It’s not exactly a secret that I, and most people in the world, absolutely adore the Smash Bros series. Naturally, everyone was excited when Smash Ultimate was announced. I mean, come on: a Smash Bros game featuring seventy-four characters + six DLC characters (one of which is mother fucking Joker from Persona 5!!), a hundred or so stages, and multiple hundreds of music tracks is kind of hard to hate.
But did it succeed? Is Smash Ultimate the next big Smash Bros game? Well, from the few hours I’ve played: absolutely.
Let’s start out by discussing what this game doesn’t have, since there’s so much here. Quite a few veteran game modes are long gone. These include:
- Target Smash
- Platforms (though if I recall, they haven’t been in there since Melee)
- Home Run Smash
- Master Challenge (or whatever that game mode from Wii U was called)
- Any mode relating to trophies (and trophies in general)
I’m sure there are more, but I’m struggling to remember them. Honestly, some of these are pretty shocking to me. I mean, Home Run Smash has been a thing since Melee onward! It’s shocking to me to see it gone. I won’t lie: I actually had a lot of fun playing this mode.
And the modes that are here are very different to what they used to be. For one, regular Smash and eight player Smash modes are now rolled into one. To make it less clunky, there’s now a button to add or remove a player from the game, instead of having eight empty slots taking up a whole bunch of screen space. On top of that, you know select your rules and stage before selecting your character. That… feels odd to me.
There are also a whole lot of different rules you can use and different additions to the mode. You can now transition between stages mid battle, which is actually really fucking cool, start a game in Sudden Death mode, lock out characters after selecting them with Smash Down, start home made tournament brackets like in Brawl, and play your own twisted game of Smash in Special Smash.
Then there’s Classic Mode, which is far different from every game that came before it. Every game of Classic Mode is different depending on the character, and they each have their own set path. And coolest of all: each one has a new unique final boss that has never appeared in Smash before. Play as Link, and you’ll fight Ganon from the end of Ocarina of Time! Play as Simon or Richter, and you’ll fight Dracula! So on and so forth. It’s only at the higher difficulties that Master Hand and Crazy Hand appear.
And they are more insane then ever before.
Before this final battle, however, is a brand new mini-game: the Black Hole. In this mode, you run away from a growing black hole (because that’s totally a thing that you can do) and gather yellow orbs of light before escaping to raise your score. It would be pretty cool… if there weren’t only one board. And if it weren’t the easiest thing in the world to finish. It’s pretty bare bones honestly.
Then of course is the new Adventure Mode: World of Light. The story is about as simple as your typical Nintendo game. Bad guy does a bad thing, now you need to stop him and save the day. Seriously: what did you expect from a Nintendo game?
In terms of gameplay, it’s pretty simple. Explore a massive board, take out enemies of varying difficulty (some of which are total bullshit), gather Spirits for your team and unlock other fighters. It’s simple, repetitive, and decently fun. Still, it’s hardly anything to write home about.
Hopefully the final battle will be pretty cool. But again: this is just my initial thoughts. I haven’t actually finished the game yet.
Then there are the new characters. Most of which I haven’t played. So far, I’ve gotten my hands on Inkling, King K. Rool, Isabelle, and Simon Belmont. All of them are pretty fun. Personally, I adore Simon Belmont the most.
Overall, this game is a great addition to the Smash Bros series. It has fun new characters, awesomely fun stages, and some super awesome boss fights. It’s well worth the price for admission, and it is certainly a game that all Switch owners should have.