Hi, I have had mixed experiences with it. When outside of Japan not so great. I would exchange messages with people in Japan, but it was a lot of basic talk… somewhat boring tbh… that didn’t went no place. Then when I tried reaching japanese people in my city, very few actually responded, and then when finally I even got to talk more often with one and even set a meeting, she went cold feet and stop talking altogether… so I had for the most left the app unused for about 8 months.
Two weeks in Japan now, I went straight for people in the same city, and have found much more interest here, to chat first, and even more helpful, to meet and practice talking. In one day a girl responded me and we were meeting next day. She is traveling in a couple of months to an english speaking country so was very interested in practicing regularly before going there.
So far I write mostly in japanese, 'cause it’s much easier to me than talking over audio messages, and hopefully little by little the meetings will add more japanese to the table (as our first meeting was mostly in english).
So I would guess there has to be at least intermediate or above level for it to be of any benefit for both parts, and then, go for what you really are interested in, if it’s talking, people in your area probably are your best best. I’ve been messaging with other people as well, and thing is to find someone that it matches your rythm (super into it and check the app regularly or more casually writing there maybe daily or more sporadically) and have something in common to talk about it.
I’ve check meetups groups here as well… but actually much of the images they post looks like an international big party … other options are tandem websites, that basically let you find a 1-on-1 language partners; I’ve considered those too, but haven’t try them so far.
EDIT: another thing to consider if meeting to talk in this setting… go fresh. I mean, don’t leave the meeting for too late, specially if you’ll be tired and wanting to relax. Your hearing will be affected and your concentration wont’ be there. After a bit more than 2 hours I was really tired… even if you get along with the other person, it’s an extenuating activity, not like meeting with your buddies after work.
… I didn’t realized this until now… well, if that translates that your diving into basic grammar now, I would actually suggest to work a hell lot on reading and listening first then. Maybe it’s just my personal opinion, but I would say when you understand what your shows are saying (even if not 100%, but you can listen to the words and parse them correctly, so you can pick an unknown one) and / or the same for reading even basic native content, this kind of activity and practice will be of much more use.