Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
|“||Everyone is here!||”|
|—Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tagline|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|
North American box art.
|Released||December 7, 2018 (worldwide)|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer, Online multiplayer|
Digital distribution (Nintendo eShop)
|Input methods||Joy-Con, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, GameCube controller (via adapter)|
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ SPECIAL, Great Fray Smash Brothers Special), often shortened to "SSBU" or "Ultimate" (スマブラSP), is a crossover action fighting game released for the Nintendo Switch. The game was first teased at the end of a Nintendo Direct on March 8th, 2018, and fully revealed on June 12th at E3 2018. It is the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series (sixth if the two versions of Super Smash Bros. 4 are counted as separate titles). The game was released worldwide on December 7th, 2018.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received universal acclaim from both critics and players, with some critics calling it the best installment in the series. It received praise for its large amount of content and fine-tuning of existing Smash gameplay elements, although its online mode was widely criticized. As of September 30, 2023, Ultimate had sold over 32.44 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling Super Smash Bros. game and also the best-selling fighting game of all time, beating Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Street Fighter II, which previously held each title respectively. It is also the third best selling game on the Nintendo Switch. Its massive success has caused it to be nominated for, and win, multiple awards, including winning "Best Fighting Game" at The Game Awards 2019.
The opening movie of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is composed of the cutscenes from World of Light and some gameplay footage from the game set to the tune of Lifelight, featuring all the fighters in the base game.
All 63 characters (65 if counting the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon as three fighters) from all previous Smash Bros. games return as playable fighters. In addition to the returning cast, the game features 23 newcomers (24 if counting Pyra and Mythra as two fighters). 11 of these characters are available in the base game, with the remaining 12 (13) characters available as downloadable content. In total, 74 characters (76) are playable in the base game and 86 (89) characters are playable overall, the most for any Smash Bros. game. Each character is numbered based on the order in which they first joined the series, with the exception of Echo Fighters (who share a number with the character they are based on) and Pokémon Trainer (whose Pokémon are numbered instead).
An Inkling from the Splatoon series, with various Girl and Boy designs from the original Splatoon, was the first character confirmed to appear in the game as a new playable fighter. Ridley, a central villain from the Metroid series, was confirmed to be playable during E3 2018, with Meta Ridley as an alternate costume. Simon Belmont of the Castlevania series was announced as the game's first third-party newcomer along with his descendant and echo fighter, Richter Belmont. King K. Rool, arch-nemesis of the Kong family from the Donkey Kong series, was confirmed to be a playable newcomer as well, with his move-set drawing on his appearances as a boss in the Donkey Kong Country games. Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series, who previously appeared in Smash 4 as an Assist Trophy, makes her playable debut as the second Animal Crossing fighter. Finally, in the November Nintendo Direct, Incineroar from Pokémon Sun & Moon was announced as the title's last base roster newcomer.
In addition, most full clones and one semi-clone are now labeled as "Echo Fighters" and are marked with an epsilon (ε) next to their fighter numbers, which they share with the characters they are based on. Returning characters Lucina and Dark Pit are given this title (as they are Echo Fighters of Marth and Pit, respectively), while new characters Princess Daisy, Richter, Chrom, Dark Samus, and Ken Masters are Echo Fighters of Princess Peach, Simon, Roy, Samus, and Ryu, respectively. Aside from an option allowing these characters to be displayed on the same slot as their counterpart on the character selection screen exclusively during Vs. Mode, Tourney, Custom Smash, Super Sudden Death, and Quickplay, there is no special distinction between most of them in-game, and the name is used mostly for marketing purposes.
A Piranha Plant from the Mario series touches new ground as the first mob character in Smash, and as an early purchase bonus DLC character. It was announced on November 1st, 2018, pre-released on January 29th, 2019 and fully released on February 1st, 2019. It was also confirmed that five more unique newcomers would be added as DLC by January 2020, all of whom are purchased in numbered 'Challenger Packs' that also contains a stage and several music tracks. These five Challenger Packs can be bought together as part of the Fighters Pass. For Fighters Pass Vol. 1, Joker from the Persona series is part of Challenger Pack 1 (announced on December 6th, 2018, one day before Ultimate's release; released on April 17th, 2019), an amalgamation of several Heroes from the Dragon Quest series is part of Challenger Pack 2 (announced on June 11th, 2019; released on July 30th, 2019), Banjo and Kazooie from their namesake series are part of Challenger Pack 3 (announced on June 11th, 2019; released on September 4th, 2019), Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard is part of Challenger Pack 4 (announced on September 4th, 2019; released on November 6th, 2019), and Byleth from the Fire Emblem series is part of Challenger Pack 5 (announced on January 16th, 2020; released on January 28th, 2020).
During the September 4th, 2019 Nintendo Direct, after revealing Terry, it was announced that even more DLC fighters beyond the five in the Fighters Pass Vol. 1 was in development. Fighters Pass Vol. 2 was fully revealed during the January 16th, 2020 presentation revealing Byleth and includes 6 more Challenger Packs. Challenger Pack 6 includes Min Min from ARMS (announced on March 26th, 2020; revealed on June 22nd, 2020; released on June 29th, 2020). Challenger Pack 7 includes Steve from the Minecraft series (announced on October 1st, 2020; released on October 13th, 2020). Challenger Pack 8 includes Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy series (announced on December 10th, 2020; pre-released on December 17th, 2020; fully released on December 22nd, 2020). Challenger Pack 9 includes Pyra and Mythra from the Xenoblade Chronicles series (announced on February 17th, 2021; released on March 4th, 2021). Challenger Pack 10 includes Kazuya Mishima from the Tekken series (announced on June 15th, 2021; released on June 29th, 2021). Challenger Pack 11 includes Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series (announced on October 5th, 2021; released on October 18th, 2021). No further DLC characters are planned to be released.
As in Smash 4, further "characters" exist as alternate costumes for preexisting characters. In this game, fourteen characters have such costumes: Alph is accessible as a playable character via Olimar's alternate costumes; the seven Koopalings are available as playable characters via Bowser Jr.'s alternate costumes; one of Pichu's costumes depicts the specific "Spiky-eared" Pichu variant; Alex, a Zombie, and an Enderman appear as Steve's alternate costumes; Pokémon Trainer, Wii Fit Trainer, Robin, Corrin, and Byleth each have opposite-gendered variants as alternate costumes; Pikachu possesses both an opposite-gendered variant and a costume depicting the specific "Cosplay" Pikachu variant; each of Villager's and Inkling's costumes represent different customization options for the character, including gender; the Hero has three other protagonists from across the Dragon Quest series as palette swaps; and the Ice Climbers swap the playable Ice Climber from Popo to Nana in half of their alternate costumes. Additionally, the Mii Fighters have alternate gender options depending on the created Mii used for them. However, none of these characters are treated separately in-game.
Only the Original 8 characters from Super Smash Bros. and any DLC fighters that have been purchased are available from the start. Like in Smash 4, the Mii Fighters are also available via customization without needing to be unlocked traditionally but are still technically locked upon initial startup of the game. The rest of the cast must be unlocked; however, the unlocking process and conditions are much simpler than in past games. Fighters will challenge the player in ten-minute intervals after completing a basic activity, such as a battle, or by clearing Classic Mode with a prerequisite character, and can also be unlocked by being rescued in World of Light, rather than having unique unlock criteria for each character.
Rosalina & Luma
Zero Suit Samus
Pokémon Trainer (Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard)
Mr. Game & Watch
Wii Fit Trainer
Piranha Plant (DLC)
King K. Rool
Min Min (DLC)
Banjo & Kazooie (DLC)
With the exception of the Super Smash Bros.-original stages, all stages are ordered chronologically like the fighters are, based on their first appearances in the series (excluding the stages that were introduced in both versions of SSB4, which are listed among the stages introduced in the Wii U version). For the first time in the series, all stages are available immediately from the start, with none that need to be unlocked first. Additionally, due to 8-Player Smash no longer being a separate mode from regular Smash, all stages can be played with up to eight players, rather than just a select few as in SSB4. All stages have both a Battlefield form and Ω form. In its base game, Ultimate features 103 stages (305 if counting Battlefield forms and Ω forms separately). There is an additional stage exclusive to Training Mode, which replaces the Random Stage option on the stage selection screen for said mode.
Ninety-six stages from previous games have returned overall: seven from Super Smash Bros., 19 from Super Smash Bros. Melee, 26 from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and 44 from Super Smash Bros. 4 (18 from the 3DS version, 18 from the Wii U version, and eight from both versions), with an additional seven new stages (in the base game). All returning stages from Melee, Brawl, and for 3DS were visually updated to HD, as well as for Wii U stages receiving minor touch-ups to match the game's overall visual style, though Smash 64 stages retain their primitive polygonal aesthetic for nostalgia. In update 8.1.0, another new stage was added as a free download: Small Battlefield. This update also made it possible for any Super Smash Bros.-original stages to play music from any series, instead of just music from the Super Smash Bros. series.
In update 3.0.0, the Stage Builder was added as a free download, and any custom stages made with it can be selected from the "Custom" tab.
Five additional new stages were added to the game as part of the paid Fighters Pass Vol. 1 DLC, bringing the total number of stages up to 109 (321 if counting Battlefield forms and Ω forms separately). An additional six new paid DLC stages released as part of Fighters Pass Vol. 2, bringing the number up to 115 (339 if Battlefield and Ω forms are counted). Each of the eleven Challenger Packs contains one of these stages, alongside their corresponding fighters and music. The eleven paid DLC stages are Mementos, Yggdrasil's Altar, Spiral Mountain, King of Fighters Stadium, Garreg Mach Monastery, Spring Stadium, Minecraft World, Northern Cave, Cloud Sea of Alrest, Mishima Dojo, and Hollow Bastion, which released alongside Joker, Hero, Banjo & Kazooie, Terry, Byleth, Min Min, Steve, Sephiroth, Pyra/Mythra, Kazuya, and Sora, respectively.
Only 15 stages featured in previous games are absent from Ultimate (excluding stages exclusive to single-player modes and previous forms of Battlefield, Big Battlefield, and Final Destination). These stages are: Planet Zebes and Sector Z from Smash 64; Icicle Mountain, Mushroom Kingdom, Poké Floats and Mute City from Melee; Rumble Falls and PictoChat from Brawl; Rainbow Road and Pac-Maze from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS; and Jungle Hijinxs, Pyrosphere, Woolly World, Orbital Gate Assault, and Miiverse from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. While Flat Zone from Melee and Flat Zone 2 from Brawl are also technically absent, Flat Zone X incorporates all elements of both of these stages. The World 1-2 version of Mushroomy Kingdom is also absent, as is the grayscale version of Dream Land GB.
Towards the end of Super Smash Bros. 4's post-launch development, Masahiro Sakurai announced that his next project had been finalized and that he would be taking a small vacation following the completion of Smash 4's DLC content. Unbeknownst to the public at the time, this next project would be the newest entry in the Super Smash Bros. series. Sakurai had been inspired to work on the next Smash Bros. game by a request from Satoru Iwata before he passed away.
Unlike previous Smash titles, which had their development studios built from the ground up, Bandai Namco returned to help game development. Before starting development, the team had a choice between completely overhauling the game's system and feel or working off what was established in the last game. The team ultimately went with the latter. Had the team gone with the former, the game would have likely only had a third of its characters. Despite deciding to base the game on the previous installment, Sakurai still increased the overall speed of the game, but only by an amount that wouldn't be too alienating to people unfamiliar with the series. Sakurai notes that he had wanted to make this change in previous titles, but was unable to because it was easy for one to lose track of their character's position on the screen, especially on the Nintendo 3DS. When Sakurai had revealed to his development team that he intended to bring back every previously playable character, he was met with silence. The project plan was later finished by December 16, 2015, and development officially began in February 2016, immediately after DLC was finished for SSB4. As Sakurai revealed in volume 542 of his Famitsu article, his work schedule had been cut down significantly, citing strict regulations regarding work hours.
Various characters had been considered to be added to the roster. Alucard was originally considered to be a playable character as a representative from Castlevania due to his recognizability, but Sakurai decided to choose Simon and Richter instead as he felt they would please fans more. Decidueye was also considered to be a playable character from Generation VII of Pokémon, but Sakurai picked Incineroar instead because it would be the first wrestler character in the game. Due to the timing of the finalized plans for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, fighters from ARMS and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 failed to appear in the base game; in compensation, Rex, Nia, Spring Man, and Ribbon Girl had Mii Fighter costumes made based on them, with Rex's Mii costume being bundled as part of the first Fighters Pass, while Spring Man also appears as an Assist Trophy and various ARMS and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 characters appear as spirits. ARMS would eventually get a playable character with Min Min as DLC in the second volume of the Fighters Pass, who was a request from ARMS director Kosuke Yabuki, after Sakurai had narrowed down potential ARMS fighters to Min Min and Ninjara (though the latter ended up being the basis for a DLC Mii Fighter costume). Xenoblade Chronicles 2 would also end up getting its own playable DLC character - Pyra/Mythra - as part of the second volume of the Fighters Pass.
On March 8, 2018, what appeared to be a Splatoon trailer was revealed via a Nintendo Direct. However, the trailer then revealed itself to be a surprise announcement for a new Smash game, tentatively titled Super Smash Bros. with a release window of 2018. Without explicitly confirming the playable status of any characters, the teaser trailer hinted that the Inklings would be debuting in the game as newcomers, while also suggesting that Mario and Link would be returning, the latter of whom would be based on his Breath of the Wild incarnation. Several other veterans were also shown, though silhouetted and from a distance, and aside from clear features from Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Samus, which veterans were in that shot has never been confirmed. Shortly after the reveal, Sakurai explained in a tweet that he had been working on the game "in silence, day after day".
No more information was revealed until E3 2018, where an extended look into the game was livestreamed via a Nintendo Direct, with Masahiro Sakurai directing the presentation. The presentation revealed that every character from the Super Smash Bros. series, even characters that have previously been cut such as the Ice Climbers and Snake or were DLC fighters like Cloud and Bayonetta, would return to the roster as playable fighters. The presentation also highlighted several changes made to the Smash Bros. roster, such as Zelda having her look based off her A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds design. The end of this initial trailer revealed the game had the subtitle Ultimate (Special in Japan). Sakurai then took the stage and announced more information, such as certain clone characters now being designated as Echo Fighters, with a new clone fighter, Daisy, announced to be appearing under this label. The presentation ended with the reveal of Ridley from the Metroid series - long requested by fans for inclusion in the series but rebuffed by Sakurai due to his large size - being confirmed as a playable character and a released date of December 7, 2018. The following Nintendo Treehouse also included additional info about the game that was not mentioned during the presentation, such as the stage hazard toggle. Following the Nintendo Treehouse, the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 took place on June 12th where invited professional players like MkLeo and ZeRo played Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the first time. Immediately following the presentation, the official Super Smash Bros. Ultimate website was published, and would serve as the primary source for new details about the game.
The website hosted the Super Smash Blog, where information was trickled out in posts, such as trailers for veteran fighters, as well as confirmation of stages, items, and other random topics akin to the Smash Bros. DOJO, albeit with less frequent posts. The website also had a music section where a sampling of music tracks can be played. This music section accidentally leaked the inclusion of Castlevania content in-game by mislabeling the track Galaga Medley as Bloody Tears / Monster Dance with the new series logo.
A Smash Ultimate-focused Nintendo Direct was then released on August 8, 2018. This direct started with a trailer that Simon and Richter are playable characters alongside the Dracula's Castle stage, the Alucard assist trophy and the Dracula boss battle. Later in the direct, Chrom and Dark Samus were revealed as echo fighters, as well as the confirmation of the returning stages and King K. Rool, the lattermost being a very popular request, as playable characters. The Nintendo Direct of September 13, 2018 revealed Isabelle from Animal Crossing would be joining the roster in conjunction with the announcement of a new Animal Crossing game for Nintendo Switch. A November 1, 2018 Direct revealed both Ken and Incineroar as the final fighters in the base roster, as well as the new Spirits mode and Adventure Mode: World of Light. The direct also announced the Fighters Pass, featuring five fighters that had been selected by Nintendo that would be added to the game with their own stages, music tracks, and spirits. Piranha Plant's inclusion as an additional DLC fighter was also announced. Piranha Plant officially released on Janurary 29th, 2019 for free to all digital purchases and all players that register a physical purchase through My Nintendo before January 31st, 2019. All players that purchase the game after February 1st, 2019 would have to purchase Piranha Plant separately.
During The Game Awards 2018, a trailer for what seemed like Persona 5 played, only to be a surprise announcement for Joker as Challenger Pack 1 for the Fighters Pass. Reggie Fils-Aimé then took the stage to confirm that all DLC characters will be new to the series and some will be unexpected picks. Joker received a proper trailer on April 16th, 2019, which revealed the stage Mementos, 11 music tracks, a DLC spirit board, several Mii Fighter costumes, and a collection of updates as part of version 3.0.0, including Stage Builder and Video Editor, which would be released the following day. During E3 2019, Hero from the Dragon Quest series was revealed for release in the summer; Banjo & Kazooie from the from Banjo-Kazooie series were later revealed in the same presentation for a fall release. On July 30, 2019, Sakurai himself held a presentation for Hero titled Mr. Sakurai Presents, which would be held for every future fighter. This presentation showcased Yggdrasil's Altar, 8 music tracks, a new spirit board, Mii costumes, new amiibo, and other updates for version 4.0.0, which would be released later that day. There were considerations to include Slime from Dragon Quest had Square Enix not allowed the team to use Hero. Eight Dragon Quest heroes were considered as alternate costumes, but only four were finalized due to time constraints. A presentation for Banjo & Kazooie was aired following the September 4, 2019 Nintendo Direct. The presentation revealed a release date of that day, Spiral Mountain, 10 music tracks (11 if MEGALOVANIA is counted), a new spirit board, Mii costumes, new amiibo, and other updates for version 5.0.0 like Home-Run Contest. That same Nintendo Direct also revealed Terry from the Fatal Fury series in addition to further DLC fighters beyond the Fighters Pass. Terry later received a presentation on November 6th, 2019, which showcased King of Fighters Stadium, 50 music tracks, a new spirit board, Mii costumes, amiibo, and other updates for version 6.0.0, released the same day. A presentation for the fighter included in Challenger Pack 5 was announced on January 14, 2020, for a premiere date on the 16th. The fighter was revealed to be Byleth from Fire Emblem:Three Houses, who would be released on January 28th, alongside Garreg Mach Monastery, 11 music tracks (12 if Floral Fury is counted), a new spirit board, and Mii costumes. The presentation also fully revealed Fighters Pass Vol. 2, which would feature six fighters, once again selected by Nintendo, in addition to stages, music tracks, and spirits.
Development for Fighters Pass Vol. 2 was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic starting March 2020, forcing the developers to work remotely. The first fighter for Fighters Pass Vol. 2 was revealed to be a character from ARMS on March 26th, 2020 during a Nintendo Direct Mini. This character was revealed to be Min Min during a Mr. Sakurai Presents on June 22nd, 2020, which also revealed a release date of June 29th, Spring Stadium, 18 music tracks, a new spirit board, new amiibo, and other updates for version 8.0.0 like Rematch. Version 8.1.0 would have a surprise release on August 4th, 2020, and include several updates, most notably the introduction of Small Battlefield. A mystery presentation was announced for September 30th, 2020, and premiered on October 1st, which revealed Steve from Minecraft and a proper Mr. Sakurai Presents on October 3rd. The full presentation revealed a release date of October 13th, Minecraft World, 7 music tracks, a new spirit board, Mii costumes, and new amiibo. According to Daniel Kaplan, former Production Director for Minecraft, negotiations between Mojang Studios and Nintendo had begun somewhere during 2014/2015, during the period when SSB4 post-content development was ongoing, though said negotiations went nowhere until 2020, as Steve would join the roster as DLC. As Sakurai explained, developing Steve required immense work, having to readjust every stage to allow Steve to use his Create Block move. The Game Awards 2020 revealed Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy series as a playable fighter, with further details revealed in a Mr. Sakurai Presents on December 17, 2020; this presentation revealed a release date of December 22nd, Northern Cave, 9 music tracks, a new spirit board, Mii costumes, and the Sephiroth Challenge, which was a limited-time boss battle that allowed players to receive Sephiroth as early as the day of the presentation. During the February 17th, 2021 Nintendo Direct, Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 were revealed as a 2-in-1 fighter. A presentation premiered on March 4th and revealed a release date of that day, Cloud Sea of Alrest, 16 music tracks, a new spirit board, and Mii costumes. During E3 2021, Kazuya from the Tekken series was announced as a playable fighter. A separate presentation premiered on June 28th, 2021, and revealed a release date of June 29th, Mishima Dojo, 39 music tracks (40 if Burning Town is counted), a new spirit board, Mii costumes, and new amiibo. Sakurai confirmed during this presentation that Fighters Pass Vol. 2 is the last planned Fighters Pass for the game. Fighters Pass Vol. 2 was originally going to only come with five fighters, but thanks to a chance encounter with a Disney representative and for the reason of being the most-voted character from the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series was added to Fighters Pass Vol. 2 as an additional fighter. The September 23rd, 2021 Nintendo Direct announced a special presentation for the final fighter, which premiered on October 5th and revealed Sora. In the same presentation, Sakurai confirmed that Sora was the actual winner of the Fighter Ballot, aligning with the statement that Bayonetta won among "realizable and negotiable characters". Sora was released on October 18th, alongside Hollow Bastion, 9 music tracks (10 if save data for Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is present on the player's Nintendo Switch), a new spirit board, and Mii costumes, with new amiibo planned for the future. After a final update that applied character balance changes and amiibo support, active development has reportedly ceased.
On November 15, 2022, Sakurai revealed portions of this game's design document in a YouTube video. According to the video, while the document was finalized on December 16, 2015, it was later revised with the final revision on November 1, 2016. The document took the form of a PowerPoint presentation, and was over 200 slides in length. Each slide had the basic format of a header for the topic of the slide, an edited image of either Smash 4, alpha builds of Ultimate and several non-Smash games, and a brief explanation of the topic and how that is portrayed in the image. Sakurai also mentioned that he did not repeat the script on the slide verbatim during presentations to avoid redundancy and boring the audience.
The document was broken up into nine categories: Overview, Smash, Fighters, Visuals, Audio, Game Modes, Spirits, Online, and New Fighters. This was done to more easily locate specific slide by filtering to a single category instead of going through each slide one by one. Specific slides shown are the following:
- White-Knuckle 1-on-1: In 1-on-1 matches, characters deal 1.2x damage. this will keep matches from feeling too long or drawn out.
- Decisive Impact: Slow motion and camera zoom will emphasize key moments, such as taking massive knockback in a stock match.
- Omega Forms Are All Floating Islands: We used to have non-floating island Omega forms, but these have been unified to floating islands for match consistency.
- Isabelle: A variation on Villager. She fights using office supplies and public property.
- Final Smash Meter: Final Smashes charge up automatically over time. These can turn the tables, but opponents can use them as well.
- Increased Jump Starting Speed: Jumps start faster, then slow down quickly. This makes them more dynamic and responsive.
- Load Two Stages at Once: Stages can morph instantly, expanding potential game options.
- Option: Disable Stage Hazards: In addition to Battlefield and Omega forms, players can also turn stage hazards completely off.
- Only One Survivor: The story begins with one character's miraculous escape. They then set off to save the other fighters.
- Lend Me Your Power!!: In battle spirits can provide a huge power-up! These can massively boost a fighter's stats or confer skills.
A year after the video, on October 30, 2023, Sakurai uploaded a video discussing about the game's development, such as how they managed the development of DLCs in privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and when the proposal document was completed. Additional information that were not shown in the last video includes a VR mode in the document, years before the Nintendo Labo existed. In the end, he says he is unsure of the series' future, though there could be a next installment of the series with less content in general than Ultimate.
Like Smash 4 before it, Ultimate received regular update patches post-launch. The issue of unusable replays caused by gameplay altering updates persisted at launch. In version 3.0.0, players can upload replays to Shared Content, as well convert replays to a video file. Also, the feature of the game retaining old patch data to mitigate the issue was discovered with version 6.1.0.
Ultimate adopts a semantic versioning system (major.minor.patch), meaning each update is categorized based on its significance. Updates that introduce new fighters and their challenger pack change the first number (i.e. version 2.0.0). Otherwise significant updates such as new content or major game mode alterations that do not have any downloadable content attached change the second number (i.e. version 2.1.0). Smaller updates that exist solely to change the game in minor ways like character balance, bug fixes or amiibo support change the third number (i.e. version 2.1.1), though the latter two haven't always been applied consistently. When a number is changed, all numbers after it are reverted back to 0 (i.e. version 3.0.0). Compared to the simple incremental system used by Smash 4, the semantic versioning used by Ultimate allows players to more easily infer the significance of any given update at a glance. The latest and apparently final update for Ultimate was version 13.0.1, which introduced support for certain amiibo and balance updates for several playable fighters.
Changes from SSB4
Menu and UI changes
- The main menu has been redesigned to be in a wheel format. The icons on this menu are the following in clockwise order: Smash, Games & More, Vault, Online, and Spirits, with a Nintendo eShop icon in the bottom-right corner. In the center is a circle that shows an image related to the highlighted icon.
- There is a new dashboard on the main menu that can be accessed by pressing the ZR button. The icons in this dashboard are the following from top to bottom: Back to Top Menu, Collection, Local Wireless, News, Options and Help, as well as the time according to the internal clock.
- In Vs. mode, the stage selection screen now appears before the character selection screen, making players select a stage before selecting fighters.
- The rule selection screen appears before the stage selection screen. Players can now save rulesets for quick access.
- 8-Player Smash has been merged with standard Vs. Mode, with matches having 2 to 8 slots for players. On the character selection screen, the number of player slots can be adjusted with the "plus" and "minus" buttons on the right side. However, other game modes have different limits.
- Alternate costumes are selected differently: selecting a character on their character selection screen portrait no longer cycles through their costumes, instead allowing the player to choose from eight small stock icons at the bottom of the portrait that represent each costume. However, the and buttons can still be used to cycle through costumes like before. Additionally, each costume is now listed with a name from the numbers 1-8 (e.g. 'Color 7').
- While a Smash or Online match is loading, an intense versus splash screen will appear, showing the fighters. Tips still appear regularly on loading screens in other modes, and can appear on the splash screen when loading takes long enough.
- The damage meter now displays tenths of a damage percentage (e.g. 10.5%). Note that while all games since Melee have used decimal percentages, this is the first game to reveal that fact instead of simply rounding down for display.
- In one-on-one stock fights, the stock count of both fighters will be briefly displayed on-screen whenever a stock is lost (with the exception of the final stock).
- The character selection screen is now similar in appearance to the original Super Smash Bros. menu when starting the game, with the other fighters unlocked later on.
- Instead of being roughly organized by series, the character select screen now organizes characters by their fighter number, which corresponds to when they were first officially announced for a Super Smash Bros. game (with the exception of Echo Fighters, who share a fighter number with their original counterparts, and Mii Fighters, who are always listed last).
- While a fighter is knocked off the stage, a radar that shows the character locations, blast zone, and camera zoom will appear in the corner of the screen they were knocked towards. This radar can be enlarged, shrunk, or removed in the Options menu.
- Like Little Mac's Power Meter and Shulk's Monado Arts in Smash 4, several characters now sport additional UI elements next to their damage meter, such as Villager and Isabelle's Pocketed item, Robin's Durability Counters, Inkling's Ink Tank gauge, Cloud's Limit Gauge, Joker's Rebellion Gauge, Hero's MP Gauge, Terry's GO symbol, Steve's resources, and Sora's Magic.
- Some stages that once shared names now have been renamed. For example, the Smash 64 version of Yoshi's Island is now Super Happy Tree and the Brawl version of Mario Circuit is now Figure-8 Circuit.
- 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.
- Mii Fighters share a similar display, with a difference of either being displayed in their own character slots, or merged together as three fighters in one slot like in Smash 4.
- The main menu, character selection screen, Milestones, Sound Test and many other UIs now use the new font, replacing the main text font from Melee, Brawl and SSB4. The font itself is FOT-RodinNTLG UB regular in the English version and FOT-RodinNTLG B regular in the Japanese version, both of which are identical to those used for Super Mario Odyssey's UIs.
- The user can set up control settings for players who don't enter a name.
Game mode changes
- Sound Test can be used to create music playlists. The option where the music plays in handheld mode while the screen is off like a music player from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS also returns.
- Two new battle modes are present:
- Squad Strike has players battle with a squad of 3 or 5 fighters. Multiple formats of Squad Strike are available, including one where the entire team of fighters is used in a single continuous battle, similar to the final battle of Smash Tour in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
- Smashdown renders the fighters selected in a given battle unavailable for use in following battles, forcing players to select a different fighter with every match they play.
- Coin Battle is no longer featured as a playable mode, after being in the three previous games.
- Classic Mode is loosely a combination of the versions seen in Brawl and for 3DS, but now each fighter has a set series of opponents to face; many routes feature bosses other than Master Hand and Crazy Hand, and some feature a fight against a boss outside of the boss fight, or even the boss fight does not feature a designated boss, instead fighting characters who are otherwise playable.
- Multi-Man Smash and its 100-Man Smash mode is now referred to as "Mob Smash" and "Century", respectively; All-Star Mode has been merged with Endless mode as "All-Star Smash". It also lacks 10-Man Smash and 3-Minute Smash, making Mob Smash themselves harder.
- There is no longer a Stadium menu; Mob Smash and Home-Run Contest (as of version 5.0.0) are now placed directly in the "Games & More" menu.
- Super Sudden Death is now a separated battle mode, akin to Melee.
- Furthermore, Special Smash from Brawl and SSB4 is now referred to as "Custom Smash"; the term "Special Smash" is instead used for a sub-menu which contains Super Sudden Death, Smashdown and Custom Smash, akin to the Special Melee mode in Melee.
- Training Mode is now compatible with amiibo fighters, and can now be played on an exclusive stage, which allows the player to measure distances such as knockback range and jump height.
- Spirits are introduced as a new feature with the merger of Trophies and Equipment; additionally, Spirit Battles also replace Event matches from the previous games.
- The Wii Remote (and Nunchuk), Classic Controller, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U GamePad and Pro Controller are no longer officially supported due to being incompatible with the Nintendo Switch.
- All stages now have a Battlefield form. Additionally, all stages (including Battlefield and Ω forms) can now be played with up to eight players, as opposed to having different limits between stages.
- All Battlefield/Ω form stages now reshape the main platform and blast lines to be identical to those in Battlefield/Final Destination, making some Battlefield/Ω forms such as those of Golden Plains, Wily Castle, and Kalos Pokémon League having larger bottom blast lines and no vertical walls.
- Stage hazards can be turned off for the first time in the series, allowing players to remove intrusive elements, such as environment changes or enemy appearances from gameplay. The option is available in the advanced rules settings.
- The new Stage Morph option allows two stages to be selected at once; the two stages will transition into one another either at random or on specified time intervals.
- Tracks in My Music are now organized by series rather than by stage, such that all music from a given series will be available across the stages corresponding to that series.
- Additionally, many remixes from 64 and Melee have had their names updated to reflect the source music title, rather than the stage they were present on, such as "Poké Floats" becoming "Pokémon Red/Pokémon Blue Medley".
- The "Nintendo" music category, now named "Others" to reflect the inclusion of third-party content, encompasses the Ice Climber and Duck Hunt universes (represented through the Summit and Duck Hunt stages, respectively) as well as the non-playable universes (represented through the Hanenbow, PictoChat 2, Balloon Fight, Living Room, Find Mii, Tomodachi Life, Wrecking Crew, Pilotwings, and Wuhu Island stages).
- To increase gameplay speed, all damage taken in one-on-one fights with no items is multiplied by 1.2×.
- Smash attacks can be charged significantly longer. Once the fighter stops moving, the power of the attack will cease scaling.
- Buffering has been strengthened, as actions can now be buffered by inputting them at any point during a previous action and holding the inputs until they are possible. The 10-frame buffer from Brawl and Smash 4 is still present in case the inputs are not held.
- Short hop aerial attacks now have a damage multiplier of 0.85×. This applies until the player lands or uses a midair jump.
- Buried opponents no longer take less knockback from attacks.
- Using a flame attack on a frozen character no longer thaws them out.
- The physics of launch movement has been overall sped up, with characters receiving knockback having a much higher initial speed and deceleration, resulting in being launched at higher speeds yet slowing down to nothing quickly. This was mainly done for aesthetic purposes to make moves feel more weighted and impactful. This does not affect moves with fixed knockback.
- This change significantly lessens the usefulness of hitstun canceling, as most of the hitstun and launch speed now wear off as soon as the player is able to perform an air dodge or an aerial attack.
- If a character is struck with enough knockback by either a meteor smash or stage spike, they will be KO'd as soon as they are off-screen, rather than reaching the bottom blast line. This makes meteor smashes more effective, as well as sacrificial KOs that rely on meteor smashes more reliable.
- Hitstun increases at a slower rate for knockback that causes tumbling, decreasing it at higher percents compared to Smash 4. However, this is compensated by characters being faster overall as described by the mobility changes below, still allowing for more combo opportunities below high percents.
- Fall speeds and gravity are now temporarily homogenized during hitstun from knockback which launches at angles 70°-110°. This prevents fast fallers from being disproportionately susceptible to ladder combos but also prevents them from having improved vertical survivability while floatier characters have improved vertical survivability.
- The base amount of freeze frames has been increased. However, there is an additional freeze frames multiplier that is lower the more players are participating in a match, with a maximum of 1× for two players (effectively standardizing freeze frames in one-on-one matches) and a minimum of 0.75× for eight players.
- Rage has had its knockback increase reduced to a maximum 1.1× boost, down from 1.15×. Additionally, it no longer applies to hits that use set knockback, preventing linking moves with high set knockback from KOing at disproportionately early percentages.
- Stale-move negation uses higher damage reduction values, with a fully stale move dealing 0.4695× of its original damage (down from 0.5294×). Additionally, moves now stale when hitting a shield.
- Shieldstun has been further adjusted. Direct special moves and ground attacks deal more shieldstun, while aerial attacks and projectiles deal less, and smash attacks remain unaffected. This makes direct attacks safer on shield (tilt attacks in particular), but makes aerials and projectiles less safe on shield. However, due to the increased mobility of the cast as well as the reduced landing lag on aerial attacks, their safety on shield has been relatively unchanged, with some even being safer on shield.
- Shields deplete faster when held, now even surpassing Melee's shield depletion.
- When holding a special move button or multiple shield buttons while shielding, moving the control stick allows for shield angling without triggering rolls, sidesteps, or jumps (with tap jump on), making it easier to perform.
- Perfect shields are performed in reverse: instead of pressing the shield button a few frames before an attack connects, players have to release the shield button when an attack connects on their shield instead. The window for the technique is also larger, lasting 5 frames instead of 3. A successful perfect shield causes the screen to pause briefly, with the fighter's eyes flashing yellow (similar to Final Smash standby) to signify a perfect shield, and no shield damage being taken as a result. This updated mechanic makes perfect shielding a riskier tactic, and less likely to be performed unintentionally, but allows fighters to retaliate much faster against attacks when successful.
- Shield dropping incurs 11 frames of lag, up from 7 in SSB4, making the game less defense-focused. However, the minimum time the shield must be held for before it can be dropped has been reduced from 11 frames to 3, assisting in the new perfect shield mechanic.
- Shield platform drops are no longer possible.
- Grabbing an edge consecutively without landing or getting hit now decreases the intangibility of subsequent edge options, to the point of granting no intangibility at all from the fourth edge grab onward. Additionally, in a similar vein to Aether in previous games, characters can only grab edges up to six times under these conditions. This further decreases the effectiveness of planking strategies.
- "Magnet hands", a controversial element in Brawl and Smash 4 that allowed some characters to evade edgeguarders while recovering much easier, have been toned down. Edge sweet spots have become smaller, and recovery moves take longer to snap on ledges in general. This makes recovering overall more difficult.
- The window to tech has increased from 8 frames to 11 frames, and teching, in general, has mostly been restored to its state in Brawl (but the added leniency while already making contact with a wall or ceiling is retained), removing all of the untechable situations from Smash 4; however, sustaining too much knockback from a certain distance from a surface can prevent characters from teching, making stage spikes guaranteed at high enough percents. This threshold is indicated by the visual shockwave of a rebounding character turning red. The threshold is also much smaller for characters that hit the ground, making meteor smashes more effective on-stage on aerial opponents.
- Opponents footstooled in midair can now tech on the ground during the animation. However, footstools now also grant the user a few frames of intangibility upon leaping off the opponent.
- Meteor smash attacks can no longer be teched when grounded regardless of their properties, much like in Smash Bros. titles before SSB4, making them more reliable for starting combos.
- Locks can only be performed twice in a row, and no longer force the target to perform a standing getup, removing their guaranteed setups into powerful moves such as charged smash attacks. However, they can still be used to combo into faster attacks before the target can get up from the lock.
- Characters that originally cannot swim or have a weakness to water in their home series now take slow, constant damage while swimming. The fighters affected include Charizard, Incineroar, Inkling and Sonic.
- If a character lands in deep water while using a move with high downwards velocity (e.g. Stone, Aether, Bowser Bomb and Super Dedede Jump), they will keep most of their movement speed when diving. This now causes those moves to become self-destructs at certain heights.
- Characters can no longer run through other characters and instead push them backward, preventing cross-ups or mixups revolving around moving through an opponent. This also seems to affect several momentum-based moves, which now stop on shield (such as Fox Illusion and Heel Slide). However, there are still a handful of moves that are still capable of crossing up, such as Simon and Richter's dash attack.
- Screen KOs are much faster, making them once again faster than Star KOs. Additionally, the blast KO effect has been added at the end of animation.
- Waiting on a revival platform now gradually decreases the invincibility period of a character after they get off it, lasting only one second instead of two if they stay on it for the maximum duration.
- Shield breaking does not grant the victim any intangibility if it happens during the last five seconds of a match.
- Sudden Death consists of the screen slowly zooming in, making the blast zones gradually shrink. It also appears to have a fixed camera angle, and the screen progressively gets covered in aesthetic flames, starting with the corners. This is presumably to balance the gameplay speed of Sudden Death across all stages, especially with large (such as Temple or New Pork City), autoscrolling (such as Mushroomy Kingdom), or Stage Builder stages. Raining Bob-ombs from Melee onward are still present shortly after the screen has finished zooming in.
- All characters participating in Sudden Death are ranked based on what time they are KO'd rather than all KO'd characters being automatically ranked 2nd, much like Smash Bros. titles before SSB4.
- The length of a Timed Battle can be adjusted in 30-second increments between one and three minutes.
- Stamina battles are now part of the basic rule selection, allowing for combinations such as stamina with stocks.
- The Final Smash Meter is a new Rules option that enables fighters to charge up their Final Smash over time for use without a Smash Ball. When this option is turned on, a gauge will appear under each fighter's damage display. The more damage the player deals or receives, the more the meter is filled. When it is filled, the player can use a weaker version of their Final Smash.
- The new Custom Balance menu allows assigning handicaps to individual characters. Intended for leveling the field between players of different skill levels, each character can be assigned a Custom Balance value between -3 and +3, with negative numbers reducing damage dealt, and positive numbers increasing damage dealt. These values are only applied when the Custom Balance rule option is enabled, which is not available in multi-console wireless or online play.
- Self-destructing in online matches with stocks can take away two stocks instead of one (except on 1v1 battles)
- All Smash Taunts now share some consistencies:
- Subtitles now use the aforementioned main text font, rather than matching those of their respective home series.
- Codec Conversations are disabled in the Ω form of Shadow Moses Island, as with Smash Taunts in SSB4; this also applies to all Battlefield forms as well.
- In the Japanese version, furigana has been added to all Palutena's Guidance (as well as re-added to all Star Fox Smash Taunts), similar to Smash Taunts in Brawl.
- In update 2.0.0, the ability to consistently perform a short hop by simultaneously pressing two jump buttons was added.
- The jumpsquat timing of every character has been standardized to 3 frames, with the exception of Kazuya, who has 7 frames. This is most easily noticeable with Bowser and Snake, as both characters used to have the highest jumpsquat frames in Smash 4 and Brawl respectively.
- Run speeds have been increased by about 10% for a majority of the cast, with some having larger increases, while walk speeds have had a similar 5% increase.
- Air speeds have been increased by about 5% for a majority of the cast, with some having larger increases.
- Traction has been significantly increased across the cast, with all characters now having higher traction values than Smash 4's highest traction values.
- The initial frames of full hops from the ground are sped up for all characters. Oddly, this can be bypassed by using a jump just before walking or running over the ledge.
- Landing lag for aerials has been reduced by 40% for most of the cast, and landing lag from helplessness has been significantly reduced overall. For some moves, the landing lag is even less than in Melee with L-canceling.
- Perfect pivoting can no longer be performed, as characters no longer enter their standing animation when turning around out of their initial dash.
- Rolling and spot dodging repeatedly now penalizes the user with increased lag and less intangibility frames, in a similar vein to Deep Breathing, leaving them more open to punishments.
- Backward rolls have more ending lag overall, hindering their utility further for retreating safely, and making them practically different from forward rolls again.
- Spot dodges can be canceled earlier than usual (by 5 frames if fresh) into any grounded attack other than grabs and dash attacks, making them more effective for retaliation after dodging opposing attacks.
- Air dodges now contain elements from all previous incarnations of the technique: players can either perform a neutral air dodge by keeping the control stick in a neutral position (akin to a neutral aerial), which functions like Brawl and Smash 4's air dodges, or a directional air dodge by holding in a direction, which grants characters a quick momentum boost towards much like Melee's air dodges, but without making them helpless.
- Characters can only air dodge once before landing, grabbing an edge or getting hit, and both types of air dodges have much more ending lag, with directional ones lasting more than a full second. However, both have less landing lag than air dodges in Smash 4 (10 frames in the case of neutral air dodges, down from 21), and unlike air dodges in Melee, directional air dodges allow characters to grab edges during their ending lag. This significantly weakens defensive play by making air dodges more restricted and punishable but increases their effectiveness for escaping juggles and recovering if used opportunely.
- Wavedashing has made a return from Melee, alongside techniques associated with it like wave landing. However, it is significantly weaker due to the new mechanics added to directional air dodges, compounded further by their higher landing lag, as well as the cast's increased traction. Furthermore, the universal buffs to dashing in general almost entirely eliminates the need of this technique.
- Initial dashes have been lengthened, allowing some aspects of dash-dancing to return. They have also been significantly increased across the cast and have much less range invariance, with the slowest being slightly above Mario's in SSB4 and the highest being slightly above Fox's.
- Being sent into hitstun by any attack from behind (except vertical hitstun) will preserve the direction the character is facing, like with Back Slash in Smash 4, having the effect of preserving the positions of their forward and back aerials.
- As a result, all characters now have unique hitstun animations for taking hits from behind.
- Characters can now perform any ground attack out of a run, including their neutral attack, tilt attacks, and all smash attacks. In previous games, only dash attacks, up smashes and special moves could be performed out of a run. Characters can also cancel a run turn in the same way to input any grounded attack in the other direction, which was previously only possible with forward tilts, forward smashes and side specials.
- Short hop aerial attacks can be performed by pressing the jump and attack buttons at the same time. However, full hop aerial attacks are more difficult to perform as a result, and can no longer be performed on the first frame of a jump.
- As a further aid, several ground attacks can now be canceled by jumping during their very first startup frames (with a maximum of 3 for most), in which case they will automatically transition into a short hop aerial attack.
- The linking hits of all neutral attacks have been altered, using the Sakurai angle and a 180° angle alongside low knockback values so that opponents stay on the ground and are dragged close to the user. This allows for neutral attacks to connect much more reliably than before, and gives all of them the ability to jab lock (with the exception of Ganondorf, Meta Knight, Roy and Chrom). However, this removes guaranteed jab cancel setups for most characters.
- Neutral infinites have been reduced in damage (with the exception of Mewtwo's), but are faster and inflict less freeze frames, allowing them to land far more hits in the same amount of time, and making them harder to escape in combination with the aforementioned changes. Their pushback from hitting opponents can also no longer drop the user off edges.
- Neutral attacks also have decreased range across the cast. Characters no longer lunge to attack and the hitboxes were adjusted to match whatever limb or weapon each character uses almost perfectly.
- The function of the 0° launch angle has been changed, now becoming 32° at knockback values greater than or equal to 120 units, similar to the Sakurai angle in SSB, but occurring later than said angle.
- Down tilts can be reversed by holding the control stick diagonally down and back, allowing characters to quickly use them in the opposite direction without the need to stand up from crouching and turn around.
- Smash attacks can be delayed for 2 additional seconds after reaching full charge. This is indicated by characters freezing in the last frame of their charging animation until the smash attack is released.
- Up smashes and up specials (by extension) can be used out of shield without jump-cancelling.
- Aerial attacks can be performed while hanging onto a ladder, a property known officially as a "ladder attack".
- Frame canceling has been removed.
- All variations of regular grabs have more ending lag, making them easier to punish if missed. Conversely, extended grabs have less ending lag, no longer leaving characters as vulnerable compared to regular grabs.
- If two grabs collide, both characters take minimal damage and act as if they're grab released. This event is known as "grab parrying" by the in-game tips and removes the effect of port priority in determining who gets the grab.
- Shield grabs can no longer be used immediately after shieldstun from an attack ends, now forcing the character to hold their shield for 4 extra frames beforehand.
- The speed and damage of pummels has been standardized, differing only by a few frames between characters, and generally dealing from 1% to 1.6% damage. As a result, characters such as Ness and Samus have slower pummels, but they deal more damage, while most other characters' pummels are faster, but deal less damage.
- Weight dependency for throws has been removed: all throws now execute at their usual speed against the entire cast, much like in SSB.
- Edge attacks deal 9% on average (up from 7%) and now grant intangibility until their hitboxes cease, instead of until 2 frames before their hitboxes come out, allowing them to beat out opposing attacks.
- Chargeable special moves that can be stored for later use, such as Samus' Charge Shot and Donkey Kong's Giant Punch, can now be canceled by jumping. These moves can also be executed with the attack button while charging.
- Most chargeable neutral specials that can't be stored are now reversible, whether for the duration of the charge or right before they are unleashed.
- Many taunts have been sped up or shortened, with some longer taunts, such as Mario and Zelda's up taunts, have been replaced with entirely new ones altogether, allowing characters to act out of them much quicker, with universal interruptibility on frame 50. However, this does not apply to damaging taunts, such as Luigi's down taunt.
- The effectiveness of every tether recovery has been nerfed, as they can no longer be performed at any point during air dodges, nor can they skip the lag incurred upon grabbing an edge.
- Custom special moves have been removed (with exception of Mii Fighters).
- All RCO lags on special moves have been removed.
- Final Smashes are quicker overall, with versions granting a controllable transformation being removed, so players can return to fighting quickly. As a result, many fighters have either new Final Smashes altogether (such as the Landmaster being replaced by an Arwing cutscene) or different functionality to their returning Final Smash (such as Octopus dragging opponents offstage immediately after being activated).
- The particle effects of the game are significantly more cartoony, with a solid-color or cel-shaded aesthetic, similar to particle effects used by Bowser Jr. and Duck Hunt. Compared to Smash 4, hits are signified by spark-like blows instead of colorful stars, while attack effects appear visually longer-lasting or possess far larger particle effects.
- Continuing a trend from Melee and Brawl, most returning fighters feature greater model detail than in Smash 4. Character models also react to lighting more realistically, resulting in a soft white "glow" around their edges. Additionally, humanoid characters overall have slightly tanner skin tones.
- However, hair and fur textures tend to use less complex shading and modeling techniques, resulting in a flatter appearance similar to Brawl and for 3DS (better noticeable with Incineroar).
- The characters' design styles are once again unified: cartoony franchises such as the Mario and Kirby series have slightly more realistic and subdued color schemes, while those from more realistic-looking franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Metroid series have more vibrant color schemes. As a result, the overall color palette is slightly more subdued and less saturated than in Smash 4, but still brighter than in Melee and Brawl.
- Time slows down substantially and the camera zooms in with a colorful blue background at significant moments during a match, such as when landing a highly damaging special move (such as a fully charged Giant Punch) or when breaking a shield. The camera also does this for potential final hits of a match, dramatically pausing gameplay with intense sound effects and red lightning/background, while zooming in. These are referred to as "Special Zoom" and "Finish Zoom" by Masahiro Sakurai and the development team.
- In timed matches, characters in the lead will occasionally flash with gold sparkles.
- Stock icons have been given a simplified, 2D appearance, akin to those in Smash 64, and usually lack eyes (with the exception of Kirby, Meta Knight, Sonic, R.O.B., Zombie and Enderman). However, most humanoid characters' stock icons are still depicted with eyebrows, accessories, as well as some facial features (e.g. Mario, Luigi, Dr. Mario and Wario's mustache, Ness and the Ice Climbers' bangs, Bayonetta's glasses). Additionally, depictions of accessories in default stock icons no longer appears to be inconsistent with their actual colors; for example, Peach's crown now given its usual golden color instead of pink like in previous games, the latter of which matched the color of her dress.
- The rattling effect during hit lag is now more exaggerated, and a crescent-shaped angle indicator now appears when the victim SDIs.
- Knockback dealt by strong attacks will show a bright blue angle indicator, which visualizes the effect of directional influence along the character's final trajectory. This can be difficult to notice due to the effect being very brief, although moves with high hitstun or paralysis effects allow it to be seen for a decent timeframe.
- After using up their midair jump(s), characters leave behind a subtle, transparent trail when moving through the air until they regain their jumps. This aesthetic effect is difficult to notice unless the camera is zoomed onto a character or the scenery behind them is particularly bright.
- Punching and kicking SFX on hit are different and sound harder-hitting compared to the previous game, with even weaker attacks playing loud "punch" effects.
- If two fighter's bladed weapons clash, they now produce a "clanging" noise, reminiscent of a similar effect in Melee. The sound depends on the type of blades that clash; metal blades and energy-based swords both produce different sound effects.
- Characters stunned after breaking their shield will have their voice clip play constantly instead of only once, much like in Smash 64 and Melee. This was exclusive to Roy in Smash 4.
- Fighters sent flying now leave a colorful, lingering trail of solid-colored smoke behind them. If dealt enough knockback, they will also play a whistling sound while flying, akin to a jet plane, rather than the lower-pitched wind rushing sound from Smash 4.
- Characters flash yellow when they are close to breaking out of a grab, as well as during their grab immunity period after being released.
- When button mashing out of an unactionable state such as being grabbed or stunned, characters display wind blade-like particles around them that increase in quantity depending on how fast they mash.
- Blast KOs cause a burst of confetti on the screen alongside the standard colorful blast.
- When a current match ends and the announcer says his quote, all character voices and sound effects will immediately cease, even though blast KO sounds can still be heard. As a result, characters' KO voice clips, for the most part, do not play when a blast KO occurs and the current match ends.
- Star KO'd characters now use a tumbling animation similar to Brawl's Screen KOs (except for several characters), rolling away from the screen as they fly away.
- Phantom footstools now play the footstool sound effect to indicate one being performed, and a yellow jump circle appears.
- Similar to Lightning Kick and Knee Smash from previous games, as well as most of Mega Man and Wii Fit Trainer's movesets in Smash 4, even more non-special moves received nicknames, which can be seen on Tips.
- Final Smashes now cause a segment of the screen to show the upper right portion of the summoner's face (in Mr. Game & Watch's case, the close up is of where his eyes would be; in Piranha Plant's case, the close up of its teeth), which is taken entirely from the summoner's official artwork, before the move begins, similar to Chrom's appearance in Pair Up, and the stage's background to display solid-colored pattern akin to the final hit of Shin Shoryuken when the opponent is dealt enough knockback to be KO'd.
- Compared to Brawl and Smash 4, several fighter animations have been made significantly more dramatic and tailored to look better from the camera's perspective. Examples of this are Mario's Up Tilt, Bowser's Flying Slam, and Donkey Kong's Giant Punch.
- Fighters are much more expressive than they were in Smash 4; most characters now sport a shocked/surprised expression when missing a grab and will scowl or frown when putting up their shield, and any characters standing too close to a Final Smash will visibly react to it by displaying a shocked facial expression.
- While on Final Smash standby, the character's damage gauge will constantly spark with aqua-colored electricity. Upon use, one of the eyes on the fighter's character portrait will flash.
- When a character has more than 120% damage, smoke will constantly come out of their damage meter.
- Announcer-related changes:
- When selecting characters in a time or stock match, the announcer now says "Timed battle!" and "Stock battle!" respectively, rather than "Free-for-all!/Battle royale!" and "Survival!"
- In Brawl, the announcer did say "Timed battle" for Spanish and Italian, but it was changed in Smash 4.
- The announcer now calls Classic Mode's name when selecting the character in that mode, similar to Brawl. Additionally, in the Japanese version, he now says "Survival Smash!" as opposed to "Classic!" in Brawl.
- When a player life steals in a team battle, the announcer now says "Restocked!", as opposed to "Stock player removed." in Melee or "Share (player) stock!" in Brawl and SSB4.
- On the results screen, the announcer now says "(Character name/Team color) wins!" ("(Character name/Team color) win!" in the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese versions), instead of saying "The winner is... (character name/team color)!" (Brawl/Smash 4) or "This game's winner is... (character name/team color)!" (Smash 64/Melee). Additionally, after Team Battles, all teammates will perform their complete victory animation instead of only the player with the highest score/stock count, much like the first three installments. As a result, all victory poses now "freeze" at the same time point during their animations.
- In Smash 64, the announcer did say "(Team color) wins!", but this was changed in Melee.
- However, the Spanish, French, Italian and German versions still say the winner's name at the end like in Smash 4, such as "¡La victoria es para... (character name/team color)!" in Spanish; this also extends to the Dutch version, newly recorded for this game, which says "De winnaar is... (character name/team color)!"
- When selecting characters in a time or stock match, the announcer now says "Timed battle!" and "Stock battle!" respectively, rather than "Free-for-all!/Battle royale!" and "Survival!"
- Even more characters now face the screen regardless of the direction they turn towards, such as Donkey Kong and the Ice Climbers.
- In addition, some Assist Trophies and Poké Ball Pokémon face the screen regardless of the direction they turn towards.
- Names now override some instances of character names, such as underneath the damage meter. However, when playing online, the user's name will override custom names.
- If the player enters a name, any Poké Ball Pokémon or Assist Trophy character summoned by the player will be indicated by the player's name. In some cases, this may be harder to notice in stages with brighter lighting due to the name bar lacking the bordered background.
- Reflection moves now display shining hexagon effects, similar to Fox's and Falco's Reflector, upon reflecting projectiles.
- Counterattacks that retaliate against sufficiently strong attacks will now cause the user to let out a large, bright yellow flash.
- The flower effect's flower appearance was changed and now resembles the pink flowers seen on the title screen of Panel de Pon.
- As a fighter moves closer to the blast zone, their magnifying glass shrinks. When a fighter is right next to the blast zone, the ring on their glass flashes yellow.
- If enabled, Score Display is displayed when playing either a Stock and Stamina match instead of only appearing in Time matches.
- In stages originating from Smash 64, background characters appear more frequently.
- Certain types of items, such as Banana Peels, can now be picked up by tilt attacks.
- There can now be more than one Assist Trophy active at any given time. Additionally, some characters summoned by an Assist Trophy can be KO'd, granting a point to whoever KO'd said character. The summoner can also KO their own assist trophy to prevent the loss of a point. If multiple players summon an Assist Trophy each, they will proceed to fight one another if close enough.
- Smash Balls now have a chance of spawning with Soccer Ball physics, rolling around the stage and respawning once they drop offstage. They despawn after a set time. This property is similarly present in Fake Smash Balls.
- The Boss Galaga causes a black background to cover the screen when it catches an opponent, complete with pixel stars. Additionally, it now forces a Star KO on characters taken past the upper blast line, which can be seen attached above the character throughout the animation. The star also becomes larger.
- The Beetle now forces a Screen KO on characters taken past the upper blast line. Additionally, it can be seen attached behind the character throughout the animation.
- The Hammer and Golden Hammer have a unique 8-bit-styled hit particle, resembling the particle effect used when Mario destroys a barrel or a fireball in the original Donkey Kong. The corresponding sound effect is also taken from the original game. Additionally, the former's music is now taken directly from the arcade version of the game.
- The Warp Star's descent can now be either stalled or hastened by the user.
- The Timer now creates a dark warping background alongside its usual slowdown effect.
- Blast Boxes now explode after some time if hit. This is signified by a dull orange flash around the box that slowly gets brighter.
- The Beam Sword now creates an aesthetic trail from its blade when thrown or dropped.
- Sandbag will now show a happy expression if left idle for long enough.
- Shrinking and growing animations have been reverted to their Melee versions. As such, they are much faster and are no longer unique to each character.
- Explosive items directly thrown at opponents no longer harm the thrower.
- Characters can perform a midair jump while firing a Super Scope, Fire Flower, Gust Bellows, and Ramblin' Evil Mushroom and holding a completed Daybreak.
- However, they can no longer dash forward while holding them.
|Edge Magazine||9 of 10|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||5 of 5|
|Famitsu||38 of 40|
|Game Revolution||4.5 of 5|
|GameInformer||9.5 of 10|
|GameSpot||9 of 10|
|IGN||9.4 of 10|
|Compilations of multiple reviews|
|Metacritic||93 out of 100 (99 reviews)|
|Game of the Year|
|Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award|
Japanese Product Global Award
Best Sales Award
Award for Excellence
|Nintendo Game of the Year|
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received universal critical acclaim from both critics and the audience, with several critics calling it the best installment in the series. They praised its large amount of content and fine-tuning of existing Smash gameplay elements, although its online mode received criticism. It was estimated that the game sold over 5 million copies worldwide within three days of release, making it the fastest selling Switch game (at the time).
The game has sold 12.08 million units as of December 31st, 2018, marking it as the fastest-selling Nintendo game in history (at the time). In March 2019, that number reached 13.81 million, surpassing the total number of sales for the Wii U console in just 4 months. Since then, that number has reached 32.44 million units as of September 30th, 2023, making it the best selling game in the series, and also making it the best selling fighting game of all time (previously held by Super Smash Bros. Brawl with 13.30 million copies). If all versions of a game are to be counted as a single entry, it would still be the best selling fighting game of all time (previously held by the combined sales of all versions of Street Fighter II with 15.5 million copies.)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate currently holds an aggregate review score of 93 out of 100 on Metacritic, tying it with Brawl as the highest-rated game in the series on the website, and held a score of 92.17% on GameRankings prior to its shutdown.
At The Game Awards 2019, Ultimate was nominated for Best Fighting Game, Best Family Game, and Game of the Year. It won Best Fighting Game, though it lost to Luigi's Mansion 3 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, respectively, in the other two categories. In a first for the awards show, a separate, tournament-style nomination called Player's Voice allowed fans to vote on certain games that they deemed their favorite; Ultimate successfully made its way to the final round of voting, though it lost to Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
In competitive play
Ultimate effectively replaced Super Smash Bros. for Wii U in terms of the competitive scene, with nearly all of the top players migrating over. Ultimate also being the the only Smash game currently available for purchase makes it the definitive version of Smash to play in the current day. The divide between Melee and former Brawl players has also subsided considerably, with Ultimate generally being considered a satisfactory middle ground between the two styles and both isolated scenes intermingling more than ever.
Ultimate continued the momentum of mainstream success started in Brawl and continued with the Wii U version, such as a mainstage presence at EVO and major tournaments dedicated to Ultimate often being the most watched events online, with Ultimate also frenquently being the most entered tournament in a series with other games. The scene also weathered the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and led the charge in normalizing online play as a legitimate form of competition.
The community has constructed a set of standard tournament rules to regulate tournament play. While rulesets may vary between different tournaments, generally universal gameplay rules include all matches being played via timed stock (three stocks and 6-8 minutes), and restrictions on legal stages. These regulations are enacted to ensure that gameplay at the highest level remains fair.
Official illustration of Joker.
Official illustration of Terry.
Official illustration of Min Min.
Official illustration of Kazuya.
Part of Smash Bros. Countdown
Official animation of Mario.
Official illustration of Mario and Rathalos.
Official image of Bomberman.
Official image of Kirby.
Official illustration of Sonic.
Official illustration of the playable Zelda cast.
Official image of all base game Fire Emblem fighters on Arena Ferox.
Official image of Snake.
Official image of Pit.
Official illustration of Mega Man.
Splash art of Ridley.
Splash art of Simon.
Splash art of Richter.
Splash art of Chrom.
Splash art of Dark Samus.
Splash art of King K. Rool.
Splash art of Isabelle.
Splash art of Ken.
Splash art of Incineroar.
Splash art of Piranha Plant.
Splash art of Joker.
Splash art of Hero.
Splash art of Banjo & Kazooie.
Splash art of Terry.
Splash art of male Byleth.
Splash art of Min Min.
Splash art of Steve.
Splash art of Sephiroth.
Splash art of Pyra.
Splash art of Mythra.
Splash art of Kazuya.
Splash art of Sora.
- This is the only Super Smash Bros. game to:
- Have been released simultaneously worldwide.
- Allow Master Hand to be playable without hacks or glitches.
- Feature more unlockable characters than starter characters.
- Have more returning stages than new stages.
- Have no unlockable stages.
- Feature Assist Trophies from third-party universes without playable characters, namely Bomberman, Shovel Knight, Monster Hunter, and Virtua Fighter.
- Feature universes owned by a current console rival to Nintendo (namely Banjo-Kazooie and Minecraft, which are both owned by Microsoft).
- Not remove any Poké Ball Pokémon from the prior installment.
- Because of the size of the USK's age rating icon, the German version of the game has a slightly different variation of the box art: several fighters have their positions changed (such as Pikachu, who is moved upwards), Yoshi is completely missing, and the logo is pushed to the right side.
- This game marks the 100th performance credit of Charles Martinet as the voice of Mario, a landmark for which he received a Guinness World Record for the most video game voice-over performances of a single character.
- Although the game was officially available in Brazil since December 2018 like in other regions via Nintendo eShop, Brazil did not officially get physical copies of the game until December 2022.
- ESRB website
- "Famitsu News — “Sakurai Catching a Breather”" - Source Gaming.
- "“Smash is Special” COMPLETE Translation" - Source Gaming.
- "Why Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was such a daunting game for its creators to build" - The Verge.
- "“Compliance and Labor” – Sakurai’s Famitsu Column, Vol. 542" - Source Gaming.
- Sakurai announces that he has been working on Smash for Switch.
- Translation of Sakurai's Smash for Switch tweet.
- "Sora's Work-From-Home Strategies [Grab Bag" - YouTube].
- Slead, Evan. EGM Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review. EGM. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Famitsu Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review - Translated. GoNintendo. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Faulkner, Jason. GameRevolution Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review. Games Revolution. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Cork, Jeff. GameInformer Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review. GameInformer. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Tran, Edmond. GameSpot Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Marks, Tom. IGN Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Wins Famitsu Game Of The Year Award. NintendoLife. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Japan Game Awards 2019 results announced, Smash Bros. Ultimate wins big. NintendoEverything. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate wins Nintendo Game of the Year at the 2019 Golden Joystick Awards. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fastest-selling Nintendo game ever.
- IR Information:Top Selling Title Sales Unit. Nintendo. Retrieved on 2021-05-30.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Is The Best Selling Fighting Game Ever. IGN. Retrieved on 2020-11-14.
- Versões físicas de títulos selecionados do console Nintendo Switch estarão disponíveis no Brasil até o fim do ano!
|Super Smash Bros. series|
|Super Smash Bros. · Super Smash Bros. Melee · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · Super Smash Bros. 4 (for Nintendo 3DS · for Wii U) · Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|