Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information

It has been almost 20 years since the original Super Smash Bros. released back in the day for the Nintendo 64. No one saw the mascot fighter coming, nor did they see it becoming such a beloved Nintendo franchise. Now, the ultimate fight is here, and not only is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate a celebration of Nintendo’s grand history, but also a celebration of all things gaming!

Recommended Videos

To start things off with a bang, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s intro cutscene starts off with an orchestrated piece, complete with English vocals, a first for the series. The title theme is called “Lifelight,” and it sets the tone for the rest of the game: epic, triumphant, and of course the will to keep on battling!

And rightfully so, as one of the biggest additions to this iteration of Smash is the new adventure mode “World of Light”. If you have not seen the trailer for it, a new foe descends from the sky, bringing with it an army of Master Hands. In a flash of light, our beloved heroes are wiped out one by one, transformed back into trophies, reminiscent of the Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Kirby remains the sole survivor of the whole ordeal, and now he must journey through a land drenched in unnatural light to recover his friends. In this mode we are also introduced to a new feature of Ultimate: Spirits! Remember the stickers from Brawl? Spirits are basically that, but with fights attached to them now.

And I have to say, the Spirits are actually ingenious. For the first time in Smash history, trophies are no longer in the game, but Spirits serve as a cool substitute. Spirits are characters from a variety of games that can power up your fighters in different ways, but you must defeat them before you can claim their essence.

The thing is, since we are limited to the Smash roster, the game has to get a little creative with how they portray the character. For example, Big the Cat, the big aloof purple cat from the Sonic Adventure series, plays out as a battle with a purple-colored Incineroar. To go with the theme of Big being sort of lazy, the floor is covered in sleep-inducing powder!

While this may seem a little silly at first, I really appreciated the charm and care that went into designing these battles. To me, it reminded me of when I was little and used to pretend that some of my toys were different characters by coloring them or slapping some stickers on them.

One of my favorite examples of this is the battle against Alex Roivas, the heroine of the survival horror game Eternal Darkness. In that game, not only did you have to battle with spooky monsters, but you also had to deal with your mental health. Too much exposure to monsters would lower your sanity, and if your sanity was too low weird things begun to happen. We are talking the game pulling pranks on you, like pretending the lower your TV’s volume, warping the graphics, removing the floor – the list goes on.

Now, how does that translate to Ultimate? Well, you fight against Zero Suit Samus, who actually kind of looks like Alex. The stage is Luigi’s Mansion, which is fitting for the creepy atmosphere. But here’s the fun part – periodically the stage will flip completely upside down, mimicking the low sanity effects from Eternal Darkness!

It is cool enough to see an old gem get represented in a big game like Ultimate, but to see the actual Spirit fight and how it goes down is just icing on the cake. Alex’s Spirit is just one of many awesome Spirit battles where you can really tell that they paid a lot of attention to detail.

So, overall the Spirits are a fun and neat addition to the series, and if we had to sacrifice trophies for them, I’m pretty okay with that. There are just so many of them here and some of them are not even from Nintendo games! There are some spirits from games like Street FighterMetal Gear Solid, and more!

Aside from the Adventure mode, there is also the returning Classic Mode. What is new here is that each character – yes, all 63 of them – have their own unique route. There is one central theme, and some of the fighters even have unique special bosses! Kirby as an example fights the trickster jester Marx from Kirby Super Star.

There is plenty of single player content in Ultimate to sink your teeth into, but how is the core fighting with friends? I am extremely pleased that it is the same great Smash Bros. you all know and love! With every single character in Smash history returning for one big reunion, there is a fighter for everyone!

While we are on the subject, I just have to take a moment to appreciate the amount of content that was packed into Ultimate. We have all fighters in one game, 100 stages to fight on, and over 800 songs to listen to as we brawl. Needless to say, that is INSANE.

Now, into the details. The core mechanics remain largely the same, but coming from Super Smash Bros. 4Ultimate is a bit faster. We are not talking Melee levels of speed, but the game is notably faster, and it leads to a much smoother experience. Combos are easier to string together, and it just feels a lot tighter and more responsive than Smash 4.

Also, many defensive options have been modified from Smash 4, and that is a much welcomed change. Now, dodge rolling too many times in succession will leave you vulnerable to attack, and air dodging has been changed to function more like it did in Melee. The Perfect Shield technique has been changed as well, where dropping your shield at the exactly the moment a hit connects with you results in a parry-like maneuver. High risk, high reward!

Final Smashes have been overhauled as well. Transformation Final Smashes have been removed, and as a result many fighters have altered if not outright completely new Final Smashes. There is also a neat new option that you can turn on that enables a traditional fighting game-esque “FS Meter”. Attacking and receiving damage will build the meter, and once it is full you can unleash a slightly weaker Final Smash!

And since you will most likely be smashing with friends, there are also fun new modes like a revamped Tournament mode, plus the all-new Squad Strike mode where you form teams of either three or five players and go head to head with characters of your choice. There is also Smashdown, a mode where fighters cannot be picked again after a battle. This leads to some interesting match-ups!

As always, Ultimate is the, well, ultimate party game when you have a bunch of friends over looking for a good time. However, the online is a little lacking. Gone are the “For Glory” and “For Fun” modes from Smash 4 – in their places are specified matchmaking.

You can set a list of preferred rules, and the game will attempt to match you with another player who has similar or the exact same rules. It is a good idea in theory, but often times the game will match you with crazy rulesets, almost as if it ignore your preferred rules altogether. This got so bad to the point where a patch came out a few weeks after launch, and while the problem has been a bit remedied, it still occurs every now and then.

That is not even mentioning the lag. Lag will creep into your matches no matter how good you and your opponents’ connections are, and fights come to a screeching halt whenever the game needs to catch up. It is unfortunate, but you can still get pretty good connection most of the time.

If somehow you are not happy with the full starting roster, know that Ultimate is getting DLC fighters in time. Piranha Plant was just recently released, and he fights in his own unique fashion, making him a welcomed addition to the cast. Also, the phantom thief Joker from Persona 5 will be making his way into the game soon, a fighter that no one saw coming. Who knows what other icons will join the fray?

When it is all said and done, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the culmination of almost 20 years of Nintendo history, plus more! With aggressive changes to the core fighting mechanics, all fighters from Super Smash Bros. history returning, and an astonishing amount of content across the board, Ultimate is truly the pinnacle of the series.

Image of Jeremy Kanjanapangka
Jeremy Kanjanapangka
Jeremy is a Content Writer for Touch, Tap, Play, and has been writing in the games journalism industry for almost a decade now. With a degree in English and a passion for games, he loves to talk and write about all kinds of games. While you can find him covering the latest and greatest games, there is a special place in his heart for RPGs, action-adventure games, fighting games, and anything Nintendo related.

Write A Comment

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

Comments are on moderation and will be approved in a timely manner. Please read the following rules before commenting:

  • All comments must be on topic and add something of substance to the post
  • No swearing or inappropriate words
  • No asking or begging for anything free
  • Do not attempt to start a poll in the comments
  • Comments in all CAPS will be removed
  • We reserve the right to remove a comment for any reason
  • Do not impersonate a staff member or influencer

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.