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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., and is developed by Bandai Namco and Sora Ltd. 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:

  • 108: There's planned to be a total of 108 stages; 103 in the base game, plus 5 more for DLC.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All of Them: One of this game's main advertising points is that every character that has been playable in a Smash game is here, from every character previously in 3DS/Wii U (including DLC fighters), to characters that didn't make the cut from Brawl, to even characters that haven't been seen since Melee.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the introduction to World of Light, Shulk has a vision on everyone vanishing from streams of light and then turns away to the rest of the crowd before the vision becomes reality. Because the audience don't see what he did before he disintegrated, we don't know if he tried to warn everyone with the gesture he did, if he used a Monado art on someone as quickly as he can, or if he was too stunned to do anything.
  • 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. There is also now the option to have Final Smashes activated by building up a special meter rather than breaking the randomly spawning orb, though the version activated in this manner is slightly weaker.
    • To mitigate stalling and keep up the pace of combat, ground dodging now decays 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.
    • Air-dodging now has increased momentum, allowing the fighter to gain some directional boost while dodging. This helps a lot towards characters with terrible recoveries.
    • 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.
    • Charged Attacks can now be charged in the air, and all charges can now be jump cancelled.
    • 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.
    • Little Mac's Jolt Haymaker no longer puts him in freefall if he misses the attack, meaning that players can still recover if the attack causes them to fall off of the stage. It also allows players to pair this up with Rising Uppercut if he's sent flying from the stage, greatly improving his ability to recover.
    • 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.
    • Shulk's Monado Arts were altered so that you can quickly pick a specific Art by pressing a given direction after triggering the move, rather than cycling through them. The original style is retained if you're used to it.
    • Ryu and Ken always face their opponent in a 1-on-1 match like in their home series of Street Fighter, making it much easier to use Input Specials.
    • Using PK Thunder now shows a trajectory arrow next to Ness or Lucas that tells you where the attack will fire them if they hit themselves with it.
    • When Sonic (and Knuckles) use Homing Attack, a targeting reticle will appear on the character they'll hit with the attack.
    • Stages are now selected first before the characters. This allows for a more strategic selection of characters, as certain fighters tend to perform better or worse on certain types of stages. Rules can also be set on who picks a stage after a match.
    • You can save your game setups like game mode, timer, number of stocks, and item availability/frequency.note 
    • Stamina Mode (where the fighters have Hit Points instead of the usual damage percentages) has been added as one of the default modes that can be mixed with multiple stocks and time limits, unlike previous games, allowing one to play Smash more like a traditional Fighting Game without having to dive into the Special Smash modes.
    • Music selection is now based on series instead of stages, meaning that songs are no longer tied to specific stages anymore. For example, every Super Mario Bros. music track can be played on any Super Mario Bros. stage.
    • Aside from Omega forms which feature a Final Destination-style stage layout, all stages now also have Battlefield forms as another alternative layout. All Omega forms also now feature the same layout of a singular floating platform as opposed to for 3DS/Wii U which had different structures despite fighting on a flat surface (i.e. Omega Pac-Land and Omega Onett had you fighting on top of a mountain/building which prevents players from crossing underneath, compared to Omega Super Mario 3D Land, which was a floating platform). Additionally, there is now a stage hazard toggle for those that prefer the default layout of the stage without the annoyance of hazards.
    • 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.
    • Landing lag has been reduced for aerial attacks, allowing the benefits of L-canceling to come back without the technique itself.
    • Mii Fighters now have a default selectable for each class from the time you unlock the Mii Fighters themselves, which makes them able to be used without having to set them 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.
    • The game makes a good faith effort to avoid giving you duplicate spirits. It's not foolproof, but copies will never 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.
    • 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, although who unlocks whom is random and unlisted. 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 willnote , which also allows you to use a different fighter.
      • 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 the 3DS/Wii U version would lower the difficulty permanently if you chose to continue, frustrating players that want to keep the difficulty high and/or were going for a high score. Here, you can preserve the difficulty after a defeat as long as you have a ticket to use.
    • Learning can now be deactivated for Figure Players so they don't "accidentally" pick up bad habits from matches it participates in.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Assist Trophies no longer make sense in context, since Trophies themselves have been replaced with Spirits.
    • Unlike Palutena's Guidence, Snake's codecs have not been updated, 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 Dr. Mario, Pichu, Young Link, Mewtwo, Roy, and all Post-Brawl characters.
      • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is now a Mii Gunner outfit after being an Assist Trophy in Brawl (and absent in Wii U/3DS).
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Pit yells "RIDLEY CONFIRMED!" at the start of said character's Palutena's Guidance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Book-Ends:
  • Boss Fight:
  • Bottle Episode:
    • Isabelle's trailer is set in the mayor's office, with no one besides her and 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 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.
  • 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 a 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 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 is in the same boat as King K. Rool, as she hasn't been seen since 2004's Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen for over a decade's worth.
    • 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 videogame 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 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.
  • Came Back Wrong: The spirits that inhabit copies of the main cast retain several attributes of what they were, but they're stuck with the physical appearance of the fighter they appear as with likely no hope of retaining their original form. 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Kap'n battle is virtually unbeatable without using Snorlax, a Spirit that gives you resistance to the stage's high winds. Coincidently, you find it very close to the location for Kap'n.
  • 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.
  • Chest Monster: There is a particular Chest in the Temple of Light sub-region that transforms into a Mimicutie Spirit upon being opened.
  • 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.
  • Colony Drop: The Moon assist trophy, from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, drops onto the battlefield, blasting everyone including 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.
  • 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.
    • Spirit battles consist of fighting against playable fighters taking on the traits of characters that didn't make the cut.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 little 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.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Snorlax-possessed K. Rool in World of Light, sporting over 700 Stamina and a time limit of only one minute. If you don’t have a character that can quickly deal high amounts of damage, such as Bowser, you may find it impossible to win.
  • 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.
  • 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 you discover it's possible for the heroes to lose once and for all.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 to do the job of fixing the bridges.
  • 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.
  • 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 resiliance to launching is invaluable for all but a few Spirits.
  • Double Subversion:
    • King K. Kool's trailer has Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong look out their window to see a silhouette of the aforementioned villain, who throws off his disguise to reveal himself to actually be King Dedede. Then, while King Dedede is running around laughing about the prank he just played, he gets clobbered from behind by the actual King K. Rool.
    • Isabelle's trailer was set up to look like a trailer for a new Animal Crossing game, only to reveal that she was a new fighter. Afterward, though, Tom Nook showed up to reveal that there really was a new Animal Crossing game coming out in 2019.
  • Downer Beginning: The World of Light trailer 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 enter the endgame with your skill tree skewing to much to one side, 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 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. It's nothing new for Bowser, but this is notably the first time K. Rool has ever aligned himself with Donkey Kong (baseball aside).
    • Reversed in the true final battle in World of Light as both Galeem and Dharkon will team up to defeat the fighters, but also subverted in their attacks hurt each other and, if one get stunned, the other will gladly hit it while it's down for massive damage.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: King K. Rool does this to King Dedede in his reveal trailer before slapping him aside and snarling at the Kongs.
  • Establishing Character Moment: As usual, the reveal trailers essentially function as these for each character.
    • 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'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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, obvious audio errors aside from reversing songs in general, the result has an identical melody with the title theme first and then the "new" section.
  • 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 now 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.
  • "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:
    • Ridley impales Mega Man rather brutally in his reveal trailer, before grabbing Mario and crushing his head/throwing him off the bridge, with gorn-y sound effects accompanying them. They are both heavily implied to be dead. That's right: Ridley literally kills Mr. Nintendo himself!
    • Luigi has his literal soul ripped out by none other than Death. What's this game rated again? E10+, you say? Could have fooled some people.
    • In Ultimate, Captain Falcon's red costume reads "Hell Hawk"note  on the back.
    • The English name of Ken's back throw is left intact, with the narrator in the November 1st Direct even calling it by name: The Hell Wheel.
    • World of Light starts with many of the characters being disintegrated on screen. It's all obscured by the light of the beams, but the silhouettes of Bowser, Palutena, Wii Fit Trainer, Snake and many more are clearly seen dissipating.
    • In Roy's Palutena's Guidance, Pit, after being told that Roy is only 15 years old, asks "Is that even legal?" Viridi says "It is in Ostia" and then swoons over how smart, dependable and brave Roy is, and before adding that he "smells like heaven."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 news ones (and then re-obtained by chance as bounties on the Spirit Board). All in all there's 1,249 of them.
  • Grandfather Clause: Nothing new for the series, but Ultimate adds some new ones where tradition is carried out despite being out-of-place.
    • Dr. Mario is still a distinct character separate from regular Mario, even though Echo Fighters have been introduced in this game. Due to Divergent Character Evolution, he's considered too distinct to make an Echo.
    • 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.
  • Guest Fighter:
    • Not only do all 7 previous third-party characters (Sonic, Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Cloud, Bayonetta, and Snake) 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 and Video Game/Rayman gets to make an appearance as one of the Spirits.
    • Out of the first wave of DLC announced was Joker, the main protagonist of Persona 5.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 in the pre-release. Trying to guess the remaining characters by using the "Everyone Is Here" mural was a lost cause, as it changed frequently. The E3 2018 Direct version intentionally lacked Daisy and Ridley, with the updated version after their announcement having the positions swapped around on existing characters. Said mural was even used on various public promotions (like E3 2018 itself), so people thought it would have been the final positions. Then the August 2018 Ultimate Direct came and pulled the same trick.
    • Also 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.
    • Another aversion is with Isabelle's reveal trailer, which does not open up with the Smash logo. This is justified in that it doubled as the announcement for a new Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Switch.
    • Averted as well with the reveal of Joker from Persona 5. Just as with his home game's announcement for PS4, the screen goes fuzzy with static when the Phantom Thieves hijack the feed to announce their presence, and a lot of people thought Persona 5 might be getting a Switch port. Not until the calling card flips over to reveal the wax-sealed envelop bearing the Smash crest does it become apparent what is actually going on. Justified again, because Joker is the first DLC character and thus had no silhouette from which viewers could divine his appearance. In hindsight, the only real clue in the moment that this was not just a straight port of Persona 5 was the ESRB rating of E10+
    • Played straight with Monster Hunter's Rathalos, whose reveal shows the boss in a location that does not appear on the stage selection menu, implying that they'll be seen in another mode all together. Done more subtly with Dracula, who is described in the same Direct as appearing as a boss in Dracula's Castle, but is depicted as being fought in a throne room arena that appears to be separate from the selectable stage of that name.
    • Certain names hinted at possible future inclusions. For instance, Kongo Jungle from Melee has been renamed to Kongo Falls, making many fans realize that the 64 Kongo Jungle will return.
    • It's somewhat telling when you reach Galeem but not every playable fighter has appeared on the map.
  • Kill 'em All: The introduction trailer for World of Light. As the characters are preparing to face a new opponent, Galeem, it absorbs 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 three completely different games (Breath of the Wild for Link, A Link To The Past 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.
    • 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 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 temporary 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 Inciniroar will flail once in the water and will take damage (Charizard and Inciniroar 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)
  • 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). A large proportion of the other featured Castlevania songs are also introductory area themes ("Cross Your Heart" from Haunted Castle, "Dracula's Castle" from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, "Awake" from Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, "Jet Black Incursion" from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, etc.).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Galleem 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 Galleem 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 resiliance 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 appopriately-named "Tank Style", which enhances a Primary Spirit's Attack and Defense at the expense of practically all of its other mobility-related attributes.
  • Mood Whiplash: The World of Light 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 altering first animations, then some moves and attributes. However, clones that are fundamentally different from their base, including Dr. Mario himself in this version and Wolf 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.
  • Multiple Endings: There are actually three different endings to World of Light. Two of them (earned by skewing too heavily to one side of the Skill Tree before reaching the end) are Downer Endings where the heroes are only able to take down one of the two Big Bads, leaving the surviving one to destroy them all and the rest of the world for good. The True Ending is earned when the Skill Tree is more balanced.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Downplayed in World of Light. While it is possible to rescue every fighter, sometimes there's a fork in the road with a fighter on each path. After saving one fighter, the other paths will be blocked, forcing you to find another route to that fighter.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Notice This: World of Light is very unsubtle about showing when something on the adventure map changes. Justified as you can quickly end up with many different roadblocks and it's otherwise difficult to tell what the switch you just pressed actually did.
  • 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.
  • 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 a Spirit 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.
  • 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 a male Wii Fit Trainer empowering... a male Wii Fit trainer.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Galeem and Dharkon completely loath 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 instantly deal a massive blow to them, inadvertently helping the Fighters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Promoted to Playable: Along with the new fighters who had appeared in previous Smash games in a non-playable role, Master Hand is playable in one segment of the Adventure Mode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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:
  • 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: Adventure Mode 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.
  • Sole Survivor: The only character to survive Galeem's onslaught in World of Light's initial trailer is Kirby.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The Stage 2 theme from Castlevania, usually spelled "Stalker," is spelled "Starker" in the August 8th, 2018 Nintendo Direct list of Castlevania songs.
  • 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.
  • 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 is 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 than 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Smash Bros games are known for their lightheartedness and chaotic fun that even the bad guys get to join the fun. 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.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying:
    • The Assist Killer ability is given by a handful of Legend Supports, which specifically boosts damage dealt to Assist Trophies.
    • You can learn the Metal Killer Adventure Ability, which boosts damage inflicted to Metal characters.
  • 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.
  • Wham Line:
  • Wham Shot:
    • Snake disengaging his camouflage during the character count surprised many.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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