Miitopia (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Jenny Geist 21.06.2021 1

Review for Miitopia on Nintendo Switch

When Nintendo announced that Miitopia was coming to Nintendo Switch, many were a bit puzzled. Fans have wanted to play 3DS games on Switch for a while, but this 2017 life-sim/RPG hybrid wasn't necessarily the most popular request. Upon further examination, however, the decision actually makes a lot of sense. Tomodachi Life was one of the best-selling 3DS titles, but its adventure-themed successor came too late in the system's life to have a shot at success. Giving it a second chance on a thriving console is a great idea, but there's also the possibility that it fell to obscurity for a reason. Now that this remake has officially been released, it's time to find out if it was worthy of resurrection, or if it should have stayed forgotten.

A sinister terror known as the Dark Lord is wreaking havoc on the land of Miitopia, stealing the faces of its many Mii inhabitants. Only one band of unlikely heroes can take on this evil force, those being... anyone! Every single role in the game is casted by the player, including the main hero, the nine party members, and yes, even the Dark Lord itself. The possibilities are only as limited as one's imagination. You can cast yourself as the protagonist with your mean old teacher as the villain, or cast Final Fantasy VII's Aerith as the lead so she can get revenge on that nasty Dark Lord, Sephiroth. There is a ton of potential for goofy hijinks within, especially with the port's expanded creation tools.

The Mii Maker has traditionally been fairly limited, but the Nintendo Switch version of Miitopia goes to great lengths to fix this. Specifically, players can now apply make-up or add wigs to their creations. Make-up allows the changing of a Mii's skin colour, the ability to create elaborate geometric designs on their face, and, obviously, apply lipstick or eyeshadow to their mouth and eyes. As usual, these features have already been utilised to create awe-inspiring art pieces that perfectly mimic characters from other games or cartoons. If you want SpongeBob SquarePants to be your party's cleric, that's absolutely possible… but maybe not recommended. He's not very good at it.

Regrettably, the expanded tools do come with a catch, as the sharing features are not very practical. Creations can only be found through friends lists, a special access code, or a nebulous "Popular" tag with a random assortment of uploads. To find a specific character, it requires digging through the Internet for a relevant code, which would likely hurt any chance of social sharing for younger fans. This might be a precaution to prevent kids from seeing inappropriate designs, but a curated search system would do wonders for visibility, while still keeping children's eyes safe. Without these options, players instead need to create dozens of Miis by themselves, which can often slow the pace to a crawl.

Screenshot for Miitopia on Nintendo Switch

Miitopia is more than a character customisation tool, though; it's a fully-fledged RPG experience. Players traverse through an elaborate world map, featuring plenty of towns, NPCs, secrets, and the like. Levels themselves, however, mostly consist of travelling in a straight line through a generic locale, with plentiful enemy encounters sprinkled in along the way. Once an area is completed, the party rests and resets at the inn, and the gameplay loop begins anew. The core mechanics are exceedingly simple, and they remain so for the duration of this 30-40 hour adventure.

Battles, for example, are about as standard as a turn-based system can get. There is the attack function, magic ability, healing with an HP Banana, and… for the most part, that's it! Even party members are AI-controlled and not influenced by the player. The only real variation comes from a few of the additional options, such as "sprinkles" that can heal HP or MP at any time, a "safe zone" where party members can go to rest up mid-battle, and a few cutesy life-sim touches. Character relationships will affect how party members interact in battle, a Mii's personality type will influence some of their behaviours, and many traditional RPG jobs are turned on their head. There's the typical Warriors, Mages, and Clerics, but there are also Pop Stars, Cats, Flowers, and more, adding to this title's goofy, off-beat take on the genre.

Despite these twists, the combat remains pretty much the same throughout the entire campaign. With the exception of a few major boss fights, a good majority of the encounters can literally be fast-forward through, not having to think about a thing. This is a possible plus for younger fans, or those unfamiliar with RPGs, but it does make for a pretty unengaging experience altogether. Every now and then, a cute character interaction or two is worth slowing down for, but as the game continues, the novelty starts to wear thin. By the end, most levels simply feel like time-wasters due to how uninvolved and brain-dead the core mechanics are, and no amount of wacky jobs or funny excursions fully mitigate this feeling.

Screenshot for Miitopia on Nintendo Switch

On the other side of the coin, the inn and its accompanying mechanics are where the series' Tomodachi Life origins shine through, to slightly better results. From here, party members can go on outings to forge relationships with each other, dine on food to improve their stats, and buy new outfits or weapons for their job. In turn, these features influence the core RPG gameplay once players start the next level. Two characters with a Level 2 bond may warn each other about an incoming attack, but two characters with a Level 20 bond will practically take a bullet for their partner. This certainly doesn't help with the game's easiness, but it does add a nice smidgen of unique customisation nonetheless.

These life-sim elements are probably the highlight of the journey. They don't make up for the mostly uninteresting combat but, in fairness, these sections are the main draw in the first place. Even beyond the central party, plenty of the NPCs have distinct roles that are fun to play around with. One area may have a princess caught in a scandalous love triangle, and another may have a trio of beloved celebrity fairies. Almost like a well-designed toy line, the title creates scenarios that are just specific enough to be memorable, but also broad enough to insert characters into.

This half of the experience isn't immune to tedium, either, though, as repeated sequences are bound to show up in such a lengthy campaign. Unfortunately, seeing the same dialogue choices and scenarios crop up over and over again makes the life-sim elements lose some of their appeal, as well. Between the stagnant interactions and the dull combat, it becomes increasingly clear that Miitopia is much longer than it needs to be. While the ambition is certainly admirable, the lack of variation makes it feel like the developer bit off more than it could chew. Length isn't everything, and a shorter, more concise version could have been more polished, varied, and replayable.

Screenshot for Miitopia on Nintendo Switch

Before wrapping up, it should once again be noted that Miitopia is a remake of a 2017 3DS title. With the Switch release, the game's visuals have been cleaned up, looking adequately crisp on the system's 720p screen. The music remains the same, but this isn't a problem at all, as the original's battle themes are catchier and more memorable than they have any right to be. Unsurprisingly, this former handheld title runs and sounds perfectly fine on Nintendo's hybrid console.

On top of simple visual improvements, a few original features have also been implemented to freshen up the adventure. The aforementioned make-up options and character outings are new to this version, and these help flesh out the customisation and relationship mechanics, respectively. Additionally, the party now has a horse, which will occasionally help in battle. There isn't much to say about that part as… well... it's a horse! It works exactly how anyone would imagine.

On the whole, owners of the 3DS version aren't missing out on too much. These inclusions are certainly pleasant enough, but the overall package is otherwise fairly similar to the original outing, and graphical improvements aren't exactly essential to a release like this... and especially with the more expensive price tag now, existing fans are better off waiting until later for a potential sale to grab this.

Screenshot for Miitopia on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Like this remake's newly-added horse character, Miitopia is a bit of a one-trick pony. Beyond a few rare format changes, what you experience in the first hour is basically what you'll be doing for the entire game. This will likely drive away some, particularly those looking for a more challenging adventure but, for others, this pony's "one trick" isn't inherently bad. While much of the playthrough is spent fast-forwarding through repeated environments, there are still plenty of charming moments that are worth slowing down for. It isn't the most exciting title ever, but it does make you smile… and, sometimes, that's all you really need.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Couldn't agree more, Jenny. I really wanted to love this, and the charm did indeed hook me...for a few hours, and then it all started to grow exceedingly repetitive and just kept on going...and going...and going. I have no real desire to see it through to the end, sadly. Very fair review, thanks! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
jesusraz, Steven M

There are 2 members online at the moment.