Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge, a free-to-play entry - of sorts - in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, isn't available for all-comers on the Wii U and 3DS eShop yet, but there is an 'early access' promotion underway in North America.

Announced in the early March Nintendo Direct broadcast, North American gamers can now buy any amiibo figure from Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop and get a free download code for the game. The promotion is live from 25th March to 27th April, though at the time of writing amiibo product pages on Amazon.com aren't mentioning the freebie; the online retailer is marked as 'limited time only', whereas Best Buy and GameStop should have certainly started the promotion.

The free download doesn't arrive on the eShop until 28th April - at least one amiibo is needed to play - so this seems like a clever way for Nintendo of America to encourage some extra amiibo sales. No release date has been set for Europe.

Will you be trying to get this game early?

[via minimario.nintendo.com]