It is always nice when your favourite game console developer gives you a freebie every now and again, to thank you for your continued support and fanship. Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge is one of these gems. Though not technically free as it relies on your collection of amiibo to play with a minimum of at least one amiibo from the Super Mario franchise (be it Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Etc.). You use your amiibo to play mini robot versions of the same character and have to guide them through different levels whilst overcoming obstacles and hazards. You can use any other amiibo from other franchises but instead of becoming a mini robot version of that character, you instead play as a generic mini robot. The game itself is developed by the creators of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series and has the same aesthetic and general mechanics.
The game is simple and fun and can easily be played when you have a few moments free, which is ideal on both consoles when time is short to play a full on game. However, due to it’s dependency on amiibo, it does make playing this game whilst travelling a little more load bearing as you will have to take the amiibo with you in order to play the levels with that character.
Unlike most games nowadays (and including those in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series) this game doesn’t actually have a story which sometimes is not actually necessary when playing a game and doesn’t depend on story to drive players to continue to play. Instead players strive to get the highest score on levels by collecting all the coins and other collectibles as quickly as they can for the most amount of points possible.
Using the Stylus on the Wii U gamepad or 3DS touchscreen is relatively easy to use and therefore does’t rely to much on controls but on your ability to think fast and add girders where need whether to create bridges to other platforms or to block off nasty hazards. Each character has their own special skills that makes them differ from other characters, Mario can wall jump, Peach can hover for a short time, Bowser Jr can travel over spikes ad so on. It is easy enough to understand and play and doesn’t depend on you being a super genius to work out the puzzles.
As I mentioned before, it has the same cosmetic aesthetic as the Mario vs Donkey Kong series so it looks quite cartoony yet the graphics still look rather good, at least on the Wii U anyway (I have not played it on the 3DS so I don’t know how it compares). The game is very colourful and easy on the eye. It’s no Mona lisa but it isn’t and eyesore either.
As always with a Mario game, you can expect the same theme music and sound effects as you would in any other Mario game, and this one is no different but you know what they say, ‘Why change a winning formula?’ So you already know you are in for a treat when it comes to great catchy themes and sound effects and with an audio library spanning 30 yeas, you can bet to hear all kinds of background music including some from Super Mario Bros 2!
Well, it is that time again where I have to list the pros and cons so let’s get to it!
- A fun little game that you can invest hours into or only a few minutes. The levels are short and sweet and all vary in difficulty and challenge.
- The Soundtrack is always fun to listen to and the sound effects are like every other Mario game so Nostalgia is always felt even when playing something new and different.
- Finally amiibos have some actual part to play in a game. You need amiibos to play as a different character which gives amiibo collecters and edge over non collecters as they already have most of the figures needed to play the better most part of the game. Some levels are character specific so in order to play them, you will need that amiibo figure.
- It is free to download in Europe and can be obtained via a download code which comes with amiibo figures in the US.
- Not everybody has amiibo which means that half of the content of this game is locked until you purchase the figure in question or borrow one from a friend until you have finished all levels for that character.
- Though it is free to download, it’s actual price is hidden within purchasing amiibo so technically it isn’t free and is more coy than the Nintendo Badge Arcade Bunny.
- You can’t post your top scores onto Miiverse so there is little replayability to play levels again to get better top scores unless friends and family play on the same console as you and even then, does it really matter if they get a better score than you when it is all the same user data?
Closing Thoughts & Final Score
This is a fun little game to play and there are far worse games out there that you could play than this and to be honest, I quite enjoy its quirks and charm. I do however, have quite a few amiibo to play with anyway so I am not missing too many in order to complete this game fully. So with that in mind, if you have an ample collection of Super Mario characters amiibo figures then you should have no problems with this game, for those of you that don’t have amiibo, you will find this game very limited as it requires at least one to play, regardless of what series it is from and with that I give this game a score of…
And if you would like to see gameplay of the game in question then why not check out our featured episode in the Wii U Lv1 Playthrough Series via the video below!