Forget the Super Bowl: The big story on Sunday is the latest wave of Nintendo Amiibos. These cute little critters are a smash hit, often disappearing before they even hit store shelves. And all that despite them not really have that much of a purpose. Sure, they unlock some minor baubles in a handful of Nintendo games, and can help you spar into shape in Super Smash Bros., but at this point they’re more ornamental than anything else. That doesn’t mean they can’t look nice, though, and that’s how we’re ranking ‘em, purely on their aesthetic appeal. And if you want to catch up, take a look at our firsttwo installments.
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1. King Dedede makes me realize that I might wind up being partial to Kirby characters in these incredibly crucial rankings. This is one of the most joyous and absurd character designs in videogames. The hat, the sash, the giant mallet, the robe over what looks like ANOTHER robe, and the fact that he's totally comfortable with being so fat makes me love this guy, even if he is a total stinker. The Amiibo nails the King's many complications, making this one of the best in the line.
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2. Rosalina and Luma are elegance personified. The cosmic princess is classy and fashionable and powerful enough to bend the stars to her own will. If she was a real person I would be way too intimidated to ever talk to her. The Amiibo perfectly captures her poise and her playful relationship with the roly-poly Lumas, making it one of the best yet.
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3. Toon Link is a brave little scamp, easily my favorite version of the Hero of Time, but I'm in no rush to buy this Amiibo. I love almost everything about it except for his facial expression. It's like Nintendo bowed to the vocal (and childish) anti-Toon Link contingent by trying to make him look angry. I would prefer if the Amiibo had captured Link at a lighter moment. Still, the cartoon aesthetic is so warm and inviting, the pose so dynamic, and his stubby little legs in full stride make me happy.
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11. Sonic is a jerk. He's too angry and restless to even acknowledge our presence, keeping his eyes locked tight on his shoe. Sonic has never looked good in three dimensions, his hedgehog head looking too much like massive blue dreadlocks. If he wasn't so angry I could see him at a drum circle somewhere. This Amiibo is an uninspired depiction of a fundamentally unlikable character.
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10. Ike is another boring Fire Emblem swordsman. His solemnity is a step up from Marth's vacant expression, and actually the Amiibo is a lot better than it could have been. He's at rest but still tense enough to spring into battle at a moment's notice. For some reason I get a Springsteen vibe?
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9. Bowser is beautiful. Not conventionally, of course, but for a giant heavy metal turtle he strikes a handsome figure. His Amiibo pose doesn't entirely capture his power, though. It needs to be either more dynamic or more austere. The best thing about it is his left hand, which seems ready to symbolically clutch a small model of the Mushroom Kingdom in its grasp, or something.
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8. Sheik is Zelda's rough-and-tumble alter ego from Ocarina of Time. Even when she's trying to blend in and pass as a tough guy the princess still plays a mean lyre. Sheik is one of my favorite characters in the Smash Bros. games, and this Amiibo does a fine job of capturing the grace of her combat moves.
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7. Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles is another guy with a sword, but he's got one up on the Fire Emblem buddies. That's not just a sword but some kind of retrofuturisic science sword. Also his Amiibo pose has far more character than Marth's or Ike's. You can tell Shulk isn't a professional soldier, and if you turn it sideways it almost looks like that thing Shawn Michaels would do when he'd lay across the ring ropes to disrespect his opponent. All told this is a solid Amiibo.
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6. Mega Man can be a tough one. It can be hard to effectively express emotion on a face that's almost entirely eyes. His facial expression could easily look too drastic or manipulative. The straight-forward gaze of the Amiibo is on the right track, but it looks a little too empty. That works for a robot, but it's hard to truly love something that seems so vacant. And love is what Mega Man is about, the love of nostalgia and childhood totems. But they picked the right Mega Man for the Amiibo and it's pulling on those elementary school memories so all told this is an above average Amiibo.
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5. Lucario must be a Pokemon because I have no idea what he's from. He's got a great look going on here, and is obviously a spirited fighter. I don't know if Anubis ever struck any old timey boxer poses on the pyramid walls, but Egypt would've been a lot cooler if he did.
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4. Meta Knight is the most evil looking sorta good guy in Nintendo's roster. With those leathery bat wings, metal Jason mask and barbed sword, he looks like the cover to a heavy metal record in a cartoon. He's GWAR by way of Looney Toons. It's an inherently awesome design, and the Amiibo captures that element of flight.