After months and months of teases, amiibo figures are finally in our hot little hands. The first dozen are all based on the cast of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, which makes for an eclectic group of Nintendo mascots in toy form. You can read all about how the toys use NFC to communicate with different Wii U games, but there are more pressing matters right now. Like, how do they look when standing next to Spider-Man or Spyro?
After getting the first run of toys (that's be Mario, Link, Samus Aran, Kirby, Fox, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Peach, Marth, Yoshi, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer), I finally have the chance to compare the figures to the competition, namely Disney Infinity and Skylanders. When seen next to each other, how do Nintendo's toys-to-life releases measure up? Of course, amiibo functionality hasn't been added to the Wii U just yet, so currently we can only judge these cosmetically as collectibles. Stay tuned for an update once amiibo is playable in games like Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. In the meantime, read on to see the real-life comparison shots to judge their looks for yourself
Before I tear into the figures like a kid on his birthday, let's take a moment to admire them while mint in box. The amiibo's plastic and cardboard casings are sturdy and colorful, pretty much in keeping with most items found on the action figure aisle. The back comes with instructions simple enough for any preschooler or 27-year-old Nintendo fanboy to understand. What you won't notice as easily is a metallic square of material underneath the figure, presumably to prevent people from syncing the amiibo while it's still in the packaging.
The sculpts for each of the original dozen look good in a mass-production kind of way. The plastic folks look like they're pulled straight from the trophy art in the new Smash Bros., right down to Fox's scouting monocle and the individual flames on Mario's fireball. You get a nice mix of characters, from famous folks like Mario and Pikachu, to lesser known folks, such as Marth from Fire Emblem. Each amiibo feels pretty sturdy, though I suggest taking it easy on the thinner-legged, long appendaged characters like Marth, Link, and Wii Fit Trainer.
The finer details
If you look really closely at the figures you'll find some good attention to detail, along with some minor issues. Looking at Marth, Peach, and Link, you'll see embellishments like the crest on Marth's cape or the hem of Peach's skirt. Unfortunately, these figures are also the ones plagued by unreliable eyes, meaning eyes that were printed on the face without uniformity, which can lead to crossed eyes on figures or a lack of symmetry. This can be all too common with mass-produced items, so if you buy these in stores, be sure you give it a good overall look before you enter the check-out line.
amiibo vs. Skylanders
How does Mario's clan compare to Spyro's posse? Well, when standing the Swap Force model of Mega Ram Spyro next to Mario, you can see that Activision has a bit more experience in the NFC toy market. There's more detail and style in Swap Force's Spyro, which you can partially credit to the years of Skylanders figures that preceded it. Mario still looks presentable next to Spyro, and hopefully the 2016 version of Mario will see similar sophistication if and when it rolls around.
amiibo vs. Disney Infinity
In my secret fan fiction, Samus beats Iron Man nine times out of ten in a straight battle. But what about when stood next to each other in NFC toy form? I give the edge to the metal Avenger. As with Skylanders, the Marvel set isn't the first run for Disney Infinity, so their toys look a little better, with more personality overall for the Avengers crew. In general, Infinity's figures are a bit bigger and sturdier than amiibo, making them safer for the kids who play rough.
Which one is best?
Judging them purely on physical design, I'd put them all close, but Skylanders is the most sophisticated, with Infinity a close second in terms of quality. Still, don't feel bad for the amiibo, because they came out really well for being the first run of figures. When mass producing toys, the first wave is almost like a test run, with lessons to be learned with each new figure's production. amiibo are off to a good start with this first set, and I look forward to seeing how they grow and change with each new set.
amiibo vs. Lego (and more)
But before I wrap things up, perhaps you're curious how the Amiibos look compared to some other famous toys, like Lego, Nendoroid, Funko Pop, and more. If so, then keep going to see the bonus gallery of all those toys in one place!