How to Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Academy: 102

Smash Bros. Basics

Smash Bros Gameplay

Credit: Nintendo

Given that Super Smash Bros. is a product of Nintendo, naturally, you can only play the game on Nintendo products. Unlike other games developed for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC, Nintendo only develops their games for their consoles, creating an extra revenue stream for themselves and the publishers of their games. Ultimate is only available for the Nintendo Switch, so if you want to play Smash, you’re going to have to get a Switch.

The objective of the game is straightforward. Deal enough damage to your opponent so that you can knock them off of the stage and win the match. The more damage a player takes, the easier it becomes for you to knock them off stage. Whether you’re playing with stocks or by the number of KOs earned within a time frame, the game’s primary goal remains the same.

Game Modes

Smash Bros squad strike

Credit: Nintendo

There are many different game modes in Smash Ultimate, with both single-player and multiplayer options available. The most popular way to play the game is multiplayer, whether that be co-op with friends or using Nintendo’s online service to play against people worldwide. Several co-op multiplayer options are available, including Smash, Squad Strike, Tourney, and Special Smash.

Smash mode, the game’s primary mode, is what you’d think it is. It is Ultimate’s classic and most popular mode in the game. Players can choose from over 76 different characters from 37 different game franchises, with some of those being downloadable. Players can set the rules to whatever they’d like and choose from over 100 different stages to fight on. Ultimate also allows up to eight fighters in total in one match. Squad Strike is a mode in which a player chooses a team of either three or five characters and battles an opposing squad one by one. Whoever wins more matches of the two would win the Squad Strike. Tourney mode is relatively self-explanatory: set the rules and number of participants and compete head-to-head in a tournament. Tournaments can be held with up to 32 different participants. Finally, the last offline multiplayer mode is Special Smash. In this mode, you and a friend play through the entire roster in 1v1 battles to see who comes out on top. This mode can take a while, so make sure you’ve got plenty of time on your hands before beginning a game of Special Smash.

The game also has an online multiplayer feature. Players can hop online using Nintendo’s Switch Online Membership, which you would have to purchase to access this feature. Online games can range from 2-4 players, with free for all or doubles being an option. Players are matched up based on their Global Smash Power, also known as GSP. A player’s GSP can be different for each character and changes based upon how well you play with each character. A player will set their preferred ruleset before going online, and players are matched based upon how similar their rulesets are. Players can also compete in online tournaments against other players, with up to 64 participants in them. Rewards can be earned based on how well you place in these tournaments. Ultimate also offers a feature in which players can spectate online matches between other players. If you choose the winner correctly, you are awarded GSP points.

Smash Ultimate also offers several single-player options. Classic mode, which is a mode that has been in Smash games since Melee. In classic mode, you choose a fighter and battle through various stages of enemies en route to great rewards. Another classic game mode is the Home Run Contest, where players must hit a giant bean bag to how far you can launch it. Players can also play Mob Smash, a game mode in which waves of low-level enemies continue to reappear as you launch them off stage. This game mode is sort of like Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty, where the player must see how long they can last. A training mode option is also available for players. Training mode is an area where players can practice and test out new moves and combos on a lifeless opponent. Adventure mode also returns in Ultimate, which I will talk about in the next section.


Smash Bros spirits

Credit: Nintendo

Spirits are a new element to Smash Bros. that is brand new to Ultimate. Spirits are game characters that can assist and give you an advantage in battle. They can be equipped to a fighter to give that fighter a power or benefit that they previously would not have had. For example, equipping the Piantas spirit will fit your character with a banana gun, while equipping the Gyarados spirit will increase that character’s air attacks. Some of them provide weapons, boosts to existing moves, super armor, and many more. There are two types of spirits in Smash Ultimate: primary spirits and support spirits. Primary spirits are used to enhance your character’s strength, while support spirits are protective and give your fighter special abilities. Spirits are essential elements of Adventure mode, the game’s primary single-player mode. Ultimate’s adventure mode follows a story in which an evil force known as Galeem captures all characters in the game except Kirby, who escapes his wrath by flying away on his star. The goal of adventure mode is to save all the trapped fighters and spirits, and the more you save, the more characters and spirits you will have at your disposal to defeat Galeem.

Tips and Tricks

Smash Bros tips and tricks

Credit: Nintendo

When it comes to being good at Smash Ultimate, I can assure you that there is a fine line between casual players and those who play the game at a competitive level. I am certainly not at the level of professionals, but I’d consider myself to be above average. With that being said, there are a few things that I can outline and highlight for somebody who might just be starting to play the game.

One thing that is very important when it comes to gameplay is knowing the limitations of your fighter. Before playing with a particular character, know what they are good at and their limitations. For example, Marth is a quick, fast striking character who is excellent in close combat, but doesn’t have the best recovery. Try to avoid battling near the edge with characters like this, as you may not be able to recover when hit at high enough damage. Spacing is another aspect of the game to keep in mind. Depending upon what character you are using, you may want to keep a closer or further distance from your opponent to be successful. Characters like Duck Hunt and Snake excel when keeping a range from their opponent thanks to their great projectile moves, while Little Mac or Captain Falcon might prefer to keep things close during battle.

Another tip I would give to players is to use the battlefield and omega options when playing regular Smash mode. While it is fun to play on all of the stages available in the game, sometimes these stages can get in the way if you want to have a purely regular Smash game. Selecting omega will make whatever stage you choose become a flat surface while battlefield is a flat surface with three platforms. If you don’t care about what stage you fight on but don’t want features of a stage to get in the way (i.e., a part of the stage that deals damage), you can turn off hazards in settings to ensure nothing gets in the way of your Smash experience.

Overall, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an excellent game with a lot of different game modes and playing experiences. If you are just getting started with the game, I’d recommend trying out as many characters as you can to figure out which characters give you the best chance to win. With so many different fighters to choose from, the possibilities of who your main might be are endless.

I am a rising junior at Butler University with a Sports Media major and a minor in Strategic Communication. I was born and raised in Bethesda, MD right outside Washington DC, and I’ve been a huge DC sports fan my whole life. I’ve been lucky enough to see both the Nats and Caps win titles in my lifetime, however I have a feeling that my Redskins and Wizards won’t be joining them as champions anytime soon.

Hot eSports Academy Stories