Does the Ultimate Super Smash Bros Now exist?

Joining the Fray

Released earlier this month, Super Smash Bros Ultimate has joined our already-substantial rotation of video games. For Julian that includes Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Overwatch, Rocket League, and a random playthrough of Pokemon HeartGold. Fred has been playing Black Ops 4, Overwatch, NBA 2k18, Madden 19 and Clash of Clans (sadly). 

Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Link, Samus, Pikachu, and a whole slew of characters totaling 69 (now 70 with the Piranaha Plant DLC) are duking it out again in the aptly named Ultimate version of Smash. Every character that’s appeared in the prior iterations have made their way into the latest entrant. We can’t find a reason to complain. 

Diving into the Roster

Unlocking bonus characters has always been a staple of Super Smash Bros. However, Ultimate has taken this premise to new heights. The only characters you start with are the originals from the first game.

This even excludes veterans like Ness, Luigi and Captain Falcon. Unlocking characters can be done in a variety of ways:

  1. Free the character’s spirit in Adventure Mode
  2. Play through Classic Mode
  3. Fight your friends/foes/CPU in Smash Mode

One cool feature is the ability to customize a Mii Fighter, with a unique create-a-fighter option to tailor a moveset to your fighting style. Other unique characters include Isabelle from Animal Crossing, Simon from Castlevania, the Pokemon Incineroar, Ridley from Metroid, Inkling from Splatoon, and fan-favorite King K. Rool.

DLC characters have been promised, with the first being Piranha Plant. Perhaps the devs will hear the fans’ rally cries to bring Waluigi into the game! If he is, the moonwalk trick shot from Mario Tennis needs to be incorporated into his moveset. 

So smooth!

While the roster is already enormous, there are a few more folks we could see making their way onto the character select screen. Shadow the hedgehog, Tails,  Dixie Kong, Slippy, and Banjo and Kazooie would be brilliant additions.

New Game Modes

The classic Smash mode makes its return in Ultimate, where players can quickly jump into battle. It’s also great to see loads of customization options in the supplementary modes.

We really appreciate the transition from trophies to spirits in SSB Ultimate.  Unlike its predecessors, spirits give in-game buffs to the characters. You’ll be granted boosts to abilities or begin matches with specific items. 

There are tons of spirits to unlock and two main ways to do so – Adventure Mode and the Spirit Board.

Adventure Mode

Ultimate’s version of a story mode was introduced in the game’s trailer. 

Master Hand attacks, resulting in a Thanos-esque elimination of way more than 50% of the heroes. At the end of the action sequence, only Kirby remains. 

Beginning with the lovable, pink puff, you traverse a gigantic map. Your goal is simple: unlock the rest of the characters in the game. With each character unlocked, your playable roster increases, both in Adventure and Smash mode. 

Each match also puts a unique spirit up for grabs. The bonuses ranges from enhanced abilities or increased size to assist spirits or elemental changes. Players have the option of adding fog, electricity and poison to protect the main adversary. To help even the playing field, you can equip your own spirit.

Squad Strike

Just as the name suggests, you can squad up with other characters for intense 3v3 or 5v5 battles. There are three sub-modes in squad strike:

  • Tag team: fight until your character is knocked out, then the next hero steps in
  • Elimination: after a fighter is defeated, the stage changes
  • Best Of: use your fighters in a predetermined order, best of 3 matches

If you’ve ever played Tekken Tag or are interested in using multiple characters in one match, you’ll probably enjoy this mode.

Tourney

Remember back in the days of SSB Melee when you and a dozen of your friends would manually create a tournament in the basement? Well, Ultimate automates this for you. You’re welcome.

Players can have up to 32 fighters in a bracket, culminating in finals match among the top two contestants. Set your game rules and brace yourselves for an extended smash session.

Special Smash

This is where you go if you want to set the crazy level to 9,000. Special Smash encases another three sub-modes:

  • Custom Smash: Because, who wouldn’t want more customization options? Want to make everyone’s head really big? Go for it. Tired of being “normal” size? Minify the fighters! The world is your oyster.
  •  Smashdown: Those of you familiar with Overwatch’s Lockout Elimination Arcade mode will fit right in here. After a character has been played, that character is no longer available. This is great for forcing you to try fighters that you don’t normally play.
  •  Super Sudden Death: Everyone is at 300%. You’ll be knocked off the map in one hit. Good luck.

Mob Smash

In Mob Smash, you go up against waves of enemies. You can either fight the normal cast or a suped up version of all the characters. Great for the masochists out there (we’re talking to you, Mr. I Put 100 Hours Into Bloodborne and Still Haven’t Gotten Past the First Area).

Spirit Board

The Spirit Board grants the ability to play single matches for the opportunity to unlock spirits. These opportunities rotate on a timed schedule and you only get one opportunity to win the match if you don’t use a power-up to rematch.

Our Review
Julian’s Review

Though I’ve played every version of Super Smash Bros, this is the first one I’ve actually owned… well technically it’s my fiancée’s. Though, in my opinion, the spirit board was a bit confusing and wonky, I think the focus on unlocking characters in the adventure mode is a good alternative to ways of the past. 

As far as mechanics the game isn’t too different from previous versions for the non-pro and that is a good thing. If you like the series, there isn’t much reason why you wouldn’t like this game. Smash will always be a great option for a party game, and with such an expansive roster, I think this is the best one yet. 

9.5 / 10
Fred’s Review

Smash has a special place in my gaming history. I’ve probably logged the most hours out of any competitive ‘couch’ game into this series. My collection includes every SS title available. Although I didn’t put much time into the Wii U version, I had high hopes for Ultimate based on the trailers.

So far, the game has delivered on what the game devs described. I’m glad a fan created a game guide and I could use some more explanations at times. For the most part, I’m excited to try out new characters and challenge my friends online. I’ll definitely have many game nights with Ultimate in 2019.

9.0 / 10

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