Has it really been four months since we last ranked Nintendo Amiibos? We’ve been so busy trying to track down all the ones released in the sixth wave to actually write about them. The time has come, though, and after extensive debate we can finally share our definitive rankings of the sixth wave with you.
Okay, the grand Amiibo madness has abated some what. It wasn’t especially difficult to find most of this sixth wave when it was first released, and some stores like GameStop have been able to restock most of these characters after that initial sell-out. The Retro 3-Pack, which we’re including here because it came out only a couple of weeks after the sixth wave, has never been hard to find, despite being exclusive to one retailer (uh, GameStop, again). Although Amiibo fans are still legion, the craze seems to have died down a bit, either because Nintendo has been able to increase production or because the speculators have refocused on some other kind of collectibles.
That doesn’t mean the figures themselves have gone down in quality at all—the sixth wave might be the most consistently well-designed of the entire line. Let’s take a quick look at all six figures, as well as the three from the Retro 3-Pack.
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9. R.O.B.: Coming in last isn't much of a knock on this little robot buddy that came with the original NES and then was almost immediately discarded and forgotten. This might be the strongest Amiibo wave yet, despite being smaller than most. The R.O.B. figure brings up the rear because it's not especially exciting to see something that was already a physical object (and, yes, basically a toy) turned into a smaller physical object. This looks like the R.O.B. that the one rich kid we knew had and never used back in the day. Its only in-game applications are the same ones in Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario Maker as most of the other Amiibos, so owning this figure isn't vital to play anything. It's a cool looking depiction of a Nintendo footnote, but one of the least significant Amiibos yet.
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8. Zero Suit Samus: This fan-service version of Metroid's Samus Aran might be eye-rolling, but her zero suit has become an iconic part of her character since it was introduced in 2004, and it remains a popular costume with certain fans. From a design perspective the Amiibo has graceful, fluid lines and reinforces the character's serious, confident demeanor, even if she looks like an outer space go-go dancer.
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7. Ganondorf: The haughty heavy from the Zelda series gets a figure with an appropriately arrogant pose. There's a weight and girth to Ganondorf not found in most Amiibos, and despite being a solidly evil guy his splendor is almost admirable. We're not a big fan of the Fire Emblem Amiibos, despite loving those games, because of how generic and interchangeable the figures look; Ganondorf isn't from Fire Emblem, of course, but he has a similar look, with the cape and armor, but with a much more distinct style. This is how you do vaguely medieval fantasy guff as an Amiibo.
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6. Mr. Game & Watch: If it wasn't for Super Smash Bros. very few people today would have any idea who this little guy is. Before the Game Boy, and before the NES even, Nintendo released a series of handheld LCD games under the title of Game & Watch. Released throughout the 1980s, these small, simple games often starred a black silhouette of a man. Known as Mr. Game & Watch, he became a playable character in Super Smash Bros. years after his heyday in a hat tip to Nintendo's history. This Amiibo is included in the Retro 3-Pack along with R.O.B. and Duck Hunt, and is unique for a couple of reasons. He's as close to two-dimensional as he could be, basically just a flat black silhouette on an Amiibo base. He also has four poses, though, four different plates that can be swapped out on the base and that reference different games from the Game & Watch series. He's not the most interesting of Amiibos from a visual standpoint, but the variety of poses makes the Mr. Game & Watch Amiibo as novel and quirky as the Super Smash Bros. character.
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5. Dr. Mario: How many Mario Amiibos are too many? Nintendo will probably find out soon enough, as the sixth wave includes two. At least at they're both very different from the ones that have been released already. Mario's doctor costume is cute, and the giant pill he's holding is a fitting (and eye-catching) visual reference to the Dr. Mario games. It's the best possible version of Mario's second-most iconic variant. The production run for this figure was apparently much higher than all the others in the wave, which is frustrating—it's been months and Target's racks are still full of unsold Dr. Marios.
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Duck Hunt: The figure of the Duck Hunt duo isn't the best of the Retro 3-Pack just because they're the most famous of those characters, but that definitely doesn't hurt. If you are old enough to have owned an NES, you almost definitely also owned Duck Hunt, and remember how that obnoxious dog would laugh at you when you missed a shot. The Amiibo is so good because of the graceful lines of its design—their bodies form a nice spiral while still remaining true to how they're depicted in both their original game and Super Smash Bros. It's also just adorable, with two mortal enemies seemingly making peace and looking at each other lovingly for the first time.
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3. Bowser Jr.: Speaking of adorable, here's Bowser Jr., who too often gets a bad rap from videogame people who weirdly hate cute and/or fun things. Bowser's would-be supervillain son is a darling little pipsqueak in a flying clown car, and although that's a well-established mode of transportation for people of all ages in the Mushroom Kingdom, it still basically looks like a baby stroller when Bowser Jr. is in it. It doesn't help him look any less infantile that he's wearing what looks like a bib. This Amiibo perfectly captures the fun contrast between Bowser Jr.'s evil wishes and his overall harmlessness.
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2. Olimar: It probably helps that we're big Pikmin fans here at Paste. Olimar is beyond cute in his little spacesuit, and his blind confidence contrasts wonderfully with the less assured poses of his three Pikmin, all of whom have a strong personality of their own. It concisely sums up the relationship between the game's ostensible main character and the anonymous servants who actually do all of the work for him—Olimar walks tall and proud as the unafraid leader, while the Pikmin surround and protect him.
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1. 30th Anniversary Mario: This version of the 8-bit Mario, released in honor of Super Mario Bros.'s 30th anniversary, is the best Amiibo yet. Like Mr. Game & Watch, it's the one of the few that takes a conceptual approach to its character: instead of recreating what the character is supposed to look like, regardless of the limitations of whatever technology the game in question was released for, it tries to recreate what the character actually looked like on the old, archaic NES hardware. With its artistic approach and elabroate design it's one of the very few Amiibos that doesn't look immediately like a toy. If you're a childless adult worried about what your friends or colleagues would think about your Amiibo collection, you could probably display this one in public without feeling weird about it. It's a gorgeous little collectible and the Amiibo most worth owning.