Reviews | Written by Stephen J. Boothroyd 12/12/2018

SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE

It’s been little over four years, but Smash is back and bigger than ever, but is it better than ever or is creating a game this big simply too difficult?

It all started nearly 20 years ago with a mere 12 characters, last time around we got 58, but this time there are over 70 characters.  Every single character is back, as well as a few new ones and well over 100 stages. Make no mistake though, there’s been no compromise here. The gameplay is as tight as ever, it’s slightly faster than the previous game, and tonnes of tweaks and improvements have been made along the way.

As always multiplayer is a tonne of fun, the online works nicely, easily finding games with no lag. Got 7 friends? No problem, if you’ve got enough controllers to accommodate you can always play at once! The graphics are gorgeous, unsurprisingly it’s easily the best-looking game in the series, and with all those stages and characters comes one of best video game sound track ever.

The impressive 25+ hour single-player campaign, called World of Light, is easily the single best thing included in this game.  Single-player campaigns in fighting games have had their ups and downs in recent years, with some games opting to include full stories spanning multiple characters, and others shipping without a proper solo mode what so ever.

Nintendo however have gone all out with the one.

Controlling Kirby initially, you make your way across a huge world map, unlocking other characters as well as spirits.  Spirits are basically video game characters ranging from Rayman to folks more obscure than Tingle.  There are over 1000 Spirits in total to unlock, in most cases, you need to first defeat them.  Each spirit is represented in battle by an existing character(s) and certain modifiers. You really get to see Nintendo’s charm and wit come out to play here. For example, there are survival horror characters, you have to defeat in within the time limit, who try to avoid you entirely.  Once you’ve defeated the spirit, it then joins your team as either a primary spirit or a support spirit. Primary spirits give you overall stats a boost and can be levelled up, they may also have an additional perk such as poison immunity and have up to three slots for support spirits. Support spirits are made up of additional perks. On top of this, spirits are also used on the world map, allowing you to repair bridges or destroy objects that block your path.

As well as this and the normal smash battles and online fights, the game is brimming with other content, so much so that it’s pretty easy to get lost in the menus. There’s the classic mode, where you battle through a run of characters and boss, 124 in-game achievements in the form of challenges, Squad Strike which is 3 vs 3 or 5 vs 5 elimination, A tournament for up to 32 people, a gauntlet style fight called Mob Smash, Super Sudden Death, Customer Matches and a mode called Smash Down where once a character has been used they can’t be used again.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is not just a name, it is truly that. Pro gamers will continue to debate which Smash is the best for years to come, but for everyone else, there’s no doubt that this is it.  It’s unlikely we’ll ever see a fighting game as packed with content as this one again, it’s a phenomenal achievement and yet another masterpiece on the Nintendo Switch.

SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE / PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH / DEVELOPERS: NINTENDO, BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT, SORA LTD. / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW