Miitopia is without a doubt one of the silliest games that Nintendo has ever produced, and considering that some of their games have featured picking bogeys, clapping in time to bouncing oranges and pineapples and more, that’s saying something.
This particular example of gaiety and nonsense stems from the previously released Tomodachi Life, which let you take your collection of Mii and bring them together to form bizarre relationships and stories. Miitopia, however, blends those relationships with a newfound sense of adventure and light RPG mechanics. It is, in a lot of ways, Tomodachi Life mixed with the StreetPass Quest game from the 3DS’ built in Mii Plaza.
You cast your Mii as a party of RPG adventurers, with the classic Warrior, Mage, Cleric and other classes to choose from. You can import Mii collected on your 3DS, those from Tomodachi Life, or create new ones. However, regardless of their origin, you can pick a new name, gender, character traits and so on. An excellent move toward inclusivity, and response to criticism of Tomodachi Life, you can mix and match gender and Mii as you see fit.
The game’s story quite cannily plays with what is most distinctive about a Mii, it’s face. A Dark Lord rises up and starts to steal the faces of the kingdom’s inhabitants. Your band of adventurers venture forth to try and find the faces of those who have lost them, defeat the creatures that now have them and return them to their rightful owner. It’s all played on in an amusing way, despite the inherent creepiness of a Mii without a face. Then again, you can quite easily create a Mii that might be better off without a face…
As you visit a new area on the overworld map, your party bouncily march along from left to right, occasionally ending up in randomised scraps with enemies or stumbling into a point of interest, such as finding an inn to stay the night. They’ll natter all the way through this, building up little relationships as they go, but you can also push them together or tear them apart a little. Staying at an inn, for example, you get to decide which party members stay in which rooms, letting them shack up for the night and bond.
The same is true in battles as they can lend each other support to boost attacks in the simplistic turn based RPG system. At the same time, you can simply let battles autoplay and simply kick back and watch the game and story unfold. Those can then be turned into short trailers, bringing together a few highlights and turning them into a short story.
Loaded up with the Mii for a few of Nintendo’s executives – sadly not available publicly – we got to see a few little trailers exemplifying this mode. Reggie and Eiji Aonuma’s flourishing romance, their drift apart and eventually reuniting in battle. Or there was a party of four adventurers, with a Mii created of yours truly turned into the party’s cat and comic character, taking on a dark lord. And so on.
What Miitopia really brings to the fore is that there’s plenty of life in the Mii yet, and that the way it’s being de-emphasised in the Nintendo Switch is actually a crying shame. If anything, I feel that Nintendo could and should be pushing them further to match and exceed the Xbox Avatars system. That’s especially true when you realise that a number of games over the last few years have tied amiibo to unlocking new Mii costumes. That holds true for Miitopia, with amiibo support to add cosmetics to your intrepid adventurers.
With a truly barmy and lighthearted nature married to a light and universally accessible RPG, Miitopia is a curious game, but one that tickles my sense of humour and can’t but help but appeal. More of this kind of thing please, Nintendo.