Miitopia Review – Dystopical Mii

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GAME INFO

Miitopia

July 28th, 2017
Platform Nintendo 3DS
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Nintendo EPD

Remember the Mii avatars? When the Wii first launched they were amazing, a miniature caricature of yourself that you could insert into a variety of games – it’s a brilliant concept, one which Nintendo are yet to abandon, even in the Switch, their next generation of Nintendo systems. But at some point, the Miis stopped being simple avatars and started developing their own personalities, behaviors, and more. No, this isn’t a story about how a rogue Mii AI became sentient and started taking over the world, instead, Miis started playing their own games.

It all started with the StreetPass Plaza on the 3DS – console owners were lucky to find some pre-installed software on their new handhelds, games that allowed them to create their own Mii characters and play bite-sized games with them. Puzzle Swap and StreetPass Quest allowed players to take a fairly hands-off approach to “playing” the games – Puzzle Swap simply allowed you to collect simple puzzle pieces from strangers, while the more in-depth StreetPass Quest was a full-fledged RPG, with small-scale mechanics.

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Miitopia, for all intents and purposes, is the true sequel to StreetPass Quest, blended with a healthy dose of Miitomo. In StreetPass Quest, your ultimate goal was to rescue a royal family with the band of brave warriors you’ve StreetPassed, and in Miitopia, you’re tasked with saving the kingdom from a Dark Lord who has stolen all of the faces of people in the kingdom.

This is where Miitopia gets interesting – of course, Miis are characters you can create yourself, and while in a world full of Miis, well, you essentially can create every character. Most of the cast – villagers etc. – have already been assigned roles; characters you’ve StreetPassed in the past and those you’ve interacted with will appear in your world, automatically populating it with some semi-recognizable faces. The more important characters can be handpicked by you, too, so I found myself wandering the world with Sanji (One Piece), Bayonetta, and F-Zero’s Captain Falcon while attempting to thwart the evil plans of Dark Lord Snoop Dogg. This aspect of the game is utterly charming and compelling and brought me loads of smiles.

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But when I said the Mii characters started playing their own games, I meant it. As mentioned, Miitopia and StreetPass Quest are fairly hands-off experiences where you end up doing more “monitoring” of the game than actual “playing” – and Miitopia is certainly no different. You pick areas from an overworld map, slowly filling out the kingdoms, and once you’ve selected an area your Mii characters will start merrily skipping onward through the area. That’s it. You don’t move through these areas – the Miis will move themselves.

On the way through stages, your Miis may come across chests or different directions to take, and you can choose whether to open treasures or take different paths. The different paths have some point, as they sometimes lead to “secret” areas, and exploring every path is the only way to fully explore an area – meaning you may need to come back several times.

But there’s combat, too! In Miitopia we see some typical turn-based combat and, erm… It plays itself. That’s not to say the game has to play itself, you can play, but there’s no point. Miitopia’s battle menu gives you a big fat “Auto-Battle” option, right there in the middle – in fact, it shows you the auto-battle option before actually telling you how battles unfold, and I believe it must be intended this way, as your Mii characters usually optimise their attacks to do the most damage or hit multiple foes – they’re not dumb.

So, if exploration is mostly automated, and the battle is fully automated (outside of requiring you to press a single button at the beginning of each fight), where’s the game? Well, I said this was a lot like Miitomo, which was an app where you simply “enjoyed” the personality and antics of your Mii character. And yeah, that’s pretty much what Miitopia is too. While resting at inns (which happens after each stage) you can pick what food to give your party, which will increase stats, give them money for weapons and equipment, which will increase stats…

The only other thing you can really do with your party is to arrange their relationships – which is, also, where I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to find most of your fun in Miitopia. Your party Miis might argue, or fancy one another, or even get jealous. You can arrange who sleeps in rooms together or try to solve their petty squabbles… Yes, absolutely, there are some fantastically entertaining moments to be had out of Captain Falcon getting jealous of Bayonetta’s relationship with me, but after a few hours, the entertainment really starts to wear thin.

Review code provided by the publisher. You can buy the game via Amazon.

5.5

I like Miitopia, but I can’t really recommend it to anyone. Maybe people who still regularly play Miitomo (do people still do that?) but other than that… Just, don’t bother. It’s a game that plays itself, and you’re supposed to derive your entertainment from simply watching things happen. It’s a struggle to suggest this even to younger gamers - I can see what Nintendo wanted to do here, but Miitopia is honestly a flop.

Pros

  • Entertaining Mii interactions
  • Fun to share with friends

Cons

  • Essentially plays itself
  • Incredibly simple
  • Entertainment value wears thin after a few hours
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