Released in Japan last year, Miitopia is a late arrival for 3DS owners outside Nintendo’s homeland. In some ways, it feels even later due to Nintendo’s waning focus on Mii characters with the Switch. Even so, it’s off to a decent start sales wise. Is Miitopia an RPG for you?
“Since the dawn of ever, warriors have banded together to fight evil.” What more do you need to know? Miitopia needs saving, and its residents need… their faces restored?!? Whatever, I just went with it. In my case, the face stealing bully was none other than the fabulous Betty White, whom I selected at random. You decide the key figures in the game, which is Miitopia’s big selling point.
The cast can come from Mii Central, Mii Maker, your friend list, or Tomodachi Life data if you have it. It’s a gimmick, but it has some real initial charm. I know I enjoyed adventuring alongside the Mii’s I designed based off MTV’s classic Daria. How long the charm lasts depends, in part, how you approach the game. The experience overall proves very repetitive.
There’s a reason the game asks you every 15 minutes if you want to continue playing or quit. The formula’s largely linear, and control decidedly limited. Short of picking a path, travel is almost always automated. Even combat can be hands off. Repetition set in earlier than I expected it to. However, if you play as Nintendo obviously hopes you will, the small increment approach can make Miitopia last through the summer and beyond.
Not controlling every character in your party (up to five at points) is a bummer, but you are given some basic battle options. Many of the wrinkles come from your team’s personalities and relationships with others. Will they partner on an attack? Warn you of imminent danger? Or prove as much of a distraction as they are an asset? The Inn is where these seeds get planted.
After battling it’s time to rest and eat at the Inn, getting ready for more adventure. Here you decide who rooms with who. You’ll also decide who gets to eat what – food collected in battle powers up various stats, although taste buds vary greatly. Spending cash on armor or weapon upgrades can be fun, but once again your input is limited, this time through randomness. You can also try to walk away a winner from two tiny arcade games: roulette and rock, paper, scissors.
Standard RPG classes like warrior and thief are available early. Later, more fun ones start appearing such as pop star, scientist, and even a cat. I think having more of these available from the start would’ve been an asset. They are probably introduced as they are to help compensate for the times in your game when you’re stripped of your party. However, I’m not gonna elaborate on these for fear of spoilers. So take my cryptic statement and do what you will with it.
Miitopia really tries to be comical… but it’s frequently unfunny. Humor is subjective of course, but there’s only so many times characters can ask one another if someone tooted before my smiles start turning to eye rolls. Yes, repetition sets in here as well. It’s clumsy overall, but I can definitely envision certain kids laughing plenty at this E-rated game.
Miitopia’s “quirky fantasy world” is fairly attractive, with its own style. The enemy variety is solid, and of course, the variety of Mii’s are only limited by your own imagination. Costumes accessible via amiibo can add some extra diversity. It’s a real shame that, with few exceptions, the 3D is weak. The soundtrack meanwhile, offers a very large and an enjoyable listen.
Is Miitopia a great game? No; it’s juggling too many weaknesses amidst its high points. It doesn’t even offer StreetPass, which is really surprising. Despite the ways it comes up short, it is an effective showcase on Nintendo’s Mii’s. If you enjoyed the demo, for better or worse, Miitopia offers much more of the same. A passive experience with little in the way of challenge, it’s best suited for youngsters with limited gaming skills, who will appreciate the attempts at humor.