Since it first arrived on Nintendo 64 back in 1999, the Super Smash Bros. series has become a veritable who's who of some of gaming's most beloved characters. While the franchise initially served as a showcase for Nintendo's vast pantheon of first-party mascots, the roster has since grown to encompass other gaming icons such as Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and many more. That tradition continues with the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Switch, which features the largest and most diverse selection of fighters in the series to date.
On top of every playable character to have ever appeared in a Super Smash Bros. game, Ultimate introduces 11 new fighters to the base roster, with an additional six set to arrive as DLC in the months following its release. Inkling and Ridley were the first two newcomers announced for the game, showcased during Nintendo's big E3 2018 presentation, and since then the company has gradually unveiled all the remaining new fighters debuting in Ultimate, from the oft-requested King K. Rool to complete surprises like Animal Crossing's Isabelle and Castlevania's Simon and Richter Belmont.
We recently had an opportunity to go hands-on with a "near final" build of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Naturally, the first thing we did was try out the game's newcomers. In the video above, you can watch us play a handful of standard four-player Smash matches with nearly all of Ultimate's newly announced characters. While Echo Fighters like Ken and Dark Samus naturally bear many similarities to the characters they're based on, the other new additions to the roster all feel pleasantly unique. Simon Belmont and his own Echo Fighter, Richter, in particular stand out among the crowd thanks to their versatile Vampire Killer whip, which has a long reach and can even deflect projectiles.
Likewise, Isabelle, despite boasting some similarities to her fellow Animal Crossing representative, Villager, feels new thanks to her unique moves and characteristics. Like Villager, one of Isabelle's specials involves a Gyroid rocket; however, rather than riding atop hers, as Villager does, Isabelle buries it in the ground, setting a trap that your opponent will activate when they step over it. Her diminutive stature also means her Smash attacks have a shorter reach than most characters, making her one of the trickier fighters to use. Incineroar, too, takes a bit of getting used to; its up special, Cross Chop, doesn't gain much height and launches it back toward the ground diagonally, making it easy to send yourself plummeting off the stage. That said, Incineroar's pro wrestling-inspired moveset is very satisfying to use and doesn't feel like any other character on the roster.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches for Nintendo Switch on December 7. Nintendo will release five as-yet-unannounced DLC characters for the game throughout 2019 as part of the Fighters Pass, plus one additional surprise fighter: Piranha Plant, which you'll receive for free if you register Ultimate on My Nintendo by January 31, 2019. You can read more about the game in our roundup of everything we know about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.