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Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo, 2016
Day #1,433: May 2, 2016
Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Shovel Knight
Inspired By Your Childhood

Super Mario Maker Amiibo Wave 3 Amiibo
Item No.:
No. NVL C AHAA USZ
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Works with Shovel Knight, Word Puzzles by POWGI, Mini Mario & Friends Amiibo Challenge
Retail: $13.99
Availability: January 2016
Other: Also

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Nintendo Shovel Knight AmiiboIt would be a waste of time to talk about the Amiibo for Shovel Knight without touching on the game - which is pretty fantastic. The Kickstarter-based game was ported to a few consoles (including Wii U and 3DS) and surprisingly got an Amiibo made. The game itself is a surprisingly good - if easy - experience, loads of fun with lots of stuff to encourage replays. It looks and sounds a lot like a classic NES game, with play control not unlike Zelda II: The Adventure of Link meets DuckTales meets Mega Man games. If you're in your mid-30s or early 40s, this is a game to try - and based on reputation I snagged the game and this Amiibo with some store credit earlier this year. The game did not disappoint - it feels a lot like something you should have rented for a weekend on a boring spring weekend in or around 1990. While I didn't back the first game due to the reputation of game deliverables on Kickstarter, I'd plonk down money for whatever they do next. It's that good. This figure is also pretty much as good as you might hope.

Back in the late 1980s, you would occasionally see Applause or Mattel put out some non-articulated collectible figures based on Zelda, Mario, Punch-Out!!, or any of a few other games. Few. Game licenses were big during Pac-Man Fever and Q*Bert Qraziness, but not too many others got the toy treatment - and they were usually stiff, unarticulated figures. Shovel Knight fits in perfectly. The paint looks slightly better than what Applause might have given you in 1989, with clean horns even yellow trim, a nice black visor, and a subtle purple base.

Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo

There is no articulation and the figure looks like it came from a sticker book or clip art packet used to advertise the game - Shovel Knight could just as well be a cousin of Kuros or Ryu or Mega Man. With shovel in hand, he can dig up some adventure or hit someone in the face. Assuming, of course, the shovel wasn't connected to the base - this is fundamentally just a nifty collectible PVC figure/statue, and for $14 or so it's a decent specimen for the price. How often do we get figures based on video games that aren't a major multi-million copy launch? Shovel Knight did well - I believe I read it sold close to a million copies, which is great - but it's a game for older gamers, first and foremost.

If you have the game, the figure unlocks a customizable mode and a multiplayer mode, among other things. In the normal game you can buy upgrades - in the Amiibo version, it doles them out as you "level up" by killing things and collecting gems. The game itself is fantastic without the figure - you'd never notice it was missing - but Yacht Club Games seems intent on supporting the title with free (and paid via Amiibo) content to keep it in your collection and out of GameStop's used bins. There's an entire campaign for Plague Knight as a playable character which has some of the cruelest jumps this side of the NES.

I don't know for sure if Toys-To-Life as a trend in gaming is over or just warming up. So far it seems Nintendo's offerings are some of the best - the software is good without the games, and the figures are decent without the software - but even the Amiibo figures seem to be hitting markdown now that Nintendo has mercifully given up the whole "let's make these collectible".shtmlect. I wouldn't have bought this figure if it weren't for the game because there's zero nostalgia or built-in audience for it, but it is a bizarre new artifact from the past. If you're dying for a figure that looks like it fell out of an old video game instruction booklet, this is it. I'd strongly encourage you to try the game out and then buy this figure - if you like old NES games, you're going to want both. If I still did game reviews here, I'd probably give it a disgustingly glowing ovation.

--Adam Pawlus

Additional Images

Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo
Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo

Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo
Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo
Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo
Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo
Nintendo Shovel Knight Amiibo

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