It seems a Smash Bros. game isn’t the same without some sort of Classic mode available for players, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate is no exception. For people who aren’t up for all of World of Light’s solo adventuring and unlocking, it offers a callback to the arcade modes we have loved before. But, the Super Smash Bros Ultimate Classic mode is more than that. The way it is handled here offers the sort of challenge people expect, either alone or with a friend, and fights tailored specifically for certain characters. In the end, all of the rewards we expect at the end appear.
Classic mode works about as you would expect in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but those new to the series could consider it akin to an arcade mode. You pick a character, then determine the intensity of the matches. This determines the difficulty and multiplier for score, which in turn determines your reward at the end. Winning increases the intensity, losing and choosing to continue with coins lowers it. (You can spend earned tickets to continue without lowering values.) Once you head off, you go through eight challenges, with the final one being your “boss” fight. The structure means the matches are gradually getting more and more difficult as you keep succeeding, with an eventual bonus game that is basically a platforming section and a major boss showing up at the end to shake things up.
But where things really get interesting is when you head off down a fighter’s road. Each character has a Classic mode that references some element of their history or story. Corrin, for example, calls attention to the fact that the character is torn between Nohr and Hoshido. (It is even called “Between Black and White.”) There are 1v1, 2v2, and larger 3v3 matches, with players facing people like Dark Samus, taking part in a match where Pit and Dark Pit are opponents. When playing as Mario, I ended up facing people on their home stages, such as fighting Link and Zelda at the Great Plateau Tower or Kirby, King Dedede, and Meta Knight at Green Greens. Luigi’s mode plays with the fact that he is considered a fraidy cat by first sending him against four Toon Links dressed as Dark Link at Luigi’s Mansion, Ridley at Brinstar, and eventually even Dracula.
It can also make things a little easier or more lighthearted with its local co-op mode. Two people can face off against the Classic mode challenges together. However, only the first person’s character’s route will be followed. Still, even with that restriction, it can be quite enjoyable and the matches tailor themselves to suit there being two people fighting at once, with matches adjusting to reflect that there is 2v1v1 instead of just 1v1v1 or similar things. I found it is a good way to introduce someone to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, since it allows you to bring another player in and help cover for them as they learn the ropes.
The Classic Mode rewards can be quite plentiful too. After going through the mode, earning your piece of the mural, and going through the credits as though it was a shoot’em up, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate doles out items to thank you for your efforts. The intensity determines the value, of course. But generally, a few items always appear as a reward. You get the Primary Spirit for your character and a Support Spirit from their series. Some gold and sp will be provided, perhaps with some snacks for Spirits and Support Items for Spirit Board battles too. You may even get some Mii Fighter items too. But if someone hasn’t unlocked all the characters yet, it can be a means of getting people you want or need. There are different characters with different groups, which unlock certain characters in a specific order. (If you already have one of them, the game automatically skips to the next one you don’t have in the list.) Since I never had a chance to use Bayonetta ahead of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and she wasn’t showing up as a normal competitor, I used the Mario group to guarantee her debut early, since in his group Sonic is the first “unlock,” and Bayonetta would be second. Following the patterns gives you everything you need to help unlock everything in the game.
A good word for the Super Smash Bros Ultimate Classic mode is satisfying. It is a mode that can help you learn, due to its gradually increasing difficulty and the ability to bring a friend along for local co-op. It has unexpected match-ups with different themes that call back to character traits or original games. You have lots of options to choose from as you play and can earn all sorts of rewards that make the game as a whole richer. It is a pleasant game mode that people will likely appreciate and enjoy.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available for the Nintendo Switch.