Wii U ports are common sightings on Switch, gaining a second life after Nintendo’s previous console flopped, but 3DS games? That’s somewhat rarer. Released back in 2017, Miitopia is a rather unexpected pick for Switch, building upon Tomodachi Life to create a basic RPG.
Letting us customise most characters within – heroes, villains, kings, villagers, you name it - there’s an entertaining game here, but one best experienced in small doses.
A Personal Touch
Set within Miitopia, this world’s Miis lived in harmony until the Dark Lord appeared, stealing people’s faces and placing them onto creatures. Playing a Mii of our choice, the goal is to defeat this Dark Lord with a band of heroes, returning faces by defeating his new minions. While you can use existing Miis, Miitopia’s built-in suite offers better options than previous Nintendo consoles provided, like make-up and wigs, letting players get creative.
Travelling across Miitopia’s different realms via an overworld map, our protagonist quickly realises how woefully unprepared they are but fear not. After some divine intervention, you can choose a character class, though some aren’t available until later. Standard RPG classes like warriors and mages are present, but if you fancied something offbeat, chefs, flowers or vampires may suit. As you progress, you’ll also obtain equip new weapons or armour.
Once our journey begins, characters have pre-determined story roles, but players choose who represents them. If you aren’t feeling creative, Miitopia has pre-selected Miis, but outside skipping the odd NPC, not using your own honestly misses the point. In my playthrough, close friends were made into party members and a Dark Lord, while my Dungeons and Dragons group were guarding Greenhorne’s King. Using your own Miis adds a lot and Miitopia’s main appeal comes down to what you put into it, so mileage ultimately varies.
A Strange Adventure
While venturing to new areas, your team automatically follows a set path, sometimes choosing a split in the road to follow. Treasure chests can be found during exploration but there are random enemy encounters too, leading into turn-based battles with (usually) a team of four. Thanks to the Dark Lord’s face malarkey, every enemy looks comically ridiculous, between goblins with bright blue eyes to sentient slices of bread. Once the fighting begins, players only control the protagonist, leaving your crew to a thankfully competent AI.
Combat is straightforward, giving us a standard attack, special skill that uses magic points, a selection of snacks to restore HP/MP, or retreat. Unlike many RPGs, you don’t have endless items for fixing status ailments, but if an enemy inflicts an ailment upon you, placing that Mii in a “safe spot” for one turn heals them. Outside normal turns, you’ve got a limited quantity of “sprinkles” system to revive HP, MP, revive KO’d members and more. Though battles could benefit from more in-depth mechanics, I wouldn’t call it shallow either and as an accessible experience, this works well.
Upon emerging victorious, your team earn food, gold coins and EXP. Should you level up, that’ll increase stats like magic, attack, HP, MP, defence and speed. I won’t spoil why, but stats reset upon beginning a new story chapter and that happens several times, so there’s little reward for grinding. Consequentially, that also means you don’t need to grind but this structure gets inevitably repetitive, meaning Miitopia’s better played in smaller sessions.
An Inn On Every Corner
Once you’ve hit the path’s end, players reach an inn, of which there’s an extraordinarily large number across this world. Here, you can develop relationships between characters to earn new battle abilities by sharing rooms, witness event scenes or go on special outings, adding comedic shenanigans to a game filled with wholesome humour. You can also buy Miis specific items they’re thinking of – no open shop system, I’m afraid - feed them to improve stats, or even visit the arcade, potentially winning new items and extra gold coins.
Now, anyone who played the 3DS version may wonder if there’s new content, and thankfully there is. Alongside those expanded Mii options, we’ve got new events, additional monsters and you can now obtain a horse, who players can bond with at the inn’s stable. Small additions, granted, and not really enough to justify a second playthrough, but an improvement, nonetheless. Miitopia’s also boasting a significant visual upgrade, bringing in a sharp 1080p resolution when docked over the original’s 240p.
It’s important to remember that Miitopia’s an RPG aimed at newcomers, so veterans looking for new adventures might not get much from it. Though it contains basic combat and repetitive structuring, there’s an accessible gateway into the genre for younger players. With a light-hearted adventure, colourful presentation, and great humour, you need to put in the effort to realise Miitopia’s full potential, but if you’re prepared to do that, you’ll have a blast.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by the publisher