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Colors weave into a spire of flame
Distant sparks call to a past still unnamed
Bear this torch against the cold of the night
Light will guide you on your way to the ultimate fight!
Lifelight, the theme of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fifth installment in Nintendo's Massive Multiplayer Crossover Platform Fighter series Super Smash Bros.. It is developed by Bandai Namco and Sora Ltd. and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. Initially teased in March 2018 at the end of a Nintendo Direct, the game was formally revealed at that year's Electronic Entertainment Expo and was released on December 7, 2018.

The biggest Smash Bros. game to date, the title features a grand total of 76note  fighters in the base roster, including every single character from previous installments (including several not seen since Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2001), newly christened "Echo Fighters", and several brand new characters, including the Inklings from the Splatoon series and Guest Fighters like Simon Belmont from the Castlevania series. Furthermore, at least six additional fighters will be included as Downloadable Content post-release.

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Along with the new and returning characters, the game offers over 100 new and returning stages, 800+ music tracks, and a new Adventure mode, World of Light, which allows you to collect Spirits of non-playable characters (from all franchises with playable representation, and a few additional ones) that can empower and grant extra abilities to your fighters.

Examples of Spirits can be found in the Mythology Gag page here.

Its website can be found here.


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This game provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    #-A 
  • 100% Completion: Getting 100% in Adventure Mode encompasses clearing all 615 nodes, including obtaining all 73 fighters, fighting Galeem and Dharkon for both bad endings, and defeating the True Final Boss.
  • Ability Required to Proceed:
    • Getting around the map in World of Light requires specific spirits to bypass some roadblocks, such as rocks that need to be blown up or bridges that need repairing. This can get a bit strange when you have five different spirits clearly identifiable as magicians, but not the specific one that can enlarge some mushrooms for you. Fortunately, the game automatically informs you an obstacle can be disabled once you obtain the appropriate spirit.
    • Downplayed with the challenge battles themselves. Certain stage hazards and conditions can be neutralized by the right support spirits to make the fight much easier, which the party screen draws your attention to. For example, a battle in fierce winds with water you drown in almost instantly is much easier if you first get the nearby supports that grant wind resistance and immunity to drowning, but the fight is winnable without them.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • In World of Light, by virtue of being a Lone Survivor, Kirby gets a lot of focus as he has to start saving the fighters that were captured by Galeem.
    • At some point during World of Light, you take control of and play as Master Hand himself to fend off an army of shadow clones.
  • Adaptational Badass: Concerning World of Light, some characters' spirits are way more powerful here than in their home games. For instance, Pauline, who has been a total noncombatant since her debut and is famous for being the first Distressed Damsel Mario saved, is a Legend spirit, the highest rank available (and one of the hardest fights in the game). Another example is Hinawa, who is just Lucas's mother and isn't known for any fighting skills in her original game, and is notably killed in the game's first chapter due to that fact, yet is also ranked as a Legend and puts up a very difficult fight.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Conversely, there are also Novice and Advanced spirits (the two lesser ranks) of characters that are way more powerful in their home games. To put it into perspective, the very first spirit you encounter in World of Light, the Smoky Progg from the first Pikmin, is a very hard Bonus Boss that can kill Pikmin just by walking; here, it is just a measly Novice spirit. Dragonite and Tyranitar from Pokémon are only one rank above that, in spite of their immense stats back in their home series.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: This game's Bonus Game takes the form of a linear obstacle course similar to "Race to the Finish!" from previous games. In this Bonus Game, the player is constantly being chased by a void that swallows everything it touches, and must reach the goal before the void gets them first.
  • After the End: The game's story takes place after all life in the Smash universe has been wiped out sans Kirby, leaving a barren world populated only by the disembodied Spirits of the slain populace and an army of lifeless Puppet duplicates of the Fighters that some of those Spirits have possessed.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield:
    • In a new feature, some Final Smashes and Assist Trophies temporarily change the background, which can range from simple blocks of color to dark, swirling thunderstorms, or even an entire cosmos.
    • The Boss Galaga item also does this, replacing the background with the star field from its game of origin.
    • As usual, the new Final Destination has this going on even when the above aren't in effect.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the True Ending, it is not shown what happens to the fighters after Galeem and Dharkon are killed. However, since the Spirits are seen returning to the real world, it can be assumed that the fighters did the same.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • All Final Smashes have been streamlined to keep matches fast-paced. To name a few examples: Sonic and Pac-Man have the characters attacking automatically instead of being player-controlled; some lost transformation like Fox and Falco initiating an Arwing strike similar to Captain Falcon. Some are changed to auto-combos that require the initial hit to land, like Donkey Kong doing a flurry of fists and Pikachu's Volt Tackle requiring his head bash to connect.
    • To mitigate stalling and keep up the pace of combat, ground and air dodging now decay with repeated use in the same way that moves do. The more times you dodge in a row, the longer the dodge animation takes, and the less invulnerability the dodge gives you.
    • If any character is offscreen, a minimap now appears at the corner of the screen that displays the current location of all fighters on the field, including how close they are to the blast zones.
    • Characters with specific gauges and unique mechanics, like Cloud's Limit Break, Villager's Pocket, or Robin's weapon durability, will now always have a character-specific icon next to their damage that displays the relevant information.
    • Pokémon Trainer no longer has a stamina-reducing penalty for playing as one of their Pokémon for too long, allowing players to freely select and play as the one they prefer. Switching between the three of them is also much faster than Brawl, allowing for more combo potential, and they can switch while in the air as well. The "type damage" mechanic was also removed, something which infamously left Ivysaur at a severe disadvantage due to the abundance of fire attacks.
    • Using certain moves with controllable trajectories causes a small arrow to appear around your character to show where the attack is angled. Moves that use this include PK Thunder, Quick Attack, and Agility.
    • There is an option to group Echo Fighters in the same slots as the characters on which they are based. Considering how many total fighters are in this game, this is done to make the character select screen more easily navigable to players who prefer it this way.
    • Training Mode now has a special stage that's designed to make it much easier to determine how each character's attacks work. The background has a grid that can be used to measure distance, and attacks have their launch distance displayed along with their possible trajectories at 0% and 100% damage, as well as factoring in the fighter's weight. It even lists the relative sizes of Battlefield and Final Destination to help give a sense of scale, and to help with the two most "neutral" stages in the game.
    • Unlocking the Mii Fighters in World of Light gives you the Mii depicted in the artwork with a default 1111 moveset, which makes them usable without having to be set up.
    • Unlocking characters has been greatly simplified:
      • Rather than milestone numbers of total Smashes played (which would get incredibly grindy given the sheer number involved), a new challenger fight appears every ten minutes or so, working its way down a predetermined list. If you lose, you just have to wait until the chance comes around again — and even then, the timer can be skipped by resetting the game or changing the language.
      • The "Challenger Approaching" method is now limited entirely to completing Classic Mode with a specific character. If you flub the fight, you don't have to re-do the required conditions to get it to trigger again. A new mode called "Challenger's Approach" appears in the Games & More menu to retry it at will.
      • Fighters recruited in World of Light are also unlocked for the rest of the game (although the reverse is not true). Due to how World of Light works, once you find a fighter, you can keep trying the fight as much as you need to beat it.
    • Losing in Classic Mode in Smash 3DS/Wii U would lower the difficulty permanently if you chose to continue, frustrating players that wanted to keep the difficulty high and/or were going for a high score. This still applies in Ultimate, but you can preserve the difficulty after a defeat as long as you have a ticket to use.
    • The game makes a good faith effort to avoid giving you duplicate spirits. It's not foolproof, but copies will rarely appear as bounties unless you go out of your way to make it happen, so just plugging away at the Spirit Board for long enough will ultimately give you a shot at every spirit that doesn't have a special summoning requirement.
    • If you fail to obtain a spirit during the shield phase, the damage done to the shield will still be there the next time you fight that spirit. Spending Spirit Points gives you just one more shot for the time being if you choose to.
    • Spirits that are related to Events typically appear at scheduled times that are listed on the event's website, and typically stick around for one hour as opposed to the usual 5 minutes. Some Legend-class spirits are pinned, meaning they will not go away even if the player fails at them until the hour time limit expires.
    • The game will give you a warning if you attempt to enter a battle in World of Light or the Spirit Board while using a type-disadvantaged Spirit, or no Spirit at all. If you pass up these warnings multiple times in a row, the game will conclude that you're intentionally doing this, and stop giving you the warnings.
    • Prior to Version 2.0.0, if you lost a fight on the Spirit Board once, the spirit would disappear, forcing you to spend a Rematch item to get another chance. Now, the game gives you three tries to win against a spirit before having to do so.
    • If you're about to fight a Spirit that sets the battlefield with a terrain hazard (i.e. lava-covered floors, strong winds, poisonous fog, etc.) and peruse your own Spirits, the ones that can weaken or outright nullify the effects of the hazard listed are conspicuously check-marked. The game also has a reliable recommended Spirit feature, which always equips a Spirit that grants immunity to a given hazard if the player has one and enough room in their Primary Spirit, avoiding having to scroll through a potentially long list of Supports. The player can further narrow searching through certain filters by effect type or even the number of slots the Support takes up.
    • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the power of your equipment was determined by the intensity level that you obtained it on and any support abilities were randomized, and most equipment types were limited to a handful of characters. Here, equipment is replaced by spirits, which have predetermined stats (which can be increased by levelling up), you can equip almost any support abilities you want to any primary spirit, and the entire spirit system is fighter-agnostic.note 
    • All Online challenges require a Nintendo Switch Online account to access Online Mode to clear them, locking out those who can't or opt not to pay for the service. Fortunately, no Online challenges award Spirits, Mii costumes or music, allowing everyone to obtain all of those regardless. The game also provides enough Golden Hammers to break most of these challenges and get their prizes.
  • Apocalypse How: Galeem, the light entity from the World of Light, is outright able to cause Universal Physical Annihilation, leaving it all as a barren wasteland/mixed dimensional soup. Only Kirby survives because he managed to warp himself out of existence temporarily. In the end, depending on how you played, the entire universe either ends up as Galeem's plaything or Dharkon just destroys it — unless you can challenge and defeat both at once.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Ultimate goes out of its way to update the graphics of returning stages from Melee onwards, like this example comparing Kongo Jungle from Melee (now named Kongo Falls). Even Wii U stages like Gaur Plains from 3DS/Wii U get updated shaders and lighting.
    • Character design continues in the same vein of 3DS/Wii U, with the characters retaining the look and feel of their regular series counterparts while being given more realistic textures (Donkey Kong's fur and Little Mac and Ryu's muscles being huge examples).
    • Deliberately averted for the 64 stages, which only received minor touch-ups and upscaling, which was what they did for their 3DS/Wii U iteration. Mushroom Kingdom is the exception, which has had its sprite art updated to be more faithful to the original 8-bit Super Mario Bros. game.
  • The Artifact:
    • Unlike Palutena's Guidence, Snake's codecs have not been updated, presumably due to Col. Campbell's Japanese voice actor having died since Super Smash Bros. Brawl. As a result...
      • It's impossible for Snake to get codecs for characters who didn't appear in Brawl.
      • Sheik and Zero Suit Samus are still described as if they're mid-battle transformations of Zelda and Samus (i.e. Snake exclaiming, "Mei Ling, Samus took her clothes off!" and "What's going on? What happened to Zelda?!"). Both were made into their own characters in a change that was carried over from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
      • The Pokémon Trainer is still called a guy and referred to with male pronouns, despite the new option to use a female trainer in his place.
      • The codecs for Jigglypuff and Sonic still have Snake's contacts call this game Brawl, rather than Ultimate or just Smash.
      • Mei Ling will refer to Captain Olimar's tribulations, even if the Olimar player is actually Alph. (Curiously, the codec is disabled in a similar situation: it will not activate for Ike in his Radiant Dawn costume.)
    • Mew can still be summoned from a Poké Ball, but since this game has no trophies, stickers, or CDs to collect (as music is just unlocked through the shop or through Challenges), and Bonus mode is still exclusive to Melee, Mew does absolutely nothing.
    • Toon Link still has the same crowd cheer as regular Link despite Young Link getting his own.
    • One of Doc Louis's quotes when Little Mac wins a match is "And the winner is... Little Mac! Hahaha!" This quote comes from 3DS/Wii U, where it was said in tandem with the announcer, but Ultimate changed the announcer's dialogue to "[character name] wins!", leaving Doc without a partner to sync up with.
    • Although the character stickers on Gamer have been updated with WarioWare Gold designs, 5-Volt is still shown with her Game & Wario design when spotting players.
  • Artificial Brilliance: High-level CPUs in this game collectively Took a Level in Badass this time around, with several being able to pull off the kind of tech that players in the competitive scene are able to do.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • In World of Light, setting the AI difficulty to Hard can result in the AI jumping around a lot and end up killing itself by falling off a ledge and being unable to recover.
    • At least in Spirit Board, AIs and Super Launch Stars do not mix very well.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Inklings graduated from being a DLC trophy and Mii Fighter costume to playable between 3DS/Wii U and this game.
    • Ridley appeared as a background character in the N64 original, a trophy in Melee, a recurring boss in Brawl's Subspace Emissary, and a stage hazard in Wii U's Pyrosphere before finally becoming a playable character.
    • Daisy was formerly a palette swap for Peach before becoming a playable character in her own right as Peach's Echo Fighter.
    • Chrom was previously just a part of Robin's Final Smash in 3DS/Wii U before becoming an Echo Fighter of Roy.
    • Dark Samus was a regular trophy in Brawl and an Assist Trophy in 3DS/Wii U before becoming Samus's Echo Fighter.
    • King K. Rool had trophies in Melee onward and a Mii Fighter costume in 3DS/Wii U before becoming a playable character.
    • Isabelle goes from being an Assist Trophy in 3DS/Wii U to a playable character here.
    • Ken was a trophy that accompanied Ryu's DLC pack in the previous game before getting the call-up here.
    • The Piranha Plant, big time. It's one of the few iconic Mario mooks that has never had a playable role, relegated to obstacle, background element, simple enemy or as an item in both main series and spinoff games, including in this series, where it's only had a couple cameos. Ultimate is the first time a common Piranha Plant has been playable.
    • Some characters who were previously Mii Fighter costumes got promoted to Assist Trophy status: Akira, Black Knight, Knuckles, and Zero (from the Mega Man series). In the opposing direction, Ray Mk III from Custom Robo and Saki Amamiya from Sin and Punishment are now Mii Gunner outfits after being Assist Trophies in previous games. And in both directions at once, Isaac of Golden Sun is both an Assist Trophy (after being one in Brawl but missing out on 3DS/Wii U) and a Mii Swordfighter outfit.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • One of Simon's victory animations (the one where he grabs a Red Orb and then begins jumping up and down in place while swinging his whip) is actually a reference to a popular glitch/Player Tic from the original Castlevania where holding down both the A and B buttons after grabbing a Red Orb would result in Simon doing this as the Level Complete jingle plays.
    • The Saffron City stage had a glitch in the original Smash that if you hit the Chansey that popped out hard enough, it would go flying out the back through the wall. The Ultimate version of the stage keeps the glitch.
    • In Melee, there was a glitch that, when performed, allowed you to play as Master Hand, but it wasn't practical due to the game crashes it frequently caused. Several more crashes and Game Mods later, one of the final parts of World of Light has you play as Master Hand where you use nearly his entire moveset to slaughter hordes of puppet fighters so the heroes can stop Galeem and Dharkon.
    • Another well-known Melee glitch concerns the Super Scope, and the ability to get infinite ammo for it. This game's iteration of the "attack the credits" game arms the player with an infinite ammo Super Scope and sets them loose.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • For years, it was accepted as fact that Ridley would never be a playable character in Smash because he was "too big"; i.e., he is so large compared to Samus that to make him playable would require scaling him down to the point that he doesn't feel as fearsome as he rightfully should. When he was finally announced to make his Smash debut here, what was his newcomer blurb? "Ridley Hits the Big Time!" Additionally, one of his taunts is to stand to his full height, showing that even rescaled, he's still taller than all the other fighters.
    • Ken takes out Little Mac with a Parry into a Shippu Jinrai Kyaku. That's right: Nintendo just referenced Evo Moment #37 in a trailer.
    • It may be only a coincidence, but in the opening sequence we can see Fox being shown in Final Destination among all possible stages.
    • When playing as the Inkling on the Boxing Ring stage, the jumbotron in the background will occasionally give them the tagline of "Part-Kid, Part-Squid", a reference to the American Splatoon commercials which had the infamous lyrics of "YOU'RE A KID NOW, YOU'RE A SQUID NOW".
    • When Guile is summoned as an Assist Trophy, he simply crouches down in one spot, destroys projectiles upon impact without being damaged and uses Flash Kick when a player comes too close. Anyone well-versed in the Street Fighter Meta Game will recognise this as a viable (and infamous) tactic.
    • The Palutena's Guidance for Bayonetta has Viridi telling Pit to "just wiggle around or something" if caught in one of Bayonetta's combos, a nod to the notorious "Just SDI" Bayonetta meme.
    • Pit yells "RIDLEY CONFIRMED!" at the start of said character's Palutena's Guidance.
    • According to the Tips writer, they hear that Falco "prefers the air anyway" on the topic that his blaster fires faster while airborne.
    • Fox's penultimate fight in Classic Mode pits him against Wolf (a partial Moveset Clone) on Venom (Omega form), and no items spawn. In other words — no items, Fox only, Final Destination.
    • One of the scenes in the opening movie shows Fox by himself on Final Destination, another possible reference to the infamous "no items, Fox only, Final Destination" meme.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The primary way to dispose of spirits is to send them back into the real world. Gesture of goodwill aside as they couldn't do this themselves, they'll leave behind a core which is generally used for summoning new spirits. Clouds of spirits do this en masse in the true ending of World of Light.
  • Assist Character: You can now earn points for Time Battle by knocking out assist trophy characters (you could do so before, but there was no reward other than stopping them earlier than usual), a rather unorthodox way of "assisting" you.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • Dracula in his humanoid form can only be attacked at his head. Upon transforming, he loses this trait and is able to be attacked anywhere.
    • Ganon can only be harmed if his glowing tail is attacked. However, upon being stunned, he hunches over, which allows his unarmored head to be attacked as well.

    B-C 
  • Back from the Brink: World of Light starts with only Kirby playable, as everyone else has been wiped out completely. It's then up to him to rescue them and take back their world.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Both bad endings to the World of Light mode; you defeat Galeem or Dharkon, but that simply allows their rival to claim victory and conquer the world, killing everyone all over.
  • Bait-and-Switch: King K. Rool's trailer. It shows various heroes fighting their most personal opponents, and then cuts to Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong's cabin, where they hear loud footsteps and look outside to see a silhouette of King K. Rool, their most persistent foe... only for it to be King Dedede pulling a prank. King K. Rool himself then pops up for real while Dedede is laughing, knocking Dedede out of the way and setting the tone for the remainder of the trailer.
  • Balance Buff:
    • Several moves that left the user helpless despite being purely offensive and/or not offering recovery distance (Giant Punch, PK Flash, Din's Fire, etc.) no longer do so, giving them much more versatility offstage.
    • Every character has seen a variety of buffs, including a faster jump squat animation for all but Pichunote , in order to work better in the game's engine, although some of the top-tier characters in the previous game received fewer buffs and more nerfs for the sake of balance.
  • Beef Gate: Given the sporadic distribution of Spirits in World of Light, it is entirely possible to have your path blocked by a Spirit that is over five or ten times stronger than everything around it. However, there is almost always a longer and more time-consuming path that a player can take to circumvent it instead.
  • Big Bad: Galeem in the "World of Light" Adventure mode. It shares the spot with its rival and counterpart, Dharkon.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The "Vampire Killer" trailer features two:
    • Simon pops in to save Luigi after the latter's soul had been reaped by Death.
    • Richter pops in to keep several of Dracula's fireballs from killing an incapacitated Simon.
  • Black Comedy: A surprising amount of it, both in the trailers and the game itself.
    • Ridley's reveal trailer has him impale Mega Man with his tail and crush Mario's head, then gleefully twirl Mario's cap on his finger.
    • Simon Belmont's reveal trailer has Luigi getting violently killed by Death and turning into a ghost. At the end of the trailer, he's about to get back into his body before getting interrupted by Carmilla.
    • Some of the deaths in the World of Light opening cutscene are played for laughs: Snake tries hiding in a cardboard box, Villager runs around in a panic, and the Wii Fit Trainer just does exercises until the beams hit her.
    • The spirit for Paz Ortega Andrade gives the special ability to start with a Bomb-Omb equipped. This is likely a reference to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, where she dies by having a bomb implanted in her body detonate.
    • The spirit for Ness's Dad is represented by a telephone, and requires fighting an invisible Snake. In addition, the ability for it is "Running Start".
    • One unlock picture references Aerith's infamous death pose.
    • The Palutena's Guidance conversation for the Pokémon Trainer has Viridi wonder about all the weak Pokémon that get left in their balls and forgotten. Pit then suddenly worries about "PikaPit" before Palutena assures him that "I'm sure all those abandoned Pokémon are all playing in a farm upstate."
    • The spirit for Nash gives the special ability to start with a Death's Scythe equipped, a likely reference to the fact he's Killed Off for Real in several games (two of those deaths being canon).
  • Book-Ends:
  • Bonus Boss: Spirits that have special requirements to find aren't fought normally, but after you acquire them, they can appear on the Spirit Board. The "Boss" factor comes from all of these being Ace- or Legend-class Spirits.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Certain Spirit Battles being troublesome? Equipping an Ore Club or Beam Sword greatly helps out. The former clears out groups of enemies and deal damage at range, the latter has long reach while doing respectable damage and only eating up one slot. Doubly so if you have a Primary Spirit that boosts battering items.
    • Some special moves of certain characters (PSI Magnet or Reflector) can practically change the tides of a battle, making especially hard fights easier to manage due to negating major problems.
  • Boss Fight:
    • In addition to series mainstays Master Hand and Crazy Hand, there are now six giant monster bosses with HP bars that serve both as final bosses for several characters' Classic Mode runs and as major obstacles in World of Light. The list includes two Smash Bros. originals (Giga Bowser and Galleom), two classic Nintendo villains (Ganon and Marx), and two Guest Fighters from third-party franchises (Dracula and Rathalos).
    • Three of the four stage bosses from the previous game — Yellow Devil, Dark Emperor, and Metal Face — return along with their stages, Wily Castle, Find Mii, and Gaur Plain.
  • Boss Rush: During The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, there is a segment where each of the six main bosses must be defeated to progress to the True Final Boss, each represented by Spirits clashing with each other above Final Destination. Attacking a Spirit will take you to fight its respective boss. However, the Final Destination area between boss fights is not a safe zone; in fact, if you defeat a boss belonging to one side, the now-unopposed Spirit will begin shooting orbs at you in the break area.
  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: Galeem and Dharkon cannot stand one another, and are in the middle of an Evil vs. Evil rivalry even as they are opposed by the heroes. Just taking one out results in a Downer Ending where the other triumphs.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • Isabelle's trailer is set in the mayor's office, with no one besides her and (eventually) Pete in it, and the entire scene is filmed with a single camera angle before The Reveal. Other fighters are only seen in her gameplay montage.
    • Joker's trailer is done in an anime style (much like in his source game) and doesn't have any gameplay footage.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The Spirits of Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Camilla from Fire Emblem Fates had to be visually modified in order for the game to retain an E-For-Everyone age rating. In Camilla's case, her Cleavage Window was removed and her hair was moved to cover her chest; for Mythra, her Cleavage Window was also removed, and she now wears black leggings. The modified design for Mythra was even made available as an outfit in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and its Torna - The Golden Country expansion as a bit of cross-promotion.
    • EVA from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater normally wears a jumpsuit zipped all the way down, showing off her midriff and a black bikini top. Her Spirit in this game, however, is posed in a way that her gun blocks the view of her chest, and her midriff has been blacked out, presumably covered in a latex bodysuit.
    • In a nod to his original games, Mr. Game & Watch now changes his appearance during certain attacks to resemble characters from those games; unfortunately, one of those characters was The Savage Indian from Fire Attack, which some players didn't take kindly to. Nintendo apologized and altered the animation in the day one patch.
    • Dracula's Spirit artwork is taken straight from his Castlevania: Symphony of the Night artwork, except that it lacks the puddle of blood pooled around the edge of his cape. Furthermore, the blood-filled wine glass that he famously throws aside in several Castlevania games is empty in his boss intro for Ultimate.
    • Palutena's design in all versions of the game is taken from the slightly toned-down CERO version of For Wii U/3DS, rather than her design in other regions.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • The Spirits in World of Light are under the control of Galeem and eventually taken over by Dharkon.
    • Similarly, Master Hand and Crazy Hand. Until you find the real ones at the tail-end of World of Light, the hands you fight are puppet fighters.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Many Spirits give the Metal Ability, which allows you to start fights in Metal form, or Giant Ability, which allows you to start as Giant. Then there is the rare Primary Spirit Ability "Metal and Giant", which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin by making you both Metal and Giant at the same time.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Ridley's trailer features him violently killing Mario and Mega Man, and Simon's trailer features Luigi getting his soul torn out by Death (even if still with a comical slant to it). King K. Rool's trailer is, by contrast, much more comedic and lighthearted, with a lot of the humor coming from K. Rool's return and DK and Diddy's reaction to it.
    • Similarly, Isabelle's trailer deals with her secretary duties and has a comedic interlude where she considers taking over as mayor from Villager. In fact, her trailer doesn't feature any violence outside of the in-game clips from Ultimate.
  • Broken Bridge: There are many instances in Adventure Mode where you will be unable to proceed down a particular path unless you have the proper Spirit in your collection that can deal with the obstacle. One in particular is a literal broken bridge that Master Hand destroys.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The game's tagline is "EVERYONE IS HERE!" All fighters who have previously appeared in the series are playable. In particular, this applies to the Ice Climbers, Wolf, Young Link, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Pichu, and Snake, who all missed out on a game or two since their debuts. Note that Charizard returns as part of Pokémon Trainer's set, not as an individual fighter. This is alluded to in Wolf's Classic Mode route, titled Reunited Roster, where he is pitted against the returning characters who were missing from for Wii U and for Nintendo 3DS.
    • King K. Rool is a different sort, as this is the character's first major appearance in any game for over ten years, with his last role being as a Secret Character in Mario Super Sluggers.
    • Leaf/Green is in almost the same boat as King K. Rool, as she hadn't been seen since 2004's Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen for over a decade's worth. She did manage to sneak in a fresh appearance in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! a few weeks before Ultimate's release, though.
    • Spiky-Eared Pichu returns after a 9-year absence as one of Pichu's costumes.
    • Although Krystal only shows up an Assist Trophy, it still marks her first physical appearance in over twelve years. She was last seen in Star Fox Command before the series went on hiatus and then came back, but with a semi-reboot game that dropped Krystal in favor of restoring Peppy's place on the team.
    • After being the only primary universesnote  entirely cut during the transition from Brawl to 3DS/Wii U, the Metal Gear and Electroplankton franchises make their grand return as well.
    • Many (but not all) old stages that debuted once and never returned for a long time (Saffron City, Brinstar Depths, Fountain of Dreams, etc.) returned.
    • In terms of gameplay modes, the Tourney mode is available offline for the first time since Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as it was exclusive to the online mode in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, while it was missing altogether in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
    • As for the Assist Trophies, Gray Fox and Isaac returns after their absence in 3DS/Wii U (it's very obvious for the former).
    • After vanishing from For Wii U and 3DS, Galleom returns as a boss in the game's Adventure Mode.
    • Spirits replace trophies and are directly represented by art assets from their source games; as a result, you can expect to see spirits who haven't made appearances in any video game in over 30 years.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Inkling's reveal trailer (which doubled as the game's teaser trailer) begins in the same manner as the original Splatoon's, with the female Inkling laying down ink and swimming through it as a squid before revealing her humanoid form.
    • In K. Rool's trailer:
    • When Isabelle receives an invitation in her reveal trailer, the envelope is identical to the one Villager got in the 3DS/Wii U reveal trailer, complete with a Smash-logo-shaped wax seal. It's also sent through the post, except Isabelle receives her invitation personally from Pete, while Villager picked up theirs in a mailbox.
    • The World of Light is a homage to the Kirby series, due to a villain that is just as devastating as a main villain from that series, how, in Japanese, the title is the Kirby title in reverse, and how you start the mode as Kirby. The cliff and the overview shot in the opening also take homage to Subspace Emissary from Brawl.
    • In this trailer, the Inkling Girl's eye has the Smash logo as the pupil, just like the very first teaser.
    • Joker's reveal trailer at The Game Awards 2018 starts with the screen turning to static as the Phantom Thieves "steal" the show. This is how the Phantom Thieves sent Shido's calling card, and how Persona 5 was first revealed.
    • Jigglypuff's Classic Mode route, "All Original, All 64", is a Call-Back to the "1P Mode" of the original Super Smash Bros. 64. You fight each of the other 11 playable characters from the first game, and the final boss is Giant Donkey Kong, one of the 1P Mode boss fights.
  • Came Back Wrong: How Spirits operate in World of Light — they were put under the direct control of a higher power and possess a puppet fighter. Some downplayed exceptions include those that reincarnated as a Mii Fighter that more closely resembles them, such as Lip, who is now a Mii Swordfighter in her image.
  • The Cameo: Following the pattern of Slippy appearing in one of Snake's codecs in Brawl and Chrom in one of Palutena's Guidances in WiiU, Alucard appears and joins the conversation when Pit asks Palutena about Richter. He also Lampshades his being available as an Assist Trophy.
  • Capture and Replicate: What happened to the fighters in World of Light. They get captured and then Galeem creates a puppet out of them, which then a controlled Spirit possesses. You have to free them in order to make them playable in World of Light.
  • Character Customization:
    • Spirits can be equipped to fighters to power them up or grant special skills, similar to Gear in For 3DS/Wii U. They are also similar to Stickers in Brawl in that they are represented by various art assets from various games and are used in their games' respective Adventure Modes.
    • Mii Fighters return from 3DS/Wii U, and retain their changeable names, headwear, outfits, and special moves. New to this game, you can also change their colors without having to change the color of the Mii in Mii Maker, and select one of several voices and change its pitch.
    • Figure Player customization for amiibo has been greatly expanded. Instead of feeding equipment to Figure Players, you can now feed them Spirits. Feeding them Spirits gives a small amount of EXP and boosts their stats. In addition, feeding them Primary Spirits can alter a Figure Player's "personality", which alters their approach to combat, and feeding them Support Spirits can bestow them with Support Skills.
  • Character Select Forcing: Certain challenges in Spirit mode are set up so that you basically have to equip certain Spirits to overcome the stage hazards. For example, the Kapp'n battle is virtually unbeatable without using a Spirit that gives resilience or immunity to winds. Coincidentally, you find one, a Snorlax, very close to Kapp'n's location.
  • Character Roster Global Warming: Downplayed. While the majority of the cast is still lightweight-midweight, a few heavyweight fighters have been brought in, those being Ridley, King K. Rool, and Incineroar, with Simon also being on the slower end of things.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Apparently happened In-Universe according to Pit on the Palutena's Guidance entry of the Ice Climbers. Aside from the real-life hardware limitations of the 3DS (which was why they were cut in the first place), the duo were actually temporarily suspended from participating when their dual-fighter playstyle was deemed against the rules. Since they're back, it's likely that said playstyle was now determined to be legal.
  • Chest Monster: There is a particular Chest in the Temple of Light dungeon that transforms into a Mimicutie Spirit upon being opened.
  • Clock Tower: The iconic one from Castlevania appears in the background of Dracula's Castle. There's even a section in World of Light as part of a Nostalgia Level based on the original NES game. You end up destroying the inside with a cannon.
  • Clone Army: The puppet fighters in World of Light are replicas of the original fighters possessed by brainwashed Spirits.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Galeem's method of creating puppet fighters works like this: Due to his initial onslaught resulting in several characters losing their bodies, he creates a vessel for them which physically matches what their previous identity was using a fighter as a base, which some additional aspects sprinkled in to complete the replication.
  • Cerebus Call Back: The setting that Kirby transports to at the end of the Downer Beginning looks exactly like the background used in several for 3DS/Wii U character reveals.
    • Similarly, when Kirby crash lands his Warp Star in Rosalina and Luma's reveal trailer, he comically tumbles to a stop. Compared to in the World of Light opening, where him crash landing and sliding to a stop is definitely not Played for Laughs.
  • Colony Drop: The Moon assist trophy, from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, drops onto the battlefield, blasting everyone excluding the player who called it in.
  • Commercial Switcheroo:
    • The game's reveal trailer starts out with what at first seems to be a repeat of the original Splatoon trailer, giving strong implications that they're porting the original game to the Nintendo Switch.
    • Isabelle's reveal trailer is made to look like a new Animal Crossing game. Played with, as a new Animal Crossing game really was revealed immediately afterward.
    • Joker's reveal trailer looks like it could be a reveal for a Switch port of Persona 5.
  • Companion Cube: Some of the Spirits are of inanimate objects, such as the Star Fox ships or Samus' individual power suits.
  • Completion Meter: This is shown on your Adventure Mode save files after clearing it for the first time. It is not revealed until after clearing Adventure Mode to prevent an Interface Spoiler regarding the Dark Realm and The Final Battle.
  • Composite Character:
    • Piranha Plant's moveset takes inspiration from the various Piranha Plant subspecies, like Putrid Piranha, Ptooie, and the Spiked Piranha Plant from Super Mario Galaxy. It briefly dons the color scheme of two subspecies for its side-special and side-smash as well.
    • Spirit battles consist of fighting against playable fighters taking on the traits of characters that didn't make the cut.
    • The Ganon boss utilizes attacks from some of its various incarnations, like Demise's Skyward Strike and Calamity Ganon's laser beam and homing fireballs.
  • Console Cameo:
    • One Mii fighter costume for the Mii Brawler is a jumpsuit with the Robot Toy-Con set, complete with the Joy-Cons being used and placed as part of the cardboard mechanisms.
    • One location in World of Light has an abundance of Nintendo consoles in the form of a city with the buildings in the shape of them, including a monument of the Nintendo 64 logo.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Just like in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, continuing after a loss in Classic Mode lowers the intensity and requires payment. This can be mitigated with the use of a Classic Ticket, but Tickets are hard to come by, and if you continue at all, you are locked out of Intensity 9.9 unless you use a Ticket while already at 9.9, complicating matters in clearing a certain Challenge.
  • Convenient Weakness Placement: In World of Light, some Spirits are located close to others their abilities have an advantage over. For example, there's a fight against a Spirit of Kaepora Gaebora whose gimmick involves flipping the camera upside down, and nearby his location is a chest containing a Nihilego Spirit, which negates screen flipping.
  • Cosmetic Award: Fighter spirits earned by completing a fighter's Classic Mode (or buying them in the shop) simply appear on the Spirit List and are not used in battle.
  • Creative Sterility: Galeem just creates copies and rearranges what's already there; unlike Tabuu, it never creates anything new. This is true for Dharkon as well.
  • Critical Hit:
    • The Killing Edge will intermittently glow with a purple aura, during which it has vastly increased power.
    • Some Spirits grant the Critical Hit skill, which randomly increases your damage and knockback.
  • Critical Status Buff: The Rage Blaster is very weak if you're at a low damage percentage, but it becomes more powerful as you reach higher percentages. Think Lucario's Aura mechanic, weaponised and usable by all fighters.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • The new "Smashdown" mode can Invoke this if you're skilled with a very small number of characters or just one, since after a fighter has been chosen for a match, they will be locked for the remainder of the playthrough. This can work in the other player's advantage if they pick a fighter they know their opponent is exceptionally good at.
    • The Absolutely Safe Capsule from MOTHER 3 is a Legend Primary Spirit that can only be summoned with a Mr. Saturn Spirit and six Shield Cores. It is a Shield-type Spirit that has practically enormous Defense but gives a whopping zero Attack.
    • A minor example comes with other slotless spirits. They are exceedingly powerful, but they are helpless against the many Geo Effects in the game.

    D-G 
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Snorlax-possessed K. Rool in World of Light is a literal DPS check, sporting hundreds of HP and a time limit of only one minute, but zero inclination to do anything more than sit there and eat randomly-spawning food.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • The game looks very similar to its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, but many mechanics have been changed, such as how dodging gets weaker the more times you do them. Players more used to Melee will also find it difficult to adapt to not only how hard it is to wavedash, but also how nerfed it is in this game, and all Smash players will take time to adjust to how collision in the game works. Furthermore, players who are used to shielding with the R button on the 3DS version may get thrown off by the fact that it is now the grab button.
    • Getting too used to some of the abilities available in World of Light, like super armor when charging smashes or extra midair jumps, can cause problems when playing the modes without those upgrades.
    • Many a player has fallen victim to Ike's buffed Eruption, which now shoots out additional flame pillars when used based on its charge level. Players too used to the mediocre range of the attack in previous games may end up on the receiving end of a shield break after standing outside what they think Ike's attack range is.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Inkling, Ridley, and Simon's respective trailer reveals, in comparison to reveal trailers of the previous games. Inkling's ends with them staring at the Smash logo on fire, surrounded by darkness and Ominous Chanting. Ridley's has Mario and Mega Man brutally stabbed by Ridley himself. Simon's has Black Comedy with Luigi getting his soul ripped out of his body by Castlevania's Death. Overall, Ultimate continues a trend from Smash 4 with rather violent trailers in dark, realistic locations.
    • The game's story mode likewise has higher and much darker stakes than even The Subspace Emissary did. While the destruction of the entire universe was prevented in Subspace, this story opens with the Big Bad Galeem successfully doing so, obliterating not only all the main playable characters (sans Kirby, who was barely able to escape), but every other video game character in the entire universe as well. Put simply, the Darkest Hour is already here, everybody's almost dead (the playable characters are now trapped in limbo, their bodies used to create red-eyed Empty Shells; the non-playable characters only living on as ghost-like wisps called Spirits bearing their images on them), and Kirby is the only one who can get up and stop it. Even past the beginning, the mode's story is overall more dramatic and serious than usual for Nintendo, especially when Dharkon (who makes Tabuu and even Galeem look like normal Nintendo characters) appears... and then you discover that it's possible for the heroes to lose once and for all.
  • Dark Is Evil: Dharkon is the lord of darkness to Galeem's light, seeking to both eliminate Galeem and to envelop all of existence in shadow. This is subverted, however, in that Galeem is no better than Dharkon is.
  • Deadly Dodging: In the True Final Boss fight with Galeem and Dharkon, the game design heavily encourages this. Friendly Firepoof is not on and their attacks do more damage to one another than they do to the player (due to the two despising one another), making luring the two into harming each other a major aspect of the fight. It's actually entirely possible to defeat the two purely by using this tactic and never attacking either of them once barring the final hit.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The Belmonts' trailer has Luigi trying to use his Luigi's Mansion 3 toolset to defeat the monsters in Dracula's Castle of all places. His usual tools like the flashlight don't work on them since they're corporeal, resulting in him "dying" at the hands of Death. Even as Luigi's soul is about to return to his body at the end, Carmilla pops over to scare the crap out of him one last time.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: It's a Smash game, so enemies getting thrown off the stage results in them exploding in a huge pillar of energy upon defeat. When both are killed in the True Final Boss fight, Galeem and Dharkon both crash into the ocean and explode in huge blasts of light and darkness, respectively.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • At the end of a match, the announcer says "[character/team] wins!" In the specific instances where the winners are the Ice Climbers or Rosalina & Luma, the announcement is changed to "[characters] win!" to be grammatically correct.
    • If you manage to find your way to one of the other paths at the beginning of World of Light after Master Hand blocks your way but before defeating your first boss, the shield guarding the character from the front automatically breaks.
    • You can unlock each type of Mii Fighter the old-fashioned way instead of creating one by fighting their Spirits in World of Light. This gives you the Mii shown in the artwork with a default 1111 moveset.
    • Some of World of Light's Broken Bridges can be fixed by more than one character's Spirit. Chances are you'll run across the Shadow Dragon axe users first, but you can also use Reese and Cyrus or Guts Man to do the job of fixing the bridges. Similarly, you'll most likely open the Base via the Hal Emmerich spirit, but Susie or Mega Man.EXE works just as well.
    • In the pre-rendered cutscene depicting the conflict between Galeem and Dharkon leading up to the final battle, the only characters depicted as witnesses are Kirby, Mario, Bowser, Fox, Simon, Pit, Samus, Zelda, Sonic, and Greninja. By the time you get to this point in World of Light, you are guaranteed to have all of the mentioned fighters on your team, even on a Minimalist Run. note  The only other "mandatory" fighters who are absent are Young Link, Cloud, and Ganondorfnote .
    • In the Palutena's Guidance conversation about Cloud, Viridi mentions the strong knockback of his Finishing Touch. However, the fact that there is less knockback to attacks in stamina mode is acknowledged if the Guidance is played there.
    • If a Poké Ball Pokémon or Assist Trophy already makes an appearance somewhere on a stage, it cannot be summoned from its respective item when playing on that stage.note 
    • Because Kirby needs to taunt to get rid of copy abilities manually, taunts are not disabled in Quickplay for him when he has one.
    • The game prevents you from manipulating the camera during a Stage Morph. This keeps the player from potentially breaking the immersion if they are transitioning from a 2D stage to a 3D stage or vice versa.
    • On stages with water, fire Pokémon and Inklings will take damage while they swim. Conversely, water Pokémon can still drown, but need much longer to do so before their drowning timer starts. Also, Sonic similarly takes damage while he's in the water, a reference to his notorious Super Drowning Skills.
    • Stamina matches will prevent Pichu from killing itself with its Final Smash by never letting its HP go below 0.1 while the move is active.
    • Alucard, a half-vampire, does not appear as an Assist Trophy in stages with reflections.
    • Defeating the Rathalos while it is trapped in a pitfall trap has it fall unconscious while still buried in the trap a la capturing a Rathalos with a pitfall in Monster Hunter.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: All three endings involve the fighters defeating a Physical God (or gods). However, in all but the True Ending, the other entity simply capitalizes on the situation to claim victory.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Dodging now decays. If a fighter keeps dodging too many times in a row, their duration of intangibility keeps getting shorter, and their recovery time keeps getting longer. In addition, trying to repeatedly grab the side of a stage as a defensive tactic can result in your character losing their grip.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Galeem serves this role, but in a subversion, returns later on and can serve as the Final Boss proper.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • If you start with Marth's route at the beginning of Adventure Mode, you will eventually come across the Polar Bear Spirit around an hour or two into the game. The Polar Bear is a Support Spirit that bestows the Slow Super Armor ability for two Support Slots, which turns any character into a Mighty Glacier that is Immune to Flinching at low percentages. This can easily trivialize spades of Spirit battles, as the ability to push damage without being interrupted by the opponent and sheer resilience to launching is invaluable for all but a few Spirits.
    • On the Villager route, if you're lucky, it's possible to purchase a spirit at Anna's Emporium which grants you a battering item...such as Death's Scythe. From that point onward, it's possible to cheese the ensuing fights by racking up a high percentage, then going in for a One-Hit KO. This doesn't work in a stamina battle, though.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Meta: The Game Awards 2018 ceremony was briefly hijacked by The Phantom Thieves of Hearts to reveal that Joker had just stolen an invitation to Ultimate, securing his spot as the first DLC character of the Fighter Pass.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: The Gourmet Race subarea of the overworld in World of Light challenges the player to collect food as they navigate down a series of paths, with them receiving first, second or third place rewards depending on how much food they snag. However, getting higher prizes doesn't unlock the lower prizes, forcing the player to intentionally do worse in terms of food count if they want all the prizes.
  • Downer Beginning: The World of Light intro cutscene has various heroes against Galeem, when Shulk has a vision about everyone vanishing before it becomes reality, with everyone losing their bodies, leaving Kirby as the Sole Survivor in the process, meaning that it's up to him to undo the damage.
  • Downer Ending: The two endings besides the True Ending in World of Light. Should you allow either of the forces of light and darkness to gain too strong of a foothold on The Final Battle map, you'll only face one of the two Big Bads, and the surviving one will obliterate what's left of the world (and all of the characters) with either light (Galeem) or darkness (Dharkon) once and for all.
  • Downloadable Content: Like the previous title, new fighters are being added post-launch within a span of a year:
    • The first is Piranha Plant, which is free for those that register the game before the end of January 2019.
    • Five other completely new fighters with their own stage and music are purchasable separately or in a bundle. The bundle also comes with a Mii Fighter costume of Rex. The first of the bundle is Joker from Persona 5.
  • Dream Match Game: Although Super Smash Bros. as a series is already based upon this concept, this game takes it further by bringing back every fighter up to the point of this game's release, including the third-party characters, which allows for matchups that wouldn't have been possible at the time of their releases (such as Snake being able to fight Mega Man), and adding more third-party characters for good measure.
  • Dual Boss: Along with the Master and Crazy Hand battles, getting the true ending for the Adventure Mode involves facing both Galeem and Dharkon at the same time. Notably, they attack each other as well as you during this battle.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Yama's origin game is said to be SimTower SP in localized versions of Ultimate. This game was actually released as The Tower SP without being a part of the Sim Series.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • The original Japanese version of "World of Light" has an alternate named for the main villain: "Kiira" (based on the Japanese onomatopoeia for glittering, "kirakira").
    • In the Italian translation, the "World of Light" story mode is instead titled "The Star of Hope." The main villain was renamed Kiaran (a corruption of "chiara," meaning clear).
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The intensity meter in Classic Mode increases depending on your performance each round, or even decreases if you lose and use a continue.
  • Dynamic Entry: In the "Vampire Killer" trailer, Simon makes his entrance by smacking Death in the jaw with the Vampire Killer.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Castlevania reveal trailer featured Luigi's new Poltergust before Luigi's Mansion 3 was formally announced.
  • Early Game Hell: Early on, you'll be able to take on a couple of Spirits, especially if they're around the 2000-power range, but you'll eventually run into Ace- or Legend-class Spirits that suddenly have power levels in excess of 9000+, which will easily pound you and the spirits you're likely to have at that point into the dirt. You're meant to find other ways around and, through leveling up Primary Spirits and acquiring a wider range of Support Spirits, eventually come back to those powerful Spirits later to fight them on more equal terms.
  • Easter Egg: On the official website, clicking the large animated star in the backdrop for "Lifelight" pulls up a page of the lyrics in both English and Japanese.
  • Easy Level Trick: For most of the Challenges and Spirit battles, anything is fair game as long as you stick to the rules. Because most of these involve AI opponents, you can get away with particularly cheesy methods to clear them with far less difficulty than you were expected to have, most notably sacrificial KOs like Kirbycide.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dark Realm, a mashed-up mess of multiple dimensions filled with chaotic architecture hung over a purplish grey void. It says something that Dracula's Castle is the most stable part of the place.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Bowser and King K. Rool stand alongside the heroes in the World of Light cutscene, and together they oppose the new enemy Galeem, in spite of them sharing bad chemistry with each other in Mario Super Sluggers previously. It's nothing new for Bowser, but this is also notably the first time K. Rool has ever aligned himself with Donkey Kong (baseball aside). Also counts for the other villainous characters once they join the party, as well as spirits that are enemies to any of the heroes.
    • Galeem and Dharkon can be driven to do this at the very end of World of Light if the fighters manage to confront them both simultaneously. However, having a common enemy doesn't stop Galeem and Dharkon from taking potshots at each other.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: King K. Rool does this to King Dedede in his reveal trailer before slapping him aside and snarling at the Kongs.
  • Escort Mission: Some Spirit fights involve you protecting another character while also dealing with the Spirit. For example, Calamity Ganon requires to you win before your NPC-controlled Zelda teammate dies.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Ridley's infamous reveal is shot like a horror movie, with only brief flashes of him being visible as he ambushes and apparently violently murders Mario and Mega Man. When Samus realizes that her compatriots are gone, and who's responsible, she closes her eyes in resignation, and turns around to find Ridley standing behind her, spinning Mario's hat around on his finger with a ginormous smile on his face.
    • King K. Rool's starts with the Kong's cabin being shaken by massive footsteps, and as they look out the window to see who it is, a massive crowned silhouette rises up to blot out the sun... only to unmask himself as King Dedede. While Dedede is laughing at the Kongs, the real K. Rool rises up behind him and casually knocks Dedede aside with one slap before baring his teeth and roaring at the Kongs.
    • Simon Belmont reveals himself by hitting the Grim Reaper in the face with the Vampire Killer.
    • In one of the most shocking moments in Smash Bros. history, we see various Yoshis and Luigi dazed out of their mind. Mario steps toward the character responsible for this and attempts to attack him... only for the Piranha Plant to dodge him, bite him back, and knock Mario off of the screen.
    • Joker's reveal trailer, first shown during the 2018 Game Awards, has him pulling a Do Not Adjust Your Set, running around Phantom Thief style, and then revealing a stolen Smash invitation.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": The main female deuteragonist from the obscure 1999 Japan-only SNES game Famicom Bunko: Hajimari no Mori appears as a Spirit, simply titled "Girl from Hajimari no Mori". This is quite strange considering that not only is every other Spirit with a given name referred to as such, but she does have an actual name, Komurasaki.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: World of Light's opening scene starts with almost every single character in the roster completely atomized by Galeem, leading the Master Hand army. The only one to survive the onslaught is Kirby... who may have the courage to save everyone else.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Not even previous Big Bad Tabuu was safe from being turned into a spirit by Galeem.
  • Evil Knockoff: Much like the Shadow Bugs creating false copies in Subspace Emissary, the captured fighters in World of Light are covered in a golden liquid which creates a vessel for the spirits to possess. Both Galeem and Dharkon also have a personal army of clones of the fighters made of Hard Light and Hard Darkness, respectively, which they deploy during their boss battles and detonate like bombs.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Galeem and Dharkon are at odds with one another. Both are also Omnicidal Maniacs looking to end the world in their own ways.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: If Bowser's and King K. Rool's presence at the (doomed) fight against Galeem at the beginning of World of Light is of any indication. Every villain can be rescued to assist against Galeem and spirits of vilainous characters can also be equipped to fight his puppet fighters.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The Adventure Mode title screen is mostly empty, with Galeem on its right. After the conclusion of the Light Realm arc and the surprise reveal of Dharkon, Dharkon himself is added to the left side of the title screen, opposing Galeem like in the story.
  • Excuse Plot: Unlike Brawl's elaborate plot and the rest of the games' lack of plot, Ultimate gives a pretty simple reason for fighting a vast collection of characters and bosses.
  • Fake Balance: On paper, Final Smashes activated through the Final Smash Meter are supposed to be weaker than their normal Smash Ball counterparts. In practice, the actual meaning of "weaker" tends to vary wildly by Final Smash, ranging from "doesn't kill except at high percents" to "barely changed". For example, most conventional Final Smashes that simply deal damage and knockback have their output scaled down as expected. However, unconventional Final Smashes tend to not be balanced this way, such as Critical Hit (which can still score kills at 0%), Peach Blossom/Daisy Blossom (which puts opponents to sleep, opening them up to smash attacks), and anything that simply destroys the opponent at 100% or higher (Triforce of Wisdom, Plasma Scream, and Infernal Climax).
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The character trailers have uncharacteristically violent deaths.
    • In Ridley's trailer, he impales Mega Man with his tail and crushes Mario's head.
    • In the Belmonts' trailer, Death literally slashes Luigi's soul out of his body. This one shocked enough people that the Nintendo UK Twitter account had to reassure people that he would be fine; indeed, one can see Luigi's soul was just about to return to his body at the end of the trailer.
    • The whole cast sans Kirby gets one in the intro to World of Light. Disintegration could not have been a pleasant way to go...
    • Physical God be damned, Galeem suffers a brutal death at the hands of Dharkon in the second bad ending, upon which his wings are stabbed, bound, and pulled apart by chains, then Galeem himself is impaled by multiple chains simultaneously before emitting a bright stream of light from his entire body, likely Galeem's version of bleeding.
    • In the first bad ending, Galeem just straight-up vaporizes Dharkon, and we get to see him slowly crumble into dust.
  • Fanservice Pack:
    • Played Straight for Daisy, as her design is slightly bustier than in the Mario sports and party games.
    • Double Subverted for Zero Suit Samus; her bustline was toned down to more realistic proportions in comparison to her 3DS/ Wii U incarnation. However, she is noticeably more muscular than her previous appearances, which is also more realistic, considering her profession.
    • Also inverted for Snake, as his bodysuit isn't as skintight as it appeared in Brawl. Among other less defined areas, his butt was toned down.
    • Less notable but also inverted for Palutena, as her dress cut has been slightly stitched, exposing less of her thigh. This change was originally made in the Japanese version of the previous game.
    • Unlike the poses she had in her previous artworks, Sheik's arms are no longer obscuring her chest, making it even more obvious that Sheik is a woman.
  • Final Boss:
    • Unlike previous installments, the final opponent in Classic Mode depends on who the player picked to play, instead of all characters facing Master Hand at the end. Besides Master Hand and Crazy Hand, characters can face also off against the likes of Giga Bowser, Galleom, Ganon, Dracula, Marx, and Rathalos.
    • Certain Classic Mode routes will have a fight against a more powerful version of a regular foe as the Final Boss. Bowser fights Mario, who comes back as Metal Mario; Bayonetta fights Giant Palutena; and Jigglypuff fights Giant Donkey Kong; Mega Man's final challenger is an exception in that they're not "more powerful," but he does fight Dr. Mario and Mewtwo in succession.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • King K. Rool's trailer starts with various Nintendo heroes fighting their respective villain or rival before cutting to Donkey Kong yawning, presumably watching this series of images on his television.
    • In the intro of World of Light, Shulk sees a vision of everybody being vaporized by Galeem's beams. He only gets about a split second to try to warn them before the events he foresaw play out.
    • The E10+ logo in front of the Persona 5 trailer is rather conspicuous given that the franchise is normally T to M-rated, which hints that Joker is coming to the family-friendly Smash series.
  • Foil: Palutena and Bayonetta's role in the World of Light mode plays up the contrast between them. It was noted in developer interviews that they are the only ones other than Kirby who could have survived Galeem's attack were it not for extenuating circumstances, and their juxtaposition as immensely powerful — and opposing — forces of light and darkness, respectively, is highlighted by their locations in World of Light: in The Final Battle map, they're each summoned alongside Master and Crazy Hand as agents of Galeem and Dharkon and personally stand guard before each hand, Palutena before Master Hand and Bayonetta before Crazy Hand. Notably, this makes them the last characters you can unlock in the campaign.
  • Foreshadowing: The majority of the game's main theme: Lifelight references several points in World of Light: Connotations to darkness, Galeem and Dharkon's struggles, and what all the spirits do in the Golden Ending: Weave into a spire of flame to head back to the real world.
  • Fun with Palindromes: A unique case as it's a song. Normally, the new Final Destination theme plays the title melody and is followed by an apparently-new composition. Play the song backwards, however, and aside from the obvious audio errors from reversing songs in general, the result has an identical melody with the title theme first and then the "new" section.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In early versions of the game, if you were to have one player-controlled Villager and one player-controlled Isabelle play catch with the shot from Isabelle's side-aerial slingshot with their respective Pocket moves, the game would freeze and crash to the main Switch menu after a few throws. Presumably, it results from the game getting the two's respective slingshot projectiles confused and borking itself as a result, as it doesn't seem to affect any other projectile, nor does the glitch occur with two Villagers or Isabelles doing the same thing.
    • The game will also crash if you have Yoshi land the final blow of a two-player Stamina battle with his grab. Presumably, this is due to the game not knowing what to do with the KO'd player who is still stuck in Yoshi's mouth. Version 2.0.0 fixed this bug.
    • Another game-crashing bug can only be performed through ridiculously specific circumstances: If a Mii Swordfighter with Gale Stab as their Side Special uses said side special directly towards Duck Hunt during a specific frame of time while the latter has a Gunman out on the field, the game will freeze. The catch is that the glitch doesn't seem to occur unless the Mii Swordfighter's other special moves are set to only specific combinations while still containing Gale Slash as the side-special. The reason for why this glitch occurs is unknown.
    • Playing as Piranha Plant, Duck Hunt, or Mii Swordfighter in All-Star Mode had the very high chance of wiping your entire save file.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The Wii Fit trainer's up smash, Tree Pose, gives her brief invincibility frames; when she uses it right before getting hit by Galeem's beam, she lasts a little longer than Villager and Duck Hunt.
    • Being in the water in this installment causes damage to characters who can't swim (Sonic), or are harmed by water (Charizard, the Inklings, Incineroar) in their home series.
    • Fighters possessed by Spirits both look like and act like the characters they’re being possessed by; see Mythology Gag for an extensive list of them.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite the fact that Kirby was never caught by Galeem and subsequently used as a base for Puppet Fighters like everyone else, there are still Spirit Battles with Kirby Puppet Fighters in World of Light.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: The new Palutena's Guidances for Corrin and Pokémon Trainer are written this way, and are the same whether you play as the male or female versions of the character.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Any Spirit who "prefers to avoid conflict" will run away from you and let their allies do the fighting for them.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the pictures revealed for clearing Smash challenges is Simon holding his whip while approaching a frightened Pichu.
  • Gigantic Moon: Simon and Richter's reveal trailer ends on a shot of Dracula's Castle silhouetted against a full moon that, in typical Castlevania fashion, is so big that it looks like it could be on an imminent collision course for the earth. The in-game Dracula's Castle stage has a crescent moon that isn't quite as big, but it's still much bigger than would be realistic.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • One ability you can train in the Dojo is Demon Style, which massively increases offense but heavily lowers defense on a certain type of spirit. It's also generally considered the best fighting style out of the bunch. Fittingly, it works best on Akuma's Spirit due to him already being a Glass Cannon (he has the highest attack out of every spirit, while having below average defense for a Legendary spirit).
    • Besides Akuma, the biggest example is Hades, who has Trade-Off Attack (which makes you start with 30% or makes you lose 30HP in Stamina Battles, but increases attack power to obscene levels), an absurdly high attack stat (third-highest in the game) and very low defense for a Legendary Spirit. With Hades, you can do a lot of damage very quickly, even against other legendary spirits, but you die especially quickly.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • Every single match starts off with silhouettes of the characters with a glint in their eyes before switching over to their character portraits.
    • Galeem's Puppet fighters in World of Light have ominous red glowing eyes, while Dharkon's Puppet fighters have purple eyes.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In World of Light, heroes and villains, no matter how hated, perform an Enemy Mine against the common foe, Galeem. On top of that, achieving the True Ending has the villains doing so; the fighters have become so powerful that Galeem and Dharkon, begrudgingly, team up to take them down.
  • Going Commando: Thanks to some...intrusive digging, Krystal's model has been found to not wear underwear under her clothes.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Spirits, taking over the role of trophies in the previous games. While a handful can be bought, most have to be battled in either World of Light or the lucky-dip Spirit Board, and a few can only be gotten be releasing spirits and using the cores they leave to summon new ones (and then re-obtained by chance as bounties on the Spirit Board) or through leveling specific Spirits to 99 so they can be enhanced. A special category of Spirits, Fighter Spirits, can only be gotten via Classic Mode or the shop in the Vault; these cannot be equipped, but instead represent the fighters themselves. There are also unique Partner Pikachu and Partner Eevee spirits as an Old Save Bonus, with a Mario Spirit Board event adding a trio of unique Super Mario Party Spirits; all five of these special Spirits were made normally obtainable in Update 2.0.0. Currently, there are 1,303 unique Spirits.
  • Gradual Regeneration:
    • The Healing Sprout item constantly heals off your damage as long as you are holding it. However, it can be thrown, and it can be transferred to other fighters on contact or knocked off if you take enough damage or are thrown.
    • Some Support Spirits give the "Autoheal" Skill, which heals you for a small amount of damage every 5 seconds. The "Great Autoheal" Ability exclusive to Celebi does the same, but heals in much greater amounts.
    • Madama Butterfly from Bayonetta gives the unique Ability "Poison Heals", which inverts the effects of the Poison status effect, Poison Floors, and poison clouds, causing them to rapidly heal off damage. While it costs three slots, this Ability can make you effectively invincible in certain fights.
  • Grandfather Clause: Nothing new for the series, but Ultimate adds some new ones where tradition is carried out despite being out-of-place.
    • Luigi, Dr. Mario, Falco, Wolf, Pichu, Young Link, Ganondorf, and Roy are still distinct-enough characters separate from the ones that they were initially based off of in their Smash Bros. debutnote , even though Echo Fighters have been introduced in this game. Due to Divergent Character Evolution, they're all considered too distinct to be considered Echoes.
    • Pokémon Trainer is the only character in the roster to maintain the Stance System of transformations, after For 3DS/Wii U got rid of them by making Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit Samus separate characters while taking out the Trainer in that game and making Charizard his own fully developed fighter. Because everyone is back, including the Trainer alongside Squirtle and Ivysaur, they get to retain the Stance System after it had been discarded, while kicking Charizard back into being part of the Trainer's set rather than his own character (throwing out Rock Smash in the process). But unlike the two examples given above, Pokémon Trainer conceptually is about using each monster to cover each other's weaknesses rather than being separate characters in a single slot (you can still stick to one Pokémon if you want to, though).
    • Chrom is now a playable fighter, as an echo of Roy, instead of just being relegated to Robin's Final Smash. Emphasis on "just," because for some reason he's still part of Robin's Final Smash.
    • Lyn still has her somewhat deep voice from Brawl, provided by Lani Minella, even though Fire Emblem Heroes introduces a new, much younger sounding voice for her, provided by Wendee Lee, and other classic Fire Emblem characters such as Marth, Roy, and Ike were updated to use their Heroes voices in Smash.
    • The music track, Athletic Theme - Super Mario World, is a Yoshi series track despite all other Super Mario World tracks being Mario series tracks, because the stage, Yoshi's Island (Melee), traditionally used this track as its default track.
  • Gratuitous English: F-Zero Medley, a new remix done by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, is filled to the brim with lyrics like that. And yes, it sounds amazing.
  • Guest Fighter:
    • Not only do all 7 previous third-party characters (Snake, Sonic, Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Cloud, Bayonetta) return, they are joined by Simon and Richter Belmont from Castlevania, and Ryu's echo Ken Masters.
    • Several other non-playable guests appear: new Assist Trophies include Alucard from Castlevania, Bomberman, the Rathalos from Monster Hunter, Akira from Virtua Fighter, Zero and Dr. Wily (in his Wily Capsule) from Mega Man, Rodin from Bayonetta, Guile from Street Fighter, and Shovel Knight, and even Shantae, Risky Boots, and Rayman get to make appearances as Spirits.
    • Two third-party characters also serve as bosses: Dracula from Castlevania and the aforementioned Rathalos.
    • Out of the first wave of DLC announced was Joker, the main protagonist of Persona 5.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • How to unlock Richter in World of Light. You need to clear all the purple monsters from the Dracula's Castle sublevel, with very little indication beyond the star next to the dungeon icon on the Dark World map that the purple monsters are anything but a puzzle roadblock.
    • To unlock Chrom in World of Light, you have to check an inconspicuous chest after you've already opened it. One owl statue does hint at this, but this is the only time you're ever able to interact with something after its initial purpose.
    • The path to Mewtwo is a little less obtuse but still so. In the Mysterious Dimension, one of the quiz questions is "Who among the spirits can Kirby not inhale?" This is the only question with two right answers; Scarfy and Whispy Woods. However, the former takes you another segment of the map (ultimately leading to King K. Rool), while the latter takes you to Mewtwo.

    H-M 
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: World of Light can have some very frustrating spirit battles (an infamous one being Pauline); however, for the most part the bosses are a lot easier, except for Ganon, Dracula, and the True Final Boss.
  • Haunted Castle: Dracula's Castle from the Castlevania series is a new stage. Various Gothic Horror monsters such as The Creature, a Werewolf, and Death will pop into the darkly lit level, with Dracula himself occasionally appearing. In World of Light, it also appears as one of the sub-areas, with the layout and placement of Spirits directly mirroring the levels and enemy placements of the very first Castlevania.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Defeating the true Master Hand and Crazy Hand during The Final Battle restores them to normal, where they unite to assist the heroes break the barrier between Galeem and Dharkon. Master Hand even helps out by plowing his way through an army of puppet fighters.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Essentially the theme to the lyrics of Lifelight, which shows in World of Light; the Smashers may have been wiped out by Galeem, but there's still hope of them being saved and getting back up for round two.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Kirby manages to survive the attack at the start of the World of Light by virtue of pushing his Warp Star to the absolute limits of its speed, eventually causing himself to temporarily blink out of existence and send Kirby to the new world.
  • Immune to Flinching: The Slow Super Armor ability on a handful of Ace Support Spirits gives its user flinch immunity and resilience to knockback up to a limit in exchange for making you move as slow as molasses and virtually incapable of jumping. Its upgraded counterpart, found exclusively on the Legend Support Spirit Gold Mario, is simply known as Super Armor, which gives all of the benefits of Slow Super Armor without the "slow" part.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Players can use Spirits for special conditions that aren't normally possible within the regular customization options. One such example is a Loftwing giving whoever equips it a constant gust of wind.
  • Interface Screw:
    • A new item is the Ramblin' Evil Mushroom, an enemy from EarthBound. Players who get hit by this will have their left/right controls reversed.
    • Some Spirit battles involve flipping your horizontal controls or turning the screen upside down. Both of these can be countered by certain Support Spirits.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Averted with the character select screen, which begins with only the original eight Veteran characters from the original game. Since the selection screen grows in size as you unlock characters, in addition to allowing the player to "merge" echoes and their originals into the same slot, it is hard to see how many are actually remaining.
    • In "World of Light", players who diligently full clear every area may notice that by the time they reach Galeem, they've still only found two-thirds of the playable cast. Turns out, Galeem's just a Disc-One Final Boss. Likewise, cleaning up both Galeem and Dharkon's realms will still leave you missing Dark Samus, Roy, Palutena, and Bayonetta when you reach the latter, because those four are in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Joke Character:
    • Among spirits, the weakest one is, fittingly-enough, Dan, whose power level is only around 400 at level 1 and has a trait that starts the player with 30% damage with no benefit to make up for it.
    • The Buzz Buzz Spirit fight pits you against an ultra-tiny Mr. Game & Watch who starts at 300% damage. It dies in one hit.
    • There's a small collection of Primary Spiritsnote  whose ability forces you to start at 30% damage and gives nothing in return (unlike Trade-Off Abilities). This forces you to start every fight at a disadvantage if you use them, unless you are Lucario or are equipped with a Rage Blaster.
  • Kaizo Trap: The zoom in that flashes red is said in-game to either be a signal on when the battle is over or when someone almost ends the battle. Whenever it's the latter, the receiving end still has a chance to turn the tides in their favor while their opponent might be caught off guard, especially if they don't know if the last hit would have KO'd.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Dharkon's entrance into the story is opened with him attempting to capitalize on Galeem's defeat at the hands of the fighters, initially trouncing Galeem's Master Hand army before Galeem is forced to pull a hasty retreat to recover. In both bad endings, the surviving entity takes the opportunity to finish off their opponent after they are defeated. In the True Final Boss fight, even though they're supposed to be on a truce, neither entity can resist taking a free shot at the other when they get stunned.
  • Kill 'em All: The introduction cutscene for World of Light. As the characters are preparing to face a new opponent, Galeem, it absorbs a massive amount of energy to unleash a devastating wave of destruction that obliterates anything in its path, eventually reaching out to the entire universe. Kirby only survives thanks to his Warpstar going at warp speed. The bad endings have Galeem or Dharkon do this.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • Trying to register every single Spirit can turn into a game of luck towards the end, due to the randomized nature of Spirit appearances outside of Adventure Mode meaning you will have to constantly cycle the Spirit Board and Shops just to acquire/summon the last few that you need. Not to mention spirits locked away as an Old Save Bonus from other games played on the Switch.
    • There is an entire page in Challenges dedicated to Online. Nevermind the fact that you need to pay for Nintendo Switch Online to actually go online in the first place, many of the Challenges there are ridiculously grindy and/or luck-based, especially the ones that involve playing 200 Quickplay matches and defeating 10 players with a higher GSP than you.
  • Last Stand: The "World of Light" Adventure Mode starts with all of our heroes (and villains) doing this against Galeem and his army of Master Hands. It failed utterly, though not for lack of bravery.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Many of the spirits reference certain plot points from their games of origin, but the most blatant examples are the ones that can be enhanced. A lot of these spirits can be enhanced into a form that spoils a major plot twist in their original game.
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • The stage selection screen appears before the character selection screen. This would make players strategically choose a character who would be more suited to the selected stage.
    • The stock icons are not crops from the characters' renders and are instead minimalist vector graphics usually depicting the front of their head.
    • Unlike previous clone characters, Divergent Character Evolution is not applied to Echo Fighters who originated as clones in 3DS/Wii U. The game also gives the player the option to "stack" the clones in the same character slot as their basis rather than give them fully separate slots.
    • There isn't a new English-language announcer, with Xander Mobus reprising the role.note 
    • All stages are now unlocked from the beginning, as opposed to most of them being unlocked and then unlocking a few more.
    • All characters in the game were revealed before release, meaning no more hidden characters. You still need to unlock characters, but there won't be any surprises for those who kept up with the game's promotional material.
    • Marth and Roy now have English voice clips, after three games being voiced in Japanese. This is due to their characters being now dubbed in English in games like Codename Steam, Fire Emblem Fates, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Fire Emblem Heroes, which were all released after Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
    • The Triforce Trio’s designs are not all based on the same game, instead being based on four different games (Breath of the Wild for Link, A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds for Zelda, Ocarina of Time for Ganondorf).
    • For the first time since the first game, Ultimate will not feature collectible trophies of various characters, items and locations, with Spirits serving as a sort of replacement instead.
    • The Poké Ball Pokémon that fills the role of "small, cute Water-type that runs across the stage pushing opponents away" is Oshawott once again rather than a newer one.
    • Because of the game's online modes being linked to the subscription-based Nintendo Switch Online, this is the first Smash Bros. game where you need to pay to access and use the online modes.
    • Many in terms of the fighting mechanics.
      • Grabs can now be parried by inputting your own grab at the same time, as opposed to previous games, where grabs were absolute, bringing the game closer to more traditional fighting games. This also makes the distinction between normal and command grabs like Bowser's Side B matter, since command grabs cannot be parried.
      • Perfect Shields used to be done by shielding just as an attack hits; now it's done by releasing your shield as an attack lands, and adds hitstop to the situation, allowing for much easier punishes when successful.
      • The game treats Free For Alls and 1v1s separately — making attacks stronger in 1v1 situations, adding hitstop and freeze frames to many situations, adding a full-screen overlay for stock counts on each KO, and even having 2 characters (Ryu and Ken) work differently depending on whether they're in a free-for-all or 1v1 situation. The game even transitions to 1v1 mode when there's only 2 people left in a match that started as a free-for-all. Previous games made no distinction between the two besides number of players.
      • Damage percentages now show decimal points. While decimal percentages are not new, they've always been a hidden mechanic. That will no longer be the case.
      • Any attack can be performed out of a dash, as opposed to previous Smash games where you were only allowed to do a dash attack, specials, and special cases allowing other attacks.
      • The game now considers when two objects and/or characters are colliding, so one character can't run past another character if the two meet. This also affects moves like Bayonetta's Heel Slide and Fox's Fox Illusion.
    • Unlike Wario in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Little Mac in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, there are no characters that have double the standard amount of alternate palettes — every character is limited to 8.
    • Each character now has a set lineup of fighters that they face for their Classic mode runs, ranging from Wolf going against other returning characters to Isabelle fighting all the other female characters in the roster. Furthermore, the Final Boss of Classic mode isn't necessarily Master Hand, with examples such as Wolf facing Galleom in his run and Duck Hunt going against Rathalos in theirs.
    • Speaking of Master Hand, it and Crazy Hand can now be temporarily stunned during their boss fights for the first time in the series, allowing for free hits.
    • Characters now have different reactions to being in water instead of just standard swimming. While most swim normally, Charizard, Sonic, Inkling, and Incineroar will flail once in the water and will take damage (Charizard and Incineroar are Fire-types and Charizard's line infamously claim it'll die once its tail is extinguished, Sonic is infamous for his inability to swim, and water is an Inkling's Kryptonite Factor).
    • In the previous game, Xerneas boosted all fighters' launch power (with a bigger boost for the user), while Victini gave its user a 50% damage bonus and immunity to launching. In this game, Xerneas gives its user the Gold status (the same status as collecting 100 Coins on the Golden Plains stage), while Victini simply gives its user a Final Smash.
  • Level 1 Music Represents: Simon and Richter's character trailers use remixes of the level 1 themes from their respective debut games ("Vampire Killer" from Castlevania and "Divine Bloodlines" from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood), and their Classic Mode credits themes are the same from their second games ("Bloody Tears"/"Monster Dance" from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and "Dracula's Castle" from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). A large proportion of the other featured Castlevania songs are also introductory area themes ("Cross Your Heart" from Haunted Castle, "Awake" from Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, "Jet Black Incursion" from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, etc.).
  • Let's You and Him Fight: One attack Galeem and Dharkon can use is to temporarily leave the battlefield and sic two puppet fighters on you which eventually explode. Funnily enough, you can Invoke this yourself if you fight both bosses at the same time. They'll perform this attack at the same time, but both Light and Dark puppet fighters often prioritize each other rather than you, meaning all you have to do is just wait until all of them explode after beating each other up.
  • Life Drain: A very rare Support Spirit Ability is "Lifesteal", which gives you the ability to restore damage when striking an enemy. An Adventure Skill also gives you a chance to heal when connecting with Smash Attacks. Some enemy Spirits also have this ability.
  • Light Is Not Good: In addition to the Adventure Mode being entitled "World of Light", the villain, Galeem, takes the form of a ball of light surrounded by wings, uses giant beams of light to disintegrate the fighters, and has a name that itself is a corruption of the word "gleam".
  • Lighter and Softer: Isabelle's trailer was this compared to previous newcomer reveals. As opposed to Ominous Latin Chanting and characters dying, Isabelle's involves a typical day at work before getting her letter.
  • Limit Break: Instead of breaking a randomly-spawning Smash Ball, players have the option to build up their own Final Smash Meter to activate a weaker version of their Final Smash, akin to how supers in traditional fighting games are performed. No two Final Smashes can be activated at the same time, however.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Considering the game has every playable character in series history and still adds more on top of that, definitely. And if you include Spirits into the mix, the number of characters becomes truly nuts.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: Spirit battles simulate fights against non-playable characters using the playable cast as your opponents. As a result, you have battles such as Shantae being represented as Zero Suit Samus, Otacon being represented as Dr. Mario, a Lakitu being represented as Iggy Koopa (with tiny red Bowsers standing in as his Spinies), and The Imprisoned represented as a gigantic, black palette King K. Rool standing still with Ghirahim protecting him.
  • Long Bus Trip: The cut Brawl and Melee veterans that had to wait 10 and 17 whole years to return to the cast.
  • Long List: Viridi rattles off the names of nearly every type of Piranha Plant in its entry for Palutena's Guidance. It takes a while.
  • Ludicrous Precision: This game measures damage percentages to an extra decimal point. Previous games (i.e. every game except for the original) did this as part of background damage calculation, but this is the first time it's been shown to the player.
  • Macrogame: While some elements of the Adventure Mode such as fighters and skill points only transfer through New Game+, all playthroughs have persistent access to acquired spirits and spirit points, as they are part of the game's main save file. This also means that spirits earned in the Spirit Board and Classic Mode are always available as well, even on a brand new World of Light file. This includes Master Spirits that run facilities, as well as spirits used for Broken Bridge paths.
  • Made of Indestructium: Despite the fact that Galeem's beams of light easily penetrate practically every other means of conventional defense, both mundane and magical, Link's Hylian Shield is able to deflect some of the beams. Link himself is only consumed when the beams push him back too much for him to maintain his balance.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Some Spirits, such as Boo and Groudon, need to level up to level 99 to be enhanced. Their enhanced forms are stronger versions with a special effect, but they are reset to level one again.
    • The most extreme example is Alm and Celica. When you first get the Spirit (which is them as small children), its power level is only around 700, which is among the weakest spirits you can get. Once leveled, they can be enhanced and become adults. Their power level can be around 8000 once leveled up to level 99 again. Best of all, they're a neutral spirit with three slots and provide a back shield when equipped, making them one of the most versatile spirits in the game that can be used as the player's primary spirit in almost any situation.
    • Zygarde is notable for being the only Novice spirit that becomes a Legend when it is enhanced from 50% Form into Complete Form.
  • Marathon Level: The True Final Boss fight takes the form of a three-stage gauntlet, starting with a long autoscrolling platforming section with mook fights in between, followed by a Boss Rush against all six bosses, and then the actual Dual Boss fight itself against Galeem and Dharkon. While Checkpoint Starvation is averted due to the game letting you continue from the current phase if you lose all three of your characters, in order to get the Challenge for clearing the final battle without being KO'd, you have to do the entire thing in one sitting without getting KO'd at any point or else the run will be invalidated. That also means continues are useless.
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness: Pikachu and Link are part of the Original 12 and have gone through both Art Evolution and moveset changes in all of the games. In comparison, Pichu and Young Link have had little changes since they last appeared in Melee, making them the closest things you have to Melee versions of the characters they were based on in this game. Young Link is notable in that he's the same Link that appeared in 64 and Melee except shorter, whereas this Link is based on his Breath of the Wild incarnation. To drive this further, his intro is Link's intro from 64.
  • Megamix Game: Although the sheer volume of fighters already qualifies Ultimate as a Dream Match Game, it has plenty of returning content besides fighters, such as stages and game modes.
  • Mêlée à Trois: While on paper, the final boss is the heroes vs Galeem and Dharkon with the two in an Enemy Mine, the two are undoubtedly trying as hard to kill one another as they are to kill the heroes, to the point of actively attacking the other, so it's closer to the heroes vs Galeem vs Dharkon.
  • Merged Reality: The overworld of World of Light takes place in a land where several locations from existing franchises and original areas have been mushed together. For example, you can leave Lumiose City from the south and end up in a neighbouring city made out of Nintendo video game consoles.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • Certain Ace Support Spirits bestow the ability Slow Super Armor, which slows mobility to a crawl and burdens your jumping capacity, but gives you permanent resilience to flinching and launching to a limit. This allows you to turn any character into an effective tank who can pump out their strongest attacks with sheer impunity without fear of interruption.
    • Zelgius evolves into the Legend Primary Spirit "Black Knight" upon reaching Lv. 99. Upon doing so, he gains a unique ability called Armor Knight that slightly reduces movement speed in exchange for slightly boosting Attack and providing a huge bonus to Defense. Incidentally, the Black Knight has two Support Slots, which allows you to stack it with Supports such as Slow Super Armor.
    • Kraid's Dojo teaches the appropriately-named "Tank Style", which enhances a Primary Spirit's Attack and Defense at the expense of practically all of its other mobility-related attributes.
  • Mons: Basically what Spirits are. They can be levelled up and have their stats increased, do various jobs like being sent on missions to retrieve items, trained in certain styles, and some can even evolve, or rather enhanced, to become even more powerful.
  • Mood Whiplash: The World of Light opening cinematic depicts the Smash characters' struggle against a new and unknown overwhelming force, with some valiantly fighting against the beams or desperately fleeing for their lives. This is interwoven with various other shots such as Captain Falcon trying to jump into the Blue Falcon, Wii Fit Trainer doing yoga poses while Duck Hunt and Villager panic aimlessly, and Snake trying to hide in his cardboard box before being disintegrated.
  • Morphic Resonance: Of a sort. In Spirit Battles, the Spirits appear to take over puppet fighters that greatly resemble their former shape. They also chose alts, sizes, and other factors to accommodate this.
  • Motifs: There appears to be some sort of connection to the concept of "reversal", given that there is a version of one of its trailers that plays backwards, the World of Light's Japanese title has significance if the words are reversed, and the latter half of Final Destination's theme is the game's theme song played backwards.
  • Moveset Clone: Now clones are formally called "Echo Fighters". They refer to characters who, like Dark Pit, Lucina, and Dr. Mario in the previous title, are only balanced against the fighter they are based from instead of the whole roster, and are mostly the same, with animations being altered first, then some moves and attributes. However, clones that are fundamentally different from their base, including Dr. Mario himself in this version don't qualify. Echo Fighters can also be stacked into the same slot on the character select screen as the character they're based on if the player so chooses. Lucina and Dark Pit were retroactively given the Echo designation, while later adding in Dark Samus, Daisy, Chrom, Richter and Ken. That said, how much they actually differ can vary. Dark Samus, Daisy and Richter are nearly the same save for cosmetic changes; Dark Pit still has his more aggressive playstyle and stat set from the previous game; Lucina and Chrom have balanced swords which lack the sweet/sourspot mechanic of Marth and Roy, in addition to the latter's recovery being inspired by Ike; and Ken boasts the most number of changes for an Echo to differentiate himself from Ryu, very fitting given his role as the Trope Codifier.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Ending 1: Achieved if Galeem's forces take over completely during The Final Battle (by defeating too many of Dharkon's forces) or the heroes challenge and defeat Dharkon. Dharkon collapses, completely overwhelmed, and he is finished off by Galeem. As Dharkon dies, Galeem enacts his final plan, engulfing the remainder of the universe in light.
    • Ending 2: Achieved if Dharkon's forces take over completely during The Final Battle (by defeating too many of Galeem's forces) or the heroes challenge and defeat Galeem. Galeem is overwhelmed and left in a weakened state, allowing Dharkon to consume and destroy him. Mario collapses in despair as Dharkon devours the universe in eternal darkness.
    • True Ending: Achieved if none of the above conditions are met and Galeem and Dharkon are challenged and defeated together. With both entities dead, they collapse into the ocean, whereupon they release a wave of energy that frees the remaining Spirits. The freed Spirits make their way home to the real world, coming together in a spire of light as they return.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Downplayed in World of Light. At the start of the game, you will be forced to choose between recruiting Marth, Sheik, or Villager. Picking one of them causes a Master Hand to block the paths to the other two, forcing you to take the open path and clear the way before you can recruit the others.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Musical Nod: The main theme of the game, though it doesn't have any direct melody lifted from any game before, has similarities to Melee's opening theme and menu theme, and 3DS/Wii U's main theme, with how the score progresses through the notes and how the A section transitions to the B section, as shown here. Notably, the transition between the two sections in the "Challenger Approaching" trailer occurs when Zelda appears with Sheik being there later, as a call back to Melee's opening, where Sheik appears when the transition happens with Zelda being in the background afterwards.

    N-S 
  • Nerf: In previous games, only a couple Assist Trophies could be KO'd. The majority of them are now susceptible to being damaged and defeated (including some you wouldn’t expect to be vulnerable).
  • New Game+: A Clear Save in Adventure Mode can be used to start a New Game+, which carries over all previously-unlocked Fighters, and all Skill Tree progress and Skill Spheres. All Spirits and bosses also reappear in a New Game+, allowing you to get duplicates of them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The last act of World of Light has both villains at high strength, but too distracted fighting each other to consume the world. Both bad endings involve the fighters tilting the balance away from one of the villains and then defeating them, leaving the other free to complete their plan.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In contrast to the bad endings (caused by Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!), the good ending is the result of this. The True Final Boss fight is against both villains at once. The two can't stand one another at all and are so busy fighting one another it gives the heroes a chance to stop them. Furthermore, in the True Final Boss, the two might be in an Enemy Mine, but aren't Friendly Fireproof and will actively attack one another if the other is stunned. Galeem and Dharkon's hatred of one another makes things way easier for the heroes.
  • Non-Elemental: Neutral Spirits don't fit anywhere in the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors triangle. Thus, they aren't super-effective against any of the other types, nor are they resisted.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • A lot more than in previous games — in fact, most of the stages are returning older ones. Unlike 3DS/Wii U, Ultimate features Melee stages not featured in Brawl. For the first time in the series, the majority of older stages (except for ones originating from Super Smash Bros. 64) feature updated graphics and textures to bring them up to modern standards, in the vein of Mario Kart 8.
    • Jigglypuff's Classic Mode route "All Original, All 64" is themed to the original Super Smash Bros. You fight the Original Eight on their 64-era home stages note , and Round Six is against the four unlockable characters with 64's Final Destination theme playing. The final boss is Giant Donkey Kong on Kongo Jungle, a staple fight in the original game's 1P mode.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • We only see brief flashes of Ridley's tail, claws, and wings in his reveal trailer as he violently murders Mario and Mega Man, before finally revealing himself to Samus.
    • In Adventure Mode, when you're about to face the boss of a sub-level (represented on the map as a vortex with glowing eyes), any music stops and you're just left looking at a vague silhouette of the boss that awaits. No power-level... just question marks and that unsettling silence. Even if you know who you're going to be fighting, the effect still can give you chills.
  • Notice This: World of Light is very unsubtle about showing when something on the adventure map changes, and obstacles that can be conquered with a Spirit that you own are highlighted by a ring of light.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Not long after the launch of the game, players discovered that attaching a level 99 Akuma spirit to Captain Olimar resulted in the single-most broken character combination in the entire game. Any smash attack from his red, blue, or purple Pikmin would result in a One-Hit Kill on all enemies that weren't part of a stamina battle (and if they survived the first hit, they wouldn't survive the 2nd.) The 2.0.0 patch nerfed the Akuma spirit so this was no longer possible on anything but weaker enemies or anyone too close to the edge of the map.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In King K. Rool's reveal trailer, upon seeing that King K. Rool's finally returned, Donkey Kong and Diddy's eyes pop through the window.
    • In the opening "World of Light" cutscene, Shulk gets a vision of everyone getting struck down and he knows there's nothing he can do.
    • When a Final Smash is activated, any nearby fighters can be seen with such an expression before the attack is unleashed.
    • Most characters will give off panicked or frightened expressions upon whiffing a grab, with the implication being that they've realized that they're wide open for an attack. Even the normally straight-faced Ridley will sport a comical, surprised grimace upon missing his side-special.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • Figure Player data stored on amiibo can be transferred from 3DS/Wii U to Ultimate. While Figure Players can only carry over a portion of their levels and memories and lose all of their stats, you will also receive either a random Spirit, currency, or snack in conjunction with the revised Figure Player data.
    • If your Switch has save data for Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, you will automatically receive a Partner Pikachu or Partner Eevee Spirit.
  • One-Hit Kill: While attacks and items that have high enough knockback that a Ring Out is almost certain are nothing new, Ultimate adds the ability to straight-up obliterate your enemies in certain conditions (usually a high damage percentage), such as the Death's Scythe item, various Final Smashes, or Mimikyu's grab.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Just like in Melee, defeating Bowser at the end of several characters' Classic Mode causes him to transform into Giga Bowser and challenge you to a second fight.
    • Upon reducing his health to zero, Dracula will transform into his monster form from Rondo of Blood, starting the next phase of the fight.
    • Like Bowser, Ganondorf appears onscreen briefly before transforming into Ganon, though the only scenario in which defeating Ganondorf directly leads to the Ganon fight is Zelda's Classic Mode.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Several past stages have been renamed to avoid confusion with similarly-named stages. Some examples are "Yoshi's Island" renamed to "Super Happy Tree", "Kongo Jungle" renamed to "Kongo Falls," and "Mario Circuit" renamed to "Figure-8 Circuit". Averted with Melee and Brawl's versions of Yoshi's Island, which are both named that, but the former additionally has "(Melee)" in its name. There's also an interesting aversion in the form of "Mute City (SNES)", though the Melee version of the stage is not part of the initial roster.
    • For the Loads and Loads of Characters, there's only one case of this on the roster itself. Two Roys are playable in the game — the swordsman and the Koopa.
    • Aversions occur in the form of spirits. For example, you can have the spirit of Kaptain K. Rool empowering...King K. Rool.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Galeem and Dharkon completely loathe one another and will take any opportunity presented to try to kill the other. Dharkon's entrance to the story is attempting to capitalize on the fighters defeating and wounding Galeem to try and kill his nemesis, and Galeem comes back into it trying to return the favor when Dharkon is beaten. Both bad endings are one of them taking advantage of the other losing first to kill them and take over themselves. This works against them in the boss fight with both of them at once, as despite technically being in an Enemy Mine, the moment one of them is stunned, the other will promptly deal a massive blow to them, inadvertently helping the fighters.
  • Order vs. Chaos: Ultimately, this is what the two main villains of World of Light represent. Galeem is a being of light who wants to bring his own form of order to the world, while Dharkon is a being of darkness who simply wants to Kill 'em All and plunge the world into shadow.
  • Patchwork Map:
    • The World of Light map can only be described as a mishmash of random Nintendo elements and Video Game Settings woven together. You have your jungle right next to a military base and a foggy forest that happens to have a power plant in it, just as an example. The most baffling thing, however, is the retro Cyberspace maze found to the east of the map, in-between a beach town and a mountain settlement.
    • Making things worse are the sub-maps that are just randomly there with little context, like DK Island's Kongo Jungle from the first Donkey Kong Country game being right next to the aforementioned Cyberspace. Hilariously, the player also gets to travel around the literal world after getting to the airport island, meaning that the World of Light features a whole Hollywood Atlas as one of its "sub-maps".
  • Permanently Missable Content: A late-game region of Adventure Mode, the Mysterious Dimension, blocks the player with quiz questions that describe a particular Spirit. If you choose and defeat the right Spirit on the first try, a treasure chest will appear on the route forward. Answer a question wrong and its treasure will never appear... at least not within the same Adventure file. They only contain caches of Spirit Points, though, and are not required for 100% completion.
  • Pirates Vs Ninjas: Ridley and King K. Rool (the former a Space Pirate, the latter having appeared as "Kaptain K. Rool" in Diddy's Kong Quest), who can fight against Greninja and the ninja-esque Sheik.
  • Poison Mushroom: In addition to the returning Trope Namer, Ultimate introduces the Fake Smash Ball, which releases a devastating explosion when it's broken. Compared to a real Smash Ball, the Fake Smash Ball has a thicker horizontal line and a thinner vertical line.
  • Pop Quiz: The primary gimmick of the Mysterious Dimension in the Dark Realm is asking the player questions like "Which spirit is the King of Twilight?" or "Which of these is Chrom's little sister?" Fighting the right spirit will allow you to proceed through the map. There are additional questions that don't lead to the boss but to other fighters.
  • Post-Final Boss: A few characters' Classic Mode routes have them facing the big boss monster with an HP bar as the penultimate fight, before the Final Round with a normal Smash character. In particular, Bowser fights Rathalos in Round 6 and Mario, later Metal Mario in the Final Round, and Mega Man fights Galleom in Round 6 and Dr. Mario, then Mewtwo (representing the final battle of Mega Man 2) in the Final Round.
  • Power at a Price: A certain type of Spirit Ability forces you to start at 30% damage, but gives you permanent stat bonuses. However, if you play as Lucario, you can utilize that 30% as extra starting power as well.
  • Power Levels:
    • Global Smash Power returns from the previous game. As before, GSP is the measure of how many players you have outscored: a GSP rating of 5000, for example, means that you have a higher score than 4999 other players. GSP is used to determine matchmaking with other players.
    • "Team Power" is the level of strength a Spirit grants your character when equipped, and can be increased as they level up.
  • Power Up Letdown: Some particularly weak Spirits such as Buzz Buzz have the innate ability of starting you off at 30% damage with no benefits.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • This is the first time Ridley and Dark Samus have been playable under any circumstances.
    • Both Chrom and Isabelle used to be NPCs, the former as part of Robin's Final Smash and the latter as an Assist Trophy. Both are now playable fighters.
    • Ultimate will also be the first time a Piranha Plant will be playable in any game.
    • If you are on the path to the True Ending in Adventure Mode, you get to take control of Master Hand for one fight.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The Vampire Killer trailer featured Luigi using a new version of the Poltergust which could also fire plungers. Later, the 9/13/18 Nintendo Direct revealed Luigi's Mansion 3, which also features the same Poltergust model and the plunger ability.
  • Race Lift: Villager's seventh and eighth costumes are now dark-skinned, based on the tanning mechanism from New Leaf. This was a late-development change, as they still had their pale skin from Smash 4 in the demo and promotional videos.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Some characters whose actual in-universe abilities are unsuitable for real combat (or who can't go toe-to-toe with cosmic beings) end up not doing much of anything against Galeem's onslaught, such as the Inklings (who try to hide in ink and fail miserably), Snake (who tries to hide in a box, to no avail), Wii Fit Trainer (who ineffectively does yoga poses), and the Villager (who simply panics). The Duck Hunt Dog, being just a normal dog, also panics and freezes while the duck tries fruitlessly to carry him to safety.
    • During the final battle in World of Light, Dharkon and Galeem are going all-out against each other with their remaining forces; if you focus on one of them too much, the other will use the opportunity to catch everyone off-guard and kill them.
  • Resting Recovery: The Healing Field item creates a small area that heals anyone standing inside of it.
  • Retraux: Stages originating from the first game are designed to look like they were ripped straight from an Nintendo 64 with some minor touch-ups. This includes using sprites for some map features and retaining the somewhat blocky stage geometry.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The first leg of the True Final Boss battle is a vertical autoscrolling platformer that constantly scrolls upward. A certain Challenge requires you to clear this segment as Ganondorf without being KO'd.
  • RPG Elements:
    • You can equip Spirits that level up as you fight and can even evolve into stronger spirits. You can also equip support Spirits to give you support abilities similar to equipping a customizable weapon or armor.
    • There's a skill tree in Adventure Mode that lets you boost the power of your attacks and provide other benefits.
  • Running Gag: During online announcements, Sakurai frequently states that he's about to talk about a new fighter... except it's one you've recently learned about, like the Inkling or Richter.
  • Sadistic Choice: You're presented with one near the end of World of Light: Stop Dharkon, and Galeem makes everything his plaything for eternity. Stop Galeem, and Dharkon destroys everything. Or you could take them both on at the exact same time...
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Challenges in World of Light aren't laid out with any particular eye for consistency. At any point, you could find a 9000-point Ace or five-digit Legend surrounded by 2000-point chaff. Fortunately, there's nothing stopping you from coming back later with a better spirit of your own to even the odds, and unless that fight was there specifically to blockade something, there's always a way around.
  • Self-Deprecation:
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • A common challenge that people online have taken to do is doing the entire World of Light campaign on hard with no spirits equipped. This makes certain spirit battles much harder, since you don't have any protection for spirit-only stage hazards. Using the skill trees can make things easier, although some people take it further and do spirit battles without using the skill tree.
    • There is a challenge in the game that requires you to play through the last level of WoL without losing a single stock. You could just complete the challenge on Easy difficulty which makes it rather straight forward to complete. On Hard, however...
  • Sequence Breaking: This is essentially encouraged due to the existence of the Spirit Board. There is more than one way to bypass an obstacle in a given area in Adventure Mode; for example, going through Adventure Mode normally will typically result in you hunting and acquiring Hal Emmerich to open the door to the underground laboratory, but other Spirits that are good with computers, like Megaman.EXE or Susie, can do it as well. Rocks may block your path, but any Spirit that is associated with using bomb-based weaponry can destroy it, which encompasses Spirits such as Bomb Man and Bomberman. Lip, Kammy Koopa, and Viridi can all force mushrooms to grow large enough to be walked on, granting access to Olimar. Due to the multifaceted approach to getting rid of obstacles and the fact that the Spirit Board allows you to acquire Spirits early and/or unrelated to Adventure Mode, Spirits you obtain from the Spirit Board can potentially be used to get rid of obstacles earlier than the game expects.
  • Sequential Boss: The Final Rounds of several Classic Mode routes actually pit you against multiple opponents in a row. Mario and Captain Falcon must defeat Bowser, who then comes back as Giga Bowser; similarly, when Zelda defeats Ganondorf, he then transforms into Ganon. Bowser himself has the tables turned on him when Mario comes back from defeat as Metal Mario, without even a loading screen like the previous examples; likewise, Mega Man faces Dr. Mario and then Mewtwo one right after the other. Pikachu and the Pokémon Trainer battle Mewtwo as well, but it is followed by Master Hand. Finally, everyone who battles Dracula must defeat his first vampire form and his second monstrous One-Winged Angel form in succession, with no chance for recovery in between.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • Ultimate brings out every fighter from past installments, introduces a few new fighters on top of that, contains over 100 stages, and has 800 tracks (900 if you include things like fanfare and menu music) from each series.
    • "World of Light" also does this compared to "Subspace Emissary". Tabuu had Master Hand under his control, and was able to destroy the world single-handedly. Galeem has a whole army of Master Hands, and manages to destroy the entire galaxy.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show, Don't Tell: Beyond the first cutscene, most of World of Light's plot is told in the way the map is changed and revealed.
  • Sinister Scythe: Death's Scythe is a new striking item that instantly KOs high-damaged opponents without sending them to the blast line.
  • Situational Damage Attack:
    • One of the new items is a gun called the Rage Blaster, where its attacks are stronger when the user is more damaged.
    • The Staff from Kid Icarus: Uprising fires a beam that does more damage the further it travels before hitting a target.
    • From the Fire Emblem series is a sword called the Killing Edge. Based on its increased Critical Hit probability in its home games, here it can deal twice the damage only when the sword is glowing.
    • Death's Scythe from Castlevania can One-Hit KO opponents without them even being knocked past the stage boundaries, but only if their damage is high enough.
  • Skill Tree: World of Light has a grid for learning new Skills that looks a little similar to the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. Skill Spheres earned from clearing Adventure Mode battles can be spent on the Skill Tree to unlock a variety of upgrades and powers that apply regardless of the equipped Spirits. Such abilities include boosting the power of your Tilts or Neutrals to giving you a second mid-air jump, giving you a second Final Smash right after using one, or giving you Immune to Flinching while charging Smash Attacks.
  • Slasher Smile: Due to the more wider variety of expressions a character can have in battle, the villainous characters like Ganondorf, Ridley, and Wolf may sport one in any of their animations. King K. Rool is a special case, as he has one constantly, but it's not apparent immediately.
  • So Last Season: In Simon's trailer, Corrin tries to hit him from across the stage with his forward smash (the longest-ranged non-projectile attack in Smash 4) and comes up short. Simon retaliates with his whip and connects. Then, in the November 1st Direct, Spring Man does the same thing to Simon to demonstrate the strength Assist Trophies can bring to the battle.
  • Sole Survivor: The only character to survive Galeem's onslaught in World of Light's intro cutscene is Kirby.
  • Strong and Skilled: Legend spirits are incredibly powerful, and there a couple that have 3 slots such as Soma Cruz and Rodin the Infinite One.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Because music tracks from miscellaneous series only play on stages without playable charactersnote , it is possible to have humorous stage-and-music combinations such as an epic RPG battle theme playing in a living room with cute puppies or a peppy J-Pop song playing in the lair of an evil demon dragon.
    • Sonic's stages get hit with this once again. The stages are based on two the most placid and cartoony levels from two of the series' most placid and cartoony games. The music selection, on the other hand, is mostly the sort of hard-rock main/final boss themes the series is known for, which would have worked better with almost any other locale from the franchise. Hearing songs intended to be played while battling a water deity in a devastated city or a giant mutant lizard in space over the Green Hill Zone is... jarring.
    • Some spirit battles have characters where the music playing in the background isn't the character's actual theme. That said, the dissonance is downplayed, as these battles tend to have themes that evoke the feeling of those characters, if not their literal themes. For instance, Dimentio's battle doesn't have his theme "The Ultimate Show," but does use a battle theme from later in the series, Paper Mario: Color Splash; along the same lines, the Shovel Knight spirits tend to use songs from Mega Man, as Shovel Knight's soundtrack was composed as an homage to that series.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The Stage 2 theme from Castlevania, usually spelled "Stalker," is spelled "Starker" in this game.
  • Stealth Pun: There are many characters in the game that aren't in the game physically, but rather take the bodies of the fighters. Basically, they aren't present in the game, but they are there in "spirit", which is what they're called in-game.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Fully leveled up, the Absolutely Safe Capsule provides 10,000 additional defense power and no additional offensive power.
    • Any primary spirit can be nudged towards by going to the dojo with the "Brick Wall" style, which greatly increases defense and decreases offense. Combine with a fully leveled Absolutely Safe Capsule, and many attacks on you will do less than 1% damage, though your own attacks won't be too powerful either.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Princess Zelda mostly. Along with Fox, Marth, and Pit, she is given a voiced line in the opening cutscene for the "World of Light" Adventure mode, as opposed to being a Silent Protagonist like in Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode. While all four were voiced in their own games, this marks the first time that Zelda has spoken in Smash at all, and serves as the first time that an incarnation of Zelda other than that from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has had spoken dialogue.
  • Sudden Name Change: Some tracks from Melee that were named after the stage they played on have had their names changed. For example, the Fountain of Dreams track is now named "Gourmet Race (Melee)".
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: When a character initiates a Final Smash, it is accompanied by their portrait appearing on the side of the screen.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: When a fighter successfully pulls off a perfect shield (releasing the shield as soon as an attack connects), their eyes flash yellow for a second.

    T-Z 
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Primary Spirits are divided into four types: Attack, Grab, Shield, and Neutral. Attack beats Grab, Grab beats Shield, and Shield beats Attack, while Neutral has no advantages or disadvantages. Fans of Pokémon will note that the colors each type is associated with match the Fire-Grass-Water triangle in that series; the colors also follow the same order as in Fire Emblem Heroes and Eternal Darkness.
  • Take a Third Option: If you beat Galeem in the final battle, Dharkon instantly capitalizes to take down his nemesis and consume the universe in darkness. If Dharkon is defeated, Galeem finishes him off and engulfs everything in light. So how can the heroes win? Take on both at once and kill them both at the same time.
  • Teleport Spam:
    • One of the many Pokémon one can summon from the Poké Ball is Abra, which will float over to opponents and spam Teleport, taking nearby fighters with it and potentially offstage.
    • Master Hand, Crazy Hand, Marx, Galeem, and Dharkon in their boss fights all have a move where they rapidly teleport themselves several times.
  • Temporary Online Content: The game has special events like ones where certain spirits are more likely to appear. Sometimes, they include spirits that only appear during the event period.
  • This Banana is Armed: This game introduces a new item called the banana gun. It looks like an ordinary banana, but it fires a single, powerful bullet before turning into a banana peel.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Peach (and Daisy)'s Toads function the exact same in Ultimate as in previous installments, but now appear more confident. Whereas they looked like they were being used as human shields in prior games, they jump out to protect their Princess instead. They're also now a part of their Princess's throw animation.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: This line was zigzagged several times in the pre-release promotional cycle.
    • It was averted entirely with the massive "Everyone is Here" mural, which was constantly updated with each new character announcement, shuffling around the positions of previous characters in the meantime. As a result, it was a lost cause trying to use it to predict newcomers.
    • It was also averted with certain character reveal trailers; some of them, including Isabelle's and Joker's, did not open with the Smash logo when they were first broadcast, hiding their nature as character announcements for this game until The Reveal was dropped at the trailer's climax.
    • It was played straight when the August 8, 2018 Direct revealed Monster Hunter's Rathalos and Castlevania's Dracula, showing them being fought in arenas that had no place on the website's Stages section and were not referenced anywhere else, implying that the game would have proper boss fights akin to Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode.
    • On a related note, the developers technically averted this some more in the same Direct by showing the main menu but blurring out the big green option. However, eagle-eyed fans were able to figure out its name (if not its details) "Spirits" long before it was officially revealed in the last Direct.
    • Certain stage names in pre-release demos hinted at possible future inclusions. For instance, Kongo Jungle from Melee was renamed to Kongo Falls, making many fans realize that the 64 Kongo Jungle was returning.
  • True Final Boss: Unless you make a concerted effort to avoid that fate, your final defeat of Galeem or Dharkon on The Final Battle map will simply lead to the other one wiping out all of existence instead. To reach the true ending, you need to prevent either Galeem or Dharkon's forces from completely overwhelming the other side on The Final Battle map. If you pull things off right, you'll free Master Hand and Crazy Hand from Galeem and Dharkon's control and play as Master Hand in a Mob Smash to clear the way to the true final gauntlet, which consists of a Rise to the Challenge platforming segment, a Boss Rush, and the true final battle with both Galeem and Dharkon at once.
  • Understatement: One of the loading screen tips states that Star Fox 2, Wolf's debut game, got delayed "a bit". "A bit" in this case being 20 years.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: The Minigame Credits in Classic Mode has you riding a Respawn Platform while armed with a Super Scope, shooting at the names in the credits for the chance to earn bonus items.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: The appropriately-named Black Hole item sucks everything — items, enemies, projectiles, etc. — into its center. Only the player who activated the item is immune from this. Trying to knock away a person being sucked into the black hole will only have them be pulled back.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • Akuma has bar-none the best Attack stat of any Spirit in the game, with respectable Defense. However, he lacks both a Primary Ability and Support Slots to compensate for his high raw power.
    • Galeem and Dharkon's Spirits have zero Support Slots and Abilities that are only effective in Adventure Mode. However, what they lack in flexibility and utility, they make up for in sheer power, sporting a whopping 13,000+ Power rating, higher than any other Spirit.
  • Variable Mix: When playing on the New Donk City Hall stage, the various members of the New Donk City Players, as well as Mayor Pauline, float in on platforms. Touching them will activate that member's instrument, including Pauline's singing voice, in "Jump Up, Super Star!" or the band's cover of the famous Super Mario Bros. Ground Theme, if either of those songs are playing.
  • Versus Character Splash: Before each battle, a dramatic display of each fighter in the bout is thrown up as the loading screen, complete with glinting eyes and smoldering embers.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Certain spirit battles can be a fountain of this. For example, you can fight Sigurd with a character that has a fire attack (such as Roy, Zelda, or especially Robin) and potentially reenact his Plotline Death at the hands of Arvis. Or if you want to feel like a real dastard, you can fight Sigurd and Seliph together and KO them both the same way.
  • Villain Team-Up: Found in the true final battle in World of Light, as both Galeem and Dharkon will team up to defeat the fighters, but also subverted as their attacks hurt each other and, if one gets stunned, the other will gladly hit it while it's down for massive damage.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Smash Bros games are known for their lightheartedness and chaotic fun that even the bad guys get to join. Then there's Galeem, an Eldritch Abomination that manages to destroy all but one character in its vicinity, making it more threatening than Tabuu (who was already very powerful, considering what they did), and Dharkon, who looks even more terrifying than Galeem.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying:
    • The Assist Killer ability is given by a handful of Legend Supports, which specifically boosts damage dealt to Assist Trophies.
    • The Metal Killer Ability, given from both Support Spirits and the Skill Tree, boosts damage inflicted to Metal characters.
    • Giant Killer from Support Spirits boosts damage against Giant characters.
    • Galeem's unique Ability, Bane of Darkness, boosts damage against any Dharkon-aligned Spirits and Fighters in Adventure Mode. Likewise, Dharkon's Ability, Bane of Light, boosts damage against any Spirit or Fighter possessed by Galeem.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: The 2.0.0 update introduced the ability to play Spirit Board in local co-op, for up to four players. However, if any one player is KO'd, the fight is immediately counted as a loss for everyone else.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: This game's remix of Gangplank Galleon unexpectedly has a rap verse snuck into it, turning the theme into something of a Villain Song for King K. Rool. Also doubles as Indecipherable Lyrics.
  • Wham Line:
    • The E3 2018 trailer, which immediately follows Snake's return:
    • And for long-time fans, an even bigger one came after Ridley ferociously tore through the bridge Samus was on:
      RIDLEY HITS THE BIG TIME!
    • One last surprise from a somewhat unexpected source:
      Morgana: "We've been invited... invited to steal the greatest treasure of all! ''(*cue Wham Shot below*)
  • Wham Shot:
    • The character count trailer mostly showed the expected returning characters from 4, the possibly-in-jeopardy-due-to-being-third-party characters Ryu, Cloud, and Sonic, previously-confirmed newcomer Inkling, the surprise return of Pokémon Trainer, the expected return of Ice Climbers... and then the music cuts out, and Snake, a character nobody thought was coming back after his absence from 4, disengages his camouflage. Then further returning characters were revealed, such as Pichu, Young Link, and Wolf, to truly show that "Everyone is here".
    • The entire roster on a cliff, overlooking a new enemy called Galeem flanked by an army of Master Hands. Then, Galeem unleashes beams of light that disintegrate most of the roster, except Kirby.
    • The first Fighter's Pass DLC character is revealed in the style of its game, which leads to fans being completely off guard when Joker shows off his Smash invitation.
    • After Galeem's defeat, the sky cracks open to reveal Dharkon with a army of Crazy Hands in tow.
    • After freeing the true Master Hand and Crazy Hand, the next match starts to reveal that, for the first time in the franchise (barring unofficial methods), you're playing as the big white glove himself.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Zig-zagged with the fate of Luigi in the Simon/Richter reveal trailer. After being reaped by Death, his ghost is never shown re-entering his body (Carmilla scares him just as he's trying to do so, and the last we see or hear of him is his scream from the exterior of Dracula's castle). Nintendo UK's twitter tried to assure fans that Luigi was okay, but some remain skeptical.
  • The Worf Effect: Several character reveal trailers have newcomers show up an established fighter.
    • Ridley impales Mega Man with his tail and punctures Mario's neck.
    • Simon Belmont banishes Death after the reaper kills Luigi with a single swing of his scythe.
    • Soon after, Richter saves his wounded ancestor from one of Dracula's fireballs.
    • K. Rool wallops Dedede for impersonating him and gets a flabbergasted Eye Pop from his old nemeses.
    • Happens twice in the last base reveal: Ken beats up Little Mac... and then faces the same fate from Incineroar.
    • In "World of Light", everyone but Kirby gets Worfed, Kirby only escaping thanks to the Warp Star's warping abilities.
    • Piranha Plant leaves Luigi and multiple Yoshis rendered dizzy. When Mario attempts to confront it, Piranha Plant swiftly dodges the attack and slams Mario off-screen.
    • The fact that even Tabuu is found as a Spirit in World of Light seems to indicate that not even he and his minions were any match for Galeem. Master Core's various phases can also be found as Spirits, implying Galeem can overpower him too.
  • World-Healing Wave: Killing Galeem and Dharkon at the same time unleashes one. After that, every single spirit goes up in a spire of flame to return to the real world as they wanted.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Killing either Galeem or Dharkon in the final map allows the other one to unleash one of these to obliterate the fighters (and their rival) and conquer everything.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: It seems like you've defeated Galeem, and you are right. However, the sky cracks open to reveal Galeem's counterpart Dharkon and his army of Crazy Hands, meaning that your adventure is far from over.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Death rends poor Luigi's soul from his body in Simon's trailer. Luckily for Luigi, Simon wasn't having any of it.

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