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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch preview - Hands on with the platform fighter to rule them all

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Product: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate | Publisher: Nintendo | Genre: Fighting
For: Switch
Let's get this out of the way - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is not for everyone. If you were expecting some flashy new upgrade to the series, you won't find that here. This is a game for the fans, through and through.

But because of that mentality, it's already shaping up to be the finest entry in the series so far, not least because it brings together every single character from every single Smash Bros.

We didn't get to play with it for long at Nintendo's recent UK VS event in London, but what we have played has us certain that the full game will be worth the wait.

Happy feet

The basic aim of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is to knock your opponent off the stage by any means necessary - throwing items at them, using special moves and throws, or just punching them really hard in the face.

Rather than having a health meter, characters build up damage, making them easier to smash off the side of the stage as more and more stacks up.

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All that's still present and correct - there's no fundamental changes to the game here whatsoever. If you've played a Smash game before, you'll already know the basic ins-and-outs of the game right from the word go.

What's interesting is the smaller changes here and there which raise the experience to another level. And we're talking really small changes - you now see a list of different colour and outfit options for your character, for example, rather than having to cycle through them blindly.

You can also charge and hold your Smash attacks for longer, leaving you wide open to attacks but meaning you have a larger window to get to full strength and stay there before you have to use up your move.

Wombo combo

It's minor stuff, but it's a level of care and attention that can be afforded to a game that already has solid fundamentals and is simply building on them to deliver the best version of the experience possible.

New additions are few and far between but make for some exciting opportunities. Inklings have joined the fray this time around alongside Ridley, a character fans have been shouting about for years.

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The former can use their ink gun to soak enemies in paint, causing them to take even more damage from basic attacks, which can lead to some truly deadly battles over time.

Meanwhile the hulking space dinosaur Ridley is just silly - he has a tail which can whip your opponents from afar, can fly around the stage, and looks ridiculous. He was also the winner of the very first Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament held at the event, just in case you were wondering how OP he can really be.

There's also a handful of new items and stages to check out, as well as returning favourites for each of the returning characters. It's the whole package and then some.

That ain't Falco!

But what can't be described accurately is just how good Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feels in action. Each punch feels meaty, each jump has purpose, and each item thrown down just adds to the chaos in a way few other games can match.

It may only be a collection of small improvements on the already magnificent Smash 4, but Ultimate definitely feels like it will live up to its name in the long run.

There's still a while until the full game comes out - you can expect it to hit stores on December 7th as long as nothing goes awry. And don't worry, we'll be all over it when it launches.

Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 31 July 2018
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