We finally have a decent understanding of what exactly the new Super Smash Bros. for Switch is. It’s not a port, but rather a whole new game that functions a bit like a greatest hits collection of every Smash Bros. game. But unlike typical greatest hits collections that cherry-pick the highlights, Ultimate includes literally every character that has ever appeared in Super Smash Bros., and even a few new ones. For our first hands-on with the game, we decided to try the new fighters, and two returning ones.
The inclusion of Samus’ greatest foe has been a long time coming. Fans have wanted to play as the purple pterodactyl with a violent tail for some time, and the creature is finally in the game. Ridley is a heavier fighter, and can use his wings to fly and recover from getting knocked out. He reminded me a bit of Meta Knight, but with a greater weight to him. He can also shoot fireballs out of his mouth.
Despite his wings, Ridley didn’t feel floaty and I played well with him. It was among my more successful matches as I quickly became adept at flying in the air and slamming down from above – a favorite tactic of mine.
One of my favorite elements of Ridley was seeing him come in second place where he could be seen applauding the victor in the corner. I have never thought of Ridley as anything but a violent beast, and to see him sitting there offering a slow congratulatory applaud instantly made me laugh.
The Inkling has an interesting ability where it can shoot ink at opponents and the ground. The more covered the opponents are in your ink, the more damage they take. My favorite ability was the splat roller which functions a little like Wario’s motorcycle in that you can just barrel through enemies. Just tapping to move left and right was also satisfying as it sends the Inkling into Squid form to quickly dodge out of the way.
When you run out of ink, you do need to find a safe spot where you refill, and I struggled to quickly refill my stores. IF you don’t have ink, you can’t shoot it and things like the splat roller become pitiful.
Breath of the Wild Link
I don’t want to alarm anyone, but Link… feels pretty similar to how he has felt in the past. He’s always been a favorite of mine (though I do consider Toon Link my main) and I fell into using him pretty quickly. His hookshot is gone, and his bombs are remote now. I didn’t miss the hookshot, but remote bombs will definitely take some getting used to. Otherwise, you can probably safely guess how this slightly different version of Link plays.
When discussing the list for our site with Brian Shea, I talked him out of including Snake on the list, and in retrospect I admit to that being very stupid. Considering the fluctuating relationship of his creator and the people who own him, I figured he wouldn’t be available to attend Smash Bros., and I am so happy to have been wrong. More so than even Link above, Snake feels just like he used to. I found myself shooting rockets at my feet and leaving remote mines all over the map right away. I also set him up to be wearing a cheetah print sneaking suit, which just looked absolutely awful, but I adored it all the same.
Overall Gameplay Impressions
As far as broad impressions go of the overall gameplay, you will be happy to know this game feels like a Smash Bros. game. It’s hard to really get a sense of how all the tiny adjustments will affect the gameplay from only a few matches, but it feels great with the Pro Controller and I found myself using the new additions, like the grid that shows when characters fly out of the screen-view without dying, without even thinking about them much. To me, that’s a sign that they have been implemented well.
For more on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, head here.