology. Display handhelds can also connect to the Display Box to enable local multiplayer, with up to 5 players, as well as online multiplayer. When the game is connected to the Display Box, a map will show on the TV, marked with the positions of the Miis being controlled. In online multiplayer, nearby players coexist in the same version of the city alongside the other AI Mii. Chat can also be used by pressing SELECT, though others' messages will always display on the TV. Profane language and slurs are censored out in the chat, and can be hidden altogether by a game setting.
New players can choose to import an existing Mii from the Mii Maker app upon starting the game, or make a Mii from scratch. Either way, they are then asked to add the Mii's age and sexual orientation. Miis can only be created at ages 10 to 14, the former restriction based on the game's rating, and the latter to ensure that the Mii gets at least 3 years of schooling. After this, the Mii moves into their apartment, and gameplay begins.
Passage of time
In-game time does not pass at the same rate as in real life. However, the time of day and weather are determined by the system's clock and weather reports. Each in-game day begins when the player starts the game for the first time in a day. An in-game year is 12 days long.
Players will be able to visit a number of different locations in the game.
Miis live in apartments, which can be customized with wallpaper, flooring, and furniture. Furniture can be moved around via the touchscreen. All mail sent to a Mii is delivered to its apartment. The player parks vehicles in the parking garage below the building.
School is where the tutorials happen. Miis are required to attend school each day, and can be punished for skipping class. In addition to learning about aspects of Life, players will also take tests on real-life skills, such as grade-school math and reading comprehension. Scores on these tests impact how likely a Mii is to be hired for a job. The school day is only meant to last a few minutes.
Once a Mii is done with school, the player can search and apply for jobs. If the Mii is hired, it will have to start going to work each day. The "work" done takes the form of minigames relevant to the selected field of work. As with school, the work day should be over in the span of a few minutes. Miis get a paycheck every 3 days, but the amount they are paid depends on how well the minigames for the previous 3 days were completed.
Players can buy their Miis different kinds of needs and luxuries at the mall. There are different stores for clothes, food, and other such items. Next to the mall are a vehicle dealership, a gas station, and a variety of randomly selected stands.
|Acid-washed jeans||$20||This 80's fashion trend just won't die! What are you waiting for? Hop on the bandwagon.|
|Baseball shirt||$20||Show some team spirit with this stripy shirt! Makes you look taller, too.|
|Belted shirt||$68||You'd better really like this shirt, because it's a pain to take off.|
|Boy band outfit||$95||Wear these shiny clothes and you might get mobbed by tweenaged fans!|
|Boy's blazer||$68||This dapper uniform is sure to wow your date's parents.|
|Camo trousers||$25||Spilled something on your shorts? No one should notice!|
|Camouflage jacket||$20||Wear this and you'll be essentially invisible!|
|Car-print T-shirt||$20||It's a shirt with a sleek car on it. Not a suitable replacement for a driver's license, though.|
|Cargo pants||$38||These pants are tucked into your boots. Could it stop rocks from getting in your shoes?|
|Checkered dress shirt||$28||This casual-looking checkered pattern looks good layered over a white shirt.|
|Chinese print T-shirt||$13||The characters on the back probably mean something cool.|
|Collared car shirt||$20||For when a shirt with only one car just won't do.|
|Collared sweater||$58||All the warmth of a scarf, attached to a sweater!|
|Commando sweater||$56||People think the suede patches on this sweater wither look really cool, or really silly.|
|Denim shorts||$30||Ever wanted to wear pants in summer without overheating? This is probably close enough.|
|Diamond vest||$66||Keep in mind that even if you find the diamond pattern charming, not everyone will.|
|Double-layered top||$38||It's two shirts for the price of almost two shirts.|
|Flannel shirt||$30||The perfect top for any lumberjack!|
|Fleece jacket||$25||This bright fleece will protect you from the elements whenever you're told to go take a hike.|
|Flight jacket||$48||Shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you'll still have this shiny jacket.|
|Formal boys' clothes||$58||A suit for any formal occasion, at least while you're in school.|
|Jean jacket||$58||You'll look cool in this pants-blue jacket. Why let your trousers have all the denim fun?|
|Leather outfit||$100||If you want to look edgy, this all-leather outfit is a must-have. The soft material must make you seem that much cooler by comparison!|
|Bear T-shirt||$25||This shirt has a cute bear stitched onto it. How anyone could find a bear terrifying is beyond us.|
|Logo sweater||$30||This cool shirt-and-medallion combo is mainly suited for rap battles.|
|Lumberjack clothes||$38||The perfect outfit for chopping down trees or starting an idie band. You don't have to be named Jack to wear it!|
|Military coat||$78||You could easily make it through winter with this coat, and the tons of pockets are a big bonus.|
|Outdoorsy outfit||$19||Imagine all the fishing tackle you could fit in those pockets!|
|Oversized jersey||$28||Your very own way-too-long jersey! Don't worry, you'll grow into it.|
|Peacoat||$73||A simple coat, yet a fashionable one, too. We hope the lack of peas doesn't count as false advertising.|
|Polka-dot shirt||$28||This shirt will come in handy whenever you need something that just says, "Oversized polka-dots."|
|Polo shirt||$20||A simple, timeless shirt that looks best with the collar popped.|
Miis can relax and exercise at the park. There's plenty of foliage to admire, even if it's mostly just grass, bushes, and trees. The paths around and through the park are great for walking, running, and bicycling.
Not all of the city is a happy-go-lucky place. Even though Miis can't be physically hurt, policemen are still a necessity, especially in online multiplayer! If your Mii commits a crime, it will be chased down and put in a cell in the back of the office for at least 15 seconds. If a player could have negatively impacted another person's experience with the game, such as by crashing into their car or swearing repeatedly in the chat, the player will also be warned to behave themselves when their Mii is released.
Usually, profane and derogatory language will only be censored in the game's chat, due to the game's rating allowing some leniency in terms of language. However, if a player cusses too much, their Mii will eventually be detained.
Miis technically can steal items without paying for them, but they won't get away with it. In addition to being momentarily locked up, the stolen item(s) will be taken away. The shops' staff will also be a bit more suspicious of you.
Players are urged to be careful while driving. Vehicles may be strong enough to survive small collisions, but if hit hard enough, they will be damaged. The victim(s) are informed that they may want to buy a new vehicle if they were driving one during the accident. Trucks and public transport vehicles cannot be noticeably damaged, and will merely be nudged aside if hit, but the player might still be punished.
The Sports Center is composed of several buildings, each serving a different purpose. Miis can participate in sports competitions, like basketball, soccer, and swimming; stretch and lift weights at the gym; or even relax and cool down at the spa and lounge. To top it off, a running track circles the center.
Using the services offered by the Sports Center does come at a price, however. Miis must either pay every year for a membership, or pay a smaller fee each time they enter.
To get around more quickly, several different modes of transportation can be used.
Even without any vehicles or public transportation, a Mii can go from point A to point B by walking. This is the slowest way to get around, but it works!
If a Mii is more than 16 years old, the player may buy a car. The time it takes for this vehicle to travel is dependent on traffic and player skill, but it moves fairly quickly. Different cars have different stats and features. They may have front-wheel, back-wheel, or all-wheel drive, causing them to handle differently. Some models can come with optional features, such as GPSs and voice navigation. Each car also has a distinct horn sound.
By default, motion controls are used to turn the wheel, but the left pad can be used instead. The player holds the left and right triggers to brake and accelerate, respectively. The shoulder buttons are held to use the turn signal; pressing both toggles the emergency lights. The touchscreen and directional pad can both be used to shift gears on cars that have a shift-stick. The A button can also be used to beep the car's horn, as can a button on the touchscreen as in Mario Kart 8.
Multiple Miis can ride in the same car. The exact number depends on the number of seats in the car.
Miis can ride a bike along most streets. It isn't the fastest, but it's lightweight and easy to control. Bikes are much more customizable than cars are, and don't need to stop to get more gas. There are different types of bikes as well.
Players can steer either with motion controls or the left pad. The trigger buttons are used to brake the front and back wheels. The shoulder buttons are used to make the Mii indicate which direction it will turn. Holding both shoulders and tilting the controller will change the gear if applicable, though the directional pad may also be used. If the player buys a bell for their Mii's bike, it can be rung by tapping it on the touchscreen. The A button is held to pedal and move the bike forward.
Miis can ride public transportation if needed. There are many routes going all across the city and stopping at different places. The bus moves at a reasonable speed, though it's not the fastest mode of transportation due to the stops it has to make. Players must request a stop by pressing one of the shoulder buttons when it is the next stop.
The trains in the subway are considerably faster than the aboveground buses due to having fewer stops and basically no obstacles on the track. Trains follow a roughly circular path below the city, stop automatically at each stop, and arrive noticeably less frequently than buses.
Depending on their job, Miis may need to drive trucks to and from any number of locations and do activities or bring back objects, in similar fashion to other games' quests. Trucks all handle the same, having somewhat slow and imprecise physics, and all have the same controls as cars. Objects can be put in the back of a truck to transport them.
Another large part of Miis' life is socialization. Players can get to know other Miis, host events, and more.