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For computer player difficulty settings, see Artificial intelligence.
The different Difficulty levels for the Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Choosing difficulty in the Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary in Brawl.

Difficulty is an option in some single player and co-op modes that allows a player to adjust the game after one's skill. Depending on what mode is being played, different difficulty levels will affect the game in different ways. For example, a higher difficulty level in the Subspace Emissary will make the enemies harder by giving them more HP and making their attacks stronger, while a higher difficulty level in Target Smash changes the stage's design into a more difficult one. Sometimes, unlockables such as trophies or stickers depend on the difficulty on which a game mode is cleared. In the Subspace Emissary, Stock Balls vary in number, from appearing in most levels in Easy to never appearing in Intense.

The setting appears for all games' Classic Modes (including Smash 64's 1P Game), Adventure Mode, Subspace Emissary, All-Star Mode and World of Light. Additionally, in Brawl, the setting is available for Boss Battles, and has been added to Event matches and Target Smash!!. However, the event matches in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4 only have three difficulties (Easy, Normal, and Hard). Smash 4 also featured an entirely retooled difficulty scale for its Classic and All-Star Modes, as with Ultimate on its Classic Mode.

Difficulty levels in Smash 64 and Melee[edit]

  • Very Easy (blue difficulty)
  • Easy (green difficulty)
  • Normal (yellow difficulty)
  • Hard (orange difficulty)
  • Very Hard (red difficulty)

Difficulty levels in Brawl[edit]

  • EasyDifficulty.png Easy (やさしい, Easy)
  • NormalDifficulty.png Normal (ふつう, Normal)
  • HardDifficulty.png Hard (むずかしい, Hard)
  • VeryHardDifficulty.png Very Hard (とてもむずかしい, Very Hard)
  • IntenseDifficulty.png Intense (ゲキむず, Extreme)

In Event Matches, only three difficulty levels are available: EasyDifficulty.png Easy, NormalDifficulty.png Normal, and HardDifficulty.png Hard.

Difficulty levels in SSB4 and Ultimate[edit]

Difficulty levels were significantly overhauled in Smash 4. The game's retooled Classic Mode features the Fiend's Scale to determine the game's difficulty. In this system, the player is able to select an intensity from 0.0 to 9.0, with higher intensities leading to harder fights, but more rewards; the default intensity is 2.0 (which is free to start), and selecting other intensities requires some gold, with each 0.1 increment costing the player a set number of gold depending on the intensity. The system is identical to the Fiend's Cauldron intensity system from Masahiro Sakurai's previous game, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and it even uses the same titles.

Selecting an intensity lower than 2.0 also costs gold, with the amount increasing per decrement.

Intensity level Picture Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Picture Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Numeric values Cost per 0.1 increment Starting cost
Effortless 3DS Intensity 0.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 0.0 to 0.9 −5G 100G
Easy 3DS Intensity 1.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 1.0 to 1.9
Standard 3DS Intensity 2.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 2.0 to 2.9 8G 0G
Tougher 3DS Intensity 3.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 3.0 to 3.9 12G 80G
Challenging 3DS Intensity 4.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 4.0 to 4.9 15G 200G
Heatin' Up 3DS Intensity 5.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 5.0 to 5.9 20G 350G
Extra Spicy 3DS Intensity 6.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 6.0 to 6.9 25G 550G
Infernal 3DS Intensity 7.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 7.0 to 7.9 45G 800G
White Hot 3DS Intensity 8.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 8.0 to 8.9 95G 1250G
Nothing Harder! 3DS Intensity 9.png Intensity in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 9.0 N/A 2200G

The difficulty chosen - in addition to making the CPU opponents tougher and the prizes greater - determines what is faced at the end of the game, with higher intensities adding new foes to the mix. In both versions, the encounter is as follows:

Inclusion Intensity range
Master Hand All Intensities
Crazy Hand 3.0 and Up
Master Edges & Master Shadow 5.1 and Up
Master Beast 6.0 and Up
Master Giant Super Smash Bros. for Wii U7.0 and Up
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS7.5 and Up
Master Fortress Super Smash Bros. for Wii U8.0 and Up

Every time the player loses, he or she is given the option to continue. If the player elects to continue, the intensity lowers by 0.5. Regardless of whether or not the player continues, some rewards attained in the Classic Mode will be lost, as will some gold on the Fiend's Scale.

The game's All-Star Mode and Event Matches, however, use the traditional difficulties, though only three are available: Easy, Normal, and Hard. Unlike in Brawl, however, the colors for Normal and Hard are yellow and red, respectively.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the intensity can no longer be initially increased past 5.0 in Classic Mode; however, the intensity can increase depending on the player's performance in each round. The more the intensity racks up, the more of the mural is shown. The intensity scale's effect on bosses will depend on certain characters. For example, Fox can only fight Crazy Hand if he's able to get the intensity high enough, but for characters like Mario or Simon, who have a different boss other than Master and Crazy Hand, the intensity will not add any additional bosses. Traditional difficulty settings can be found in the game's Adventure Mode: World of Light: Easy, Normal and Hard, with update 4.0.0 adding a Very Easy setting. (Hard was added in the game's day 1 patch, update 1.1.0.)

Full version of the banner for Classic Mode, including all the way up to 9.9. Converted from PNG to JPG to reduce file size for upload. Source:
The mural that is displayed when selecting the difficulty level.