NS Review – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Simon Belmont and King K. Rool

The reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Switch back in 2017 was somewhat inevitable really. We all knew the Nintendo all-star beat-em up was destined to arrive on Switch at some point soon – with a fairly low adoption rate for the Wii U version it seemed like a no-brainer to bring, what was assumed to be a port, across to Switch sooner rather than later. With a super smart teaser trailer, that looked at first like a new Splatoon trailer(!) fans around the world knew they were in for a treat whatever the outcome.

But with news of a brand new title, built from the ground up for Switch, the hype began to build even more quickly than was expected. It was to be a brand new game – an Ultimate edition with ALL previous fighters and the anticipation of a new single player adventure mode. With a number of Nintendo Directs following it’s big reveal, including a deep-dive into the game for E3, plus subsequent shows revealing gameplay mechanics and new fighters, plus a tease and then a reveal of a brand new Spirits mode, excitement was building for this brand new title in the series prior to it’s release just last week.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks beautiful, includes some super high quality fighter visuals and some amazing effects. It’s a polished experience, that really does a service to any Nintendo fan. The biggest addition to the package this time is the inclusion of a bunch of new characters. With a wide range of fighters, from the heavy, slow, yet super strong King K Rool, to Isabelle of Animal Crossing fame, echo fighter Ken and of course, fresh from Splatoon, the Inkling, with 8 awesome skins to play as and a selection of weapons, there are plenty of new move-sets to learn and some new stages to experience. The new characters feel right at home amongst their peers; it’s great to see Simon Belmont join the roster too, and bringing back fan favourites such as Ice Climbers and Pokemon Trainer is a genius move. Learning the best tactics for each fighter never feels like a chore and I urge everyone to try and give all the characters some time, as pulling off Smash moves and specials can be a lot of fun when there’s so much variety.

Unlocking these 74 fighters is a fun, yet often challenging process which can be achieved by following a few different methods. I found a preference to play through single player fights in Classic mode; this time featuring variety and themes for each character you choose, such as final boss fights with different characters, Pokemon Trainer taking on the full roster of Pokemon in the game and DK teaming up with Diddy Kong to take on teams of two in each fight. It’s a nice variation on a mode we’ve seen before and a real fun way to learn each characters strengths and weaknesses.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

World of light is Ultimate’s brand new single player adventure mode. The story is that, with the full roster of characters wiped out, in a frankly amazing fully rendered intro, it’s up to Kirby, the only survivor, to rescue the Spirits of each character in order to have them join his team of avengers before taking on the big bad. The mode is centred around traversing a map in order to complete a vast number of battles, each with their own unique theme, in order to retrieve spirits, which can then be assigned to your own fighter. With over 1,300 spirits to collect the number of battles is extensive, ranging from super easy to some very challenging ones. Some of the Spirits you acquire make an obvious difference in matches, like the ability to withstand heavy wind in a battle where there’s a full force hurricane blowing across the stage from one side, whilst others let you start a match with a specific weapon. The handy auto-assign option available before each match is essential in utilising the correct ones.

The mode can be tough, with some really strong opponents to take on where you need a specific Spirit to survive, but, from what I’ve found so far, the one need is usually just around the corner. With apparently over 20 hours of gameplay available in this mode it’s certainly one to come back to again and again, with so many spirits to unlock. To enhance my team I found that I could scan in some of my amiibo for new spirits, including Toad, Waluigi and a BOTW Guardian and, from timed events and random selections other Spirits are also available from the Spirits board. It’s a faster alternative to traversing around the WOL map, and can be a different way to get hold of spirits of your favourite characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

Of course the game features an Online mode, where you can set your preferred rule set, such as the choice of items, stock or time battles and 1 vs 1 or up to four player matches. It’s a nice touch, yet it is only a preference, so don’t expect to get what you wish for in every match. Joining a match doesn’t seem to take too long, and with only some small issues with lag so far I’m confident it will be a fun mode to keep coming back too. Each time you play your result effects your Global Smash Power – thereby determining who you will fight in each match based on the number of people you have outscored. The better you play, the higher your GSP. Friend match ups can also be set up in a Battle Arena, and voice chat is available using the Nintendo Online mobile app.

I should say that 90% of my play time with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is with the full experience – with all the items, from the full range of new assist trophies, Smash balls, an abundance of Pokemon and of course all of the weapons. With so many variables it’s a lot of fun not knowing how each match could play out, from black holes, to screen filling dogs, a guest appearance from Shovel Knight to Eevee and Guile temporarily joining in the fight – there can be a lot going on. But, whilst experiencing it like this is my favourite way to play, it’s not the only option. Almost another way entirely, with its strict rules, no weapons, no stage activity etc is as part of a competitive tournament. And I felt I needed to take part in one of these before I could really write about this game here.

And so I did. I played terribly of course, falling straight into the losers bracket before swiftly exiting stage left with a 3 stock loss…. but what a thrill it was, even simply watching matches play out on the big TV. It’s a great spectators sport, with some real tense moments as players pull off some risky jumps and some accurate, skilful moves with absolute precision timing. With the crowd getting behind players, cheering and applauding at the end of matches it’s a really fun, enjoyable event to be part of. Experience the game like this makes you want to learn everything for yourself, and on that basis, I can recommend the game to everyone.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

With the wide range of options available, from tournament mode, multi-man smash, the range of fighters, items, stages, music, the possibilities for tournaments and events based around different themes and match ups is endless. But to play with the full range of items on is my preference – give me some gust bellows any day! Get together with some friends and the game is an essential title for Nintendo Switch, from newcomers to veteran players, experts or not. It really is the Ultimate package, with loads to do, to see and to collect and with the prospect of new DLC characters to come, it’s only going to get bigger.

Thanks to Nintendo UK for providing the download code for this awesome game. You’re the best.

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