Smash Bros. Ultimate Guide: Beginner's Tips, How To Unlock Characters, And More
By Jacob Dekker and Matt Espineli on
How To Smash Like A Pro
Super Smash Bros Ultimate may look similar to the Wii U version, but there are a lot of changes under the hood. If you wanna be at the top of your game, you might want to familiarize yourself with some of these changes and strategies. To help you become battle ready, we've compiled some brief, easy-to-digest tips covering both basic and advanced tactics.
After you finish reading this guide, you're likely to still have trouble doing well in a fight, but be patient! It takes time to get good at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If you want a decent stage to practice, we recommend turning off items and playing on Battlefield or Final Destination map variants. This will allow you to focus on the mechanics instead of chasing down the best items or dodging stage obstacles.
Of course, you might be wondering as you're working to master the basics: "How do I unlock more characters?" Fortunately, the answer to that question is simple; though, it requires some work. Simply play World of Light mode (where rescuing characters unlocks them across all modes) and partake in Multiplayer or Classic Mode matches, where the "New Challenger" unlock opportunities constantly occur, which you can easily retry via the "Games And More" menu if you fail.
The characters you unlock in World of Light and Multiplayer occur in a specific order and by the same means of simply progressing the story or playing more matches. As a result, there's no specific conditions of unlocking characters, so you can't just aim to unlock one character over another. That said, Classic Mode does allow you some choice towards unlocking characters, but each character you play the mode with has a preset pool of characters they unlock, so you're still limited by a linear unlock sequence. Any character you unlock by this means can then be used to continue that path of unlockable characters.
Remain persistent and you'll unlock the character you want before long. Not to mention you'll keep getting a steady flow of additional characters to test out all these tips with. After all, understanding the game's mechanics is only half the battle. You have to find your main as well! Regardless, be on the lookout for more Super Smash Bros. Ultimate guides in the coming days.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out on December 7 on Nintendo Switch. For our thoughts about how the game turned out, read our review in progress. GameSpot critic Edmond Tran gave the game a 9/10 and said: "Situational downers don't stop Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from shining as a flexible multiplayer game that can be as freewheeling or as firm as you want it to be. Its entertaining single-player content helps keep the game rich with interesting things to do, as well as bolstering its spirit of loving homage to the games that have graced Nintendo consoles. Ultimate's diverse content is compelling, its strong mechanics are refined, and the encompassing collection is simply superb."
There's still so much more to learn about the game, but now that it's in our hands, it won't be long before we start hearing about some of the best tactics to play the game. Do you have any useful Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tips that you don't see here? Let us know in the comments below.
The whole point of Super Smash Bros. is to knock your opponent off the stage before they knock you off the stage. Unfortunately, there will be times where you get knocked off first and you'll have to recover. Most characters have a jump and a double jump as well as a special move that will give them a bit more distance. However, this special move varies from character to character. For example, Link can use his sword spin like a helicopter and Ness can use PK Thunder to send him flying in any direction.
Some characters have really good stage recovery like Kirby and Pitt, while others--such as Incineroar and Little Mac--have terrible recoveries. Some characters even have multiple specials that can be used for stage recovery. Ike, for example, can use his use side special to cover a lot of horizontal ground. As you play around with different characters, make sure to get a feeling for how each of their recovery styles work.
For most characters, Smash attacks are their most powerful moves. Smash attacks can be performed by pressing A and inputting a direction (up, down, left, right) at the same time. Alternatively, you can also use the right stick to perform these moves. You even can charge these attacks to inflict higher damage. Be careful though, most of these moves have a lengthy recovery time and are easy to dodge.
The Final Smashes have been rebalanced in Ultimate. There are no longer any Final Smash attacks that allow you to transform into a superpowered state for a limited period of time. Instead, every single Final Smash requires you to be within arm's length of your victim. This makes most Final Smashes a bit less forgiving this time around, as you really have to wait for the right time to use it.
Many fighters like Chrom, Ike, Marth, King K. Rool, and Peach are equipped with a counter move. If you time this special maneuver correctly, you will counter another fighter's attack and deal a nice bit of damage back at them. Practice this enough and you'll find that successfully countering an opponent is also one of the most satisfying experiences in the game.
You can once again Spotdodge, Roll, and Air Dodge in Ultimate. However, these maneuvers work a bit differently this time around. For starters, you can now perform directional Air Dodges by inputting a direction with the dodge. You can even shift momentum with a directional Air Dodge. However, this maneuver has a lengthy recovery window, so be careful.
You can perform a Roll by inputting right or left with your shield up. Like in previous games, this is a good way to get on the other side of your opponent and counter. However, if you Roll too much in succession, your recovery will take longer. And if your timing is off, this could leave you open to a devastating Smash attack.
Spotdodging (pictured above) occurs when you press down with your shield up. This grants you a few frames of invulnerability. This type of dodge can be tricky to time. However, if you successfully Spotdodge, you can easily counter your opponent. From what we can tell, spot dodging in quick succession does not have any negative effects.
Learning how to dodge correctly is key to being an effective fighter in Ultimate. Learning which dodge to use and when takes a lot of practice, but it can give you a significant advantage against tougher opponents.
Short Hop Attack
Performing Short Hop Attacks in previous Smash games always required a bit of dexterity. Luckily In Ultimate, all you need to do is press attack and jump at the same time. This is useful because you can use it to change up your standard dash attack and--because its a short hop--you won’t spend as much time in the air.
As you build up damage, you might notice that your character will start to smoke and flash red; this means they're enraged. While enraged, you deal more damage and hit your opponents with greater physical force. Rage can be used to close the damage gap between you and your opponent if one exists.
For the most part, shielding works similarly to previous Smash games. While on the ground, you can throw up your shield and it will protect you from all incoming attacks. Over time, your shield will shrink and eventually it will break. When it breaks, you are unable to move or attack for a brief period.
One big change with shielding, however, is how Perfect Shielding works. If you drop your shield right before an attack connects with you, the attacker will be stunned momentarily. The duration of the stun differs depending on the strength of the attack. But if done correctly, you can follow up your opponent's attack with one of your own. Getting the timing down is really tough, so we recommend jumping into training setting CPU behavior to "Side Smash." You'll know you've performed a Perfect Shield correctly if your character flashes (refer to the image above).
When The Going Gets Tough, Jump Into Classic Mode
While Ultimate is primarily a multiplayer game, don't hesitate to spend time in Classic mode from time to time to get used to the basics of the game. It’s the perfect training tool if you need a practical way to test out your skills without pressure of competitive play and without all the weird modifiers from World of Light mode.