I've noticed that some people don't keep up with Nintendo related news enough to know what the purpose of amiibo really is. Some people think it's a toy similar to Skylanders or Disney Infinity, whereas others think it's just DLC wrapped in an action figure. The thing is, it's not really either of those. So what I'm going to do is inform you all what amiibo really are and what the pros and cons are to buying and/or owning a few of them.
What are they?
First of all, amiibo are little figurines that are around four inches tall (or shorter) and feature characters from various video games made by (or approved_2 for sale by) Nintendo. Some of these figures come in series and sets that are designed in a theme from a specific game like Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. Each of these figurines are also set on a small stand that is a little less than two inches in diameter, and the base contains a Near Field Communicator (NFC) pad that can interact with a reader embedded in the Gamepad of the Wii U, bottom half of the New 3DS, or the yet to be released NFC reader for the classic 3DS. Each of these figurines act in one of two ways: as a key to unlock content locked away within the game's code; or as a memory card for amiibo specific game modes. Now before you get all up in arms exclaiming that Nintendo is starting to act just like EA with having content locked away on the disc, just hear me out first. With the exception of Splatoon, the content unlocked by the amiibo's "key" function is often negligible and doesn't offer anything to the full enjoyment of the game. It's just a nice little bonus for people that own the figure and are often considered bragging rights stating that you own it.
Now for the reasons why amiibo are good and why you should try and get a few.
- They are very well made and extremely detailed considering their small size and they are cast in a very nice, sturdy plastic that doesn't feel cheaply manufactured.
- Most of them are fairly priced at an MSRP of $12.99USD which is great for people that like to collect many figurines of their favorite characters.
- They are region free meaning that if you have an amiibo imported from another country then it will still work with your game.
- They aren't locked for use with a specific game. I.E. specific amiibo that may have been designed for Super Smash Bros can be used with Mario Party 10 or vice versa. This is useful if you like the design of one version of a character but not one of the others.
- The "memory card" function that is used for amiibo specific game modes allow for a customizable experience that can be continued at a friend's house if you so choose.
Now for the reasons I don't want to list but must in order to keep things transparent...
- Because of their unexpected popularity and Nintendo's failure to increase manufacturing to keep up with the demand, certain specific amiibo are often much more difficult to get a hold of due to the low number of them. Also, retailer exclusive and limited edition amiibo should never have been a thing. It just adds to the difficulty of obtaining one at retail price. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, SCALPERS!
- The "memory card" function of the amiibo can only be used with one game at a time. If you wish to use the same amiibo with a different game, you'll either need to delete the data on the amiibo you currently have, or buy another one of the same character.
- Keeping their collector's value is nearly impossible if you want to use them but not remove them from their box as an NFC blocker is embedded in the bottom of the package preventing their use while unopened.
- While extremely rare, it is possible to accidentally buy an amiibo that that has a broken base or lacks the NFC functionality, and if you bought one from a place that doesn't allow you to return goods that have been removed from their original packaging, then you would be stuck with a piece of plastic whose only purpose is to take up space on a shelf in your room.
Amiibo are a great little bonus for figurine collectors and Nintendo gamers alike. They have a charm about them that pulls people in to buy them and they are really well designed and priced well (assuming you buy it at retail). They aren't without their faults, but I see that the only real big problem of theirs is availability. If you can get a hold of a few yourself, I suggest you buy them regardless if you own anything Nintendo related that can use them. They are still considered figures and you could treat them as such, but until then, I'll be seeing you.