Amiibo as a concept seems to be a very divisive one. On the one hand, there are those who love the Amiibo figures for giving their games some extra functionality. Others despise the concept of them outright because the very idea of having disc-locked content in the form of NFC figures rubs them the wrong way. Personally, I’m on the former side of the fence. The figures themselves and the functionality they provide are completely optional and don’t impact your enjoyment of the core game. Besides, for me it’s less about the functionality they provide and more of the fact that Nintendo is actually making physical toys of franchises that I never even imagined would see physical merch for! Now we have toys of Star Fox and Fire Emblem characters, like Fox and Marth. I’ve already pre-ordered the amiibos for Shulk, Ike and Captain Falcon, and you can bet your ass I’m gonna pre-order the Ness, Robin and Lucina amiibos when they’re announced!
Jonathan Holmes recently wrote an article asking what kind of Amiibo-based games Nintendo should make. While I like having multiple games having optional amiibo support, I wouldn’t be opposed to having a game that’s built completely around Amiibos, if it’s done right. With that, I figured I’d respond with a few ideas of my own. Before I go into my ideas though, I’m going to state that all of these hypothetical Amiibo-based games must be free-to-play. You’re already paying $13 per figure. Having to pay an additional $40-60 just to play the game is kind of unfair. Besides, it’s not like Skylanders or Disney Infinity where you have to purchase a USB portal to read the figures. The technology to read the figures is already built into the system.
With that out of the way, let’s get started!
A Pokemon TCG-based game
With Nintendo’s previous comments about how the Amiibo tech could be used in cards, this one is perhaps the most obvious/likely of the bunch. The Pokemon TCG is one of the most popular trading card games in the entire world. Besides, The Pokemon Company already did something like this a decade ago with the e-Reader.
For those who don’t know or remember, the e-Reader was a peripheral that Nintendo came up with for the GBA back in 2003. Nintendo made some trading card series that had old NES games on them, but they also included e-Reader functionality with a small handful of their games. Most of them were Pokemon games, of course. All of the new TCG cards that had e-Reader functionality had a scannable Pokedex entry instead of printing it on the card, but some of them had special mini-games you could play.
For the sake of simplicity, I imagine that Nintendo would make something similar to the Pokemon TCG Online game. You could scan your real life cards into the game, build your deck and challenge others online. You wouldn’t be able to use your older cards, but they could always make lovely reprints of some of the more popular ones. It’s a fairly straightforward concept that doesn’t require too much effort. That said, I wouldn’t put it past The Pokemon Company to lock special event Pokemon behind some of these amiibo cards like what they did with the Eon Ticket, but I’m hoping that they don’t go that far.
I could just write “Mario Party with Every Nintendo Character Ever” and end it there, but I’d like to be a little more creative than that. For example, each of the amiibo characters could allow us to use a new board based on its respective franchise. The Mushroom Kingdom from Mario amiibos, Hyrule from Legend of Zelda ones, Corneria from Star Fox, Kanto from Pokemon, Bionis from Xenoblade Chronicles etc. Each of these boards would have obstacles and power-ups from those particular franchises. A warp pipe could be found in the Mushroom Kingdom board, a random Pokemon encounter on the Kanto board, a heart container on the Hyrule board.
You could even have some special boss characters that could show up at the end of the game as a final challenge. Maybe on the Hyrule board, you have to face off against Ganon (the giant pig one, not Ganondorf). Andross could show up on the Corneria board and you'd have to shoot him down! Maybe in the Kanto board, you'll have to face off against Giovanni in a puzzle game, similar to Pokemon Puzzle League. Beating any of these guys would have to unlock something special.
As far as character specific features, maybe if your amiibo wins a certain number of games, it could get a special accessory like a crown, or something. Kind of like with Super Mario 3D World, but less obnoxious. Also, each amiibo could level up and unlock special character-specific abilities to use during your turn. Maybe Mario could summon a warp pipe to take him to any space on the board, or Fox could have some Arwings do a bomb run. Some of you might call this broken, but think about the Blue Shell in Mario Kart or the Gust Bellows in Super Smash Bros, and then let’s talk about broken.
Fun fact: I wasn’t raised on Mario. I was raised on Pokemon, so I tend to prefer strategy-based games a bit more than action-based ones. It’s why I’ve come to love the Fire Emblem series so much and why I’d like to play more Advanced Wars games. So when I thought of amiibo-based games this was one of the first games to come to my mind after the Pokemon TCG game.
This game would be a turn-based strategy game that would function similarly to chess, as opposed to Nintendo’s other strategy games. You would only be able to move one of your amiibo characters per turn and could take on the roles of the Rook, Knight, Bishop, King or Queen. Each amiibo would get special abilities depending on what character they are and what role they take. For instance, a Link amiibo used as a Knight piece would have him riding Epona into battle and allow him to move twice per turn. But if Link were used as a King piece and was used with a Zelda Queen piece, they could use the power of their respective Triforce to grant a buff to the magic stats of all allied troops if they are kept together.
I think the main appeal of this game would be all the different combinations you can create with various amiibos and roles. There are the obvious combinations of characters from the same franchise, but I’d also like to see some combinations with characters from different franchises. Perhaps the Link, Marth and Shulk amiibos can use a special sword attack when placed together. Maybe Fox and Captain Falcon could give each character a buff to every other character’s movement. Bowser and Ganondorf? Little Mac and Wii Fit Trainer? Falco and the Duck Hunt dog? The possibilities are endless!
In Holmes’ article, he mentioned the possibility of making a sequel to Nintendo Land that had world building elements. I kind of want to expand on that idea since I’m one of those weirdoes who actually kinda liked Nintendo Land as a pack-in title. Although, instead of being based on something like Minecraft, I was thinking it would be more like Roller Coaster Tycoon or those theme park simulators where you get to design your own theme park with various attractions.
Unlike the original Nintendo Land, you could make entire parks based on various Nintendo franchises. Mario amiibos would create a Mario park, Legend of Zelda amiibos would create a Zelda park, and so on. Each amiibo you scan would unlock special character-specific rides, attractions or mini-games as well as various other decorations for your specific park. For instance, Mario could have a game where you and other players race to collect as many stars as possible in a time limit, Peach could have a game where you try to juggle as many peaches as you can, and Bowser could have a Rampage-style game where you rack up as many points as possible by doing the most amount of damage.
The more of these games you play, the more your amiibo levels up and the more extra goodies you can unlock for your specific park from them. These could be more levels for the various games, more decorations and buildings for your parks, more music to play in the park, and some special swag for your Mii. Things like those special pins in Disney World that cast members give out in special places. Once your reach the highest level with your amiibo, you could even the character from your amiibo wander around the park! You could have your Mii interact with them and take pictures with them, too! This would probably be the only time you could have a picture of yourself with your favorite Nintendo character outside of an anime convention!
Imagine this, but in a virtual environment.
The best part is that you can save these parks to your amiibos and get together with your friends. You could bring your amiibos to each other’s places and show off your various parks. Perhaps your amiibos would level up faster when you play together in each other’s own parks. You could get photos of characters they've unlocked with your Miis.And of course, you could unlock those special accessories for your Mii from their parks. It wouldn’t be as awesome as going to an actual Nintendo World theme park, but it would be the next best thing!
So there you go. These are just a few ideas I thought of. If Nintendo happens to be reading this, feel free to use any of my ideas for your amiibo platform. I’m sure you can do them right. While I'm mostly just going to collect amiibo of my favorite characters so that I can have them on my desk, I would be happy to play them with my amiibo if any of these games were to become a reality. Especially the Nintendo World one. Please? You can do this.