The moment I first touched my Link amiibo to the Wii U's Game Pad whilst playing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Smash) I was struck with a smile across my face. I pretty much knew what was going to happen, that the screen would bring up an image of the Link character. But, that didn't make it any less magical, to have something tangible in my hand seemingly transfer to the screen in front of me right before my eyes.
Nintendo's amiibo figures are the company's answer to the Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures that have been gaining in popularity over the past few years. And it's about time they got in on the act too. Nintendo have a huge range of well-known characters to turn into collectible figures, so it only makes sense they've created amiibo.
Currently there are 12 amiibo figures you can buy, which are; Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Samus Aran, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Pikachu, Kirby, and Marth. More characters are on the way in little over a week, and even more will be released throughout the next few months.
Using near field communication (NFC) technology, the figures allow data to be transferred between themselves and the games they're compatible with. In this case I used my Link amiibo with Smash.
Once Link appeared on my TV screen I could choose how he would look in the game. I chose the Dark Link appearance for him, and then gave him the nickname of 'Linkage'. I was then met with a character screen where I could tinker about with his move set, and also 'feed' him equipment I'd gathered whilst playing Smash with the other characters.
Feeding the equipment to Link gave him increased stats across Attack, Defence, or Speed, depending on what he was fed. Essentially customising him how I wanted. I can see some great potential in this for fans of not just Smash, but other Nintendo games too, as the amiibo are compatible, and will be compatible, with certain Nintendo games. It's kind of like having your own real life character you can carry with you to your friends, to tournaments, anywhere, that is imprinted with its own stats and style of play. It's like a 'real' figure with its own personality, so to speak.
I couldn't play as my amiibo, instead I could drop him in to battles to fight against him, which would increase his experience and level him up, allowing his stats and moves to be tweaked some more. Or I could team up with him myself and take on other fighters.
I set up a 4 player match - I chose to play as Samus, then touched my Link amiibo to the Wii U Game Pad and he immediately joined the game with the announcer shouting "Link!" I threw a couple more characters into the matchup - Greninja, and my own Mii Fighter. I then switched to a team mode, so it was my amiibo and I versus the other two.
It's safe to say we won, although Link was knocked out of the match quite early on, but he gained valuable experience and levelled up, which will only help him in further battles.
The actual amiibo figures themselves are well-made, and would look great in any display case amongst your other collectible figurines. I only have experience with the Link figure myself, but he was painted with good, solid detail. The only part of the figure I'm not keen on is the stand - it's a transparent yellow cuboid which props Link up. The earlier images of the figurine, which had a clear transparent shaft propping Link up, was much less of a distraction to the overall character. However, this is a minor issue and doesn't take too much away from the final look of the amiibo.
Myself, as a 28-year-old 'adult', enjoyed messing about with the amiibo a great deal. I can imagine kids will get a kick out of it even more, eager to build their own collection of figures and train them up in Smash or use their other multiple functions across the other Nintendo games.
That's one of the great selling points of starting an amiibo collection compared to a Skylanders or Disney Infinity one for example; the amiibos are compatible with multiple games, and support for them is being built into future games for 3DS and Wii U too.
Nintendo's amiibo figures are definitely for the die hard Nintendo fan of any age. And kids who want to start a collection of their favourite Nintendo characters should look no further than ones that can interact with the games they love.
Score - 8/10