Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2018
ALL 63 characters* from past Smash Brothers game are included in this game
+6 brand new characters
+5 new echo fighters,
+6 DLC characters** (not yet released).
-New characters include:
Inkling (Splatoon Series)
King K. Rool (Donkey Kong)
Isabelle (Animal Crossing)
-New Echo Fighters. Echo fighters are essentially clones of original fighters with slightly change stats like different attack, defense, speed and special moves. Think Falco, Dark Pit and Lucina for example.
Daisy (Echo of Peach)
Dark Samus (Samus)
You start off with original 8 characters from the very first Smash Bros game and have to unlock the others.
*63 if you count pokemon trainer and thier pokemon as one character; otherwise it's 65. No more choosing Lucario and imagining he's Mewtwo, one-time guest characters like Snake makes a return, and ice climbers are not excluded due to hardware limitations, DLC characters in Smash 4 like Ryu, Bayonetta are now part of main roster, etc.
** DLC includes:
Joker (Persona 5)
+4 unannounced fighters
DLC Come in character packs 1 fighter, 1 stage, and multiple music tracks
Or you can get fighters (season) pass with 5 fighters, 5 stages and all music
If you purchase fighter pass you get rex mii costume for free
If you purchase the Smash Ultimate game near launch and register via MyNintendo (if you have physical version) you get Piranha Plant character for free. For downloaded version registration should be automatic. Piranha plant to release next year (2019)
Unlike characters, not all stages return. There are 103 stages with 5 planned DLC stages.
Stages does not need to be unlocked
All stages now have a Battlefield form: Omega and Normal. Omega stages are similar to final destination stage with no moving platforms or random hazards.
-Graphics improved. details in clothing, facial expression/emotes and stages
-Some characters have a overall design change for example:
Link now in Breath of the Wild costume
Zelda no longer Twlight Princess form, now based off Link Between Worlds
Mario wears cappy from Mario Odyssey when doing taunts/moves
Fox now based off Star Fox Zero design
-Now can select female forms of characters like pokemon trainer and pikachu for example.
-Characters now displayed by number/when they appeared in the smash series
-13 New items: Banana Gun, Beastball, Black Hole, Bomber, Death's Scythe, Fake Smash Ball, Healing Field, Healing Sprout, Killing Edge, Rage Blaster, Ramblin' evil mushroom, Staff, and Super Launch Star.
-You select stage before character
-8 Player battles make a return
-Stage morph. Can select two stages at a time that transition at different set intervals
-You can turn off stage hazards
-UI changes for some characters next to damage meter for example: Clouds limit gauge, Inkling ink tank gauge, Villager's Pocketed item, Robin's durability counters
-Echo Fighters can either be displayed in their own character slots, or share their slot with the character they are based on, depending on user preference
-No more trophies, have spirits instead (more on this later). Over 1200 to collect
-Charge attacks are longer doing more damage the longer you hold
-Shield changes: Perfect shields are performed in reverse: instead of pressing the shield button several frames before an attack connects, players have to release the shield button when an attack connects on their shield instead.
-Damage meter now display tenth's damage. Example 20.5%
-Grab Cancels: If two players grab the same time; both characters take minimal damage and act as if grab released
-Characters can no longer run through other characters and instead push them backwards. This affects some characters like Fox with his slide kick attack and side special
-More space to come back from being blasted off to the sides, but edge sweet spots have decreased/recovery moves take longer to snap on ledges for most characters. Edge attacks has been buffed.
-Deal more damage in One-on-one fights with no items. Damage is multiplied by 1.2×
-Alternate costumes now shown on bottom character portrait
-Tracks in My Music are now organized by series rather than by stage.There are over 800 tracks per stage totaling over 28 hours
-You can create your own playlist and have the screen turned off in portable mode making your Switch a mp3 player/music player
-Taunts can now be cancelled, and comes out faster
-Continous dodges makes it less effective the more times you use it consecutively
-Characters that originally cannot swim or have a weakness to water (Charizard, Incineroar, Inkling, Sonic, etc) now take slow, constant damage while swimming.
-Sudden Death changes: Screen shrinks in overtime. If the screen has finished zooming in, Bob-ombs will start falling after a while
-Stamina battles can now be combined with stock.
-There are 59 Assist Trophies available in the game. 27 are brand new
-Some assist trophies can be KOed for points. The player who summon assist trophy can also KO there own assist trophy to prevent other players from gaining points
-Some Final Smash Changes:
No more temporary power ups/form changes like Wario Man, Fox/Falco/Wolf landmaster transformation, Flying Yoshi, Giga Bowswer, Giga Mac for example. Instead they have one hit KO moves/high damage moves like the other fighters
Some characters have different final smashes altogether like Link now has ancient arrow, Zelda has sealing triforce, Pit has lighting chariot as final smash.
For multi-character final smash: Fiora added to shulk final smash, Paula and Poo added to Ness Final Smash, Lucas has kumatora and Boney, Megaman has Protoman and Bass
Donkey Kong has rapid fire punches instead of the lame drum beats
-There is now chargeable final smash option. But no two final smash can be used simultaneously
-A lot of buff/nerfs changes for most, if not all characters
-A lot of Move changes. Example:
Link no longer has a hookshot (young link and toon link still does), has remote (manually detonate bombs)
Samus can charge her cannon in air
Zelda's Phantom knight is now chargeable: delayed hit or release.
Pokemon trainer has no penalty for not switching pokemon
Shulks Monato arts are now on text wheel around the character instead of multiple button presses
Rob has fuel gauge on spine for boost meter
-In game gold can be used to purchase Spirits, spirits upgrade and music tracks
-Game supports 11 languages.
-Can make teammates semi-transparent
-Palutena's guidance makes a return with some new voice clips/scenes for new characters and returning characters with cosmetic changes
-Codec also makes a return, but with no new voice recording for characters past Smash Bros Brawl
Spirits are basically add on buff to characters in form of stickers or less known characters that didn't make it into the roster.
There are different classes: Novice, Advance, Ace, and Legend.
One primary spirit can be assigned at a time to one character
There are also support spirits that add on to the primary spirit depending on how many open slots they have
Primary spirits increase stats like HP, Speed, Attack etc.
Support spirits have different attributes like healing, fire boost item pickups, jump higher, etc
You have to fight spirits to obtain them in event matches.
Spirits Mode has event matches where matches can have different attributes/battle conditions like having the the floor be on fire, random spike balls fly across the screen, you're a mini fighter vs a large fighter (like when eat pick up mushroom but constant throughout match), enemy has a lot of armor but moves slower and deal higher damage, defeat enemy but constantly taking damage due to being poisoned, enemy constantly invisible, fog of war making it hard to see, reduced/increased gravity, only can use one move, etc.
Spirits can level up after battle or by feeding it snacks giving you more stat boosts. Some spirits have an enhanced or evolved form.
Spirits also can level up by having them train in gyms, or battle other spirit teams. The more stronger they are the better rewards you get.
For spirits you don't' readily use can send them off to collect treasure
You can also release spirits you don't want to get cores, which can be used to summon other spirits
Story mode of the game dubbed World of Light
Grid based battle system similar to Mario Tennis Aces
Plot: All characters are turned into spirits except Kirby. Must release everyone from spirit form and save the world.
No in depth story just series of unique battles involving spirits.
More focused on fun game play scenarios than story
8 rounds, 1 mini game, and different bosses for each character.
You are able to select difficulty for challenge and better rewards
Basic King of the Hill bracket mode
Up to 32 players
-Smash Down mode:
After you play a character for a match they'll be unavailable for later matches. Having different characters to choose from each time
3v3 or 5v5 team elimination style match-up
Practice your moves. Grid based stage to help judge distance. Also displays launch distance trajectory
Fight 100s of fighters that can be knocked out in one hit. Can be an endless smash mode if you're good enough
Complete certain challenges to unlock pieces of picture portrait
You can play local wireless or online.
No more 'For Glory' and 'For Fun' mode
Match making is now based on preferred rules, global smash power, Distance
Game will try it's best to match others with same preferred rules. But if you don't have preference match making is much faster
Global Smash Power (GSP) is amount of points experience you have or online rank. This can go up or down depending on wins/losses. You can set your GSP based on individual fighters. Game will auto disconnect you if you're griefing or constantly KO yourself off the cliff lowering your score. If your GSP is high enough, you can enter elite battles
Game will priorities matchups depending on where you are in the world for more stable connection.
You can play different mini games and certain modes while waiting for a matchup. There's also spectator mode available.
Smash Tags. If you defeat other players online, you get their smash tag. You do not lose yours or have to try to get it back if you lose. You can trade in smash tags for in-game gold
There's co-op online. 2 player teams against 2 player teams.
Battle arena. Setup online match making with friends/family
Smash World phone app. Can upload videos and watch them on the go.
Overall, best Smash Bros games to date. MUST BUY if you're a Smash Bros, Nintendo fan.