I’m not the biggest fan of Nintendo’s design philosophy (friend codes and the Switch’s messy way of connecting online both suck for example) but one thing the company has got right are Miis. Compared to other digital avatars, I am impressed by how charming and customizable they are. Believe it or not, the Mii Maker has more depth than some RPGs when it comes to character creation. Ironic then that Miitopia happens to be a role playing game populated with the big-headed folks who made their debut back when the Wii was all the rage. Ah, memories. It feels like only yesterday that my granddad was thrashing everyone on Wii Sports bowling.
The kingdom of Miitopia is in trouble! A wicked spectre, dubbed The Dark Lord, is nabbing everyone’s faces and transplanting them on monsters. In order to save the day, players are tasked with assembling a party of Miis and leading them on a quest for justice. Standard fantasy fare perhaps, but it feels fresh given that the entire cast comprise of adorable Miis. I imagine most people will form a band of heroes made up of family/acquaintances, but since I have no friends my roster contained a rich smattering of celebrities. Watch out Dark Lord! If you don’t cease your theft of facial features a group whose ranks include Batman, Bayonetta, Homer Simpson and Donald Trump will punish you.
When creating Miis players need to select the character’s personality and class. Personality will determine how the adventurer behaves in certain situations. A kind Mii for example will share their healing items with a hurt buddy, whilst an airhead sometimes forgets whom they should be targeting in combat. Classes include DnD staples such as warrior and cleric, along with some less conventional jobs. Those wishing to construct a more unique party could recruit a healer who dresses like a flower or an imp, who encourages allies to attack by stabbing their pals in the posterior. Anime fans that have a fetish for cat girls will be pleased to learn that there is even a feline looking DPS class.
My rating for Miitopia is four stars. It’s funny and casual, so I would recommend it to RPG newbies. The game’s lack of interactivity may however put off hardcore gamers, who like to micromanage strategy. Miitopia’s turn based combat only permits players to directly control one character. The protagonist’s companions act however the AI decrees. You can however influence the flow of battle by buffing the team with sprinkles and transferring injured fighters to a safe spot, where they can recuperate away from danger. Just like combat, exploration is rather simplistic. Players pick where the party should travel and then watch the team traipse through levels that are more linear than a FF 13 dungeon.
Despite the repetitive gameplay and dearth of complexity I had a good time playing through Miitopia’s 30-hour story. The humorous skits kept me invested, as did the character progression. Miis can increase their strength by purchasing new gear, consuming snacks and improving their relationship with others, which unlocks new abilities. One thing that I disliked about the game though was how it prompted me to take a break every fifteen minutes or so. Damn it Nintendo, once again your design philosophy drives me up the wall. I am a grown man who can make my own decisions. Who are you to scold me for partaking in lengthy gaming marathons? It’s not like I can play for many hours anyway, as the 3DS battery life is crap. Evidently those dual screens consume a lot of juice.