Miitopia is one of those surprising games that I never really expected to like. I originally watched a partial playthrough of the original 3DS version on Youtube as part of Peanut Butter Gamer’s old PB&Jeff series. Seeing as I never really liked the Mii characters that Nintendo had been pushing since the Wii days, I was initially skeptical. But it wasn’t long before I had fallen in love with this silly RPG’s charms. So when the game was remastered for the Switch, I jumped at the chance to download the demo and try it for myself.
Miitopia is a simple concept. And that’s kind of what makes it brilliant. Some generic Dark Lord is stealing everyone’s faces and putting them on monsters. And it’s up to your Mii and assembled companions to get them back. You can literally pick a face for every character in the game, including the Dark Lord himself. And with the added ability to make more advanced Mii faces, there is really no limit to what people can create.
Just think about it. Nintendo creates a game where they get to put little to no effort into creating compelling characters. We, as the players, are allowed to pick whatever face we choose for every character, whether it be the faces of friends, family, fictional characters, or practically anyone else, for that matter, which has the added benefit of making it incredibly easy to become attached to our teammates pretty much immediately. (It’s similar to the brilliance of Mario Maker. We pay Nintendo big bucks to do all the work. Nintendo, you’re a genius!)
By the end of the demo, my own team consisted not only of myself, but Crispin Whytehead from Psychonauts (I’d be willing to bet that no one else has made a Mii for this obscure character), Undyne from Undertale, and Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. You choose character traits and jobs for them, and after trekking along a new path, fighting enemies and opening treasure chests along the way, we get more options to bond with our characters at the next inn.
That’s probably my favorite part of Miitopia. The relationships you can form with your characters are what really set this game apart for me. Your characters’ friendships can grow stronger the more you help each other, share a room, go on outings together, etc. And the stronger their bond, the more things they’ll do for each other. This can include showing off in battle to perform stronger attacks, warning someone that an attack is coming, or getting pretty dang ticked off when a team member falls in battle.
This game is just so quirky and adorable, and I already love it. And the Switch version adds new features that the 3DS version lacked. As mentioned earlier, there is greater customization for your Miis, which includes wigs and makeup. I haven’t made any advanced Miis yet, but from what I can tell, it seems the makeup option serves as a very powerful tool to upgrade rather basic Miis into something really magnificent. Both Undyne and Midna were fancier Miis created by other people (you can find access keys online), and they look amazing. You also get a horse to add to your team, which is really the last thing the demo let me do. And outings are a new feature where two characters can go somewhere like a café or movie theater and just hang out in a short scene.
I feel like a lot of this game has been watching my characters interact without much input on my part, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s just too adorable. Watching them chat in their room or help each other in battle (you only control your own character, and even then, there are certain things that are beyond your control), or feeding them and seeing how they react to new foods is a lot more entertaining than it has any right to be.
The demo is quite generous and can take a couple hours to complete. And I had a thoroughly good time with it, so much so, in fact, that I might seriously consider buying the full game. On the surface, this game really looked like something I wouldn’t enjoy, but I can’t deny that it’s wormed its way into my heart with its goofy charms. My only question is: will the game’s low difficulty level (based on the demo and what I read online) and simple concept hold up over 30+ hours of gameplay? To be honest, I’m rather doubtful, but at the same time, I’ve already bonded way too much with my Miis to give up now!
Dear readers, what are your thoughts on Miitopia and who were your team members? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on February 1, 2022.