After it's less than favourable release on the Nintendo 3DS, the Tomodachi Life-esque RPG has arrived on Nintendo Switch, much to the confusion of fans. In Miitopia, the player uses various Mii characters to embark on an adventure to take down the Dark Lord and rescue the faces of innocent villagers. Travel across the land of Miitopia and save humanity whilst having a goofy laugh along the way.
Miitopia plays out like a standard turn-based RPG where you'll battle randomly encountered enemies with a party of four. These party members are part of a group you'll form very early into the game but in combat, you'll only control the primary character (being yourself) whilst the others do their own thing. This can somewhat dampen the experience for long-time RPG fans but for newcomers to the genre, it may come as a blessing.
While combat is very straightforward and streamlined, there is some strategy to keep in mind. The Safe Spot is a handy feature where you can pull a party member out of combat for a turn to heal a portion of HP/MP and be cured of status effects. You also have Sprinkles that act like potions where you can heal/revive party members by individual points and these refill every time you reach an inn (which is at the end of each node's runthrough).
Unlike the brutally difficult Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster, Miitopia is quite forgiving as far as RPGs go. Party members that fall in battle will still receive experience points once all is said and done and you'll rarely need to fight multiple battles before reaching the next inn to heal.
Creating Miis and having them interact in a nonsensical fantasy RPG is half the fun of Miitopia. This game was a seemingly much better fit on the Nintendo 3DS due to having StreetPass and the like. This new Nintendo Switch version allows you to choose Miis you have already created on your Nintendo Switch (which not many people tend to do), use some of your friends' Miis online, create your own when the time calls for it or if you're really stuck, you can choose from an assortment of popular creations online. I tended to go with designing family members but you can have fun with this as I had made The Great Sage Snoop Dogg a recurring character.
In terms of world design, there's not much here. As you progress through the game, you'll travel across an overworld map ala Super Mario Bros. 3. It's lacklustre on face value but it does help to keep the gameplay progression quick and snappy.
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Upon entering a new node, you'll continue on a fairly linear path where you'll randomly encounter enemies. Every now and then, you'll come across a fork in the road and you must choose which direction you want to proceed in; sometimes it'll advise that one road has tougher enemies than the other or there may be a chest down one side, so it's a competent, albeit simple, method of creating some form of excitement.
Story / Personality
The plot is bareboned, there's no way to sugar-coat that. However when we take a step back and look at it from a broader perspective, this is done to its benefit. Miitopia is designed to be utterly nonsensical with its short and humorous moments along the way, despite how repetitive these moments become after a few hours. The crux of the plot is evil is bad and doing bad things; you are good and therefore should stop bad from doing said bad things. While there's not much more to it than that, being able to create your own custom Miis to embody the game's characters allows for personal touches where you can laugh at your cautious mage (who happens to be your crush) cast a fire spell at your evil landlord. The minimalist plot acts as a blank canvas for that and if you can acknowledge this going in, you'll be sure to have fun with it.
Graphics / Art Direction
For a Nintendo 3DS game being locked on a 240p resolution screen, Grezzo has done an impressive job of bringing Miitopia to Nintendo's current HD console. Playing this on a 50" TV doesn't look bad at all, rather its textures and 3D models look impressive. Would I have wanted Grezzo to be working on something like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask 3D remakes or Ever Oasis on Switch? Absolutely! But their work on Miitopia cements just how talented they are.
Music / Sound Design
The game's soundtrack is happy and jovial, well fitting of that RPG-Lite approach. It won't be winning any awards in music production but it fits the bill well enough. The inaudible mumblings of the Miis also have a quirkiness to them that will make you laugh and smile throughout the adventure. They never become annoying as there's no one particular sound they make that gets overused (e.g. Crazy Frog or the Minions from Despicable Me).
Final Score: 66%
Come for the RPG, stay for the Miis; that's the foundation that Miitopia has laid out for itself. Even after playing through this game once more on Switch, it's still quite baffling why this game received the port to Nintendo's modern system over some other titles that could have used the love and attention. However, its quirkiness and charm cannot be overstated as this game will keep you smiling from ear-to-ear for most of its 20 hour runtime, despite becoming a little repetitive after a while.
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