Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the latest entry into the Super Smash Bros. video game series. This franchise made its debut in 1998 on the Nintendo 64 and has appeared on every Nintendo home console since: with Melee on the Gamecube, Brawl on the Wii and SSB4 on the Wii U and N3DS.
For those who do not know, the Super Smash Bros series is a massive crossover Nintendo fighting game that features your favourite characters from a whole range of Nintendo franchises to 3rd party characters from other iconic video game series.
Everyone is here! SSBU brings back every character who has made a playable appearance in the franchise so far – so Solid Snake and Ice Climbers who were cut in SSB4 are now back on the roster. Moreover, we now have echo fighters (clones), which allow new characters to be brought into smash. These echo fighters play similarly to existing characters with different appearances. Returning characters who have been rebranded as echo fighters include Lucina (Marth) and Dark Pit (Pit).
Additionally, Sakurai has brought some iconic newcomers such as the famous Inklings from Splatoon and the guy that everyone thought was too big for Smash – Ridley. King K Rool from the Donkey Kong series makes his debut alongside Castlevania’s Simon Belmont (Richter will be his echo fighter). Speaking of echo fighters, Princess Daisy, Fire Emblem’s Chrom, Dark Samus and Street Fighter’s Ken will be making their playable Smash debuts as echo fighters Peach, Roy, Samus and Ryu respectively. Isabelle will have her own moveset and will not be an echo fighter of the Villager. So many new characters! But that’s still not everyone. Incineroar from Pokemon Sun and Moon and Piranha Plant will also be playable characters – though Piranha Plant is a pre-order bonus.
Excited? Well, there’s going to be at least five more characters released in the upcoming DLC packs, so the fighters will just keep coming. Given the shocking DLC characters for SSB4, no one can predict which fighters will be joining the Smash roster over the next few years.
Despite some dreams coming true (Ridley fans can finally wipe their tears), Waluigi will be making an appearance in Super Smash Bros Ultimate – as an assist trophy.
With new characters also comes new game modes.
Smashdown is a mode where your previously selected character becomes unavailable for the next round. This means players have to learn to adapt and cannot just rely on their main. Squad Strike can be played as either a 3-on-3 or a 5-on-5 elimination battle. Players will cycle through their fighters consecutively until a winner is determined.
The training mode in Ultimate is new and improved, now with launch distance and trajectory displayed.
World of Light
It’s been almost ten years since the Smash series had a proper story mode. The Subspace Emissary in Brawl was an interesting way to engage players and make them connect to the characters. The cinematic cutscenes added depth and an extra dimension to the Smash Bros experience. It was also a great way of unlocking characters, as you added them to your party during the story.
Now ten years on we have the World of Light, which Sakurai and Nintendo are keeping under complete wraps. What we do now so far is that there is a new villain, Galeem, only Kirby manages to escape his attack on all the fighters. You now take control of Kirby as you navigate the World of Light to find your friends (both fighters and spirits) and discover the mysteries of this world.
Similar to Brawl, you’ll unlock the majority of the characters in the story mode.
What are these Spirits?
There has been a mention of spirits, but what exactly are these spirits and how do they impact the game?
Spirits are game characters which can be equipped to your fighter to boost their stats in a battle. There are two categories of spirits, Primary and Support. Primary spirits raise the attack power of your fighter and come in three types: Attack, Grab, Shield. Like rock, paper and scissors, the types have advantages over each other: attack beats grab which beats shield which beats attack. So make sure to choose your spirit well.
Melee (and Project M) fans rejoice! The fighting mechanics in Ultimate will be tailored towards the gameplay that made melee popular. Picking which direction you can dodge mid-air is now back to allow you to quickly avoid enemy attacks. Don’t be over-reliant on dodges though; overusing them will reduce their effectiveness over time.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is available now (as of Friday 7th December 2018) on the Nintendo Switch.