Miitopia on Switch
The Nintendo Switch has faced a bit of a first-party software drought throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Animal Crossing filled the space last year and now a release schedule for 2021 is starting to come together. And that brings us to Miitopia.
This cute Mii RPG is not anywhere near the hundred-hour (or more) stopgap that Animal Crossing was. But Miitopia is a legitimate sleeper hit with a surprising amount of content for a game that doesn’t carry the typical $60 price tag.
To begin, the Mii creator in Miitopia is arguably the best incarnation of the Nintendo avatar builder the world has ever seen. Thanks to the ability to layer makeup, you can create just about any character, real-world person, or meme that comes to mind.
However, If you’re not the creative type, then you can still download Miis that other players have created. But in classic Nintendo style, these Miis can only be accessed by entering an arbitrary sequence of numbers and letters. Although you can easily find codes by scouring the Miitopia subreddit, a simple in-game text search option would have been preferable to this outdated system.
You could spend countless hours in the Mii creator just making characters for your adventure, but then you’d still have tons of gameplay still left over to enjoy. Miitopia is undeniably a very basic and paired-down RPG, but Nintendo still managed to pack in a full-length game at around 30 to 40 hours on the main story alone.
Additionally, you get to assign a personality to each character you add to your party like Laid-back which can weaken magic attacks but conserve MP. Or there’s the Stubborn personality which can cause Miis to not be happy with the results of their first attack and immediately do a follow-up. There are a number of pros and cons to each personality so it’s a fun system to experiment with just to see what happens in battle.
What’s more, you start out with a list of six jobs that quickly grows into 12 (plus a couple of secret jobs) as you unlock more. You can choose from typical RPG jobs like Warrior and Mage or the less common Flower and Cat. Each job determines what type of weapons and armor your Miis will be able to equip as well as what attacks and skills they’ll be able to learn.
Overall, the combination of Personalities and Jobs lets the player have a degree of freedom that other linear RPGs don’t typically give to the player.
The main story in Miitopia has you travel through nine distinctive regions with a team of four Miis (one of which is your main character) and new for the Switch version, a fully customizable horse. Your mission is to defeat the Dark Lord and retrieve the faces he stole.
Each region you explore has a set map with multiple levels that each finish at an Inn which allows your team to fully heal and gain some Relationship EXP. Some of the levels feature branching paths, but unfortunately, many of these different options typically end up leading to the same Inn at the end of a level. The biggest difference between paths in any given level is usually just the presence of treasure or enemies.
If you’re a completionist and you want to clear every path in every level, the game marks fully cleared levels with a flag and you can even see a preview of the paths not yet taken before entering a level and while. But again, there’s not much of an incentive to go out of your way to fully clear every level. You’ll get more EXP and Gold along the way, but you won’t be under-leveled or too poor to afford new weapons and armor.
Speaking of which, obtaining new items for your Miis doesn’t feel rewarding in the same way that it does for other RPGs. Whether it’s a brand new weapon or piece of armor you find in the store that you just can’t quite equip or afford yet, it feels good to finally slap that shiny new equip on your character.
Miitopia, on the other hand, essentially gives you an opportunity to pick up new weapons or armor at the end of each level. While resting at an Inn, you can give Gold to one of the Miis in your party if they have a little thought bubble above their head with the silhouette of a weapon or armor inside of it. But unlike almost every other RPG in history, there is no shop menu that comes up.
The Mii just lets you know what they want to buy and then they run to the shop and pick it up. Sometimes they’ll change their mind and pick up a Banana or MP Candy and return the difference in price back to your total Gold. It’s a funny gag the first time or two that it happens, but it gets old quickly.
Fortunately, the little activities you can perform from an Inn aren’t all as bad as shopping. There are some fun little games you can play by spending Game Tickets. These are obtained as gifts from NPCs or they can be found in chests throughout levels. There are two simple mini-games you can choose to spend your tickets on: Rock, Paper, Scissors and Roulette.
In the RPS game, you can play against the computer to earn Gold and by playing the Roulette game, you can win consumable items, equipable items, EXP, Jolly Jaunt Tickets, or Outing Tickets. That last one on the list is one of the additions to the Switch version of Miitopia.
These Outing Tickets let you send two of your Miis out on a short adventure to a number of mundane locations such as a Cafe, Library, Cinema, or the Fishing Spot among many others. This little trip treats the player to a typically humorous scene with your Miis while also granting some Relationship EXP. Outings are also a useful tool to help two Miis make up if they’re angry at each other.
Unlike the stale shopping gag, the funny interactions between party members are always enjoyable to watch. With 13 different Outings and multiple scenarios at each one, these short scenes are always an entertaining break in the action.
On top of that, the Relationship EXP you earn makes Outings one of the most amusing and useful features in Miitopia for Switch. That’s because having a high Relationship level with your party members will give you incredible advantages in battle like damage boosts, dodging, and even the ability to avenge a fallen friend with a powerful attack.
Although the Relationship system adds a bit of depth to fights, it’s still not enough to make the turn-based battle system feel like more than a formality. Especially when you consider how easy most of the battles are. And the biggest culprit contributing to the lack of difficulty are the Sprinkles containers.
In particular, the Hyper Sprinkles make tough battles far too easy. Hyper Sprinkles send Miis into an uncontrollable frenzy and their attacks are all doubled. The Miis can only perform regular attacks, but it isn’t difficult to stack your party with a bunch of high-attack Miis.
The HP, MP are also pretty overpowered in their own right. They don’t cost anything, you get more of them just by simply playing through the game, they can be used at any time in the middle of a battle as long as an enemy isn’t in the middle of an attack. But what makes them so powerful is that they all completely refill every time you enter an Inn.
That means every time you start a new level, you’ll be entering it with more than enough healing and attack-boosting power to wipe the floor with any enemy you encounter. On the other hand, the Shield and Life Sprinkles are less overpowered.
Shield protects a Mii from a single attack and Life revives a single Mii. They’re certainly more balanced than the other Sprinkles simply because their limited number of uses per level doesn’t let you abuse them.
Additionally, the introduction of the Horse in the Switch version of Miitopia adds a little bit of strategy to otherwise boring battles. It certainly makes battles much easier, but not to the same degree that the Hyper Sprinkles do. There are a handful of strong attacks you can learn by raising your Relationship level with the Horse, including the ridiculously powerful Horse Whispering attacks which have a different animation for each different job. And to balance out this overpowered attack, it completely drains your MP.
Overall, Miitopia is a decent game with clear flaws, but it’s not a bad game by any means. From the outside, it may just look like yet another Mii game that is trying to cash in on the success of the Wii generation. But buried within that exterior that’s reminiscent of a bygone era is a fun little romp of an RPG.
You’re not going to see Miitopia listed as a game of the year contender anywhere, but it’s a decent game for a console that has not seen many first-party releases over the last year. It’s absolutely worth picking up if you’re just looking for a silly game that can last you a while.
- Outings are useful and hilarious.
- The Horse adds more strategy to an otherwise bland battle system.
- Relationship system, Jobs, Personalities add depth.
- Best Mii creator ever released.
- Mindlessly easy.
- Shallow battle system.
- Some jokes lose their luster thanks to repetition.
May 21, 2021
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