Super Smash Brothers is back, its biggest draw this time around being that every fighter from the series’ past has returned. Many of this cast of classic SSB characters have been tweaked slightly to keep series veterans happy. In addition to the classics there are newcomers such as Ridley, an extraterrestrial dragon from the Metroid series. The game begins with all the stages unlocked (103 total), however, you start out with only eight characters. Although this is a nice nostalgic nod to the old N64 versions of the game, the unlocking system is fundamentally flawed. The chance to unlock a character usually occurs every 10 minutes of gameplay, but the AI in the ‘unlocking fights’ range from ludicrously difficult to unbelievably easy. This will make your time with the game spectacularly frustrating. You’re able to unlock them all by playing the adventure mode, World of Light, but this takes significantly more time than multiplayer matches or other single player offerings.
The variety of in game modes on offer is astounding. By playing the aforementioned World of Light, you unlock Spirits. These are like the previous game's Trophies, and there are over 1000 on offer, each used to power up characters during this mode. In addition to this, you have Multiplayer Smash, where different custom rulesets can be created, saved and used to create a unique play experience. For example, you can turn items on or off, change which stages occur in the cycle of battle arenas, or you can add modifiers to health and damage output. The amount of variety in how the game can be played is absolutely staggering.
The basic mechanics from previous titles in the series is much the same, most of the changes coming in how the flow of fights occur. The speed of the game has been increased from its Wii-U predecessor, with the return of the eight-way Air Dodge from Super Smash Bros: Melee improving mobility options. And now the game speeds up significantly when fights are down to a 1-on-1 situation too, to make things that little bit tenser.
The online offering was, thankfully, (and surprisingly) very smooth during launch period, unlike previous titles in the series; it seems online has been a bit more of a priority rather than an afterthought. SSB: Ultimate is packed with a massive amount of variety, whether it’s single player, couch-multiplayer, online-battles, or competitively. This will have you covered. Its speed increase and additions to the roster, truly make this the ultimate Smash Bros game.
PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH / DEVELOPERS: NINTENDO, BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT, SORA LTD. / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW