Release date: May 21, 2021
Developer: Nintendo / Grezzo
Miitopia is an adventure where you can insert yourself, your friends, your family, your boss, your favorite comedian…. really anyone into the game and adventure alongside them. Different roles are needed throughout the journey – kings, townsfolk, guards, terribly evil overlords. You get the gist. There are many faces that you’ll need to create, or if you want to you can stick to the default ones provided, but who wants to do that in a game where some of the best fun is had in beating up an iteration of your high school bully and making the hyper child in the starting town into your own little brother because it’s just the perfect fit for him? And so what if you make the king into the literal Henry the VIII? Plenty of people do that, I’m sure! Don’t let anything stop you. Insert your friends, insert your foes, and just have fun with it. This games shines most when you let go and embrace the silliness of it all.
Your adventurer self begins in a green grassy field that seems happy and fun, of course, until the Dark Lord shows up to take everyone’s faces and ruin the peaceful countryside as Dark Lords tend to do. Blessed by a shining light, you can take on a job for battle and begin slaying monsters to take back the stolen faces of the people of the world. Glory comes to those who save others, and you’ll be rolling in gold and items as long as you keep rescuing people and taking on tasks throughout the various kingdoms of Miitopia. As you rack up more and more people saved, your abilities will expand, you’ll meet more party members, and you’ll unlock more jobs to take on for a fresh spin on battles with new abilities and magic.
Progression is done by exploring new zones, each of which is littered with enemies. Some have various paths that can unlock extra zones or act as shortcuts. If you uncover every path in an area, a flag will pop up on the zone’s spot on the world map, showing that it has been completed. Uncovering paths can be very helpful overall, not just for shortcuts, but for unlocking special treasure areas. Treasure chests can be found throughout each stage, with a chance at gear, items, or coins to be pilfered by the party, or in some cases an enemy will pop out and your party will have to fight, but the special large chest stages have a large amount of money, or a great gear upgrade inside them, so its always worth going off the beaten path to explore. Eventually your party will get access to a horse, which later on you can ride for quicker exploration. The horse can also be bonded with and customized – I named mine after my dad’s real life horse Tony. I almost gave him a horn. Almost, but he’d bite me in real life if he ever found out.
Battles themselves aren’t super complex. Your party members will choose what to do on their own, and you can opt in to auto battle yourself if you feel so inclined, or of course manually select your attacks and abilities each turn. While there is a fast forward button, this can also be held down while flipping through various commands to speed things up, and I tended to never let it go once I realized that it also works for events and exploring, too. After each fight, as is standard for most RPGs, experience points, money, and event items can be obtained when enemies fall in battle. In a fight, you also get to use curative items for Health and Magic Points, and even a revival or two. A thing to note, though, is that these should be used wisely since they are depleted over the time it takes to complete a course, but will refill with each subsequent outing. Characters can also take certain items with them as restoratives, and they can opt to use them in a fight in order to restore HP or MP, effectively allowing them to save themselves rather than sapping the party’s reserves.
Different events can happen between characters in battle as well, allowing your Miis to assist and sometimes hinder one another. You can help a tripped comrade get off the ground, allowing them to act again, or even cheer them on to give an attack boost. Once their relationships with one another progress, even more events can be unlocked, allowing for dual attacks and more. Alongside class abilities, these combos can be devastating to enemy parties, so allowing your Miis to mingle and get to know each other is well worth it, and we will go over that more in depth in just a bit.
At the end of each exploration stage, an inn is found by the party. Each character’s HP and MP are restored, the party’s sprinkle items are refilled, and you can do a variety of social activities. These activities are crucial in developing the relationships and attributes for your characters. Food items can be consumed by each Mii, with each item increasing battle stats like HP, attack, speed, and more. Using these items to round out and enhance stats can not only increase your destructive capability, but also enhance a character’s overall survivability as well. Stats like defense and speed should not be ignored in favor of more offensive ones, so raising everything together can be a good way to make your party tougher and able to withstand more.
Social events and outings can also be triggered from the Inn. As characters room together in pairs, their relationship status can grow, and new perks are unlocked regularly, like the cheer ability or being able to execute a follow-up attack. How you raise these relationships is completely up to you, and mini events that happen at the Inn when checking on your party can increase the relationships even more quickly. Having a solid relationship with a few Miis can be great, and those strong bonds will certainly be a boon in battle, but try not to ignore your team mates, because fights can break out and you’ll want to mend them. That being said, another way to bring your characters closer together: Outings. These can be taken by two Mii’s using an Outing Ticket, which you will amass over story progression. You can send the Mii’s out on a small vacation, kind of like a date together, boosting their relationship and even helping them bond again if they get mad at each other!
Shopping is also done at the Inn. At each stop, you can check in on your Miis and see if anyone is in the mood to buy anything. Characters will seek upgrades to their weapons and their outfits, getting a marginal stat boost with each acquisition. Additionally, Game Tickets can be used on a roulette game where you can save your coins and win equipment items, party candy, EXP, or Fancy Outing Tickets – these are premium items usually that can be hard to attain, but if RNG is in your favor, snagging them will help with getting gear and raising those bonds faster. There’s also a game that can be played for money, which you can increase to double or nothing, but I found that my chances on roulette were better worth the sacrifice of a ticket than losing all those coins with a single wrong move.
As a port of a 3DS game, many players may be turned off by the prospect of re-buying it, and that’s completely valid. New customization features and even a horse are available in the Switch version, allowing you to change up your party more than before. With makeup and wigs, your character’s faces can look more like the person you’re basing them on, or completely off-the-wall. The Mii creation tools have been used in all sorts of creative and zany ways, but the addition of these tools can really turn things up a notch. More realistic hair textures, for example, can help bring out the features of your favorite family member or celebrity-based Miis, and you can even customize the colors of your party’s horse or make it into a unicorn if you’re so inclined. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and the internet, because you can also borrow from popular designs used online.
As for the new scenes: at pivotal story progression points your party will discuss and recap current events together like the addition of new party members or the defeat of strong boss monsters. This helped me a lot in keeping track of what to do next as far as progressing and making it feel like my party was able to grow together and bond like in a real adventure. Even though the dialogue always remains silly and never takes itself seriously, the touch that it adds to the feel of the game is absolutely a good one and I’m always left smiling after events. Plus building up relationship levels always feels great!
As a first-time Miitopia player, I had a really great time seeing my party of real-life friends and family slay monsters and take on huge bosses. While the difficulty level wasn’t tough at all, it was a nice escape from harder games and I found myself really enjoying the auto battle feature and quickly clearing content. This isn’t a game where you have to plan out your party in advance or make sure to change up your gear to have the best stats and abilities. This is a relaxing story, and one where you can kick back and take your time. The fights aren’t super hard, the bosses will make you pay attention and turn off auto battle from time to time, and the events are purely for fun. The basic story is easy to follow, and the real joy here is being able to insert your pick of people into a game world and just have fun with it.
Miitopia never takes itself too seriously. The humor is a constant focus, and the relationships between your party members at the Inn and in fights are endearing and hilarious at the same time. This is a great pick if you’re trying to introduce someone to a basic form of RPG, or even as something to play before winding down for the day. If you missed out on this game before, I’d definitely pick it up on the Switch, but for those that completed it on 3DS, sure, you may find that the extra content doesn’t add too much to the mix – but you do have to admit, that horse is pretty sweet.
Review copy provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.