Smash Bros. has a long and successful history on Nintendo platforms, it was a complete non surprise tha a new version of the Wii U game would be heading to their console hit the Switch. After months of teasing and character reveals, the game is finally here. Fortunately it exceeds the hype and delivers one of the best games of the year for the hybrid console. With over 70 characters to choose from, 120 levels to select, a decent single player mode and “Spirit” 20 hour story mode, there is so much stuffed into this game without even diving into the online play, this really is the jewel in the Switch’s crown.
When the game started I was concerned about the lack of tutorials and assistance as I was using the Switch pro controller and hadn’t actually played a Smash Bros. titles for a few years. Fortunately though it’s really easy to pick up, there are 2 easy buttons to melee and use your abilities with combined with jumping and direction stick. Each character has their own quirks and special abilties and picking the right character to win against your opponent. When I first started playing I chose the CPU characters to be on random and was constantly finding the characters mismatched and getting smacked down. It is also important to note that you can change the difficulty of the CPU character before diving into play, so make sure you do this if you are a new player.
The point of each battle is to get the opposing players percentage to be as high as possible before boothing them out of the screen and hopefully perish to their death to give you the point. It legit took me several turns to figure this out and when you figure out each characters quirks and special moves it is easier to battle and unlock more characters and items. In spirit mode it can feel a little grindy as each battle is essentially the same just with a different fighter. It was something that I tried to dive into straight away but started doing less and less as it became a little tiresome. That being said there are so many spirit characters to unlock which in turn give your character enhanced abilities, health and powers. This can be advantegous while playing in this mode and great to use later in the game.
Customisation is a large part of the game, you can really drill down each battle and mode to suit your play style While I didn’t delve too deep into this as just getting through a normal preset mode was a challenge enough, Playing online was a mixed experience. The first few times the game was so laggy I couldn’t get through the match successfully. This was the part of the game that disappointed me the most. Before you sound off in the comments I live in Melbourne CBD with fantastic NBN internet speeds so no, it wasn’t me. Fortunately at around 1am on launch day the games started becomign playable in online matches and since then it has been consistently good. If you leave the match early for rage quit reasons you do lose points and will receive a message saying if it happens to often you may be banned from online play.
In terms of characters this game boasts every single character who has ever appeared in a Smash Bros in the franchises history. In addition there are some great new ones King K.Rool from the Donkey Kong Country series, Isabelle from Animal Crossing and by far the most fun are the Inklings from Splatoon (or Splatoon 2, the verdict is still out on that one!) The way the characters move and their colours that pop and splash around the screen was some of the best fun I had with this game.
This game is gorgeous on the Switch. The detail and colours in each level design are outstanding as you go through the history of Nintendo franchises. That being said playing in handheld mode is a little difficult with the screen size, particularly in levels when it zooms out, it can be a little jarring on the portable screen. The good news is this is the best game to play on the big screen for the Switch so far. Having it projected onto a large HD screen is spectacular, this also goes hand in hand with the music and sound effects that pop and burst from the game. There is also a fantastic music player that allows you to select a specific music track from the hundreds (yes that’s right!) of tracks from franchises through the game.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the game Nintendo needed to finish out this year. It is a solid entry into the franchise and gives the Switch a much needed quality first party title in its sophomore slump year. The array of characters and levels can seem overwhelming but offer a wide variety of different options that give the game extreme longjevity. While the online player mode does suffer from lag, it does work at times and when it does, it is a lot of fun. Spirit mode is hit or miss while it can be a lot of fun, it is also extremely repetitive and as a result does feel like a grindy mission, albeit a very, VERY long one. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is worth every cent, if you don’t have a pro controller I would definitely recommend the deluxe version with the logo embossed controller.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available exclusively on Nintendo Switch right now.
Review by Alaisdair “Leithal” Leith