The Nintendo amiibo brand is one of the company’s crowning modern achievements. This foray into the NFC market proved to be the ultimate victor. amiibo has long outlasted the competition with new figures releasing even today.
Now, the amiibo craze is nothing like it used to be back in 2015. However, that doesn’t make the figures any less desirable. They are some of the most elegant Nintendo collectibles around. So, let’s round up the cream of that crop and discuss the best Nintendo amiibo you need to buy right now.
These figures will be judged on three main criteria: the character they represent, their sculpt quality, and their in-game utility. The latter point has one caveat. Nearly all amiibo can be scanned into a good dozen games interchangeably.
So, we’ll be judging their functionality based on the game they were released alongside with rare exceptions.
Samus + E.M.M.I
Metroid Dread’s amiibo two-pack is a must-have for any collector. These are some of the highest-quality official Metroid figures on the market, and one of the only pieces of merch available for the E.M.M.I. robot.
These two are also incredibly helpful for Metroid newcomers checking out Dread. The title has a reputation for being difficult, and these amiibo address that. Scanning these two will grant the player an additional Energy Tank and Missle+ tank, bulking up Samus’ arsenal for her quest through Planet ZDR.
Zelda & Loftwing
There’s a good argument for the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo being perhaps the best-looking figure in the entire set. The sculpt is truly beautiful. While there is no shortage of Zelda merch, few Zelda figures are this detailed and accessible. Skyward Sword fans need to have this in their collection.
The figure’s utility did generate controversy last summer. Effectively, the figure acts as an instant fast travel system in Skyward Sword HD. While this type of quality of life functionality should be baked into the game, it’s not that big of a deal. Skyward Sword already has a robust fast travel system, so the utility here isn’t that great in reality. The aesthetics carry the figure.
Banjo & Kazooie
The novelty of an officially licensed Banjo & Kazooie figure is what secures it a spot on the list. Like all the Smash Ultimate tie-in figures, the build quality is greatly improved from the Smash Wii U days. The sculpt is expressive and detailed, supported by a Jiggy as opposed to a generic clear plastic stand.
Its use in Smash Ultimate is great fun too. Smash Bros. amiibo functionality is among the best amiibo functionality in any title. Effectively, you can train your amiibo to fight the way you want it to, giving it new moves and buffs according to your preferences.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening has a beautiful visual style on Nintendo Switch. The tie-in Link amiibo captures the look elegantly. While the pose is simple, the style is terrific.
While this Link, like the literal dozen other Link amiibos, can be used in a generic sense across most Zelda games, its functionality in Link’s Awakening is unique. Scanning it unlocks a Shadow Link for Dampe’s Dungeon Builder – a fun modifier for an otherwise simple side mode.
King K. Rool
The Kremling leader has been all but forgotten by modern Nintendo titles. He’s no longer the big bad in the Retro-developed Donkey Kong Country games. He doesn’t even make appearances in spin-offs anymore. So, having a high-quality amiibo made in his image is delightful.
Like Banjo & Kazooie, K. Rool was released for use in Smash Ultimate. As such, his functionality is the same as the Bear and Bird.
Perhaps one of the more unsuspecting amiibo, Piranha Plant is yet another Smash Ultimate series figure. While amiibo are usually relegated to iconic characters, this is a clear exception.
Like Piranha Plant’s inclusion as a fighter in Smash itself, this Nintendo amiibo is a fun counterpoint to the majority of its NFC peers. Who would’ve expected a Piranha Plant premium figure?
The last of the Smash Ultimate figures on this list, Ridley is yet another character without enough official merchandise. The entire Metroid series is in this position. The problem is doubly unfortunate for Ridley considering he’s Samus’ arch-nemesis.
Luckily, the amiibo does him justice with a beautiful sculpt and plenty of little detail. It’s among the most impressive figures quality-wise. And, who wouldn’t want to train their own Ridley to dominate a Smash match on Brinstar?
The Octoling Trio
Released to coincide with Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion, the Octoling figures are just stunning. The sheen on their ink is gorgeous, as are their saturated colors. When paired with their expressive stances, the build of each member in the three-pack clearly embodies Splatoon’s style.
Scanning each figure into Splatoon 2 will grant the player a new gear set to try on. In a game that leans so heavily upon its fashion, three new outfits is a nice bonus for fans.
The Mario Wedding Trio
While there is plenty of Super Mario amiibo, these take the cake – pun entirely intended. This three-pack puts Mario, Peach, and Bowser into their wedding get-ups from Super Mario Odyssey. The striking white suits and exaggerated poses capture the game’s aesthetic and tone perfectly.
The wedding amiibo unlock costumes in Super Mario Odyssey that are modeled after the three amiibos’ respective attire. Yes, that includes a wedding dress that Mario can don in-game. While purely aesthetic, these costumes are fun nonetheless.
The Champion Quartet
Breath of the Wild’s entire amiibo set represented an inflection point for the brand. From then on, amiibo reached a new level of quality. The Champion four-pack is one of the set’s strongest offerings. Each amiibo embodies its respective champion’s personality through expressive sculpts.
Frankly, the Champions are more so display pieces than uniquely compelling in-game figures. They simply give link materials and items within Breath of the Wild. Nonetheless, on the basis of their designs alone, the Champions deserve a spot on this list.
This figure’s material is what cements it as one of the best Nintendo amiibo. While the vast majority of figures are hard plastic, the Metroid is actually squishy. In this respect, it’s somewhat cute.
Now, you’d never want to get close enough to a Metroid in-game to squish it, because the outcome would be anything but adorable. IRL though, it’s fun to poke.
The amiibo is primarily used with 2017’s Metroid: Samus Returns. Not only will it help you discover Metroids to hunt down, but it’ll also unlock an extra difficulty mode. That latter function was quite deservedly unpopular back when Samus Returns launched on 3DS, as it locked key content behind a paywall.
Regardless, it’s a must-have for the complete Samus Returns experience.
Even though Pikmin is Shigeru Miyamoto’s baby, the franchise has never gotten the attention it deserves. On the contrary, every new Pikmin title is an event since they’re few and far between. That is also the case for Pikmin merchandise. As such, the Pikmin amiibo is such a charming addition to the larger amiibo collection.
Like most figures, the Pikmin amiibo can be used across many 3DS, Wii U, and Switch games. However, it is primarily used in Hey! Pikmin. Here, it unlocks unique treasures and can produce extra Pikmin for players in need.
Link (Majora’s Mask)
It’s fair to say that Majora’s Mask is something of a Zelda cult classic. It’s Ocarina of Time’s little brother and one of the franchise’s most unique entries. What isn’t unique about it, though, is its game engine. As such, Majora Link looks just like young Link from Ocarina of Time.
So, Majora’s Mask merch is usually relegated to Skull Kid, the most recognizably unique Majora character. This amiibo is a great representation of an underappreciated Link design.
Like the Champions, the novelty of this figure’s design is what sells it. While it can be used across Zelda titles to gain little bonuses, none are particularly remarkable. However, this is certainly the best traditional Link figure of the whopping thirteen designs.
Like the Metroid amiibo, the Guardian amiibo has a gimmick. This figure’s legs are opposable. This is perhaps the best design concept of any figure, as it adds a degree of customizability that other amiibo lack. Plus, the toy just captures the imposing ethos of the Guardians well.
On the whole, the Guardian’s amiibo functionality is relegated to bonus items in Zelda-related games. However, it, like the other Zelda figures, can be scanned into Animal Crossing: New Leaf to invite Ganon to your town. It’s a cute crossover DLC addition that the game’s Welcome Amiibo update established.
Zelda’s amiibo are disproportionately fantastic. Between the Loftwing variant and this, few Nintendo characters have as vibrant amiibo figures as Zelda herself. Toon Zelda on the whole often gets short shrift, and this amiibo lovingly pays homage to one of Zelda’s least-appreciated looks.
Again, Toon Zelda’s functionality is scattershot. A bonus item here, a new Animal Crossing villager there. However, amiibo’s survival has largely been predicated on the brand being a collectible foremost. As such, Toon Zelda easily secures a spot.
Like Piranha Plant, having another basic Mario enemy as an amiibo is novel. However, Boo’s plastic is particularly remarkable. This figure actually glows in the dark. It’s hard to argue with how clever that design choice was.
Unlike most figures on this list, Boo doesn’t belong to any Nintendo amiibo compatible game in particular. However, as part of the Super Mario series, Boo loosely ties into the Mario Party games. The figure unlocks bonuses in both Mario Party: The Top 100 and Mario Party: Star Rush, as well as other Mario-themed 3DS games.
The Super Mario series Diddy Kong amiibo is leagues better than Diddy’s Smash 4 iteration. This figure actually captures his personality, and putting him onto a barrel is an irregular decision. Most amiibo simply stand on their base which limits their scale and design potential. That is not the case with Diddy Kong.
Its utility is largely predicated on which of the seventeen compatible games it’s scanned into. Like Boo, Diddy Kong does not directly tie into a particular game. However, few figures capture a character’s personality better than this one.
Outside of the occasional plush, your average Waddle Dee doesn’t often receive merch of this quality. So, Kirby fans would be remiss not to add this Waddle Dee amiibo to their collection.
Its sculpt is simple but vibrant, borrowing the Diddy Kong idea of the dynamic baseplate. Of the Kirby figure line, this may be the best of the bunch.
Waddle Dee is also useful in a host of Kirby games. Almost every Kirby game post-Triple Deluxe and even other HAL titles like BYE-BYE BOXBOY! benefit from our friend Waddle Dee. From items to costumes, there is a lot to do with Waddle Dee even before using him for generic scans.
Without our Robotic Operating Buddy, Nintendo might not have gotten the NES onto store shelves. So, we owe R.O.B. a great debt in that respect. His toylike nature is what allowed Nintendo to circumvent retailers who were hesitant to stock video games in a post-1983 crash landscape.
Regrettably, R.O.B. has since fallen out of favor. A cameo appearance in Mario Kart DS and a role in Smash Bros. beginning with Brawl are what have kept him in the public eye. But, R.O.B. has next to no merch save for this figure. That alone justifies his spot on this list.
One final Link sneaks onto this list. But, this is an irregular one. Wolf Link is somewhat contentious in Twilight Princess from a gameplay perspective. Yet, he, and Midna by extension, are a fan favorite narratively speaking. This figure perfectly brings them to life.
Wolf Link also has some of the best Nintendo amiibo functionality, bar none. In Twilight Prince HD, Wolf Link unlocks an exclusive gauntlet area called Cave of Shadows. In Breath of the Wild though, Wolf Link unlocks, well, Wolf Link as a companion who’ll follow you around Hyrule. How cool is that?
Like many other members of this list, Chibi-Robo’s mere existence as an amiibo makes it worth owning. Chibi-Robo is one of Nintendo’s most tragically forgotten characters.
He’s a curio from the GameCube era, only brought back out for inevitable disappointment. Having him immortalized as a cute amiibo is the best tribute we can pay to this oft-maligned mascot.
Regrettably, this wonderful figure is mainly used in the terrible Chibi-Robo title that killed the character. 3DS’ Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash is widely regarded as one of Nintendo’s worst games. Scanning the titular amiibo for some bonuses and power-ups does little to improve the experience.
Nintendo’s plush game is already pretty good, so combining that with amiibo seemed like a foregone conclusion. The Poochy figure is a wonderful example of this convergence. This is an adorable, knitted-style amiibo that brings Yoshi’s pal to life. Similar to Chibi-Robo there’s next to no Poochy merchandise available aside from this.
Poochy is primarily used in Yoshi’s Woolly World and its 3DS enhanced port. Scanning Poochy into the game will plop Poochy into the respective stage, which can be incredibly helpful for completionists.
Of the early Super Smash Bros. amiibo figures, Olimar was a standout. His design was a lot more dynamic than the amiibo that were released around him, thanks in large part to his clear helmet and extra Pikmin.
The figure also has the nerdy benefit of being close in size to Olimar’s in-game stature. For hardcore Pikmin fans, that’s a nice bonus.
In addition to Olimar’s typical Smash Bros. functionality, the figure can also be scanned into Hey! Pikmin to recruit some added backup and to find items. It’s fairly standard support, but a fun extra nonetheless which is why it’s made our list of the best Nintendo amiibo.
30TH Anniversary Mario
The 30th anniversary pixelated Mario is one of the brand’s most genius concepts. Nintendo released two versions of this figure to coincide with Super Mario Maker’s 2015 launch on Wii U. It’s a clever 3D reconstruction of the Super Mario Bros. sprite and a loving tribute to the character’s legacy.
When scanned into Super Mario Maker, this figure unlocks the Big Mushroom power-up. Reminiscent of the Mega Mushroom introduced in New Super Mario Bros, the Big Mushroom opens up many clever Mario Maker design opportunities.
Pearl & Marina
On the whole, the Splatoon series might have the most consistently great Nintendo amiibo. The aesthetic and style that cemented Splatoon among Nintendo’s best IP translate to NFC toys rather well.
The Pearl & Marina two-pack is a great example of this, immortalizing this pair of non-avatar characters in detailed plastic. The design of each reflects their pop star personas perfectly.
Like the Octoling three-pack, Pearl & Marina primarily unlock new gear when scanned into Splatoon 2. Although it isn’t glamorous amiibo support, it’s perfect in the context of this series.
Xenoblade’s burgeoning popularity and relative newness have led to relatively little merchandise being released. The Shulk amiibo is one of few readily available pieces. While lacking a bit of facial detail, this is nonetheless a must-own for Xenoblade fans starved for some series-themed decor.
Although the figure is primarily designed for use in Smash Bros., Shulk can also be scanned into Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. He unlocks some bonus content. This is nothing major, but it’s the sort of vault content that fans of the series will appreciate.
It is worth noting, however, that the amiibo cannot be used with Xenobalde Chronicles: Definitive Edition on Switch.
This is yet another figure with a design irregularity. But, Detective Pikachu isn’t yarn-like or posable… he’s huge. This amiibo absolutely dwarfs others in scale. Why he’s so big is unclear, but Detective Pikachu is a great centerpiece of any collection as a result.
The figure is used primarily in the eponymous Detective Pikachu title on 3DS. By scanning him in, you can rewatch the game’s cutscenes. Nothing fancy, but who’s going to turn down a huge Pikachu?
Not only is QBBY one of the best Nintendo amiibo, but he’s also one of the most obscure. While you should buy QBBY, you probably can’t. He’s the protagonist of the oft-overlooked HAL Labs puzzle series, BOXBOY! and his amiibo released only in Japan back in 2017.
Next to Chibi-Robo, QBBY might be the most obscure Nintendo character to receive a figure.
While he unlocks some extras in his own game BYE-BYE BOXBOY!, QBBY’s rarity is really what earns this spot. If you have the opportunity to buy a QBBY amiibo for a reasonable price, you’ll be the envy of amiibo collectors everywhere.
Timmy & Tommy
The Animal Crossing amiibo line is often maligned. Its blatant overproduction of figures in the pre-New Horizons era was a clear mistake. And, unfortunately, many of the amiibo just weren’t that cool. Timmy & Tommy are a clear exception.
Their design is rather dynamic, similar in part to Diddy Kong’s barrel. This is perhaps the most expressive and cutest figure in the Animal Crossing set.
Primarily, the Timmy & Tommy figure is used as a playable character in Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. But no one wants to play that game. More practically, Timmy & Tommy can be scanned into New Horizons to unlock all manner of fun scenarios in both Happy Home Paradise and Brewster’s cafe.
Mega Yarn Yoshi
This is certainly the most outrageous amiibo. Simultaneously, it’s one of the most whimsical. Mega Yarn Yoshi is a knitted-style plush similar to Poochy… but Mega Yarn Yoshi is easily twice the size.
It’s ostensibly a full Yoshi plush that doubles as an NFC toy, one which is unfortunately very hard to come by today. Like QBBY, this is a highly sought-after figure.
In terms of function, Mega Yarn Yoshi is indistinguishable from the regularly-sized Yarn Yoshi amiibo. They all unlock Double Yoshi mode in Yoshi’s Woolly World. So, you’re buying this guy for his size not his utility, as the regular Yarn Yoshis are far more attainable.
Although these are the best Nintendo amiibo, they’re far from the only ones. There are nearly 200 amiibo to account for. Unfortunately, the brand’s growth is slowing down. Fewer and fewer figures release each year, which is a shame.
This is the best avenue for many niche series to get the merchandise that they wouldn’t otherwise receive. Hopefully, the series and the community around it thrive for years to come because amiibo deserves nothing less.
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