What is Miitopia?
Miitopia is a light-hearted and silly take on a traditional role-playing game, starring your friends and family (and anyone else you happen to have made a Mii of)! With a nefarious Dark Lord going around stealing people's faces and sticking them on monsters, it's up to you and your merry band of adventurers to set off on a dungeon-crawling, enemy-bashing quest for good. The main hook of Miitopia is that everyone, from your party of heroes, to the villagers you'll meet, and even the main bad guy is a Mii - one of Nintendo's cartoonish, bobble-headed avatars that first appeared on the Wii. With the ability to choose which of your Mii characters plays which role, you can form a party of family and friends, stumble into a village where Cooking Mama and Charizard live, and brace for a final clash with the main bad guy themselves - your cat!
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How do you play Miitopia?
Miitopia is probably best described as a rather light role-playing game. As with many a great adventure, your first job is to gather a party together, choosing which Mii characters you want to take with you, before assigning them personalities and 'jobs' (essentially a character class for battle, like a sword-swinging Warrior, a spell-slinging Mage or a speedy, sneaky Thief). Different jobs will give you different abilities in battle, with some focussed more on outright attacking, while others are better suited to cheering on their companions from the sidelines instead - creating a party with a good mix of abilities is the best strategy, ensuring you can cope with whatever the game throws at you. Light life sim elements also come into play, with characters that share a room in an inn (where your party can rest and recover between adventures) growing closer, which not only nets you special team moves that lets the pair help each other out in battle, but will also show you funny vignettes, as the two characters start to bond.
Unlike your average role-playing game, Miitopia doesn't give you maze-like dungeons to explore; instead, you simply pick a spot on a map and watch as your party strolls along the top of the screen to their destination. Journeys are punctuated by deciding which way to head at a fork in the road, stopping to open treasure chests or getting into battles with monsters - with the latter taking the form of simple, turn-based scuffles. You and your party members take it in turns with the enemies to attack, sling special moves and use healing items, although you are only really in control of your main character, as the rest of your party are computer-controlled. However, you can intervene and heal their wounds with the HP Sprinkles item, or shift a party member afflicted with a status condition (crying, laughing, dancing etc) into a 'Safe Spot' to recover in a turn or two.
How easy is Miitopia to pick up and play?
Miitopia is a perfect example of an accessible take on the role-playing genre - streamlined and simplified, all wrapped up in a silly story, it's the kind of game that anyone can play (providing they can read!). There's no winding dungeons to get lost in, and battles are simple turn-based affairs that don't rely on reactions or skill, so there's little in the way of anything to trip up new or less able players. About the only potential issue comes when your computer-controlled party members sabotage themselves in battle by using up all of their magic points, or your healer fails to heal an injured companion - fortunately, it's not that widespread an issue, and you're never too far away from an inn where you can rest and recharge, but things can get a little hairy occasionally.
While the game itself is pretty straightforward, those buying for the youngest of players will want to bear in mind that there is a rather large amount of reading involved here, with a lot of text to get through, and nothing in the way of voice acting. With all objectives and instructions, along with the entire story being delivered through text alone, a strong reading ability is a must.
- "I bestoweth upon thee the power of the gods! Hurrrrrgh - HAAAA!!!"
- "Oh, joyous day! Isn't the weather just be-YEW-tiful?"
- "Now you may not believe what I am about to tell you… but I am a god."
Like many of Nintendo's offerings, Miitopia is pretty much as family-friendly as they come. There's no blood and guts, no bad language and no sexual content whatsoever - while characters can share rooms in the inn in order to increase their friendship, it's purely platonic, and nothing untoward happens at all. Violence is limited to turn-based battles against cartoon enemy creatures (mummies, robots, angry butterflies), and is accompanied by whacking sounds, light effects and small explosions when characters are hit. One enemy makes fart noises and emits clouds of gas from its backside during combat.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS