It’s Weird That Mario Wonder Doesn’t Have Amiibo Figures, Right?
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the latest mascot platformer from Nintendo, a spectacular and imaginative new entry that marks a return to form for 2D Mario platformers. But amid all of its secrets and surprises, it also brings a surprising omission: Amiibo support is nowhere to be found. The collectible figurines first released in 2014 have been getting at least cursory attention for years, even if they aren’t currently garnering the attention they did during their peak. But Nintendo chose not to release them for this high-profile game, raising the question: Are Amiibo finally winding down?
Amiibos were initially released in 2014 alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, but they’ve gone on to be used in just about every major Nintendo release since. Nintendo has been careful not to make them strictly necessary for gameplay, but they tend to provide helpful bonuses or shortcuts. Just tap the figure against the sensor and bam, you have a power-up, for example.
Amiibo support for a new game tends to come in two varieties. The first, of course, is the production of new figurines that immortalize memorable new characters from a game, while also providing Amiibo functionality in-game. The second is compatibility with your existing Amiibo library, granting bonuses for other, older figurines–usually within the same franchise.
This year’s other big release from Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, had both of these elements. A new Link Amiibo with his glowing arm was available on release day alongside the game, with Zelda and Ganondorf said to be on the way this winter. Even if you didn’t buy the brand new Link Amiibo, though, all of your past Zelda Amiibo would still summon themed treasures. Similarly, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury released with Cat Mario and Cat Peach, and Super Mario Odyssey released alongside Mario, Peach, and Bowser in white wedding formalwear.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder, as a game built around wild new Wonder effects and with no shortage of fashionable new power-ups, would seem to perfectly lend itself to new Amiibo figurines. A jumbo-sized Elephant Mario in the style of the oversized Zelda Guardian would be a perfect fit for the new game, as would a regular-sized Drill Mario–which is not to mention the bevy of other playable characters, Prince Florian, Bowser’s Castle transformation, or Bowser Jr.’s new Wonder-infused mask. It would be unrealistic to expect every permutation of every character, but it’s surprising that Nintendo didn’t even pick a handful.
But even when Nintendo hasn’t produced new Amiibo, it at least tends to include backwards compatibility with older ones. Not the case in Mario Wonder, though. Your existing Mario figurines don’t do anything, and there is no option to to scan them. The functionality just flat-out doesn’t exist.
Now, to be sure, Super Mario Wonder is very full-featured without the Amiibo. It includes more thoughtful online features in both multiplayer and asynchronous single-player, so the inability to tap a trinket and get a free Super Mushroom, or what have you, isn’t necessarily missed. But it may suggest that Amiibo support is starting to wane. When Amiibo first released, eager fans bought them faster than Nintendo could produce them, and Nintendo responded in kind by putting figurines out for just about everything it could. Nowadays, new figurines are coming out less frequently, and for fewer games. We didn’t see new Amiibo produced for Pikmin 4 or Detective Pikachu Returns, and we’ve heard nothing about them for the upcoming WarioWare: Move It or the impending remake of Super Mario RPG. (Sorry, Geno fans.)
The general pace of Amiibo production seems to have slowed significantly in recent years. The figurines used to be released in large waves of 6-12 at a time, but now that’s more than we’ve seen released in 2022 and 2023 combined–and those that are released seem mostly focused on making good on the promise of a figure for each Super Smash Bros. character.
The issue may be that the figurines are not selling like they once did, which could make producing new ones a less attractive business proposition. Including compatibility with older Amiibo could also be a licensing headache, as the library of Amiibo is so massive at this point. The other, less charitable explanation is that Nintendo simply doesn’t produce Amiibo for new 2D Mario games. While the company made them for Odyssey and Bowser’s Fury, it didn’t make or support them for New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe or Mario Maker 2. With the lack of Amiibo in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the company is zero for three on Amiibo support in 2D Mario games in this generation.
Whatever the cause, what’s certain is that Super Mario Bros. Wonder is fertile ground for new Amiibo figurines, and Nintendo passed on that opportunity. Mario Wonder is a fantastic game with some truly brilliant visual design. It would have been nice to put a little piece of that on a shelf.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors.
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