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Amiibo Tap: Another Wasted Opportunity for Nintendo

"Nintendo's latest attempt to implement amiibos falls flat."

Nintendo’s amiibos are still selling like hotcakes with pre-orders for the next wave that is out at the end of the month continuing to sell out in seconds. Then there’s wave five which is out in the UK way earlier than US folks which pre-orders also sold out fast. Despite Nintendo’s toys to life arguably saving them financially, they continue to struggle with solid integration into their games. Super Smash Bros. is still the best usage of amiibos so far personally while Mario Party 10’s was disappointing. A free game came out yesterday called Amiibo Tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits where amiibos are required to get access to 30 games that have been out on the NES Remix series and Virtual Console. However, Amiibo Tap feels like a wasted opportunity for Nintendo where they took an idea that is nice on paper, but wasn’t what fans hoped it would be.

Amiibo Tap follows a similar infrastructure to the NES Remix games where you play NES and SNES classics in bite sitzed increments (like Masterpieces in Super Smash Bros. minus the remixes seen in NES Remix). By tapping an amiibo to the Wii U, it unlocks a random game of the 30 available to be played. You would think a Mario amiibo would unlock a Mario game like Super Mario Bros., but it unlocked The Legend of Zelda instead. In other words, an amiibo will be registered to a certain game and that game only. You can tap the amiibo again to switch scenes to play different parts of a NES or SNES game within a time limit. I’ll use Super Mario Bros. as an example where the first scene is world 1-1, another scene will be 2-2 while the last one is 8-4. Switching between scenes in the fly is seamless with no load times and another save state is there to showcase another part of a game that Nintendo hopes to lead folks to buying the full games on the eShop like NES Remix.

The big problem with Amiibo Tap is that Nintendo took a good idea on paper according to fans, but half-assed their efforts trying to hustle folks to buy full Virtual Console games. The “too good to be true Nintendo wouldn’t do it” idea was that buying an amiibo grants to you access to a full Virtual Console game or that character’s collection of games. Getting Samus or Zero Suit Samus for example would get you Metroid and Super Metroid in it’s entirety, but Nintendo says nope and puts them out in little increments in Amiibo Tap. It is unfortunate that the potential was there like NES Remix was, but Nintendo’s lackluster effort is just another swing and miss in terms of amiibo integration.

Another issue I had with the game is the 30-game lineup. Sure the staples are there, but NES games that made appearances in NES Remix are still in this as well. Pinball, Clu Clu Land, Ice Climber, Wario’s Woods still feel like misses to me, but it is nice to see SNES games even though we’re still waiting on a SNES Remix. Its fine to play games that I didn’t get on the Wii U’s Virtual Console such as the Kirby games and Super Mario Kart, but the lack of more recent games that came out on the eShop sucks. I assume they’ll save the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Earthbound or even Nintendo 64/DS games for a sequel. Maybe even third-party games like Pac-Man the Mega Man series can make it if Nintendo reaches out to Namco and Capcom because of Mega Man and Pac-Man having amiibos. Amiibo Tap is not out for the 3DS either so Game Boy games on that is a possibility for the future.

Nintendo missed the mark with another game with amiibo integration. Amiibo Tap had the potential to be something cool, but the execution was disappointing not living up to fans’ expectations. I’m curious if the Virtual Console on Wii U has been a success in terms of sales that has led Nintendo to making games like NES Remix and this hoping to boost sales. While Splatoon’s amiibo integration sounds interesting, Nintendo still needs to get the ball rolling with a good game with amiibos than tacked on DLC. Hopefully we’ll see something at E3, but with amiibo sales still providing crazy numbers, Nintendo seems fine continuing these lackluster efforts until we stop buying them.

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