When new characters are revealed for a Smash Bros. game, there’s always a sense of wonder regarding how different elements of their personality and features from past games will be featured in the fighting game. I felt like things were again at their best in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The new characters are well represented in all areas, with the new fighters and assist trophies all having these parts of themselves we might not expect to see represented in their original games here and working well.
The movesets are the obvious areas we expect to see due diligence. It shows here. The Inkling has a full arsenal of weapons, with a Blaster, Inkbrush, Killer Wail, Slosher, Splat Bomb, Splat Roller, and Splattershot in tow. Isabelle has iconic Animal Crossing tools and toys, like the fishing pole, a net, the party popper, a slingshot, the Tortimer’s Island minigame toy hammer, two turnips, and an umbrella. People like Simon and Richter each tap into Castlevania for familiar animations and weapons, with both wielding the iconic Belmont Vampire Killer. Their subweapons from the game are pulled for their specials, with the two drawing on things like the axe, cross, and holy water to attack foes in ways similar to the original games. But what is really fun is Incineroar. It has moves from the Pokemon Sun and Moon games, like the Darkest Lariat and Cross Chop, which it can learn. We can even deduce it might have had a father that was a Bouffalant, Oshawott/Dewott/Samurott, Weavile, or Zangoose, due to the fact that Revenge is a move it can only learn through breeding.
While the movesets are great for showing off personality, I loved how the other kinds of details all call back to thinks fans of the characters would catch. The Inkling’s taunts are poses you might see after winning or losing in one of Splatoon’s Turf Wars, complete with the iconic, “Woomy!” Isabelle uses emotes from the Animal Crossing series, each with the familiar side effect. (This is a nice touch that helps distinguish her from the Villager.) Costumes offer similar references. Incineroar’s sixth option looks like Sega’s Big the Cat and his eighth makes him look like he is a shiny Pokemon. Each Inkling wears an entirely different outfit. Even someone like Ridley has a surprising amount of nuance to his palette swaps, as he has a Meta Ridley design, his trademark Metroid purple, and a gold one that makes him look like he could be part of the Super Metroid Tourian statue that featured him, Draygon, Kraid, and Phantoon. It is a lot of effort, which people will likely appreciate as they play.
The new Assist Trophies get the same level of care. Some of these manage to have so much personality packed in. Like I did not expect Guile to start coming his hair after unleashing some Sonic Booms, but he took the time to make sure he looked his best after stepping in to help. The Nintendo Badge Arcade bunny just looks so shocked when someone manages to break free and get out of the crane. When Bomberman lays down his bombs, he might toss one so that it bounces over the others to land on the other side or put down a remote bomb in addition to the regular models. We can’t break parts off of the Rathalos, but we do get to see it spit fire projectiles, lunge at enemies, and attempt to roar to stun people like it would the hunters in Monster Hunter.
The Palutena’s Guidance Taunt is on-point in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate too. Introduced in Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo Wii U, they return with new conversations for the recent additions to the cast and DLC characters Palutena did not have data for in the last game and updates for other characters like Ike. If you’ve never seen one, they can be executed by using Pit on Palutena’s Temple and performing a down Taunt with the lightest, fastest touch possible. (He’ll pray instead of showing off his wings, if you did it right.) A skit then plays out. While all of these are just great, Richter’s is the best. Like the last installment had Chrom pop in for Robin’s assessment, this one his Alucard pop in for Richter’s. We hear Pit ask all sorts of questions, worry about having his blood drained, and sort of slight Richter. We also get to see Palutena ask if Alucard will join the fight, at which point he explains his status as an assist trophy. As an added bonus, Yuri Lowenthal, who played him in past Castlevania entries like Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, voices him.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really shows off its new characters and how special each one can be. Whether it is a new fighter or an assist trophy, lots of details people are bound to notice are there. It really shows how much love and attention is present. I would almost encourage people to play around with the Training mode to experiment with characters and assist trophies so they can see all of the finer points without having to worry about being hit.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available for the Nintendo Switch.