From the Super Mario Wiki
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Minis, or Mini Toys, are a line of character-based robotic toys found in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. Produced and sold by the Mario Toy Company, these figures are capable of walking, jumping, and performing other contextual actions depending on the game they appear in. Each Mini, outside of Mini Spek, is based off of a pre-existing Mario character.
In most games, the different types of Minis have no functional differences and serve as nothing more than aesthetic variety. However, in Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge, each Mini, with the exception of Mini Spek, has a special ability that allows it to complete levels or access collectibles other Minis could not obtain.