Miitopia is a bit of a weird game to describe. If I told you the story revolves around an evil being stealing the faces off of people and putting them on to monsters, you’d think I was describing a horror game, but I’m not. As terrifying as the premise sounds, this is actually a light-hearted RPG featuring custom created Miis, which are avatars for Nintendo systems. Your Mii is tasked with stopping the Dark Lord from stealing people’s faces and plunging the world into darkness.
The story itself is simple; much like the rest of the game the fun comes in with the fact that you can customise characters using the Mii creator system, so you could make the Dark Lord look like a grumpy old man (like I did) or you can make it so that it resembles one of your friends. The premise of making characters resemble people you know and setting out on adventures with them is quite entertaining at first. Your main party will often interact with each other in wacky and hilarious ways and I really enjoyed them, but after a while it does wear thin, and it’s singular quirky tone did little to keep me engaged. I understand that the story was meant to be lightweight, but I just felt that with a setup of an evil face-stealing baddie, Miitopia could’ve done a few more interesting things.
Calling this game a RPG is a bit of a stretch. Sure, it resembles other games in the genre but it takes a very hands-off approach to most of its mechanics. When it comes to exploration, you select nodes on a map to enter either a town or a dungeon. Towns aren’t that big and usually just consist of a few NPCs to talk to. Dungeons on the other hand, have you walking from one side to the other automatically, with random battles and events sprinkled between. At the end of it is an Inn where you rest up and spend money on items and gear, though you can’t choose what to buy exactly as characters in your party will suggest what they want and you can choose to buy it or not. You can have your characters eat food you found along the way to increase their stats too. It’s all very RPG-lite, and it suits the game’s overall tone and design but like the story, I still kind of wish there was just a little bit more.
Combat is your usual turn-based affair, but this time around you can only issue commands to the main character. When it comes to the rest of the party, their behaviour is governed by a few things, namely their job, personality trait and the relationship they have with other characters. Each character can be assigned a job such as a Knight, Mage or Scientist. Jobs not only affect your stats but also which abilities you learn as well. Personality traits on the other hand, such as kind, airheaded and cool, each have their own quirks associated to it which activate randomly during encounters. For instance, a kind personality will protect other team members while an air-headed one will forget which enemy they were targeting and attack at random, but with increased strength. It’s an interesting concept, but there’s no strategy to it and with you being unable to control other characters as well, it all just feels way too automatic. The relationship system on the other other hand does have a bit more going for it.
As the game progresses, characters develop relationships with each other. As the relationship level increases, they gain access to new team skills. These range from simple team attacks to warning them about incoming danger, allowing them to get out of harm’s way. Levels are increased when certain skills are activated but mostly through having 2 characters sleep in the same room at the Inn. As the relationship grows, you’ll sometimes be treated to entertaining skits inside the room, which gives this system a bit of life and personality too. If you’ve played Tomodachi Life then you’ll have an idea of the antics these Miis will get up to and it never failed to make me smile.
While my feelings towards the gameplay were already lukewarm, the biggest issue I had was the fact that when you enter a new area, all your Mii companions get kidnapped and you start back at level 1. I remember playing a game called Unchained Blades by FuRyu a couple of years ago that did something similar in terms of player levels, but unlike that game, Miitopia doesn’t have a deep progression system so the level reset didn’t really sting that much. Coupled with the fact that Miitopia itself just wasn’t that engaging though? It completely crushed my motivation to continue every time it happened (and it happens more than once). At least new jobs unlock each time for you to try out.
Miitopia is an entertaining game for a while. I had fun playing it in very short bursts and I could actually see this game working well on mobile phones. Unfortunately there’s just not enough meat on the bone and its tricks and antics only last so long. The game does look and sound incredible though, but it hardly makes up for the lack of substance. You might enjoy this if you’re looking for something light-hearted to play on a short bus ride, otherwise, the system has much better and much more substantial RPGs to offer.
Last Updated: July 27, 2017