As I've talked about previously, I'm not a massive fan of grinding in games. As an ancient gamer at nearly 40 years old, I tend to get smaller and smaller windows to sit down controller in hand to immerse myself into whatever world takes my fancy. If I'm only able to drop in for an hour or so, I want to be able to feel like I've achieved something. I'd rather not spend it grinding for levels or gear. Because of that, I don't see a lot of RPGs through to completion nowadays. Sooner or later the story gives way to repetitive combat encounters to unlock the next area of story and that is pretty much where I put the controller down, never to come back again. With Miitopia, things are a little different though.
Friends Who Quest Together
Miitopia is an RPG with an emphasis on social interactions between your band of merry marauders. It doesn't have the depths of your Final Fantasys or your Monster Hunters, but it does have some interesting turn-based combat as well as a quest that needs questing. It's light enough to be able to pick up and play for a small chunk of time and be able to push the story on a little bit and it's also simple enough that if you can't play it for a week or two you don't have a combat system to re-learn to get going again.
The main thrust of the game is that some big bad has come to Miitopia and has stolen everybody's faces. These have been plastered onto the various creepy critters you find about the place. As you defeat them, you set the faces free and as you free more faces you unlock new rewards that allow you to heal and revive your squad. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go off on an epic quest to defeat this big bad and save everybody who lives in Miitopia, simple.
Miitopia on the Nintendo Switch is actually a remaster of a 3DS version of the game, which itself was a sort of fully fleshed-out version of the old Street Pass Quest that came pre-installed on the 3ds. You design your hero as a Mii, import one already on your console or trade them with a friend on another Switch. As you move through the story you will get the opportunity to design all of the important characters that you meet on your travels, both good and bad. This means you can go questin' with your besties or you could create a team from your favourite tv show or film. During my quest, I met both Batman and the Hulk, your milage my vary.
It's worth saying there are a few new systems and a new horse friend to add to your roster compared with the 3DS original version of Miitopia. The horse will give you access to some new combos as well as letting you run through the stages faster.
Building Your Miitopia, One Face at a Time
Even though all of the character design is done using the same Mii system first seen on the Nintendo Wii, there is a surprising amount of depth and variety that is possible. A quick browse through the Miitopia subreddit will give you some very good examples of the breadth of design you can get away with.
This feature has also had a lot of improvements made over the 3DS original. There is now a hair and makeup system that really allows you a chance to express yourself. Later on in the game, it is possible to see some of the Miis that other players have created, and some of them are wild.
All a Matter of Class
When you create one of your hero characters you get to assign it a class and a personality. The choices of class are your standard RPG affair; warrior, thief, cleric. But there are also some oddities thrown in there too, like chef, popstar or princess. You also get to unlock even more classes as the game progresses with a few extra being available as post story rewards.
The class of a character basically dictates their move set as well as the equipment they can use. The personality you choose will also introduce its own set of moves and abilities. For example, a cautious person may hide behind another team member when they come under attack. Each personality type generally has its own positives and negatives you have to balance and account for.
The game itself has you exploring the world of Miitopia. The map has several interesting biomes, each with its own enemies to defeat and challenges to beat. Whenever you finish a stage all of your heroes will come back to an inn where they will spend some time together and heal up.
Any characters that spend some time in a room at the inn together will improve their relationship. As the relationship levels up they will unlock extra abilities to use on each other. This can be as simple as just being able to give each other healing items during a battle to something like dealing a massive hit to any enemy that manages to KO their friend. It's an interesting system that you really must consider when putting your team together in Miitopia.
Scouting for an Outing
This is the last area of the game that has seen some notable improvements over the original. You can now send your team on outings. These outings will play out like a little scene and will improve your character relationships as well as sometimes giving you some sort of a souvenir reward.
You can also give your little marauders gold to go and buy new clothes or weapons. These can boost their stats up a little bit. Crucially though, this is up to them, not you. If your warrior doesn't want to go shopping, they won't go and buy that new sword this time around.
The battles themselves are pretty simple. You only control your own character; all of your allies are autonomous. You can generally either attack, use an ability or eat a healing item. It's a pretty shallow system that doesn't really have any nuance. There are no elemental systems or ways to inflict effects. I'll be honest, I would really like something a little deeper here if I could change it.
When you win your battles, you will generally get some food and gold for your troubles. You can feed this food to your adventurers to boost up their stats back at the inn. The amount of a boost that you get is based off of how much the character liked the food. This gives you an added little game to try and figure out what your different warriors like to eat, Like they are a bunch of fussy toddlers.
The thing that keeps me coming back to Miitopia is actually the social side of it. As your characters interact, they perform little scenes and skits. Some of these are quite funny in places and can elicit a little chuckle from time to time. I have enjoyed putting together different teams that work differently together. I just wish that there was a little more challenge in the combat so that it mattered a little more. As much as I enjoy messing around with my team's composition, I've never felt like I have to do it in order to beat a tricky challenge.
At the End of the Day
Once the story is done and dusted, there are a few post-story challenges that are a little more difficult to beat. This is actually how you unlock the last two jobs for your Miis. These areas are definitely harder than the rest of the game, but it still doesn't feel like that much of a challenge.
That's kind of where I ended up with Miitopia. Because of how little challenge there is it has become my game to veg out to at the end of the day. In my mind, there is nothing wrong with a game not offering much of a challenge, not every game has to be Sekiro. I found that it can get a bit repetitive for a longer session, but for dipping in and out of 30 minutes at a time, I had a blast. I've spent a lot of time with Animal Crossing, and I've got friends who are obsessed with idle games. That's what Miitopia has been to me, a low effort adventure with some funny jokes thrown in to keep me interested.