‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Is Smash On Steroids’ – Hands-On Impressions

At EGX 2018 I spent most of my time playing some of the hottest Nintendo games, due to drop in the coming weeks.

Here’s my disclaimer: despite being a die-hard Nintendo fan, the Super Smash Bros. franchise is one I’ve only ever dabbled in, so I was keen to see how the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would pan out for me, a non-Smash fan.

Having only ever briefly touched on a few of the titles in the series, I didn’t have extremely high hopes for this one. It was a game that hadn’t grabbed me in the past, so why would it grab me now?

The answer to that question, I soon realised, was a pretty simple one: Smash Ultimate will grab you because it’s a damn fun game.

I played in a team of fiercely competitive players, battling it out in a couple of matches of skill and perseverance.

The gameplay was classic Smash as I knew it, and was mostly about figuring out the pros and cons of your chosen character and how to use those against your competitors.

With so many different stages to choose from we decided best to Randomise the sets, with my favourite being the Sonic version. With so many different stages to choose from, all with their own pitfalls and benefits, there’s going to be a lot on offer here for even the most seasoned Smash players.

The character roster also left little room for improvement. Heroes and heroines and pink blobs from some of my favourite games were available, and there was also a tonne of characters I didn’t recognise so easily. Here’s where it’s best to have that background Smash knowledge of who best fits your play style (Princess Zelda, for me) and who doesn’t (Metal Gear‘s Snake wasn’t my favourite).

The characters moved fluidly, definitely giving the tempo you need for a game this fast-paced and competitive. It was a joy to control them – I just wish I’d known which character would best suit me.

What made the game most enjoyable was the GameCube-style controller. As much as I love the Nintendo Switch’s JoyCons, I just can’t see them being that beneficial to the play style of Smash. If anything, the sleek and tiny JoyCons are exactly what you don’t need for a title like this.

Players at the booth generally agreed – if you’re picking up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate then the GameCube controller is a must-buy too. If anything, it hits the right buttons when it comes to nostalgia.

Overall I really enjoyed playing Smash Ultimate. With so many options, so many styles of play and even a huge selection of music choices, this is Smash on steroids.

It’s not a day one title for me – not because of the game itself – but just because I don’t have the affinity with the series. That being said, it’s fun, it’s fast and it’s Smash, so it’s definitely on my wish list – as long as I don’t have to play with the JoyCons.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases for the Nintendo Switch, 7 December 2018.