REVIEW: ‘Miitopia’ Is a Perfect First RPG (Switch)

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Miitopia - But Why Tho?

Miitopia is a remaster of the 2016/17 Nintendo 3DS game developed by Grezzo and published by Nintendo. In Miitopia, an evil Dark Lord is stealing people’s faces and trapping them in monsters. You and your party must travel the world, saving faces and stopping evil at every turn.

There are two geniuses of Miitopia. The first is that it’s an entire game based on Nintendo’s Miis. So every single character in the game, from yours to your party members, to the Dark Lord, to the random townsfolk you encounter, are Miis. And that means you can create every single one of these characters from scratch, or download them from the internet or swap them with friends. The second genius is that it is a very simple RPG with just enough mechanics to be both super accessible to new players to the genre while being entertaining for vets too.

Mii customization has come a long way since the Nintendo Wii, with seemingly so many options for facial features. Yet, it really hasn’t gone anywhere in a decade. The character selection in Miitopia is still needlessly gendered. Even your horse in the game needs a gender for some reason. And when you run out of your own ideas and pick from the most popular online, it’s basically all meme characters.

Nonetheless, being able to customize every single character in the entire game completely is a big deal. It means creating an entire world of your own will. If you want to team up with your best friends to fight your bullies, go for it. If you want to assemble your favorite Nintendo characters to beat up on your favorite memes, by all means. There are some really amazingly accurate versions of basically any character you can imagine out there, and it’s quite fun trying to make your own. Until it becomes overwhelming because there are just so many characters to give faces to. I also wish the game gave a bit more of a description of who each character is in the game and what role they play before making you select a Mii for them.

The gameplay itself straddles the line between too easy and just perfect for entry-level gamers. Despite being a turn-based RPG with a whole party system, you only control your own main character. The other party members automatically operate. You can set yourself to autopilot too if you like, but the only decisions you will be able to make are your own, plus the ability to put party members into a safe zone or revive them when they’re nearly fallen. It takes away a lot of potential decision-making and gameplay, but it also makes it a very streamlined experience for those whom a more complex system would be a turnoff or barrier.

For your own character, you have typical standard attacks and magic-based attacks. You also have the opportunity to select from different jobs and personalities for each Mii who joins your party, which dictates their starting stats and which special moves they will learn with time. The real, more important attribute and what makes Miitopia particularly strong, in my opinion, is the relationship levels between your party members. Your characters do not start with substantial amounts of health, and enemies can easily wipe you out in just two hits if you’re not careful. So this relationship aspect of the game is essential to nurture, almost more so than any of your individual stats.

Miitopia

The game is broken into small levels where you venture down a path, occasionally choosing a direction to go that may have tougher enemies or bigger rewards. So you go until you reach an inn, marking the end of the level and beginning of relationship-building time. Having Miis sleep together in the same room, going on outings together, and sometimes even just random events during levels will result in relationship growth. And with each relationship level between characters come new skills. These skills range from showing off for your friend and doing more damage to jumping in front of a friend who would die otherwise, to warning them to dodge, to joining in on their attack.

They’re all supremely helpful in doing more damage and healing, especially because some moves increase relationship mid-battle, and a relationship level-up results in full HP and MP.  Nurturing these stats is the key to success in Miitopia even more than the other two elements of the inn: buying weapon and armor upgrades from gold earned in battles and feeding Miis foods that increase their stats depending on how much they like that food or not.

Besides being a fairly unique mechanic, I particularly appreciate the relationship system because it is the ultimate lesson in balancing your team’s growth for new players to the RPG genre. The stats and upgrades matter, but their growth is relatively random depending on drops. The relationships are nearly all up to you to grow. Since you only control one of your four party members’ moves, it may be easy for new players to focus only on their own stats. But you can’t survive this game alone. You need a balanced party who all like each other a lot to survive the increasingly difficult battles.

Miitopia is a simple RPG with a few very un-modern character-creating mechanics. Whether you are charmed by Miis or not is certainly your own prerogative, but the gameplay itself is perfect for beginner RPG players with its focus on relationships between your party members. Longtime RPG players alike may find a good time in its relative simplicity.

Miitopia is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Miitopia
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Miitopia is a simple RPG with a few very unmodern character-creating mechanics. Whether you are charmed by Miis or not is certainly your own prerogative, but the gameplay itself is perfect for beginner RPG players with its focus on relationships between your party members. Longtime RPG players may find a good time in its relative simplicity.