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Big N Breakdown: Up, up and Amiibo!

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Blessings and salutations siblings, welcome back to the Book of Frog! Last Saturday saw the release of another set of the Super Smash Brother’s Amiibo, bring the running total of Amiibo from that series to a whopping THIRTY FIVE! By the Holy Game! With an in game starting roster of forty-nine, and the addition of Mewtwo and Lucas to the line up of the game and Amiibo series, that means there is only fifteen more Amiibo (not including Mii Fighter) before the Smash series comes to a close. Or until they release further DLC characters at least.

First of all though I want to point out that I have actually moved the Amiibo articles from the “Let Us Play” article series, into “Big N Breakdown”. Let Us Play was always supposed to be about industry news and discussion, when something caught my attention, something that might stand between a gamer and their beloved games, hence the title “Let Us Play” and the symbol, an uprising fist holding a controler. Alternatively, as a call to prayer as it were, when good things are revealed. However, looking through a lot of the articles I’ve written in “Let Us Play” some of them seem like they would work better elsewhere. Talk of a Netflix Zelda series, Nintendo announcing the addition of games to the Club Nintendo catalogue, games companies that have dropped the ball, SEGA’s business restructure, these are all things that should be in “Let Us Play!”. However, news about new Nintendo Games, new Amiibo releases, new peripheral releases, these are all things that I think should be discussed in “Big N Breakdown”. So even as I attempt to get back into the swing of the monthly Nintendo release reviews, I’m also going to be posting Nintendo news in Big N Breakdown, hopefully more regularly.

Specific game reviews/discussions and Top Tens, will still remain in Pixelvision, when I can break back into writing those, and at some point in the future I’ll be getting back  to posting trivia from some of my favourite games series like Zelda, Pokémon and Final Fantasy in 8Bit Trivia.

So Ladies and Gentlemen of the congregation, welcome back to Big N Breakdown!

 

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ssbamiibo-mayLast week I released a post concluding my summing up of the April 1st Nintendo Direct, so I don’t need to gush yet again about how much I love Amiibo, I do however need to cover a slight confusion that arose thanks to that video. In my last update I posted the image you can see here on the right. As you can clearly see this shows Charizard, Pac-Man, Wario, Jigglypuff, Greninja, Robin, Lucina and Ness, all being released at the same time, and the date being May 29th. This is not a mistake on my part, but a mistake made by Nintendo them selves. The Amiibo of Charizard, Pac-Man, Wario, Robin, Lucina and Ness, excluding Jigglypuff and Greninja, were released on April 25th. When I took the screenshot from the video, I wanted to alter the dates displayed for my article, but thought to myself that Nintendo knew what they were talking about, and maybe the Amiibo release dates were pushed back for some reason. So I didn’t want to quote the date that I believed to be the correct date if changes had been made.

Firstly Greninja and Jigglypuff are being added to the May 29th set, which already consists of Robin, Lucina, Wario, Pacman, Ness and Charizard.

And I even made mention that I found it strange that there was such a gap in the release of the Amiibo, and that there were so few in the July set.

With this almost haphazard release schedule, it makes me wonder if there are other Amiibo sets that we currently don’t know about, which will be revealed closer to the date. Especially the July date, which so far only has two Amiibo scheduled.

inklingamiibo01I may be wrong about this but it seems that is exactly what is happening. Nintendo appear to be assigning a limited number of release “slots” for Amiibo each month, somewhere up to eight it seems. As such, with the winding down of Smash Brothers Amiibo, and the introduction of new Amiibo sets, means that fewer Smash Brothers Amiibo are being released in one goto be able to release these newer more diverse toys to life lines.

From the image above, only Jigglypuff and Greninja are being released on May 29th. However they will be joined by the three new Splatoon Amiibo. inkling Girl and Inkling Boy are being released separately, or together in a three pack with the Inkling squid. Bringing the total Amiibo releases for May 29th to five individual units. Two for smash, and two for Splatoon.

With that in mind, it seems to give a little bit of a better understanding of how we can expect to see Amiibo released in the future. This also explains why Dark Pit and Palutena are being released on their own in July. This Amiibo release may very well coincide with the release of Yoshi’s Woolly World, and with it three new Amiibo of the plush variety.

I apologise for any confusion my post my have caused, but hopefully this will come closer to cracking the code to what Nintendo are doing with their Amiibo range, and make up for the mistakes I made last week. Now to the new releases!

 

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warioI want to start this off by saying this quite bluntly. I do not like Wario. I am not a fan of the character, especially as he is portrayed in the Smash series. I think he’s disgusting and vulgar in a way that even though I realise is being played for laughs, I just can’t enjoy. While I did like the various Wario Land games, especially the Virtual Boy release, his most recent games: the Wario Ware series; don’t really appeal to me. In fact, the only reason I bought Wario Ware on the Wii U is because friends of mine do enjoy playing it. With all that said, and realising the oxymoron of my next statement…

This Amiibo is simply beautiful!

No seriously. I’m very impressed with the Amiibo. The design is spot on, to the smallest details. Wario’s pink denim pants and jacket are both textured, with the fine details of the seams and the stitching, and yet despite this texture the Wario Ware bomb logo with the words “HURRY UP!” are perfectly printed on the back of the jacket. Even down to the smallest detail of the gold eagle on his belt buckle has been taken into consideration and replicated on this Amiibo.

There are very few flaws on this model, mold lines are mostly well hidden, and nothing stands out as being obviously wrong. If I were to get nitpicky about this Amiibo, I would point out that the white from his teeth bleed over onto his tongue on the inside of his mouth, and maybe his moustache could do with a little bit of paint on the edge next to his nose, but these are incredibly minor details, that you’re only going to notice when you harshly scrutinise the Amiibo.

Aside from Smash Brothers functionality, and other games with simple tap functions like Hyrule Warriors, the Smash Brothers range Wario Amiibo will work with Mario Party 10. So if you prefer this particular version of Wario, I recommend trying to get your hands on it, there are still some available online, though prices are creeping up.

As Amazed as I am to say this, the Wario Amiibo may very well be the best in this set! If i gave scores it would be a 9 out of 10!

 

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pacmanConversely to Wario, Pac-Man was actually one of the Amiibo that I was most looking forward to, however, unfortunately he’s managed to be the most disappointing of this release. Possibly the most disappointing of the the entire Smash Brothers series of Amiibo. I know there are limitations on the Amiibo, because it has to match the in game character art, however, this particular Amiibo doesn’t appear to have had much effort put into it at all. I don’t like to start with a negative, so lets talk about what I do like about this Amiibo first.

Of course, the pose is spot on for the game, and I’m happy to see that the print for his eyes and eyebrows have managed to land perfectly on the embossed areas. Sadly, the inside of Pac-Man’s mouth, is probably the best looking part of him.

While the sculpt is exactly what you might expect from a sphere… it’s spherical, the molding and construction of this Amiibo is pretty poor. Unlike Pikachu, who is actually painted yellow, Pacman just uses yellow plastic and leaves it at that, denying Pac-Man the vibrant colour and smooth matte finish of a good paint job. Additionally, his boots and gloves have received the same treatment, or lack there of. Where as other characters who have lesser amounts of detail have received an airbrushed paint job that give the appearance of further depth and texture, Pac-Man has none of this. So his boots and gloves just look flat and blank like some cheap toy. The worst part of the lacking paint job, is how bad the join is between the front and back of Pac-Man, I’ll get back to the join line in a moment, but the plastics themselves, from the front and the back of Pac-Man, are two different colours. They are similar, but noticeably different in the right light.

So yeah, that join line. The mold and join lines of a large flat area can be difficult to hide, especially in a mass produced figure like this, but the line it’s self would also have been softened if a coat of paint had been applied, as it is not, the join is actually a sharp edge, not sharp in that it can cut you, but noticable if you run your thumb over it, and in doing so picks up dirt from your hands. Even just handling Pac-Man to analyse him for this review, there is not a noticeable black ring along the join.

I’ve been interested in customising Amiibo, resculpting a Samus to have the Light Suit, repainting Link as the Fierce Deity, having some fun with a bunch of Yoshi and Kirby Amiibo, but every time I’ve thought about doing that, I’ve always thought to myself that I would have to buy a second Amiibo before i start the customisation process. I’m very attached to my Amiibo, and if I’m going to customise, I’m going to want an original one as well. Pac-Man on the other hand is going to get a paint job. Firstly I’m going to use an emery board to smooth off that join line, add a texture to the gloves, and maybe a bit of detail to the boots, and then I’m going to give him an all over paint job, with a more vibrant, golden yellow colour.

I want to like this Amiibo, I wanted to love it. However, it’s poorly constructed, and that makes me sad. Hopefully my touch ups will improve it in the future.

 

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charizardSimilarly to Pac-Man, Charizard is a mostly solid, block colour piece, except that clearly a lot more effort and detail went into Charizard, than Pac-Man. I suppose they had to really. Charizard is a very popular character, not just in Smash Brothers, but generally speaking in Pokémon and other media, Charizard is one of the biggest fan favourite Pokémon of all time. Personally I was always more enamoured with Grass types, so you can imagine how frustrated I was when there was no Grass type in Sm4sh. Ah well… there’s always DLC.

Charizard is a really cool looking piece, that stands out rather distinctly with his awesome wings, and bright orange colour that is pretty much unmatched by any other Amiibo. It’s actually rather odd on the eyes, almost looking like it’s glowing in the right light. What’s interesting about this colour though, is that it doesn’t appear to be a paint job. This orange that they used, is just the plastic, but none the less looks tonnes better than Pac-Man. Different pigments have different effects on plastic, much like how I explained int he Super Mario Amiibo article. Charizard does however, also have additional depth added by way of air brushed shading, and really it makes all the difference! Having a little bit of a darker orange around the ankles, groin, arms, tail, and a gradient rising to the top of the backs of the wings, really gives this Amiibo so much character.

The downside of this Amiibo though is also related to this shading and joining. While the mold lines are mostly very well hidden, all of the joins are actually rather obvious. The two worst offenders are around Charizards tail – where on my Amiibo, it appears Charizard was shaded first and then assembled, so the shading actually cuts off at the line, and the most noticeable, is actually a decent gap around his face. This gap is a little disappointing, though I would be afraid to fill it, because the colour is so stunning, I’d be afraid of not being able to match it accurately, and ending up ruining the piece.

Over all though I like this Amiibo despite some pretty glaring flaws, the colour will continue to impress me. It’s just a stunning Amiibo and I’m quite happy with it.

 

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lucinaAh Lucina… my beautiful Waifu. While I have still yet to play Fire Emblem Awakening, one character I have become rather enamoured with, was of course the beautiful and bad ass Lucina. When I first saw the trailer with her fighting Captain Falcon, I made a noise very reminiscent of… well… this. If I’m honest though, I don’t really play her all that often, I’m actually far better with the next Amiibo on this list, but none the less, I was so happy she was getting representation, and I’m looking forward to training her up!

This Amiibo is, like Pac-Man one of the Amiibo I’ve been waiting for, but this one does not disappoint! While there are a few flaws in some of the paint job, some of these mistakes are kind of expected, to some extent, and I’ll go into that more later, and I feel that everything else about this Amiibo makes up for it. I’m very happy about the amount of detail on Lucina, the lines in her leggings and sleeves, the engravings and embossing on her armour, her belt buckles and even the stitching on all her belts, adds so much depth to the character. Unlike some of the more anime looking characters, there is nothing wrong with her head what so ever, and she has an extremely pretty face, that looks focused, and actually a little coy. Very cute. I’m also happy to say that both her sword and scabbard are nearly perfectly straight, which is one of the most common flaws with sword wielding characters. I had a bent sword with Marth and Link, but they seem to have fixed that issue now, from Shulk onwards.

While the “ice” is something I rarely comment on positively, as quite often it comes off as an eye sore rather than something that is actually functional, with Lucina I think they’ve actually managed to get it right. While it’s there, and it’s kinda obvious, and again, I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary, it’s not wrapped around her leg, or encasing a foot, it’s a long clear arm, that attaches to her at the butt. It just looks like a stand you would use to keep an action figure propped up, and as such, I can forgive it. I’ll even go as far as to say compared to a lot of the other “ice” it looks good and may even be functional. Lucina has thin legs, and maybe in a hot climate like Australia, over time, she might start to bend or warp slightly, due to the weight of her cape. The stand is actually positioned correctly to prevent that, unlike Wii fit Trainer, who is only supported up as far as her shin.

There are of course some downsides to this Lucina, as I said above, some of the paint doesn’t seem to have adhered to the plastic very well, so what should have been clean lines could do with a bit of a touch up. This is noticeable around the light blue cuffs and boot tops. The same goes for the skin colour used on her hands. Her hands themselves appear to be made of a blue plastic, or at very least given a coat of blue paint first, as such, the paint printer, which I assume was used, didn’t quite get the detailing right on her hands. This is forgivable but I’ll be going over it and touching up the hands and cuffs.

I really like this Amiibo, and I’m just happy it exists. Lucina is a great character, and I’m glad she has an Amiibo.

 

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robinOne thing I really didn’t expect when I first saw the reveal trailer back at E3 last year, was to not only see Lucina, but Robin too. Everyone was convinced that Chrom would be getting a roster slot, and we were all surprised to find that Robin got it instead. While some people have been less than content about Chrom’s exclusion as a main character, relegated only as Robin’s Final Smash, I’m actually ok with it. Chrom would have added another blue haired swordsman, instead we have a white haired swordsman. You have to think about diversity!  Oh yeah, and the fact that he’s a really powerful character, that can break face, with his really cool and different magic mechanic, using tomes, and his Levin blade that appears for a limited time after Smash Attacks, something that’s never been seen before.

His Amiibo is yet another one that’s done right! There is an incredible amount of detail on the character, just starting with all the spectacular gold and purple edge work that really makes the design of the character and the effort that went into this sculpt pop, and despite the high amount of detailing on this Amiibo, there aren’t any obvious flaws that I can see in the sculpt or molding process, maybe a little bit of sloppy paint application here and there but mostly the paint job has high fidelity to the sculpt. As I’ve said in a previous article, when it comes to mass produced toys like this, the higher your attempted level of detail, quite often the more common flaws will be apparent in either the molding or the paint job. Not this time though! And that’s not going into the tome.

In Robin’s left hand is a tome with a lightning bolt detail on the cover, but the best bit is the inside of the book. It actually has a magic circle on the right page, and text written on the left page. While the text is way too small to read, it does appear to be actual writing, there’s even two large characters that appear to be Japanese Kanji! That’s the sort of attention to detail that gets me hyped about Amiibo!

If there is anything for me to complain about with this Amiibo, he does have the same problem as Lucina, with the way the hands were painted, but the biggest issue is going to be his head. The error that has been common with the more human/anime like proportioned characters, strikes again with Robin, as his face has come out rather narrow with less of a strong jawline. This in combination with his hair, which seems proportionally accurate of the rest of the model, makes his head look disproportionately small, with a huge mop of hair on top. Over all though, this doesn’t really detract from the piece as a whole, in the same way that some of the particularly misshapen Marth faces did.

Once again, I’m very happy with this Amiibo. the detail continues to blow me way. It’s a great model, and I’m looking forward to using Robin and Lucina, along side Marth and Ike, in the up coming Codename S.T.E.A.M.

 

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nessNow… the Ness Amiibo has one big problem with the sculpt, though it has nothing to do with quality. So I just want you to be aware of this before I start talking about it. You see Ness, is incredibly creepy! Where as Ness in the games has a rather round face, the Amiibo seems to have taken a step towards the human. The contours of the face, and more defined jawline leading to his chin, reflect something a bit more natural, than the simple ovoid that was his head in Smash Brothers. However, despite this more human child looking head, he retains the simplistic features of the game, the blank, expressionless, black discs for eyes, and the lip-less smile, as he points directly at YOU. Yeah, this is just down right disturbing.

Aside from the horror show that is his face, the Amiibo is mostly pretty good, the sculpt is well detailed, for what is after all a very simple design of a character, the mold lines are all very well hidden, and the colours are certainly bright. I would have likes to see a similar denim like texture to his shorts that Wario received, but that’s not really necessary, and I think the lines between his socks and shoes could have received a bit more definition. One of my favourite features of the Ness Amiibo is the adorable little back pack he’s carrying, such a great attention to detail. Well… here at least.

Ness does actually suffer from a rather decent flaw in the painting process. The blue stripes of his shirt are printed on to yellow plastic. Certainly the right direction to go, print a darker colour on top of a lighter one, unfortunately the print doesn’t appear to be all that good. The stripes are pretty bad, and end prematurely on the model leaving an unrefined edge to the paint job, or a decent gap between the stripes and the object that should be intersecting it, like the bag straps. it’s a shame really.

While it’s pretty obvious when you’re looking at the Amiibo, with Ness sitting on the shelf, I doubt anyone would really notice it though, none the less, I think I’ll be touching up those lines too.

I like the Ness Amiibo, it’s not really an Amiibo that I was excited for, and I’m not fond of the character in Smash, but it’s certainly deserving of a place in the collection.

 

AndFinally-BigN

That’s all for this latest unboxing of Amiibo. I know that there are so many people out there who have been unable to get their hands on Amiibo, and while I know it’s not the same, you are all very welcome to come back next month and read up more about the Amiibo coming out in May, and hopefully my reviews of the products might help you in deciding what Amiibo you want to spend your money on in the second hand market. With the constant price creep on eBay, it’s hard to part with some of the obscene amounts of money people are asking for, especially if you don’t know how good the product is going to be.

There was one other thing I wanted to talk about, but this article is already getting long, so expect another Amiibo update sometime soon. That one will probably be a Let Us Play though. So keep your eyes peeled for that!

What do you think of the new Amiibo set? Did you manage to get your hands the ones you wanted? What Amiibo are you hoping to get your hands on in the future? What other things would you like me to look at in this seires? Let me know int he comments below and lets spark up some discussion!

That’s all from me today, thank you all very much for joining the congregation today dear siblings, I’ve been Andy Frogman, and this has been Big N Breakdown: Up, up and Amiibo! only on The Book of Frog.

Peace and High Scores!