Spending an afternoon unboxing Wave 2 amiibo figures got my boys more than a little excited, but along with the frenzied Christmas joy they quickly latched on to just how detailed these toys are.
We first caught up with Wave 1 amiibos Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Peach before getting on with the real business of Wave 2: Pit, Diddy Kong, Luigi, Little Mac, Captain Falcon and Zelda. The family were more than a little excited to get their hands on these.
With more amiibo knocking around the house, getting lost under beds and filling up the toy box we’ve got a better idea on how they stack up as physical toys as well as electronic gaming tokens. The biggest difference here is something the kids noticed more than me — as you can see in the video — they feel different to the smooth forms of the rival Skylanders and Disney Infinity toys.
While Skylanders excel in the variety of materials and light-up electronics and Infinity figures have sweeping lines that perfectly recreate the House of Mouse family favourites, amiibo is all about the sculpted detail.
Get Donkey Kong out the package and he feels almost furry in the hand, very different from Sully who is similarly furry in real life but in toy form looses his locks. Mario and Luigi look smooth at first but on closer inspection the fabric of their overalls actually has a physical weave to it.
Little fingers soon find the detailing on Pit and Zelda unlike that of Torch or Star Strike Skylanders, adding layers of material as well as paint passes. The layered skirt of Peach was also appreciated by my kids used to the solid moulded forms of Anna and Elsa in Infinity.
The eyes are different too on the amiibo, with tiny detail lashes for the female figurines and pixel perfect light spot for Mario and Luigi. "Pit has got something in his eye, dad" my youngest commented yesterday. I assumed he was just playing a made up game, but looking closer (really close in fact, for my older eyes) and there is the tiniest dot of white highlighting the corners of his eyes.
Much of this detail isn't something you notice without close inspection, but it makes a big difference to how the toys feel, how they "read" in the hand. Whether it is this, the cross game features or perhaps the simple knowledge that there is more coming for these toys in other Nintendo games, my kids have a closer affinity to these toy characters than the others that have passed through our doors.
The extra detail may also be a clue to the difficulty of getting hold of some Wave 2 figures in stores. This must be more complex to manufacturer and also a bit more costly. Perhaps this is part of the reason of avoiding holding too much stock.
Either way, there is a window of opportunity for Nintendo here that needs to be capitalised upon with more news about how amiibo toys will work with other games both on Wii U and 3DS. My kids are hooked, but they're also fickle and will soon get attracted to the next shiny thing in their lives if amiibo doesn't keep developing.
What do you think? Had you noticed the super fine detail on your amiibo? If not take a closer look, and let us know if this makes a difference to you.