It’s not often that a video game offers players the opportunity to cross between titles and customise their mascots at the click of a button.
This has always been the charm behind Nintendo’s hugely successful Super Smash Bros franchise.
But the Japanese game developer’s latest reimagination of the fighting game has exceeded all expectations, delivering exactly what its title suggests — the ‘Ultimate’Super Smash Bros experience.
The newest addition of the classic brawler series is packed with gameplay changes guaranteed to entice everyone from lifelong fans to casual players.
Nintendo has redesigned musical scores, locations and characters, taking the series to another dimension.
If you’ve ever wanted to see who would win in a fight between Mario, Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog and Donkey Kong, then you’ve certainly come to the right place.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate has built on the original star-studded fighting game by adding an impressive list of features that make for a more diverse game than previous entries in the series.
The biggest change is the introduction of the spirit mechanic and the World of Light story mode.
The story mode begins with all playable characters (except Kirby) being vaporised, before
their spirits transform into enemies, which players must defeat to unlock new characters.
Fighters can be equipped with spirits or can be granted new stats and abilities in fights which adds another unique dimension to combat.
These changes will likely divide players but customisation options mean those who aren’t sold can switch the function off in other gameplay modes.
The World of Light campaign is a surprising addition, but isn’t necessarily what you’d expect from a story mode.
Rather than focusing on cinematic cut scenes and plot, gameplay takes on more of an RPG twist, revolving around the grind of collecting and levelling up spirits to improve your characters.
Combat feels faster and more aggressive than previous entries, which makes for engaging fights.
For the first time, every playable character in the series’ history will appear alongside new characters, bringing the total number of fighters to 74.
Some of the additions include the Pokemon Incineroar, Castlevania characters and Inklings from Splatoon.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate also features more than 100 different stages available to fight on, as well as a new stage morph function which allows the setting to change mid-fight.
The controls haven’t changed too much and are relatively easy to pick up.
For smoother gameplay, my personal preference is to play on a Switch Pro controller, rather than the joy-con controllers.
Nintendo has also re-released GameCube controllers for the Switch in conjunction with this release, which could be another good option.
The ability to fully customise the rules and settings of fights will undoubtedly please veteran players with long-established preferences.
So, if you’re not totally sold on some of the latest changes, you can always customise the game to feel just like the old-school Smash games.
As usual, Super Smash Bros Ultimate supports multiplayer games, both online and offline, with local play allowing up to eight people to participate in an all-in brawl.
Online play has seen some key changes with the ‘For Fun’ and ‘For Glory’ modes removed.
Now, players can choose their own modes and match up with like-minded gamers.
These changes may be unpopular with some fans, but should improve the online experience in the long run.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate has taken some big risks with its new story mode, spirit mechanic and gameplay changes, but they are about to pay off in a big way.
It’s easy to see that careful design has been employed in the reimagination of an original gamebeloved by a generation.
The planning and execution of the final product has made it one of the best additions to the franchise to date.
Players will enjoy a significantly improved gaming experience, featuring new mechanics, particularly the new spirit system.
Settings customisation options gives players the power to personalise their fights.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate was released today — December 7. It is in stores now.
A standard edition of the game will set you back about $89.95, but JB Hi-Fi is selling the game cheaper this week, for $69.95.
The new GameCube controller will cost you about $49.95, which could be a wise investment if you prefer to play with a two-handed controller.