In creating amiibo (opens in new tab), Nintendo hit the emphatic fan (emfantic?) jackpot, with Nintendo devotees going to sometimes extreme lengths (opens in new tab) to to get their twitchy, grabby hands on these plastic idols to their favorite classic characters. But in addition to looking great and being oh-so-collectible (you may need to reinforce your shelves), did you know that amiibo can also be used with games? It's true. Each amiibo is compatible with a wide variety of Nintendo titles, unlocking different features or options depending on the game you play or amiibo you use. Mario Kart 8 offers new costumes, while Super Smash Bros. lets you train your own NPC fighter to battle with or against, and Chibi-Robo offers a sweet coat of gold paint for your tappin' trouble.
Read on for more specifics on each currently-announced amiibo-compatible title, and how amiibo make them way better. To make sure you have the right amiibo to go with each game, check out specific figures' compatibility here (opens in new tab).
Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy + (3DS)
Well that's a mouthful of a title. Once you can actually get that whole thing off your tongue, you can tap your amiibo into Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ and unlock a handful of new, Nintendo-themed planes that match the amiibo you're using. As a bonus, each aircraft (in addition to looking really cool) will have increased stats over their more boring counterparts.
amiibo tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits (Wii U)
amiibo tap may not have people sprinting for the toy department in your local Target, but if you already have amiibo, why not put them to use? The free-to-play amiibo tap lets you play three minute demos for classic Nintendo games associated with any amiibo you tap in, so you can look into that character's storied past and discover old games you might have missed. The full games are available on the eShop for pretty cheap, so it's not exactly cost-effective to get an amiibo you don't own for the purpose, but come on - you know you have them already.
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival (Wii U)
Mario Party for the Animal Crossing crowd, amiibo Festival's entire functionality is based around amiibo. You'll need at least one compatible figure to play, which you'll tap on the Wii U gamepad to roll dice, compete in mini-games, and move around the board. You can also get a variety of Animal Crossing cards, which will open up more mini-games, but that's an entirely new level of amiibo collecting that we're afraid to touch.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)
If you're all about those amiibo cards, Happy Home Designer is your moment to shine. When you tap a character's amiibo card on the 3DS, that character will be added into your game, letting you introduce characters and animals that wouldn't otherwise be available. You can do the same with figures, but hush - let the card collectors have their moment.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)
The Toad amiibo is the only figure compatible with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and tapping him on the Wii U Gamepad will unlock a special hide-and-seek challenge in the game. Each stage will feature a hidden Pixel Toad, and it's up to you to find him.
Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash (3DS)
While any amiibo can be used with Chibi-Robo! to get in-game coins, you only see the true power of amiibo if you have the figure for Chibi-Robo himself. Tap him into your game, and you'll unlock 'Super Chibi-Robo mode', which makes Chibi-Robo invincible until it wears off. You can only use it a certain amount of times per day, but that's probably for the best - you don't want this little guy becoming an overpowered monstrosity.
Code Name S.T.E.A.M (3DS)
Thought Code Name S.T.E.A.M couldn't get any more bonkers? Well, here you go. Tapping any Fire Emblem character to your New 3DS will add that character to your squad, letting you play as them in the steampunk-influenced strategy game. Each character even gets to use his or her signature weapons as they complete quests for commander Abraham Lincoln. Like we said.
Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)
These Fire Emblem characters are sure friendly! Just like in Code Name S.T.E.A.M., you can add the likes of Marth, Lucina, and Ike into your Fates game and they'll happily join your party, meeting up with you in the game's My Castle home base before enlisting in your personal army. Though, there is one caveat: you have to defeat them in battle first, prove you're worthy and all. Easy enough, right?
Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
Tapping Link or Toon Link on the Wii U Gamepad will grant you the Spinner - that ridable spinning-top weapon thingie from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - in Hyrule Warriors. You can also use the Zelda and Sheik amiibo to unlock a random weapon rated three stars or higher once per day. All other amiibo figures will unlock a random weapon rated three stars or lower, a Rupee bonus, or crafting materials, also once per day.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U)
Setting Kirby, Meta Knight, or King Dedede on the Wii U Gamepad once per day will unlock different special powers in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Kirby grants you the ability to use the Star Dash power whenever you want. King Dedede gives you two extra health bars, and Meta Knight lets you dash through enemies. It's almost like pay-to-win DLC, but hey, at least you get to play with a sweet-looking toy in the process!
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Placing a compatible amiibo on the Wii U GamePad will unlock a special racing outfit based on that character for your Mii racer in Mario Kart 8. Dress up like Captain Falcon, Fox McCloud, Yoshi, Samus, and more! OK, it's not a huge bonus, but it's a nice little touch if you've already got a few amiibo lying around.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
Paper Jam is basically a microcosm of all things Mario, so it only feels right that it get some Mario amiibo compatibility. And that it gets, including the entire Super Mario, Yarn Yoshi, and 30th Anniversary amiibo series' lines, which can be tapped into the game to give you special support cards to be used in battle. Finally, Super Smash amiibo don't reign supreme for once.
Mario Party 10 (Wii U)
Mario Party 10's got a lot of different variables, so let's parse this out. Certain amiibo - like the ones found in the Super Mario series (and their Super Smash Bros. series equivalents), as well as Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and Wario - will let those figures become game pieces in the amiibo Party mode, which creates a board based around the toys you tapped to the Wii U GamePad. You can even save items to compatible amiibo to use later. Lastly, every other amiibo will let you play a Scratch Bonus minigame, where you can win Mario Party points to unlock bonus content in the game. Got all that?
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (Wii U)
A title that demands more of your amiibo's inner chips than many others, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash works much like Super Smash Bros., in that the amiibo can function as another player whose skills improve as they continue playing. Mario Tennis works with characters from Mario's main squad like Peach and Yoshi, but if you happen to be using those amiibo for Smash, take heart - each amiibo can only hold one game's worth of data. You might have to choose between spiking tennis balls and spiking faces.
The Mega Man Legacy Collection (3DS)
The Mega Man Legacy Collection may come packaged with a golden Mega Man amiibo for extra flair, but the humble blue Mega Man will work just as well when it comes to the Legacy Collection's amiibo support. Using a Mega Man figure of any palette on the 3DS version of the Legacy Collection unlocks ten new player-designed challenges (opens in new tab) that are completely unavailable sans-amiibo. At least Mega Man's not the hardest to get a hold of (opens in new tab)…
Shovel Knight (Wii U/3DS)
Shovel Knight might be great just the way he is, but a few upgrades never hurt, especially when they involve buzzsaw boomerangs or being able to shoot flames out of your trusty gardening tool. Tapping a Shovel Knight amiibo into your game gives you the opportunity to create a custom Shovel Knight with all sorts of new weapons, armor, and abilities, and you get a new upgrade every time you level up. There's too many options to properly summarize here, but thankfully Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games was kind enough to do all the heavy digging and create their own guide (opens in new tab).
Splatoon (Wii U)
In between bouts of paintball-esque shooting in Splatoon, you can stop by this highly self-aware display and add your own Splatoon amiibo into the game, which gets you access to unique missions and gear. It's definitely a cosmetic addition, but a nice one for those ready to buy into the inky fun.
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Super Mario Maker isn't afraid to commit to its customization mission, even if that means the titular plumber doesn't appear at all. If Mario snags a mushroom with a question mark on it, he becomes Costume Mario, and tapping an amiibo to the Gamepad will then transform Mario into an 8-bit version of that character. Plus, the special anniversary Mario amiibo will make Mario grow to gargantuan proportions if you choose to add them in.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS (Wii U/3DS)
Ever wanted to keep a Nintendo character as a pet? Maybe have it do battle against your friends? Well, you can in Super Smash Bros. Placing a compatible amiibo on either the Wii U Gamepad or the New Nintendo 3DS will create an AI-controlled virtual pet that will level up and learn as it fights. You can even feed it extra items to teach it new abilities and skills. It's like a Tamagotchi, but way deadlier.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (3DS)
Shulk is the only amiibo compatible with Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, and using it will provide you with tokens you can use to unlock songs and 3D models. That is, if you can actually find a Shulk amiibo. Godspeed.
Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)
In Yoshi's Woolly World, amiibo serve multiple purposes, depending on what amiibo you have/what would be more adorable in a given moment. If you add a Yarn Yoshi amiibo into the game, it can act as a player two when you're otherwise go solo, giving you a buddy to turn into yarn whenever your adventure requires. You can also customize that AI partner and save its new look to the amiibo, proving your little buddy is truly your one and only. Alternatively, you can tap in any other compatible amiibo, which will give your main Yoshi a sweet new look based on their costume. He admittedly looks a little dorky with Samus' visor smack in the middle of his nose, but it's just so damn cute.