Super Smash Bros. is a franchise that has been going on for about 20 years now. The series has jumped from a fun party game about fighting and launching your friends with Nintendo’s biggest characters to a worldwide phenomenon for the gaming community. With the roster expanding past Nintendo, and the game only getting bigger in the competitive scene, the impact of Smash Bros is unmistakable. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the culmination of 20 years, and a celebration of gaming overall.
First off, you can’t mention this game without bringing up the roster. A major part of this game’s marketing is the fact that all 63 characters that have appeared in the series are coming back for this game. No character has been cut from the roster, so long-time fans get to play as characters that may have not appeared since Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2001. Also along with this, the game brings long-requested characters like Ridley from Metroid, and King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country into the already huge list of fighters. Along with the returning characters, newer breakout figures like Inkling from the popular Splatoon and fan-favorite Isabelle from Animal Crossing: New Leaf have also gained the spotlight on the battlefield. There’s a character or two for everyone, making the game easy to pick up for casual or hardcore players.
With every character comes every stage. Nearly every stage in Smash history makes its return and in chronological order too, clocking in at 103 stages, not even counting the Battlefield and Omega form of each stage, which are suited for more focused battles. The sheer amount of content and representation is astounding in this installment. Playing as Sonic the Hedgehog while fighting Zelda in the Mushroom Kingdom is one of the many, many possible crazy matchups you could experience while playing this game, making this a true ambitious crossover.
Not to mention that the gameplay is a lot more engaging this time around. Attacks are lightning fast and the battles have so much personality than previous games. For example, in 1-on-1 battles, strong attacks, and potential KOs have a special look, dramatically zooming in and focusing on that attack to keep the suspense of the fight going, and it’s a welcome change that could spice up parties or even get you hyped in the process.
The game has a lot of fun modes to occupy your time with options like Classic Mode taking each of the fighters on their own journey, each with unique themes and a boss to match. The Mob Smash mode allows you to fight against 100 Mii characters in a non-stop brawl, and All-Star mode pits you against every single fighter in the game. Modes to play with your friends include Squad Strike, Smashdown, and Tourney, leaving groups of friends with multiple great gaming experiences. You could also take on the forces of light and dark in the new World of Light adventure mode, where you must rescue each fighter after an unfortunate event that caused them to be possessed by Spirits.
Spirits are an interesting addition to the game, allowing just about any video game character to be in Smash, replicated by a playable character, with conditions to act like the character they’re representing. For example, Snake Man, from Mega Man, possesses Snake and has him throwing down bombs, just like in the original games. This is a unique spin on the “Smash formula” if you will, and a welcome addition to the franchise that can lead to some interesting battles.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is truly the ultimate game in the Smash Bros. franchise, including every character and stage, gameplay balanced for the hardest-of-core fans or newcomers to the series, and fun modes that draw players in. The game perfects what it means to be the biggest celebration of gaming, representing popular franchises like Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda, to smaller ones such as Earthbound and Pikimin. Although there are some Smash features found in previous installments that are nowhere to be found in this one, such as Home-Run Contest, it is still my favorite game in the franchise, and I have a feeling fans are going to share my eagerness to devote countless hours into it.