Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is without question one of the most content-rich video games ever produced. The roster is diverse and massive, there are a ton of items to shake up the action, and there are over 100 stages for players to duke it out on as some of the most iconic video game characters ever created. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate provides countless hours of enjoyment, but there is one area where it stumbles that keeps it from being the perfect Super Smash Bros. experience.
Over a week after its launch, and the online multiplayer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate still leaves a lot to be desired. The online was notoriously laggy on day one, to the point that it was basically unplayable in many cases. While things have improved rather significantly since then, lag is still prevalent enough to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s online hugely disappointing. The developers will hopefully iron out the kinks in the coming months, but even so, it’s a shame that Nintendo continues to struggle with online.
Online aside, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate otherwise lives up to its name as the “ultimate” Super Smash Bros. experience. As previously stated, the roster is massive, featuring every previous character from a Super Smash Bros. game, plus some new entries. Some characters that fans have been asking for since Melee have finally made their debut, like King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country, as well as the menacing space pirate Ridley.
Newer characters are also represented on the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster, as is the case with Incineroar from Pokemon Sun and Moon, whose professional wrestling-style attacks help him feel like one of the more unique new additions to the roster. There’s truly a character for everybody in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the vast majority of them are genuine joys to play. Each character is easy to play as, though some are tougher to master, and those that put in the work can become truly skilled at whichever fighter they choose to be their main.
The game modes these fighters can battle it out in are varied and each provides a different kind of experience. The standard Smash Mode returns, with players given free rein to customize many different aspects of it to their heart’s desire. Duking it out with friends locally is still as fun as ever, and is worth the price of admission alone. With characters consistently unlocking while playing Smash, players will also feel like they’re making progress in the game while they’re just battling it out.
While most people will likely spend their time with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighting their friends, they can also team up to play through the returning Classic Mode. Classic Mode serves as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s “ladder,” where players take on a series of opponents on their way to the final boss. Everyone’s Classic Mode has a unique theme that sets its apart, and there are some surprises thrown in there to keep it interesting. Having the same Bonus stage for every fighter’s Classic Mode feels a bit lazy, but it’s short enough that it doesn’t hamper one’s enjoyment of it too much.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is by and large a multiplayer experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s without any kind of single player content. This time around, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features a story mode called World of Light, which starts off with a gorgeous cinematic reminiscent of the cut-scenes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl‘s Subspace Emissary. Unfortunately, World of Light doesn’t quite match Brawl‘s fun story, but it does provide a surprisingly deep gameplay experience.
World of Light is a sizable mode where players move around on a board, taking part in gimmicky fights, unlocking new areas, and adding new fighters to their lineup. A nice surprise from World of Light is that it provides a genuine challenge at times, and even the most skilled Super Smash Bros. players may have trouble with some of the levels. This makes World of Light more rewarding than some of the other modes in the game, and it’s definitely worth sinking some time into.
World of Light is also where players will unlock most of the game’s Spirits, which are an interesting addition in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Spirits are various video game characters that can add special attributes to fighters once they’re unlocked. Some of these Spirits can be leveled, and others provide status effects that will make some of the tougher fights in World of Light much more manageable. Players are free to micromanage their Spirits if they want, but those that want to get into the action as fast as possible can have the game automatically select the best Spirits for whatever challenge they’re doing.
Spirits take the place of trophies in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but their added functionality make them well worth the trade-off. Collecting all of the Spirits will likely take a ton of time, which should keep Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players plenty busy, but those looking for even more replayability will be happy to know that there’s a ton of other things to shoot for in the game. Besides just playing the standard game modes repeatedly, players also have a series of challenges to complete, Mii customization options to obtain, and a lot more.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate offers near-endless replayability, and thanks to the sheer amount of content, it’s easy to recommend to just about anyone with a Nintendo Switch. Really the only thing holding it back is its lackluster online functionality, but if Nintendo manages to iron out those issues, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate may very well be the best game in the series to date.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out now, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.