Hands-Off Preview: Amiibo - Not Just Toys, They're Action Figures

By Ryan Meitzler

July 22, 2014

Skylanders and Disney Infinity proved that video games can go beyond more than just that, thanks to the power of toys. With NFC figurines kicking off in a big way across all platforms, Nintendo is (finally) entering the fray with their own selection of figures that show great promise and tons of detail, and it will all start with Super Smash Bros for Wii U this fall.

During a special preview event at Nintendo’s NYC headquarters, DualShockers had the chance to check out the lineup of Amiibo figurines on display during the event and learn a little bit more about what to expect of the miniature Nintendo characters we all know and love.

After first being unveiled at this year’s E3, the figurine lineup has been revealed to use a similar concept to the NFC toys of Skylanders and Disney Infinity, but expands upon them through multiple titles. The first wave of Amiibo will debut with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U this holiday, but Nintendo stated that the toys will not only just work with the mentioned title, but also with those both recently-released and coming in the near future.

Featuring familiar faces like Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Pikachu and more, Amiibo will interact with a variety of Wii U and 3DS titles through NFC communication for various in-game features and modes. Connecting through either the Wii U GamePad or an upcoming 3DS adapter, the figurines popped onto the connecting device will then appear on screen in whichever capacity the game will carry them.

While demoing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Nintendo detailed that the Amiibo figurines will act as evolving NPC characters in-game that grow alongside with players. Plopping down the Mario figurine will summon Mario as an NPC character that will fight in your battles, and unlike regular CPU characters, will grow in strength and experience the more that you fight and learn new strategies.

Aside from their inclusion in the latest Super Smash Bros. titles, the Amiibo figurines will also be compatible with a variety of other Nintendo first-party titles, with games mentioned at the event including the recently-released Mario Kart 8 and upcoming titles like Yoshi’s Woolly World and Mario Party 10. Though no other details were mentioned on what capacity it will be featured in other titles, users should definitely be both excited and look forward to Amiibo’s inclusion in multiple games, rather than just one.

Though the figurines have still just been announced and details are still on the scarce side, Nintendo’s take on the NFC platform still has a lot worth getting excited about, and that’s not just including the beautiful detail and art present in the figurines themselves.

Knowing that aside from just occupying shelves with display-quality craftsmanship that will make any Nintendo fan (like myself) giddy, the prospects of how they will interact with each title, and potentially across titles, are definitely worth looking forward to in the Wii U and 3DS lineups. Call them action figures or however else you may see them, but Amiibo have already shown that Nintendo sees them as more than just toys.

Amiibo and its first wave of figurines are set to launch alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U in holiday 2014, with compatibility for other Wii U and 3DS titled to be announced at a later date.

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Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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