As part of the Japanese Nintendo Direct broadcast on May 31, Nintendo announced a new entry in the Chibi-Robo! series complete with a cute, pint-sized amiibo. The sequel and amiibo are coming to the Nintendo 3DS sometime this fall; however, they are currently only announced for release in the Japanese market.
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) May 31, 2015
A rough translation of the game’s title from the above official tweet (courtesy of Google Translate) is Lasso Action! Round and round! Chibi-Robo! It’s not a very revealing title (which will be truncated to Chibi-Robo! 3DS for the remainder of the article). The clips seen in the Nintendo Direct video are far more revealing. The Chibi-Robo! 3DS announcement takes place at about the 13:30 mark. Throughout the video, we can see this Chibi-Robo! iteration is a side-scrolling romp that takes the tiny robot out into the world at large.
In the 2005 original, the robot’s adventures are limited to cleaning and working around the house. The free-roaming nature of the original and its simple charm are part of the reason it wowed both players and critics. However, this is not the first time the franchise has deviated from its modest roots. Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder, also for the Nintendo 3DS, challenges the player to take photos of real-life objects. It is largely a social game that makes use of the 3DS camera.
From the Nintendo Direct video, we can also see the Chibi-Robo amiibo in action. Described as almost life-sized measuring at 10 centimeters, the Chibi-Robo amiibo can be scanned on the New Nintendo 3DS to transform the silver robot character into a gold, super version. Additional amiibo functionality, including what other amiibo might work with Chibi-Robo! 3DS or what titles the robot amiibo might work with, have yet to be announced. One potential opportunity exists for Chibi-Robo to be added to Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS as an additional downloadable character like Lucas and Mewtwo. The Super Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot closes October 3, 2015, and a Chibi-Robo DLC tie-in certainly is not outside the realm of possibility.
Thus far, amiibo have seen nearly universal releases across the globe. There has yet to be a region-exclusive amiibo product. If Chibi-Robo! 3DS ends up being exclusive to Japan, it might cause some disappointment to amiibo collectors in the rest of the world. Nintendo has already apologized on Facebook to fans, promising to deliver more products to store shelves and reissue figures that have sold out quickly. Scarcity of amiibo has caused pricing on the secondary market for limited-edition or hard-to-find figures to skyrocket in recent months. Whether or not Nintendo will soon be apologizing for the disappointment associated with limiting certain figures to specific regions remains to be seen.
[Image courtesy Nintendo]