Mario Amiibo HeroSource: iMore

You know amiibo, those adorable tiny statues that take up all that space on your bookshelf. Well, they're not just for looks! They serve a very useful purpose in Nintendo Switch games. Some of the best games on Nintendo's hybrid system make use of amiibo. They generate items, sometimes exclusive items, within a game that you're playing. Want to dress your Skyrim character up like Link? It's possible with the right amiibo! Here's how to use your amiibo with Nintendo Switch.

How amiibo work with Nintendo Switch

Amiibo on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

Amiibo have a tiny chip at their base. The chip stores identifier data, such as what Nintendo Switch system 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 Nintendo Switch logo at the top of the Pro Controller. When you place the amiibo on the joystick on the right Joy-Con, it'll send the data to your Switch.

What happens next depends on which game you're playing. In some games, you might get special powers. In others, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, players can receive exclusive weapons and armor. Players can train special AI fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, or choose which villagers they want to live on their deserted island community in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There are tons of different ways that amiibo can be used, bringing life to the charming toys.

How to trigger the in-game rewards in different games

amiibo set upSource: iMore

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. Keep in mind that this is just a small sample of games compatible with amiibo. Remember to check out the game's details to see if it is amiibo-compatible.

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

Amiibo on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

Before you can use your amiibo in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you have to enable the amiibo Rune. It's off by default in the game's 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 Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. with amiiboSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is compatible with almost every amiibo figure out there. Here's how to get in on the fun!

  1. From the main menu, go to Games and More.

  2. From Games and More, select amiibo.

  3. Tap your amiibo figure on the right stick.

Depending on the amiibo, one of two things will happen. You will either unlock an in-game fighter that corresponds with the figure or you will receive an amiibo spirit which can be a great boon as you are working your way through the Adventure mode.

How to use amiibo with Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Acnh Amiibo CardsSource: Rebecca Spear / iMore

There are several ways to use amiibo in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Villagers can be invited to live on your island via the campsite, you can have coffee dates with villagers at The Roost Café, take pictures at Photopia on Harvey's Island, or invite villagers and NPCs to Paradise Planning so that they can decorate vacation homes in the Happy Home Paradise DLC.

How to invite villagers to your island with amiibo:

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo: Go to Resident Services and interact with the kioskSource: iMore

  1. Upgrade Resident Services from a tent to a building.
  2. Build the campsite and invite a villager to move to your island.
  3. Interact with the NookStop kiosk at Resident Services to invite more villagers via amiibo and the campsite.

Remember that villagers invited to your island after this point need to visit the campsite three times before they agree to move in. Villagers can only be invited once per day, so you'll have to work for your favorite villager!

How to invite villagers to The Roost Café:

  1. Upgrade Resident Services to a building. If you've unlocked the campsite already, skip this step.
  2. Donate one of each item type to the museum. That means at least one bug, one fish, one fossil, and one piece of art.
  3. Raise your island rating to three stars. Doing so involves planting trees and flowers, placing furniture around your island, and inviting more villagers to live on your island.
  4. Find Brewster and build The Roost. This little treasure hunt introduced in the 2.0 update allows you to invite the stoic pigeon to your island.
  5. Use the amiibo Call Center in the far left of the room. Here, you can scan in amiibo to call villagers and NPCs for coffee and a nice chat. Call them often enough and they may bring a friend!

How to take pictures with villagers on Harvey's Island:

  1. Head to the airport and talk to Orville. Harvey lives on a separate island but that's okay because there's a seaplane.
  2. Select "I want to fly! and then "Visit Harv's Island." You'll be there in a jiffy.
  3. Head over to the building on the left. It's got a wooden plaque on the door that looks like a camera.
  4. Talk to Harvey about taking photos. That's it! He'll explain everything you need to know.

How to invite villagers to Paradise Planning in the DLC:

Animal Crossing Paid Dlc LottieSource: Nintendo

  1. Build seven vacation homes. You don't need to flesh out each home, as clients will be satisfied as long as you use whatever mandatory items they provide.
  2. Speak to Lottie. She will mention someone who offers to send her some new technology that will improve the business. This is the amiibo scanner.
  3. Interact with the amiibo scanner. While you won't be able to design homes for NPCs like Isabelle just yet, they're free game after 20 homes.

How to use amiibo with Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario OdysseySource: Nintendo

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 Kirby Star Allies

Amiibo on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

While the Kirby series of amiibo isn't as big as the Zelda series, you can still use them in Kirby Star Allies.

  1. Start your game in Story Mode.
  2. While in a level, press the Plus button on the right Joy-Con controller.
  3. Select amiibo.
  4. Select Yes when prompted to confirm that you want to use an amiibo to get healing items and picture pieces.

You can only activate the amiibo function while you're in a stage. So, make sure you're able to play through the entire level or you'll lose your puzzle pieces and healing items.

How to use amiibo with Splatoon 2

Amiibo on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

To unlock photo mode in Splatoon 2, or get some cool exclusive 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.

While there are no challenges locked behind amiibo like the first game on the Wii U, the exclusive amiibo gear is still super fresh.

How to use amiibo with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

super mario kart 8 deluxeSource: Nintendo

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

  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 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Amiibo on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

In The Elder Scrolls V: 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.

How to use amiibo with Bayonetta 2

Amiibo on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

You can unlock some standard in-game loot, plus some seriously wacky costumes that would otherwise cost a truckload of Halos to get by using amiibo in Bayonetta 2. The cool thing is that there are lots of compatible amiibo with this game.

  1. Navigate to your menu screen
  2. Select amiibo.
  3. Place your compatible amiibo on the right Joy-Con's joystick to scan the NFC chip.

You can use different amiibo 32 times per day. Each one unlocks in-game loot in Rodin's Treasures, plus special outfits (and I mean special!).

A little extra fun

There are many other games that make use of amiibo functionality, all in very different ways. Some of the best games on the Nintendo Switch like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, all make use of amiibo in very different ways. Refer to the game's details in the eShop or the back of the game's case to confirm amiibo functionality.

Though amiibo aren't necessary to have a good time playing Nintendo games, they certainly add a bit of flair for anyone interested in collecting the figurines. Lots of games utilize amiibo for extra cosmetics or quality-of-life features that make the games more enjoyable — though some rare amiibo are notoriously hard to get. Nintendo is a toy company at heart and it shows in their implementation of toys-to-life in their games. Should your amiibo collection grow to greater heights, make sure you can show them off properly when you display them in your gaming setup.