Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge (Wii U) Review

By Shanker Varma 04.05.2016

Review for Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge on Wii U

Nintendo's amiibo have been a contentious point since their inception, as some people see them as expensive toys that lock away DLC, while others collect them just to have figures of their favourite Nintendo personalities, seeing any gameplay content as a bonus. Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge is another way to get value from these collectibles, as they can unlock new parts of the game when they are scanned. The gameplay is very much like 2015's fantastic Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, but certain characters have special abilities, which are used to find alternate exits or collect tokens to unlock more levels.

Anyone familiar with Tipping Stars will feel right at home here. The aim is to guide a mini toy to the exit door, while manipulating the scenery by removing items, girders and blocks, and placing them where they will guide the toy to the goal or pick up the coins that are scattered around each stage. The concept is simple, but the later parts are very well designed, so careful planning is needed to find the most efficient route. As a gold trophy is awarded to those who grab every coin and quickly reach the end, the experience can be tailored to meet the skills of most players and also offer replay value for those looking to challenge themselves further.

Scanning any amiibo will unlock the first stage and another 12 then open up sequentially. There are also a number of secondary doors that can only be reached by using a specific character that have a special ability, which lets it reach areas that others can't. These add another layer to the excellent gameplay already seen in Tipping Stars, as, for example, Toad squeezes through small tunnels or Rosalina springs through the air to reach high ledges. Finding these alternate exists will lead to a small world, each of which is thoughtfully designed to reflect whoever unlocked it. Collectible tokens are also waiting to be found and can be used to unlock even more parts of the game, although they can only be reached by using one of these special moves.

At the moment, there are 13 levels that can be played by scanning any single figure, and up to 62 can be unlocked in total, with the 10 characters that are shown below:

Screenshot for Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge on Wii U

This makes it quite expensive to play everything included in amiibo Challenge, but it does provide a lot of content for anyone who already has even one figure, especially if that happens to be one of the 10 with a special feature. It also serves as a good taster for Tipping Stars, which has the same mechanics and only a few differences, like the lack of special moves. It should be noted that a small robot, called Mini Spek, is playable if one of the 10 characters has not been scanned.

The mini toys, backgrounds and everything else that fills the game are all beautifully designed and shine on both the TV screen and GamePad. The vibrant colours breathe life to the game, especially the parts that have been stylised to match the themes of the 10 main characters. DK's Barrel Blast Jungle is very reminiscent of Donkey Kong Country, while the Mushroom Hills, unlocked by leaving through Toad's door, is filled with toadstools. The music does a great job of complementing the friendly theme of the gameplay and the chime that plays after finishing each level makes it a delightful experience, every time. Just like Tipping Stars, it's hard not to smile while watching the toys move around and listening to the great sounds that play alongside them.

Screenshot for Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Anyone with an amiibo should download this to try it out, especially if he or she enjoys puzzle games and/or Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Everything has been created with the same care that is found in other Nintendo titles and each of the abilities gives their collectible counterparts probably their best use yet. The mission to get gold trophies means that even the most hardened gamers will find a challenge, while those looking for a more relaxing time can complete each stage at their own pace. This makes it accessible to a range of people, as skill isn't an immediate barrier to enjoyment. The only real barrier is the cost of amiibo, but it could be enough to tip those who were interested in buying one over the edge. Anyone who already has a sizeable collection is sure to relish the extra content that is now available for no additional charge.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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