There’s no idea more satisfying than adventuring with your friends. Exploring, discovering new places, and overcoming challenges you never thought possible is a fantasy all have shared at one point in their lives. For decades, gaming has allowed you to build a party and thwart a dark force in an epic tale of betrayal. On the NES, it was easier to pretend it was really your friends, but by the time of Playstation? It didn’t matter what you named Barret, he was still Barret. Miitopia allows you to truly put your friend’s faces, and personalities, into your epic clash against darkness.
Miitopia was a land of peace until the Dark Lord unlocked magic that allowed him to steal faces. Every citizen’s eyes now cry out from a monster that their soul empowers. It is up to you, a lone hero who stumbles across a magic heirloom, and your friends to save face and destroy the Dark Lord’s curse! The story is simplistic and ends exactly how you’d expect, but you can swap out every single player from the main hero to the most obscure townsfolk.
It’s quite simple to form your party. You’ll select your Mii, their personality, and their job. There are fourteen jobs and you’ll become quite familiar with all of them before your time is up. As many Smash Bros. players are noticing, Mii characters are starting to show their age. Miitopia introduces a new make-up system that allows you to paint directly on a Mii’s face. You’re given the opportunity to create so many more unique Miis that truly embody the character they’re supposed to be. If you’re not the creative type, you can download other’s pre-made Mii’s with a code! My entire party was made up of Mii’s others had made and I was truly impressed with every last one.
Miitopia is designed as a beginner’s JRPG and falls into many conventional trappings. Instead of an open world to explore, you’ll set out from Ins scattered across a world map on a set path. In each level, you’ll encounter enemies, different paths to take, and the opportunity to uncover hidden treasures! Unfortunately, to take each different path, you had to replay the level from the start. When later levels had upwards of six split paths, it got very tedious quickly.
You’re not given a lot of control in combat. You can directly command your main avatar, but the rest of your party will automatically attack and perform skills based on their job and what you set their A.I. to do. In later sections, this became a bit of a problem when enemies had sweeping attacks and the only option I had was to perform damage control. Fortunately, you’re given access to sprinkles and the safe zone. With sprinkles, you can recover health, MP, hype up an ally, or just revive yourself, but they’re very limited and only restock at Ins.
Like most RPGs, challenge in Miitopia comes just from hiking the numbers up. This never bothered me in other titles because my levels were ballooning too! In Miitopia, it’s quite different. You level up each character individually, which provides single-digit increases for one stat per level, stats individually with limited food rewarded for defeating enemies, and a relationship level with every other party member that grows and shrinks with each action that character makes. The kicker is that you can’t even choose your own gear. Your Mii will make a request, head to the shop, and hopefully, they won’t just bring back an HP Banana or MP Candy! If they do, you’ll get your money back, but, unless you’re willing to take a chance gambling one-use tickets on a spinner, it’ll be a while before you have the chance to pick that gear up again.
Grezzo did a masterful job bringing Miitopia up to Switch. There can be a bit of slow-down in bigger fights, but the differences in the versions are night and day. It’s the new additions that truly push this port above and beyond. I’ve already mentioned the make-up system. It modernizes the Mii and I hope every game adopts it eventually. The added horse is another fully customizable, and permanent, party member that offers their own relationship meter and skills in battle. It was actually my horse that kept coming in to be the hero of battles that seemed like lost causes. Especially at some pretty unfair difficulty spikes while your party is taken over by the Dark Lord.
Miitopia can feel unnecessarily padded at times. I felt like I went in a lot of circles with fetch quests or having the party kidnapped multiple times. It all wrapped together nicely, but I don’t think it’s going to hook an enthusiast looking for their fix after Bravely Default 2 or Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade. Ultimately, I was very pleased with Miitopia. It was my second favorite game of the 3DS, Tomodochi Life on Switch next please, and this remake retains everything that I already loved. If you can laugh along with the game, and enjoy a bit of repetitive chaos, or you’re just not sure if JRPGs are for you, Miitopia is worth the look!