The Miis are back. Storming the Dark Lord’s castle in Miitopia are a bright and cheery cast of characters of your own making. From Sonic the Hedgehog to Mario, Luigi, Darth Vader and Mr. Pringles, they are all here ready to deliver a rambunctious RPG adventure. But how does the Switch remaster fare over the original 3DS game? Well, they do say the grass is always greener on the other side.
Four years have passed since we penned our original Miitopia review for the Nintendo 3DS. In the grand scheme of life, four years is miniscule. But this year has felt so long. At this point, we’re all burnt out, tired, fed up. No one is feeling refreshed. That is unless you are a Mii, of course. A whiff of chicken curry or sauteed mushrooms, funky costume, new head gear or weapon and they are all set. Rock and roll, you say? Great. Hold my beer while I get my moshing wig for a ‘new look’. Oh, wait a minute. Did you want to go on an ‘outing’ instead? No worries. I’ll get my jacket and we can go to the cinema or eat indoors at a café. Woefully, we’re living our best Mii lives right now, on Miitopia, with a Dark Lord breathing down our necks. Is this jealousy bubbling up inside?
Jealousy aside, the remastered version of Miitopia has made some excellent improvements. From changes to its user interface to including a travelling horse companion, there is now a little more substance to the title. Gone are the game’s downright frustrating questionnaires on booting. Now, they are replaced with letters from Miitopia’s residents that enclose game tickets. The upgraded graphics are looking crisp and clean, thanks to developer Grezzo (The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening), and miis can now pair up for fabulous outings to raise their relationship quickly. In fact, the game just feels slicker, faster and more polished – due to these extra features – than its predecessor.
Speaking of slick changes, the revamped mii maker featuring wigs and make-up is perhaps the best aesthetic improvement in the game. Having already taken the internet by storm, Miitopia’s wigs and make-up feature has gifted Switch players with an impressive avatar creator tool. The level of depth it brings enables mii makers to create a like-for-like of major pop culture characters across all types of media, the arts and entertainment. In fact, we borrowed a couple of characters for our own adventure – namely Sonic, Mario and Luigi – from a couple of mii creator superstars. Here, instead of QR codes, creators can now share their Access Key Code, where you can download a selection of miis from their own character plaza. It’s wonderfully inclusive, fun and remains as popular as it was back in the early days of the Wii.
While the addition of wigs and make-up are excellent features, there remains a few drawbacks to Miitopia. Sadly, the touchscreen features that were present on the 3DS’ lower touchscreen have been removed. It’s a real shame that Grezzo was unable to replicate this on the Switch touchscreen, though perhaps that would have required additional legwork in the game’s coding. Outside of the UI changes and added extras though, Miitopia – as an adventure RPG – remains unchanged. So, if you were a fan of the original storyline, original Mii interactions, job classes, identical mini games and more, you’ll be quite at home here.
In our initial review, we commented on how the game lacked strategy due to its auto-battle mechanic and became increasingly repetitive over the course of the main 30+ hour storyline. Unfortunately, not much has changed on this front. The horse, though, does create more excitement in battles when you can select it. It has several offensive attacks, including a mounted assault, a fire-breathing snort and some fun ‘horseplay’ antics that very depending on your job, as well as passive abilities when your characters are in the safe spot. Yet other than adding to the game’s cutesy charm and providing you a faster way to annihilate enemies, it doesn’t offer players the change of pace that’s required to keep battles engaging.
Herein lies Miitopia’s inherent flaw, its gameplay is indistinguishable from the 3DS version. No new hidden routes, easter eggs or chests with surprising enemies. In fact, we played the same route in Peculia on both the 3DS and Switch to test this theory. Other than the horse shaving a few seconds off, which is entirely randomised and uncontrollable by the player, every battle and every interaction between Miis (yes, even the trip sequence) was identical.
Given how much care was placed on the game’s aesthetic features, was there a reason its core gameplay was left unchanged? Some new abilities or personality quirks wouldn’t have gone amiss, quests in the Traveller’s Hub could have been unlocked earlier, the ‘continue playing’ segment could have been an optional child-lock feature, new interactions between miis could have been added and so on. There was so much potential exploration here, but it feels lost. Perhaps Skull Kid has been up to his old tricks again.
Yet despite its unexplored potential and repetitive gameplay, Miitopia remains a fun pick up and play game. If you missed it the first time around and enjoyed the Switch demo, the extra features certainly give this game a new lick of paint. Besides, the mii interactions are certainly worth their weight in gold. Now, where’s Tomodachi Life 2? Because I think I’d like a new hat. Oh, and I want my bear back.
A review copy of Miitopia was provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK.