Nintendo has finally tossed their hat into the "toys to life" genre with adorable plastic figurines called amiibo. And though they don't hit stores until November 21, MTV News got a chance to play around with them and saw how they'd be used in the Wii U "Smash Bros." game.
Popularized with the advent of "Skylanders" and "Disney Infinity," amiibo follow a similar path - but are featured in a slightly different way. Instead of bringing characters into the game world, amiibo act as a kind of digital version of yourself.
The clever thing is how an amiibo develops. Your amiibo gains levels and advances as you play with them and become somewhat of a protégé. You'll develop a master/apprentice relationship as you train you amiibo in "Smash" battles. You can even pit your amiibo against friends' and have them learn on their own. And this is really the heart of amiibo -- teaching it to play how you play. It's really cool to see you character mature and become a pro.
Keep in mind that each character has their own amiibo represented. Meaning that a Yoshi amiibo only plays as Yoshi, and Mario as Mario. You'll need to buy each one if you want to level each character. At $12.99 a pop, it's quite a diabolical move sure to empty our wallets. Fortunately, you won't need any extra peripherals as they interact directly with the Wii U GamePad through a near-field chip.
But they're so cute that we won't mind being broke for a while.
The figures themselves are nicely crafted. Bright molded colored plastics and painted details flesh out your favorite Nintendo character. Each amiibo has been frozen into a classic action pose. As these are figurines and not really action toys there isn't any articulation. Still, they look really cool and younger kids will absolutely eat them up. They're also pretty tough so don't worry about breaking them.
18 have been announced so far. 12 amiibo -- including Mario, Peach, Samus, Pikachu, and Kirby -- will launch day one with "Smash for Wii U" on November 21st. 6 more have a December line-up. Better start clearing up some shelf space now!
While the immediate development for amiibo is tied along Wii U's version of "Smash Bros," there are tons of possibilities in which amiibo may be incorporated. An inevitable new "Mario Party" or maybe new full fledged "Super Mario" title would do well to have the plastic toys featured with new content. May god have mercy on parents if these ever come to "Pokémon." For now, we can only speculate but we're pretty sure that the wizards at Nintendo are brewing up some amazing content.
"amiibo" and "Smash Bros. for Wii U" are available November 21st.