Mario Sports Superstars’ approach to amiibo cards seems iffy

Gameplay video shows horse customization

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Mario Sports Superstars now has an official Japanese site detailing each of the five sports along with amiibo card function information. Breakdowns on how each sport is played are provided and are also shown off in the six-minute gameplay video that was simultaneously released. “Horse Racing” in particular seems to have more to it than mere racing. On top of feeding, grooming, and petting your horse, you can wander around and collect accessories such as wizard hats.

The training mini-games consist of Superman 64 flashback-inducing rings you must ride, bat, or kick balls through. At first glance it seemed like there’d be a variety of mini-games to beef up the content like in other Mario-related sports titles such as the Dream Events in the Mario & Sonic Olympic Games series. However, this ring training games appear to be all there is. 

First used in Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer, amiibo cards have found their way to Mario Sports Superstars, but will serve a different function. Touching an amiibo card will unlock the star version of the character you scan, which are better versions of the characters much like in Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. These star characters can be unlocked in-game by clearing the Champion Cup, however.

Superstar characters, superior to even the Star Characters, will be unlockable by clearing the game where you kick balls at blocks with a character scanned in via amiibo card, but it is not clear where or not these Superstar characters are exclusive to amiibo card users.

If you’re wondering if you can use you’re existing amiibo figures, you can…to unlock in-game collectible cards. Using any amiibo from any series will entitle you to a pack of three cards, three times per day. The cards can also be purchased with in-game currency, specifically 300 coins for the same three-card pack.

When I first heard of amiibo, I thought the idea would be novel. Making a single amiibo for each unique character and having it be usable in all the games that character appears in is not what Nintendo had in mind though. It seems as though there’s a new amiibo with every new game, and now there are even amiibo cards which you’ll need to get if you want superstar characters and not just some lame in-game collectible cards for this game.

For a while I thought about collecting amiibo like everyone else, but adding more and more all the time marginalizes pre-existing amiibo both in function and novelty. If I collected them now it would be just to put them on a shelf as they continue to have lame uses, if any at all, in games nowadays. But then again if I’m just going to buy them to look at I’d prefer to go to a professional figure maker and get something of higher quality.

Mario Sports Superstars Official Page [Nintendo]

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Cory Arnold
Pretty cool dude in Japan. 6/9/68