Amiibo, those adorable tiny statues that take up too much space on your bookshelf and inevitably become a pressure point in your relationship when your significant other complains that you're becoming addicted to collecting them. Well, there not just for looks. They serve a very useful purpose in Nintendo Switch games. They generate items, sometimes exclusive items, within a game that you're playing. Want to dress your Skyrim character like Link? It's possible with the right amiibo!

How amiibo work with Nintendo Switch

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

Amiibo have this tiny chip at their base. The chip stores identifier data, like which Switch the figurine is registered to, which rewards should be doled out in which games, and whether it's already been used in a particular game that day.

The chip in the amiibo uses Near Field Communication (NFC) to send this information to a small NFC reader in your Switch's right Joy-Con controller (or the Pro Controller). When you place the amiibo on joystick on the right Joy-Con, it'll send the data to your Switch.

How to set up amiibo on Nintendo Switch

What happens next depends on which game you're playing. In some games, you might get special powers. In others, exclusive outfits or in-game currency.

How to trigger the in-game rewards in different games

With all these cool, exclusive in-game items you can get, you might be wondering how to go about getting them. Unfortunately, it's not always as simple as just tapping your amiibo to your Joy-Con and something suddenly appears on the screen.

Nintendo wants to immerse you in the game you're playing, which means triggering an amiibo's action has to fit the game's design. In some games, you'll have to go through a couple of steps before your bag of loot appears in front of you.

How to use amiibo with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

Before you can use your amiibo in BotW, you have to enable the ability. It's off by default in your system settings.

  1. Press the Plus (+) button on the right Joy-Con controller.
  2. Press the R or L shoulder button to scroll sideways until you get to the system settings.
  3. Select Options from the system settings menu.
  4. Select amiibo.
  5. Select Use amiibo.

After you've enabled the ability to use amiibo, you can trigger the rewards any time.

  1. Press and hold the Up button on the left Joy-Con D-Pad (the one that brings up the Runes).
  2. Scroll to the right on the right Joy-Con joystick to select the amiibo Rune.
  3. Press the L shoulder button to trigger the amiibo.
  4. Place your compatible amiibo on the right Joy-Con's joystick to scan the NFC chip.

The loot will fall on the ground in front of you so make sure you're not on a hillside or the edge of a river.

How to use amiibo with Super Mario Odyssey

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

You'll have to complete the first two kingdoms in Super Mario Odyssey before you can start using amiibo. In the Sand Kingdom, after you've beaten the Broodals, head back to your ship. A new object will be nearby. It looks like a little satellite with a Toad hovering over it. That little satellite is Uncle Amiibo and once you speak to him, you'll be able to trigger your amiibo anywhere in the kingdom at any time.

  1. Press the right arrow on the D-pad on the left Joy-Con.
  2. Place your compatible amiibo on the right Joy-Con's joystick to scan the NFC chip.

Loot will pop up from Mario's head and automatically be added to your inventory.

Note: It's a good idea to check in with Uncle amiibo whenever you come across him. He provides some bonus help by locating Moons that you haven't already found. Nice bonus.

How to use amiibo with Splatoon 2

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

To unlock new characters in Splatoon 2 (like Callie and Marie) or get some cool gear, you can find the amiibo trigger in your amiibo Box in the back of Inkopolis Square.

  1. Scan the front of the amiibo box
  2. Press the A button to start the process.
  3. Place your compatible amiibo on the right Joy-Con's joystick to scan the NFC chip.
  4. Select Do it for me!
  5. Scan the amiibo one more time to befriend the amiibo in your game.

With amiibo in Splatoon 2, you can befriend these characters, which could give special gear that makes you harder to get splattered.

How to use amiibo with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you can unlock some sweet new outfits to match the amiibo you're triggering.

  1. Navigate to the game's menu screen (the screen that shows up between games when you quit a race).
  2. Scroll down and select amiibo.
  3. Place your compatible amiibo on the right Joy-Con's joystick to scan the NFC chip.

As you scan compatible amiibo, new suits will appear. To wear one, select your Mii Avatar when choosing a driver. Then, select the outfit you want to wear.

How to use amiibo with Skyrim

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

In Skyrim, your amiibo will drop a loot crate that will provide some helpful armor, gear, and noms. Some amiibo, especially the ones from The Legend of Zelda series, will reward exclusive items that are difficult to find in the game.

  1. Press the B button on the right Joy-Con controller.
  2. Select Magic from your menu.
  3. Select Powers
  4. Select amiibo.
  5. Press the ZL or ZR trigger button to equip amiibo as a power.
  6. Exit the magic menu.
  7. Press the trigger button you mapped to amiibo.
  8. Place your compatible amiibo on the right Joy-Con's joystick to scan the NFC chip.

A loot chest will drop in front of you so make sure you're not on a hillside or near a deep body of water.

Which amiibo should you buy?

So, now that you know how cool amiibo are and how they can reward you with some pretty sweet in-game swag, you might be wondering where to start? Have no fear. Just find the games you love and get started.

For the true amiibo collector

If you've been a collector of amiibo for a while, you probably already have more than a few collector figurines. If you're looking for some good peripherals for your amiibo, look no further.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to use amiibo on Nintendo Switch? Put them in the comments and I'll help you out.

Nintendo Switch