I think it is pure circumstance that allows me to love Miitopia. Like many writers and gamers and combination writer gamers, I have a lot of wrist issues. In the last few days, those issues have gotten to in new low. It is to the point where any amount of computer work causes my right arm quite a bit of pain. As it turns out, this was actually quite a good time for me to pick up Miitopia for reasons that I didn’t expect. You see, Miitopia was advertised and reviewed as though it were a creative take on the RPG formula but, it actually feels a lot like a top-tier idle game.
Miitopia has all of the familiar features of a turn-based RPG such as classes, dungeons, party management, equipment management, a quest narrative-type storyline, pretty much everything that you think of when you think a classic fantasy RPG, and of course Nintendo’s quirky, unique sense of humor. But the way it’s played is a lot lighter than with your standard turn-based RPG, almost everything is automated. With pretty much every explorable area, bar towns, movement is automatic. You start on the left-hand side of the screen and walked towards the right on a scrolling background during this, player participation is fairly limited. You can press down the B button to get your party to move faster, which you probably will, in order to get to the good stuff which, comes in the form of events.
These events range from deciding whether or not one of your party members tries to scare the hicccups out of another party member to deciding which route your party takes and, of course, combat. Oh, and combat is also automated. Though you control your own Mii’s actions, three of your party member’s actions will always be determined by the CPU, and you can further automate the system by allowing the CPU to control your Mii as well. And it’ll work just fine through most, if not all, of the game. The thing that players will mostly do in battle is use something called, sprinkles to restore player’s health, mana points, revive characters, or provide a character with a damage-enhancing steroid. Most of the time players are simply observers in Miitopia’s world, assisting the characters when needed but also, notably not present in most of the game's exploration. The other half gameplay happens in inns, where players can feed their characters to boost their attributes, change equipment, and play mini-games. This falls in line with the progression arc of most idle games. This is hands-off gameplay is why Miitopia screams idle game instead of, strictly, RPG.
I can imagine myself being turned off by this type of game really quite easily. It's close to too easy, the storyline puts the player into unnecessarily frustrating situations more than once, and though it’s cute, ultimately I prefer to be in the driver’s seat in my games. Not being able to control all party members is one of my biggest pet peeves in all of gaming but, somehow, through all of these offenses, I've become sort of obsessed with Miitopia. I’m invested in my characters, reasonably invested in the storyline, and seeking to reach 100% completion which, is something I never do and all of this is thanks to my misfortune.
Because of my wrist issues, the types of games that I can play has become quite limited. Limited meaning, games that limit how much gameplay is actually involved. I don’t have the stamina particularly, to play games that need a lot of player input. RPGs are almost entirely out of the question which, is probably my least favorite part of this whole ordeal. RPGs are how I relax, what I do for entertainment, and probably the type of game I am most passionate about so, it’s been hard accepting it’s going to be a while before I can play them with any form of justice. So, I’m damn glad for Miitopia.
Because for all of its elements of idle gameplay it is also a solid RPG with solid RPG elements and I can play it will being good to my body. I walked into Gamestop and saw that somebody had just turned in a copy of Miitopia and after enjoying the demo, somewhat, I decided to toss some money down for a bit of inconsequential fun on a road trip with my family. I had no way of knowing how important Miitopia would become to me but, damn I am glad for this unhappy coincidence which, has allowed me to find a wellspring of affection for this goofy, at times meta, casual game when, I probably would have dimissed it otherwise. At around 20 hours I’m pretty sure that I have another 20 in front of me. I definitely think that this game is worth a look for anyone with a member of the 2DS/3DS family.
(I could just not play games but, no.)