Being billed as a Switch-seller, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the more hotly anticipated releases on Nintendo’s latest console. Promising the deepest roster yet, the question is with such familiar gameplay will it be enough to make this latest iteration the one to play?
If you don’t know, the Super Smash Bros. series of games are crossover fighting games that pit Nintendo characters and more against each other for dominance. The disparity in characters make for some very entertaining match-ups as Mario faces off against Pikachu, Link fights Fox McCloud or Kirby lays the smack down on Solid Snake!
Ultimate has the most stacked roster yet with over 70 fighters but in true tribute style, it’s not just with characters that makes Smash Bros. such a colourful game. References galore, stages themed on iconic games and items taken from many of these for use. It’s not just the big hitters like The Legend of Zelda and Mario either as lesser known games are also lovingly crafted for players to do battle with or on.
On a personal level, Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube saw a lot of action so gameplay-wise it all felt very familiar. The goal is simple, beat your opponents but not in the traditional fighting game way. In Smash you must build up damage on your opponents to launch them off the stage. The higher their damage, the further they will fly.
It’s often utterly chaotic and initially might make many feel as though there is little to it but button mashing. However, there is depth to the game. Depth that you begin to discover the more you play and become more confident with certain characters. What started in frantic style starts to take on a dance-like quality. There is nothing quite as satisfying as chaining a combo together perfectly sending your opponent flying off the screen.
This is even better when playing against other players with local multiplayer proving to be the real strength of the game.
Fear not though as Ultimate does come with a single-player mode too. One that pits you against powered up opponents but offsets the challenge by powering up your character too. These fights can be thrilling and hilarious as you battle against the odds to overcome some ludicrous scenarios.
Then there is classic mode which sees every character take on themed challenges. As well as lots of smaller adjustments and changes to add a more competitive edge. Variety is a major part of Ultimate and boredom rarely sets in.
However, it’s not perfect. One of the more frustrating things is the convoluted process for unlocking characters. Now, it is refreshing to see that players actually have to unlock them rather then just be gifted with the entire roster from the start. However, the random nature of it isn’t so good.
Finish a fight and you might have the chance to fight for a new character. Beat them and they are yours to play as. No easy task as the CPU is very difficult. The more you unlock, the less chance of these random encounters happening becomes. Getting the complete roster can take a very long time.
Then we have Nintendo’s weak link, online functionality. It’s not up to scratch at all and should you manage to get a game, it lessens the Smash experience with varying issues like lag. This really is best enjoyed as a couch multi-player game.
Thankfully there is more then enough going on in the game for you to never have to even touch online modes.
Instead, sit back and enjoy the most polished Smash Bros game to date. With a killer and faithful soundtrack, gorgeous visuals and smooth controls, there is no denying that this is one of the games alongside Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild that can be considered an essential buy for the Switch.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The Final Score - 8.5/10