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Nintendo announces Amiibo figurines - here's how they work

Katharine Byrne
10 Jun 2014
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We explain how Nintendo's new Amiibo figures will work with the GamePad

Announced during Nintendo's E3 Digital Event presentation earlier today, Nintendo's new "Amiibo" platform will use NFC figures to add new characters into its games.

It's a similar concept to the current crop of Skylanders games, which rely on players buying additional figures and placing them on special platforms in order to bring them into the game world. Nintendo's Amiibo figures won't need any additional hardware to use, though, as they'll utilise the GamePad's built-in NFC chip on the front of the controller.

Nintendo Amiibo

The first series of Amiibo figures will launch alongside the new Super Smash Bros. game for Wii U later this year, but Amiibo isn't just limited to Super Smash Bros. Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen has confirmed that Amiibo figures are in development for a variety of Nintendo characters, games and series that will start launching later this year. These include Mario Kart 8, Mario Party 10, and the newly announced Captain Toad Treasure Tracker and Yoshi's Woolly World.

"Amiibo will expand the gameplay experience of supporting titles and bring about new types of fun and new ways to interact with your favourite Nintendo characters," said Trinen.

Nintendo Amiibo

But how will the Amiibo figures work with Super Smash Bros? Each figure will contain what Trinen calls "the spirit of the character they represent" (presumably movesets and abilities), and when you touch an Amiibo to your GamePad, they'll automatically appear in game ready for you to fight with.

You can either pit them against other figures, face off against them yourself, or they can team up and fight alongside you. Every time your Amiibo battles, it will gain experience points and get a small boost to its abilities, such as attack, defence, speed and various stat effects.

Nintendo Amiibo

They'll even be able to learn tactics to make them stronger opponents, making fighting against them a lot more of a formidable task than simply battling against the game's AI opponents. Pitting Amiibos against each other will also let them level up faster than if they just fought against human or CPU opponents.

This means that no two figures will be the same, even if they look identical. Special moves can be customised as well. This data is stored inside each Amiibo figure, letting you take your personalised fighters with you if you want to play the game at a friend's house.

So far, Nintendo has announced Amiibo figures for Mario, Link, Peach, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Wii Fit Trainer and Villager from Animal Crossing, but Nintendo's confirmed that more will be on their way soon.

Nintendo Amiibo

3DS users needn't feel left out either, as Nintendo also revealed that it was planning to release an Amiibo peripheral for 3DS next year, so you can use your figures on 3DS games as well. Whether this means the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros will be compatible with Amiibo figures in the same way as its Wii U counterpart remains to be seen, but it's certainly an exciting prospect for Nintendo fans. We'll bring you more news on Amiibo as it's confirmed.

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