Mini Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge is Nintendo’s latest way to play with amiibo. Nintendo has been very generous so far this year with free Splatoon and Super Mario Maker DLC updates. Now Nintendo is rewarding amiibo users with a free game: Mini Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge. While the amiibo fad has been dwindling down these days, we are given new ways of playing with amiibo.
This game is not set to release until the end of April, but select retailers such as GameStop and Target are giving away bonus early access codes with purchase of an amiibo. Thankfully a friend of mine handed me a copy because I happen to be an amiibo enthusiast. Shortly after, the team here received early access codes to give away.
The amiibo that have their own Mini toys include variations of the follow amiibo: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Bowser, Bowser Jr, Yoshi and Rosalina.
Once I booted up the first level everything was pretty straightforward: Tap the amiibo of your choice, complete levels and progress until you reach the amiibo-specific world. Despite the simplicity of Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge, it plays like an actual game. While I was playing the DK or Yoshi character specific levels, the nostalgic music resonated with me while I enjoyed the brilliant level design.
Despite this game unlocking more potential for amiibo, it falls short on its promise. Even though we have a character, Mini Spec, covering non-specific amiibo (typically outside the Mushroom Kingdom), you’ll just be treated to regular levels advertising the purchase of related amiibo. Mini Spec is very generic, which can feel punishing if you don’t own an amiibo from the Mario or DK franchise.
Note that if you decide to play Mini Mario and Friends: amiibo challenge on the 3DS, portability is sacrificed unless you’re willing to awkwardly carry around an amiibo box on the go. In addition to this aspect, owning every amiibo can be pricey or even difficult if it’s not in stock, despite being considerably easier to obtain these days. Because there are levels exclusive to certain amiibo, fans will miss out on what certain levels have to offer, such as the bonus stage found in DK levels or the exhilarating trolley ride in the Diddy Kong stages. To make matters worse, instead of amiibo-specific stages being as added bonis, the lack of certain amiibo will exclude most players achieving full completion of the game and experiencing extra stages unlocked only by owning and completing all amiibo stages. Having said this, the game is still entertaining and it gives the player a degree of how much content they want to invest in.
The game is pretty decent especially since you’ll likely have at least one amiibo to play the most basic levels with the option to enjoy fan favorite levels, should you own any of the listed characters in the game. The game happens to be one where you can kick back, relax and casually solve at your own leisure. Overall highly recommended for both casual and die-hard Nintendo fans looking for a fun puzzle genre.
Mini Mario and Friends launches free for 3DS and Wii U on April 28 on the Nintendo eShop.