What could Teddy Together teach us about Bandai Namco’s Neko Tomo?

Back in 2013, Bandai Namco released an endearing little life-sim on the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. It was called Kuma Tomo, and it was designed to give people a chance to befriend and care for an anthropomorphic teddy bear. Three years later, it came to Australia and Europe as Teddy Together. Now, Neko Tomo has been announced for the 3DS and Switch. Few details have been announced, beyond the revelation that we will be caring for kittens named Nekoko and Tomomo, but we can look to Teddy Together as an example of what to expect from this sequel.

Neko Tomo could encourage people to interact with the cats on a daily basis.

Teddy Together makes sure people progress gradually through the game. You can only answer 10 major questions from the bear each day. That means the friendship levels up at a steady pace and new things unlock each day. New candies, clothing items and seeds show up in the shops daily, with certain outfit items only available during specific months or candies stocked on certain days of the week.

Since Neko Tomo is a follow up with similar intentions, there will probably be a similar system in place. Expect to only be able to answer a few of Nekoko and Tomomo’s questions each day, before being halted.

Neko Tomo may allow players to choose from a wide range of positive and negative responses.

Here’s the funny thing about Teddy Together: the game lets you be mean. When answering the bear’s important questions or engaging in smalltalk, you can be enthusiastic and nice or absolutely brutal. For example, the bear might ask if you enjoy living with them. You can tell the animal, “It seems like a lot of work.” When it goes to look for friends and does not find any other bears, you have two possible responses. One is, “You’ll find some soon.” The other? “Yep, no friends for you.” Ouch.

Since Teddy Together allows people these sorts of options, there is a good chance Neko Tomo will too. If so, you will be able to be super sweet and encouraging or absolutely soul-crushing.

Neko Tomo might not assign genders to the cats.

Teddy Together asks the gender of the player, but takes a different approach when it comes to the bear. The animal will tell you that because it is a teddy, it does not have a gender. Its voice is neutral. You can dress it in feminine or masculine clothing, or a mixture of the two. There are no restrictions.

Now, Neko Tomo could handle things differently. We do have two cats after all. Maybe Nekoko is a boy or Tomomo is a girl, or vice versa. However, it could take a similar approach. One of the first screenshots does show a dress-up screen, where both cats are wearing shorts. It also shows gender-neutral hats.

Neko Tomo may have amiibo compatibility.

Teddy Together allowed people to scan in certain amiibo to earn extra in-game coins to spend in its virtual shops. If you scanned in the right Mario-series character on its lucky day, you could hit a real jackpot and get around 1,000 coins. (So far, I have only earned coins for scanning in characters.)

Now that amiibo are far more prevalent, there is a good chance Neko Tomo will be compatible. At the very least, it could be a way to earn coins to buy things for the cats in the in-game stores. At best, it could mean themed costumes for Nekoko and Tomomo.

The 3DS version of Neko Tomo could be the better one.

Okay. We know the Switch is great; we love the Switch. On the 3DS, Teddy Together works really well. It has an option to introduce the bear to friends when you choose the talk option, as you can tap an icon for face recognition. When you first get the bear, it asks you to say its name, so it can learn it. You can answer questions via speaking or typing. The cleaning, cooking and petting minigames all use touch screen controls.

This means when Neko Tomo appears on the Switch, it will not have some of those capabilities. There is no microphone built into the console, so it is not like you can speak to Nekoko or Tomomo. No camera means no introducing them to friends. It might also be easier to perform touch controls on the 3DS version.

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