amiibo, Nintendo’s toys-to-life range of figures were hugely popular when they launched back in 2014, featuring a variety of characters from Nintendo’s beloved franchises. Inside the base of each figure contains an NFC chip, capable of storing data and allowing owners to utilise special content from different games when held against the NFC reader of a Wii U, 3DS family of systems or Switch family of systems. While the initial demand may have dropped since they launched, amiibo continue to be highly sought after, and some can be very difficult to find.
At the time of writing, Nintendo has released six amiibo themed on the Metroid franchise, four from the Super Smash Bros. collection, and two from the Metroid collection which released alongside Metroid: Samus Returns. This feature will detail each amiibo figure and how they interact with various software.
Released: 21st November 2014
Metroid was represented right from the initial launch of amiibo, with Samus herself! Naturally, this was the very first amiibo I purchased, and I was impressed with the level of detail the figure had. I loved the metallic paint job that she was given and how faithfully Nintendo had recreated her. Originally, I wasn’t a huge fan of her pose, and felt that it could have been positioned to be a bit more action orientated. I also had concerns that the figure could break from the base, as she was held there only by her boots. But overall I am satisfied with the figure, and was thankful that Metroid got early recognition in a hugely successful product range.
The release of the Samus amiibo marked the first time that Nintendo had mass produced a piece of Metroid merchandise that was affordable and easily accessible across many countries. By comparison, other licensed merchandise, such as the First 4 Figures range of statues, were incredibly costly. Posable figures such as the Figma range by Good Smile Company were expensive to import, and many other figures didn’t even make it out of Japan and are near impossible to find.
Like all amiibo in the Super Smash Bros. collection, the Samus amiibo is compatible with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, 3DS and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch. When you scan an amiibo to any of these games, you can fight against an AI controlled version of the character, which will learn and adapt to your fighting style. On 3DS and Wii U, you can feed equipment found in game to raise the attack, defense and speed of the figure player. Alternatively in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you can feed them spirits to boost their abilities. Once you are done, simply scan the amiibo again to retain your progress.
On the 3DS, if you scan the amiibo to Metroid Prime: Federation Force, you can unlock the “Bounty Hunter” Paint Job, which lets you collect missiles in packs of ten, instead of five, and the Paint Job can be used in Blast Ball. In Metroid: Samus Returns, this amiibo will unlock a Missile Reserve Tank, containing fifty missiles or ten super missiles to help make your mission a bit easier. Upon completion of the game, you can access a concept art gallery. Other uses for the amiibo include a special costume in Bayonetta 2 (Switch), a Mii suit in Mario Kart 8 (Wii U/Switch), and in Super Mario Maker as a playable character (Wii U).
Zero Suit Samus
Released: 11th September 2015
Almost ten months later the Zero Suit Samus amiibo was released. For this amiibo, I was much more impressed with the pose this time, and was more reassured by a large clear plastic base holding Samus to the base more securely than the previous amiibo. Once again, this amiibo had a metallic paint job, and some smaller details in her boots and Chozo marks on her hands. The downside for me was the hair, which looked a bit cheap. But overall I felt this amiibo was a step up from the previous one.
The Zero Suit Samus amiibo shares the same functionality as the Samus amiibo for the Super Smash Bros. titles mentioned, and in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, it allows you to unlock the “Zero Suit” Paint Job, which increases the amount of AUX ammo you collect at a time to five, and lets you use the Paint Job in Blast Ball. In Samus Returns, tapping the amiibo to the 3DS NFC unlocks an Energy Reserve Tank that contains 299 units of energy, and unlocks a Sound Test, letting you enjoy a range of music from the game. It unlocks a similar range of rewards in other software titles, as mentioned above with the Samus amiibo.
Released: 15th September 2017
It would be another two years before we saw Metroid represented again, but this time we received two amiibo on the same day, along with a brand new traditional side-scrolling Metroid game, Metroid: Samus Returns. The Metroid creature amiibo is one of the most impressive amiibo to date. Gripped tightly to its shattered tank with its claws, the Metroid itself is impressively detailed throughout, and its innards encased with a squidgy soft plastic. It was clear that the quality of Nintendo’s amiibo almost three years after its initial launch, was superior to its earlier figures. This amiibo in particular is one of my favourites, and I have to resist squeezing it every time I hold it.
In Samus Returns, tapping this amiibo to the 3DS system will mark the closest Metroid’s location on your map, which should help guide you through the game a little more easily if you’re struggling. When you have completed the game, the amiibo will unlock a special exclusive “Fusion mode” which is the game’s hardest difficulty, even more so than the game’s standard hard mode! In Metroid Prime: Federation Force, the Metroid amiibo unlocks the “Flying Life-Form” Paint Job, allowing for five Repair Capsules to be acquired at a time. The Paint Job will also be available in Blast Ball as a result. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Switch, you can unlock a “Metroid” support spirit.
Released: 15th September 2017
Released alongside the Metroid creature amiibo, was Samus Aran, kneeling in her classic pose from the boxart of the original Metroid II: Return of Samus, reading her cannon to destroy anything that stands in her path. It’s a fantastic pose, and like the Metroid creature amiibo, a huge step up in quality compared to early amiibo releases. Compared to the original Samus amiibo, the Samus Aran figure is larger, shinier and more detailed. A quality amiibo and definitely a figure Metroid fans need to get their hands on.
The Samus Aran amiibo functions the same as the 2014 Samus amiibo in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Blast Ball and all of the Super Smash Bros. games mentioned above. In fact, it seems to carry over the same functionality as the Samus amiibo, with the exception of Samus Returns. By tapping the Samus Aran amiibo to the game, you can replenish Samus’ Aeion energy by 500 units, which will allow you to use some of her special abilities. Upon completion of the game, you can unlock an art gallery from Metroid II: Return of Samus.
It would seem Ridley was no longer too big for Smash Bros, and with this groundbreaking announcement, came the release of the inevitable amiibo. Ridley is absolutely menacing, his wing span dominates, and his claws extended to tear into anything that dares to enter his domain. His long tail curls around and extends behind him, and he stands on a crystal-like base. While the quality of this amiibo is still much higher than early amiibo, it didn’t quite match the quality of the Samus Returns amiibo. The external wing patterns had little texture, and Ridley’s flesh could have benefitted from some extra detail. The release of this amiibo marked the first piece of official merchandise for the character, and it has been an awesome addition to my Metroid collection.
Ridley’s function in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate serves the same function as others in the Super Smash Bros. collection of amiibo, where you are able to fight an AI version of Ridley who will learn your fighting style. In Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Blast Ball, it unlocks an x-ray Paint Job for your mech.
Released: 17th January 2020
Eighteen months later, and the latest Metroid amiibo is released, Dark Samus! It marks the end of the initial featured characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the first official Dark Samus merchandise. If you were to see a photograph of this amiibo, it would never be able to do it justice. The shiny black and blue colours is striking, especially when you hold it to the light. The amiibo is rough to the touch throughout, adding to its alien feel. Its attached securely to the base similar to the Zero Suit Samus amiibo, and overall, feels like a great quality amiibo.
Functionality with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate continues as standard with this amiibo, and Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Blast Ball, offers the same x-ray Paint Job as Ridley.
Overall, I feel that Nintendo did an adequate job with their Metroid amiibo. The majority of the praise is focused on them purely as figures, because I feel they’re a great piece of merchandise that many of us can proudly display on shelves and display cabinets, and when our family and friends ask who those characters are, we can introduce them to the world of Metroid.
But as for their functionality with software, I can’t help but feel that Nintendo missed the mark. Putting aside the fact that outside of Super Smash Bros and the Metroid specific games, the amiibo themselves have basic functionality, which is lacklustre and nothing to shout about. The complaint I have is specifically for the Metroid creature amiibo figure. I feel that locking the Fusion Mode behind the Metroid amiibo in Samus Returns was a mistake. While it didn’t prevent players from accessing the game’s hard mode, as was widely reported at the time, customers who weren’t able to find the figures would miss out entirely, or would have to consider purchasing them at an inflated cost by resellers.
I can understand Nintendo wanting to make their amiibo products a more attractive purchase, but in this case, some consumers have missed out. If I had been unlucky enough to obtain them, I probably could have lived without the art and sound galleries, but missing out on the Fusion game mode? It would have been hugely disappointing for me.
But what about the future of amiibo? At the time of writing, it has been almost five and a half years since the original launch of amiibo, and it certainly feels like we have reached an end. Nintendo doesn’t seem to be producing anywhere near as much as they used to, and once the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC is concluded, I predict that we will see this product range discontinued. But as I unbox and place my Dark Samus amiibo in my display cabinet, I live in hope that we may eventually see more Metroid amiibo. I would love to see a Kraid, Mother Brain, Chozo Statue and Rundas amiibo. Perhaps we will get a Dachora and Etecoons amiibo? That’d be something!
But I think more than anything, I would appreciate Nintendo producing more of their existing Metroid amiibo, especially the Samus Aran and the squidgy Metroid amiibo, so that Samus Returns owners have an opportunity to enjoy that additional unlockable content. Outside of online resellers, amiibo continue to be an affordable way of owning a physical example of a beloved character from a franchise we enjoy, and for that, I applaud them.
Written by: Darren