By: Mike Massotto
Most people who grew up with a Nintendo system in the past twenty years can tell you about the “Super Smash Bros.” series. Widely recognized as the biggest crossover in video game history, Super Smash Bros. is a series of games where beloved characters duke it out in cartoony, absurd, and action packed battles. Children always wondered: “Who would win, Mario or Sonic?”, “Donkey Kong or Bowser?”, “Mega Man or Pac-Man?”, and the list goes on. Super Smash Bros. allows players to put these matchups to the test, and fight their friends as their favorite video game characters.
If you aren’t aware of how “Super Smash Bros.” works, it plays out like this: when a match begins, you are placed in a level with platforms and obstacles, all based off of other well known games, and your objective is to cause your opponent to be pushed off the screen. As a player gets hurt, they accumulate “percentage,” which acts as a measurement of damage. The higher percentage you have, the further you are pushed back upon being hit. Fighters can attack, block, dodge, throw enemies, have unique “special moves,” and can unleash a devastating attack known as a “Final Smash,” and all of these moves pertain to the game each character is from. Mario can shoot fireballs, Pikachu can use Thunderbolt, and Kirby can inhale enemies and copy their abilities. Furthermore, each game sports a lengthy list of “items,” power-ups that are also references to all of the games under Nintendo’s banner, like the blue shell from Mario Kart and the fairy bottle from “Legend of Zelda.”
The latest installment in the franchise, “Super Smash Bros.” Ultimate, features seventy-five playable characters, more than any of the previous Smash games by a long shot. Every character from previous “Smash Bros.” games is back, including favorites like Snake from “Metal Gear Solid” and the “Pokemon Trainer,” who were both absent in “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U. Furthermore, the game sports a plethora of highly requested newcomers, such as the Inkling from Splatoon, Ken from Street Fighter, and King K. Rool from the “Donkey Kong Country” games (who is
currently one of my go-to characters). Beyond characters, the game also features over one hundred stages, which I can hardly wrap my head around, and a full-fledged Adventure Mode that has you travelling across a ginormous world map, rescuing each member of the “Super Smash Bros.” cast and collecting “Spirits,” entities that make you stronger in combat, each of these embodying lesser-known characters. The developers of “Super Smash Bros.” Ultimate really lived up to the slogan of “Everyone Is Here.”
Anyone can go on and on about how much content there is in “Super Smash Bros.”, Ultimate, but how good is the game itself? I found that this latest iteration is much sleeker than “Super Smash Bros.” For Wii U. When I mean sleeker, I mean that the game is more streamline, faster paced, and the characters feel more equal in power. Gone are the days of heavyweight characters like Bowser and Ganondorf being the butt of jokes for being too slow and clunky. Furthermore, any physics bugs in the game’s engine seem to be less present or gone completely, and it seldom feels as if it’s the game’s fault that your fighter died. The controls are extremely responsive, the mechanics are fair, and the gameplay is fun — a recipe for a smashing hit.
If “Super Smash Bros.” Ultimate is so amazing, then what’s the catch? Where is the one rotten apple in this Eden of a good video game? It lies in Nintendo’s system for online play. Each player can create a set of rules that they prefer, and the game will then match you with someone with similar rules. While on paper this is perfectly fine, the “Super Smash Bros.” community consists of a massive competitive and semi-competitive player-base, and finding a game with the tournament standard ruleset can be a nightmare for anyone trying to get some serious practice in. This, combined with laggy connections that slow battles to a crawl have made online play of this otherwise masterful fighting game more difficult than it should be. Hopefully Nintendo will patch the issue soon, because in the meantime many players are restricted to local play.
With so many characters to unlock, so many spirits to be obtained, and a near endless amount of playability, “Super Smash Bros.” Ultimate is the instant must-buy game for the Nintendo Switch. Truly, the Switch’s lineup of games, including “Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild”, “Super Mario Odyssey”, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”, and “Splatoon 2”, just received a gargantuan cherry on top, making this one of the most impressive collection of games on a single console in a long while. “Super Smash Bros.” Ultimate is the perfect first game for any Switch owner, and with the holiday season upon us, anyone who was previously on the fence about purchasing a Switch should now weigh “Super Smash Bros.” into their decision, as it will be a game to be played for many years after its release. That’s all folks, happy holidays.