I had things to do this weekend that weren’t running through endless random encounters in the console port of a ridiculous four-year-old 3DS role-playing game. The problem I encountered was that none of those other things were as simple and easy as picking up my Pro Controller and popping back into Miitopia for a battle or two dozen.
I did not play the 3DS version of Miitopia. It came out in 2017, when playing anything on my 3DS seemed silly, especially an absurdist homage to Japanese turn-based RPGs starring Nintendo’s player-created Mii characters. How much fun could such a thing be?
So much fun.
Set in a fantasy world populated by Nintendo Mii characters, Miitopia is the tale of a brave band of adventurers out to stop the Dark Lord from stealing the faces off of regular folk and turning them into animated world-conquering monsters like butterflies and spiders. Each of the game’s enemies is a monster with a stolen Mii face. Sometimes it’s just a single feature like the nose or the eyes. Other times it’s the whole face. It would be creepy if the whole thing weren’t so silly.
Players begin by creating their personal avatar, the character they control throughout the game. I went with my own personal Mii, a bald man with a beard and glasses, because I live that fantasy life, yo. Soon other characters join, each made from scratch or assigned a Mii character from those existing on your Switch or downloaded from friends using codes. I used the Miis I made for my family members, twins Archer and Seamus and my partner, Eugene. It’s a family affair, my Miitopia run.
Making my party members out of family members makes the game more fun and personal for me. As my characters get to know each other and their relationship levels rise, I get to see all sorts of cool interactions between my teammates. Archer praising his mother for a particularly effective attack, Seamus stepping in to defend his father from an attack.
As the game progresses you earn Outing tickets, which can be used to send a couple of characters out on a date of sorts, levelling up their relationship and unlocking cooperative battle moves. There’s something very sweet about taking my virtual spouse out to do some virtual karaoke, or taking one of my virtual boys virtual fishing.
Unfortunately, at points during the game you are separated from your party, forced to take on a new character class and create new companions. Fortunately, the game allows for Miis to be used as characters as many times as you like, so I have three whole sets of Seamus, Archer, and Eugene characters. I also used Eugene’s Mii for the face of the Dark Lord, and Seamus’ for the comically over-eating king. It’s a whole world of Faheys.
Miitopia is easy to pick up: It loads quickly, with just a button press and you’re in an inn with all of your characters, ready to grub on food, buy some equipment, go on dates, or set off on adventures. These adventures take place in a series of levels which your party traverses automatically, pausing when encountering things like forks in the road, treasure chests, or enemies to fight. Battles are relatively easy, or at least easy enough that auto-battle takes care of most foes readily.
At the end of a level your party returns to the inn, where gold can be spent, food can be eaten, dates can be had, and prizes can be won. This is the cycle of Miitopia, and it has me firmly grasped in its talons. It’s a mindless fun spiral I cannot escape, will not escape until the credits roll.