My preorder from another store came Thursday afternoon, so I've been playing with my kids for about eight hours. It totally lives up to expectations. It's in no way perfect, but there's just so much good that I don't see how anybody can be sad. It's a game I'm going to be playing for years, and I'm going to enjoy it for years. If you're a parent, your kids will love playing with all their friends. If you're a returning player, all the nostalgia and great Smash gameplay is here. If you're new to Smash, this is a great game to play with other people.
When you first boot up, you'll have access to eight characters: Mario, DK, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Starfox, and Pikachu. Unlocks happen pretty quick, but we'll see how long it takes to unlock all 74 characters. I love some of the new costumes like the Mario Wedding costume. I read an online unlock guide that said if you quit the game after unlocking a character and play another quick round that you'll unlock lots of characters quickly. When I say quit the game I mean to exit the game on the Switch home menu. That's worked well so I did that for a while on my Switch to unlock quickly so I could play with lots of characters. I didn't tell my kids about this because I want unlocking on their Switch to be more organic and slower.
Lots of characters have pretty big differences in how they play and lots of characters have small differences and lots is the same. I don't even know what to tell you. Switching out pokemon with pokemon trainer is really fast. You can detonate Link's bombs remotely. The basic gameplay is the same so Smash fans will pick up on things really fast. I still think that Smash is the best game for fighting game beginners because the controls are very simple.
Gameplay is faster than the past few games. This can make battles more crazy. The only complaint about faster gameplay is that it's harder to keep up with both your character and everything else that's happening on the board. I've lost my character a number of times. I almost wish we could get an option for colored outlines for all the characters. I might just be out of practice, so we'll see if this is still an issue after a while.
Is it balanced? There are 74 characters--who knows! And since Smash for Wii U had balancing updates, this will be different in a year from now. I will say that the kids and I have fought with all sorts of characters and nobody's thought that any seemed overpowered. We're just barely starting to see the changes to characters and how new characters work and we're still unlocking characters. The Smash community will be finding things out for months and opinions are going to change over and over.
I love that you can save rulesets. You can customize the game heavily with more or less stuff. You can have lots of items or no items or specific items or more lives or change the Final Smash options. It's really cool to have all your quick pick favorites but at the same time making rulesets is a little slow. I feel that as I get rulesets made that I'll really like it. Today being new, I've really wanted to make a tweak between games and it's been kinda slow because of all the options available. We are a two switch family and it's going to be a pain to make all our rulesets twice. I really wish there was some way to bring rulesets with you.
I don't know how it could be done better, but the stage select is just one big picture of little tiny squares. It's almost too much. I wish there were an option to show you like 12 random stages rather than all of them. We've mostly played on random so far because it's overwhelming!
The graphics and animation takes a step up from the Wii U more than I thought it would. The stage graphics are awesome and there are so many new touches that are really cool. The N64 stages feel updated but classic. It runs very smoothly in tv mode and we've not played in handheld mode.
The music is awesome. There's just so much variety. It all sounds like it's made on a computer, but it's all really good music. I hear there are over 800 tracks...
Controls feel great. The joycons aren't the perfect smash controller. The thumbsticks can't keep up with a good player. The pro controller is better, but the gamecube controller just feels right. Maybe I'm nostalgic, but I'm really enjoying playing with the gamecube adapter. My daughters prefer the joycon because that's really the controller they know. My 11 year old son also likes the gamecube controllers (but I guess he could be feeding of my choice). If you're really serious about the game, I really suggest your getting the gamecube adapter. Mine that came with Super Smash Bros Wii U works great, but I see they're selling it separate now. It sold out quite a few times in the Wii U era, so you might want to pick one up now!
Local multiplayer is awesome. I think you can play with 8 players on every stage. We've had five people playing lots of battles and it's been a whole lot of fun. This is Smash Bros to us!
We don't play online, so I'm just ignoring that. I'm sure lots of people will be talking about how crappy it is or laggy or great or amazing or horrible. We play with family, with friends, with church youth, and with anyone around a TV.
World of light is the single player story mode. My first impression is that it's not as good as Sub-Space Emissary from Smash Brawl, but it looks like a decent way to play alone and unlock more stuff. Kinda like I don't play online, I don't play the story mode that much. My son is excited about it, so I'm glad it's here. I'll just let others who want story mode more review it better. Collecting spirits to affect your character and the stage seems really cool, but I hear that it just means that the uniqueness of the stages go away so all the stages seem the same. You will run into stages with fog. If you have a spirit badge that takes away fog, it just makes it another normal Smash battle. We'll see how fast it gets old for my son.
They've said there will paid and free DLC. Piranha Plant will be free DLC for early adopters and will be available early next year. There will be 5 paid DLC packs that each has 1 new fighter, one new stage, and music tracks. The first one will be a Persona 5 character! They haven't announced any others yet. These packs will be six dollars each or 25 for the set. They haven't set a date for the DLC but they've said all 5 packs will be available by 2020. I assume one will come every few months.
Overall, it's an awesome game. With the free Piranha Plant, you get 75 fighters to pick from. There are over 100 stages. There's just so much Smash. It plays great and it's a lot of fun. I totally suggest this!