Game Reviews

We Review: Miitopia

Miitopia is Nintendo’s vision of a fantasy RPG in the vein of Tomodachi Life. It’s about as weird as it sounds, minus the bizarre vocal synth talking. Look, it’s best you just come with me, because this review is going to be an adventure from start to finish. Oh, and be a dear and grab that sword on the way out?

Miitopia starts with you, the intrepid hero, jauntily making your to Easin Village, when a foul villain comes by and steals everyone’s faces. What’s worse is that all the faces are then placed onto monsters. The mayor of Easin asks you to get everyone’s faces back, and this request sets you off on a grand adventure to meet kings, make friends, and kill dark lords.

Ok, so the story is a bit simplistic, but everything about Miitopia feels like a distilling of the fantasy RPG genre boiled down to its essentials without such “tedious” elements as character personality development or rich plot. The one redeeming factor in all this is the fact that all the faces of the characters you meet and play with—provided that your 3DS is connected to the internet—all come from other people’s creations. There are tons of fun interpretations of the elements used to make Miis, and many of them were from other franchises and stories. There’s a Darth Vader one for example, as well as several Peter Griffins, a handful of Jack Skellingtons, Morgan Freemans (Freemen?), Michael Jacksons, and the odd spattering of Zeldas, Marios, Ricks, and the occasional Game of Thrones character. It’s quite a roster, and largely the game assigns the faces automatically. So I was quite surprised to see that the Mayor of Easin Village in my game was Charlie Brown, with Palutena running the local shop. At some points, the game asks you to assign a face, and I used Dr.Robotnik as my villain, Tingle as the King, and Reggie Fils-Aimes as the downtrodden prince. Miitopia allows you to import miis from a number of locations: your Mii Maker app, Tomodachi Life, Mii Central, your friends list, QR codes, and even from Miitomo. That’s a lot of miis you’re able to use.

Being an RPG, you’re given a selection of classes–or “jobs”, as they’re called here–that your characters can take on. These range from the fairly standard fighter/mage/rogue/cleric tetrad, to more exotic roles such as cat, chef, pop idol, princess, and tank(!). It gets silly, but this seems to be what the game is about. It’s not meant to be taken seriously at all. Everything about it, from the dialog to the story itself, is so ridiculously over the top that you can’t help but crack a smile at some of it.

The meat of Miitopia is exploration of the various areas, but even this is distilled down to a path that your party travel along automatically, only stopping now and again to fight monsters or open the odd treasure chest. And even then you barely have to do anything, since you can leave the battle to autoplay and watch proceedings. Vanquished foes will become food for your next meal, and give up the face they’d stolen. If the face belongs to someone you’d met, revisiting that person will grant you rewards.

At the end of each road is an inn, where your chosen party of characters can rest up, eat monster remains, and level up their relationships with one another, and this is where things start to get all Tomodachi Life-like. The more your room characters together, the closer they will grow. Each room can only hold two characters, so this is the ideal game for when you want to, say, ‘ship Zelda with Luigi. With each level in the relationship, your characters unlock special abilities that are automatically used in battle, such as assistance and doing extra damage because of wanting to impress another character. It’s …very twee. And then, to top things off, each inn also has an arcade in which you can spend tickets that you’ve found. There are two games: a roulette wheel where you can win various prizes such as armour, and a game of rock-paper-scissors where you can win money. Neither are stacks of fun or involve any amount of skill.

In fact, there’s almost nothing in Miitopia that demands any level of skill beyond simply reading. The entire is game feels like a grindy mobile game that got lost on the way to the app store and landed up on the 3DS instead, or a game that got kicked out of the StreetPass collection for being too bloaty.

I honestly don’t know what to do with Miitopia. In one sense, it’s a fair amount of mindless fun. It’s the popcorn of the video game world. In fact, it’s the ideal game for someone who likes to game while doing something else at the same time, such as watch TV, or cook, or even read. Heck, I played it while cooking for a bit, and only had to pay occasional attention to start a battle or leave the inn once everyone had rested. In another sense, it’s barely a game, in the sense that you don’t even need to be interacting much with it to get anywhere. It’s not too difficult either, so there’s very little point in grinding through. And even if grinding were an issue, it’s so effortless that you can do it mindlessly. While there’s enjoyment to be had in the character interactions, even that gets stale quite quickly. There’s something to look forward to every time you unlock new character jobs, though, because some of those attacks are riotously funny. I imagine that there’s probably something I’m not getting about this game, but barring some great epiphany, I’m going to treat it like popcorn.

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