There are two ways you can look at Miitopia. The first is that it’s a very light-hearted reason to push out Nintendo’s sub-brand of the Mii characters. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, rather depends on humor and adorableness to drive it. The second is that it’s a game geared towards a younger crowd that hasn’t yet played a true RPG experience. It’s mostly on autopilot with a chance here and there to customize and take control of your characters. For me, I firmly believe it’s the latter.
Let’s get this Mii-party started.
You get to create your Mii at the beginning of Miitopia to start adventuring into the wild lands to go against a being called the ‘Dark Lord’, who is ravaging everything. Please note, the Dark Lord isn’t the same as THE Dark Lord from Harry Potter, despite the magic and medieval style that drives Miitopia. On a more serious note, please play this story out until the end for a nice little surprise. Not saying what it is, but don’t discount the story at all.
Anyway, your Mii, and your Mii misfits, band together to track down evil and bring it to an end. You do this by going on a series of linear paths to fight baddies and bosses using equipment you pick up, buy or upgrade along the way. The adventure is truly that simplistic. At the end of each path, you run into an Inn, which allows you to recover (and other things, which we will get into in a bit) and push forward to the next part of the adventure.
To elaborate on Miitopia’s style of play let me reiterate that I truly believe this was built for first-time RPGers. Miitopia’s adventuring system is mostly set to autopilot. When you’re adventuring down paths you are not in control of the speed/pace. You just watch as your Mii group walks through dangerous paths. You do get to choose which path to take when there is a fork in the road, but movement doesn’t really go beyond that aspect of the game.
The game also thrives on turn-based elements, which allow for random monster encounters. The encounters turn to a fight screen and the fighting is on! Now, If you wanted to go even more autopilot, you can actually set the fighting to autoplay, which allows the CPU to make all the decisions for you while you sit back and watch. While I don’t like that it autoplays, which is again by choice, I have to give the CPU props for making good decisions while on auto, as well as give a nod to the game for helping out young players. Generally, autoplay for anything equals out to questionable decision-making, but that is not the case with Miitopia.
As for the gameplay itself, while the core of Miitopia is strictly built on the old 80s/90s turn-based idea of RPG-ing, the elements that make it interesting are lying elsewhere in strange categories you wouldn’t typically find in a game like this. For example, in Miitopia you basically get to vote for what type of companion your group might be assigned for your adventures. You gain companions as you progress in the game, kind of in old school style RPG tradition, which presents some interesting options. It should be noted that each time you launch the game on the DS that the game will ask you a couple of questions about what type of character you would want to adventure with in your group (you get to choose from a bevy of characters onscreen). The game will allow said character to find its way to you during your adventure, thus adding said character to your adventuring party. For example, I had Sonic the Hedgehog and Naruto in my party, two personalities I chose after launching the game and answering its questions. Someone had made those characters and the game made them available for adventuring. It was a neat little sprinkle of personality on the game to make it unique, though one selection of characters I did choose Rick from Rick and Morty. Rick has disappointingly not shown up yet along my adventure. I’m still waiting.
Anyway, If that wasn’t enough, the Inn’s also bring their own uniqueness to the table (those things I said we’d talk about a bit later — well, later is here). While the scope of the Inn is mainly for sleeping and healing, you get some additional goodies to make them, as well as the game, more interesting. The first is that you can put two Mii characters together and make them friends (or more — nothing mature). That friendship bond from Inn to Inn will equal out to battle strategy within the game. Two friends can pair together to help fight monsters during fight scenes, which equals out to special moves, both offensive and defensive, during battles. You also get witty dialogue with the relationship.
Other Inn goodies include allowing your hungry Mii characters to eat food. When you take down enemies you generally acquire food items. Some Mii adventurers enjoy certain foods, while others detest them. The food eating equals out to better abilities in skill categories that are preset for you. For example, your HP might go up +1 or your Attack might go up +1 with the right food given to the right Mii. The better the food, the better the stats, so beware of unhappy Mii characters with yucky food.
Now, if that didn’t tickle your fancy with the Inns, the places also offer a chance for characters to purchase equipment and weapons. You give Mii characters a certain amount of money when they ask for it and they go attempt to purchase what they are looking for in upgrades (they will tell you if they’re looking for weapons, clothes or food). Most of the time they find what they want, while other times they come back with small amounts of food instead because the items they were looking for were currently unavailable. If the latter happens, then they return the extra money back to you. It’s quite cute.
Lastly, the Inns also offer up a gambling chance to make money to afford the above things. Early on you start out with a spinning wheel of chance and Rock, Paper, Scissors. The wheel will give you a chance to win items or tickets (these allow you to play both games) to win. The latter allows for you to win chunks of money in double or nothing deals. Both are great ways to try to get ahead in the game and additional fun to the mix.
Shifting gears towards actual monsters and presentation, the library of monsters are adorable in the game. From simple blobs to great giant bosses, there are plenty of beautiful designs that carry the unique Mii style to them when it comes to the baddies. The bosses are generally tougher, though not by much, than the lower characters. The bosses also come with creepy faces which you acquire after beating them and return to Mii NPCs in towns. A faceless Mii is quite creepy. I believe this is the crux of the game.
On the presentation side of things the entire world consists of Mii-based elements. Overly cute, bright-eyed beings that match the limited landscape created for them. Even the menu system screams ‘Mii style!’ as you get some very plain textures, colors, lighting, shading and pretty much everything you would expect out of a Mii world. The big PLUS for this game on the presentation side of the tracks is funny dialogue, though randomly placed sometimes during adventuring. Whatever writer wrote this game they need a raise. It’s a huge part of the presentation and one of the brighter spots of it.
Overall, I really did enjoy Miitopia more than I thought I would. It has some good entertaining value to it, but it’s definitely, at least in my opinion, geared towards a younger crowd. Is that a bad thing? Nope, especially if your’e picking up a Nintendo 2DS XL for a first-time gamer. It might be a good way to start their budding video game careers.