Mina and Michi

Mina & Michi is a nice little puzzle game. It has charming, colorful pixel art. The puzzles are decent, even if they are a bit simple. It respects your time and doesn’t overstay its welcome. And you can play the game with a friend — or alone if you have no one. But I’ve been thinking about something, and the more I unnecessarily dwell on it, the more it stands out to me:

Mina is kind of a bum.

In Mina & Michi, you control the two titular characters. Mina is a little kid who goes on adventures with her pet: the blue, horned Michi. (I still don’t know what that creature is, but it’s a good little critter.)

Anything and everything can and will kill Mina. Getting hit by an enemy or touching a spike trap usually spells disaster for the protagonist. Hey, that’s understandable, because these are things that kill better heroes like Mario and Samus. That said, you’ve got Michi over here absorbing enemy projectiles and not even flinching like a boss. Mina’s pet… um, thing… doesn’t take any damage at all. Like, ever. So obviously, this little furball is left to do all of the heavy lifting for its weak owner.

Michi dishes out melee strikes (and eventually projectiles) while Mina is helpless the entire time. Sure, she can shoot projectiles of her own, but when you’ve got a powerhouse who can just helicopter spin with its arms extended and take out all of the enemy blobs the game throws at you, it sort of renders Mina completely and utterly useless.

Okay, okay, I get it: If you’re playing Mina & Michi with a kid, it makes sense to make Mina differ a bit from Michi. But because I played the entire game by myself, I constantly had to tuck Mina away in a corner somewhere so I could clean house with Michi. The creature was hitting switches, killing enemies, and solving puzzles while its owner stood in a corner, twiddling her thumbs and being straight-up exploitative of her pet monster.

Oh, and then — spoiler alert — Mina has the audacity to say that beating the game’s final boss “wasn’t so hard at all.” Yeah, maybe for you, you lazy no-goodnik. Meanwhile, our pal Michi is over here working tirelessly to be a good pet and just please its person.

Mina and Michi

You deserve better, Michi. You deserve so much better. They should’ve called it Michi & Mina if you ask me.

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