After the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U stream, Nintendo held an event for press to try out 8-Player Smash and see how the amiibo figures work with the game. After you unwrap an amiibo and put it down on the Wii U GamePad, you get to name your character. Your Super Smash Bros. amiibo character name can be up to 10 letters long.
Setting up your amiibos is kind of like setting up custom moves in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. You can give an amiibo equipment, but the catch is that you have to “feed” it equipment. If you give an amiibo Smash Ball Retention, an item that makes you more resistant from losing a Final Smash, it’s gone from your inventory. Any stat bonuses or decreases for attack, defense, and speed are permanent.
Amiibo fighters can hold up to three effects (read: skills). If you try to add a fourth effect, you have to forget an effect. Some of the effects I saw on amiibo fighters are First Strike Advantage (an ability that makes you invincible for 10 seconds if you land a first strike), stronger item throws (1.5x damage from attack items), and quicker bat swings (faster smash attacks with the homerun bat). You cannot constantly feed an amiibo items. After it’s full, you have to bring that amiibo into battle before you can feed it again.
Attacks can be customized, too, but the Kirby amiibo I used didn’t have any effects or attacks to choose from. It was a brand new level 1 amiibo. I put Kirby to work by fighting another amiibo, a level 44 Princess Peach. This was Kirby’s first battle and when it started Kirby was completely confused. He just stood there while Peach gave him a beating. Since Amiibo vs. amiibo battles are entirely hands-off, I couldn’t help Kirby at all. Eventually Kirby learned how to fight and spammed the Final Cutter special move. Sometimes he turned into a rock… while on solid ground. He ignored the Smash Ball item that floated above him and didn’t block once. Kirby was clueless, but at the end of the battle he leveled up from 1 to 3 in one fight. Amiibo fighters level up faster when fighting against another amiibo.
I threw Kirby into another battle, this time with Peach and a level 50 Link. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has level 50 as the level cap, but amiibos continue to learn new abilities depending on how you play. If you never play with items turned on, even though your amiibo might be level 50, it will still consider items “new”. On the other hand, if you chase after items an amiibo will mimic that strategy in a fight. In this next fight, Kirby was better. He knew how to attack and fluttered around the stage. Kirby grabbed the Smash Ball this time and was able to knock out both characters using his Final Smash. However, he still didn’t have an idea how to defend himself. The other two amiibos knocked Kirby out first before fighting each other. In the end, the level 50 Link won the match, but it was pretty close between him and Peach.
I tried to see if I could “teach” the Kirby amiibo, since he’s supposed to learn your play style. I set up a one on one match where I played as Gannondorf and focused on blocking or evading Kirby’s attacks. I thought if I focused on defense, Kirby would pick up some of those skills in another amiibo vs. amiibo fight. I let Kirby defeat me, too, but in the next battle I’m not sure if Kirby “learned” anything. Kirby started blocking, but he didn’t evade at all. He was getting better at offense, though, and started using more of its attacks.
It took about 20 minutes with amiibo vs. amiibo fights to bring Kirby up to level 19 and a representative from Nintendo confirmed that amiibos level up faster when fighting other amiibos. He also hinted that Kirby may learn how to be a better fighter by battling other Kirby amiibos. After you’re done training an amiibo you need to scan it on the Wii U gamepad again so the amiibo retains all of the experience it gained.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U comes out in North America on November 21. The first set of amiibo figurines—Mario, Princess Peach, Villager, Marth, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Link, Fox, and Kirby—come out on the same day. The amiibos pictured below are the final design for the figures.