When it comes to Nintendo consoles, I’ve found there are two kinds of games that really shift units. Pokemon and Super Smash Bros. Whilst Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee were geared more toward people just getting into their genre, Smash Bros Ultimate is at its heart, a game that’s made for a ravenous group of fans, always eager for more Smash.
Literally bursting with content, both new and some returning from a long-winded absence, Smash Ultimate is fittingly adorned with the Ultimate moniker to show that this is definitively, the best Smash Brothers experience yet.
If you’ve never seen/heard of Smash before, the premise is extremely simple. A fighting game starring a huge roster of Nintendo characters that come from all different franchises and series from the company’s rich history. The goal of Smash is somewhat different to a typical fighting game, however, with the objective not being to deplete your opponent’s health, but to rack up a high percentage of damage on them and to then send them flying off the edges of the stage. This simple premise, combined with Nintendo’s iconic roster, made for a winning combination on the N64, GameCube, Wii, 3DS and Wii U, with the latter two games being the template that Ultimate was lovingly crafted from.
You see, certain characters like Pokemon’s Mewtwo and Fire Emblem’s Roy were available in Melee (GameCube) but notably absent from Brawl (Wii) and then sold to the player as DLC on Smash 4 (Wii U/3DS). This time around however, Ultimate has every single character and a solid vast majority of the stages from all of the previous games present and accounted for, alongside a bevy of new and returning modes, as well as a huge list of compatible controller types and control schemes (Keep an eye on SquareXO for my Smash Switch Accessory Guide coming soon!).
Thus the tagline “Everyone Is Here” was born. So rest easy, knowing that all of the previous fighters, including the third party ones like Sonic, Mega Man and Solid Snake are 100% playable… once you unlock them.
Somewhat fittingly, this brings up my one personal criticism of Ultimate. In my honest opinion, I hate having to unlock the characters. Whilst it’s true that in the majority of previous entries you’d have to finish the various story/classic modes or play a tonne of matches to unlock the bonus roster, Smash Bros 4 had the right idea making all characters playable right off the bat.
Whilst I can appreciate the act of having to defeat randomly appearing challengers and how exciting that can be, it’s incredibly frustrating having a game that’s main selling point is being able to play as anyone and then having to spend two days trying to unlock Mega Man and Dark Samus. Besides that, however, I’ve had nothing but a tonne of fun with Smash on the Switch. I’ve played a tonne of the various single-player modes, including the new World Of Light campaign and the returning Classic Mode, both of which are a good time in the absence of better company.
Really though, the meat and potatoes lie in the multiplayer. Local, Local Wireless or Online. Smash Ultimate, in my opinion, is the BEST multiplayer experience on the Switch right now. Which is really saying something when we have games like Super Mario Party and Horizon Chase Turbo on the same system.
I’ve had the biggest, dumbest smile on my face playing Smash with my friends and workmates, all of whom have had nothing but positive things to say about the experience. The wide roster of characters really helps to keep the experience fresh, making each matchup a unique, interesting encounter full of possibilities.
With the ability to play up to 8 players on a single console, supporting controllers from the recent Joy-Con, Pro Pad or Fight Pad all the way back to the nigh on 20-year-old GameCube controller, there’s so much choice available, potentially making it one of the most accessible Smash games ever.
Praise also has to go to the fresh new Spirits modes, including the previously mentioned “World Of Light” campaign that not only introduces a new mutator style gameplay element to the game, but also provides a level of story context to the games that’s been absent since The Subspace Emissary all the way back in Brawl.
As someone that’s been with the series since 2008, it brings me a great amount of joy to see the high standards and the intense level of care/detail have been maintained for so long. Masahiro Sakurai and his team know how to make a fun, accessible but incredibly deep fighting game, the quality of which is undeniable.
With 74 characters available day 1, another available as a bonus for early adopters and another 5 on the way via the Fighter’s Pass, it’s an incredible feat to see just how balanced and fine-tuned this game is. That’s to say nothing of the 100+ stages, hundreds of music tracks and the metric crap tonne of other easter eggs, items, modes and settings to mess about with.
Smash Bros Ultimate is a MUST OWN for any Nintendo Switch owners out there and if you don’t own a Switch, this game alone is worth the £279.99 admission charge. It’s that damn good. Beyond that, if you’ve got a friend/child with a Switch, consider grabbing a copy of Ultimate this Christmas. It’ll liven up Xmas day, that’s for sure. Just make sure Gran doesn’t keep edge guarding, that’s just no fun for anybody!
*Code purchased for review*