With each new Super Smash Bros. game, the newcomers end up becoming the main focus of discussion. Everyone wants to know who will be making it into the roster, rooting for their own personal favorites to join the fight. However, not each fighter is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser, and now that the full roster for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been revealed, we can finally rank the eleven newcomers. These rankings are based on importance, how interesting and enjoyable they look to play as, and of course personal opinion. This list is also only including rankings for the base game newcomers (sorry Piranha Plant).
Starting off the list with a controversial last place choice. Over recent years, Isabelle has become the face of one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises and has also become a fan favorite character. By that logic, surely, she should be perfect for a new Smash game? The issue with Isabelle isn’t that she’s undeserving, it’s that she’s uninteresting.
When echo fighters were first revealed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a lot of fans assumed that Isabelle would be taking the position of Villager’s echo. That didn’t end up being the case, but unfortunately, it seems like Isabelle’s move set didn’t necessitate that separation. Animal Crossing doesn’t particularly lend itself to fighting and action, and Isabelle’s rather dull moves that just utilizes yet more miscellaneous items found within the game proves that. There’s very little in her move set that’s distinctly “Isabelle”, and she just ends up looking more like an extension of Villager. Cute as she may be, she’s not a particularly compelling fighter.
Daisy was the first new echo fighter to be shown for Ultimate, but she didn’t exactly set standards particularly high. While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Daisy, she’s taken this long to join Smash Bros. for a reason. Since her initial appearance in Super Mario Land, she’s been relegated to side games, and because of this her fan following and appeal is limited. She’s a completely inoffensive yet unremarkable inclusion.
After Corrie’s inclusion as a DLC character for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, many fans stated that they were flat out tired of new Fire Emblem characters in Smash. Well, tough luck, because the seventh Fire Emblem character Chrom managed to worm his way into the roster due to popular demand.
In all fairness to the blue-haired swordsman, (which could also refer to three other playable Fire Emblem characters), he’s only an echo fighter. He’s also the main character of the most popular entry in the franchise and looks quite enjoyable to play as, with a move set that consists of Roy’s and Ike’s specials. I and many others could have gone without seeing Chrom on the roster, but he’s hardly the most underserving Fire Emblem pick to make an appearance in a Smash Bros. title.
With the return of Pokémon Trainer and Pichu, there were nine playable pocket creatures to choose from in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. While each new Smash Bros. title has seen a new Pokémon join the roster, I had hoped that we would be able to avoid something that felt like a mandatory inclusion this time around, due to some Pokémon veterans re-entering the fray. Wishful thinking of course, as Incineroar ended up being the finale to the newcomer reveals.
Amazingly, the Smash Bros. developers managed to actually make this Pokémon look more appealing than he’s ever looked before. From the painstaking details in his fur, to the poses he strikes every time he knocks down an opponent, Incineroar has some flair to him. His wrestling motif has also managed to translate seamlessly into his fighting moves, winning myself and other skeptics over.
When echo fighters were first announced for this title, fans immediately suspected that the “original” echo fighter would be making his debut into Smash. Ken may have been the least surprising newcomer, but nobody can argue that he doesn’t deserve it. He stands as one of the most recognizable fighting game characters, just behind his rival Ryu. The slight variations in his moves seem to indicate that he’ll be a fun alternative, and his classic design is a sigh of relief for fans after his contentious re-design in Street Fighter V. Everybody saw Ken coming a mile away, but nobody complained.
In direct contrast to Ken, nobody expected to see this Belmont family member making his debut. Castlevania rumors had been floating around the Smash Bros. Ultimate speculation scene for months, but fans only had a certain blonde-haired vampire killer on their mind. When it was revealed that his descendant would also be joining as an echo fighter, it was a universally well-received surprise. I imagine appearing in arguably the most beloved game in the franchise (Symphony of the Night) has helped Richter’s case.
5. Dark Samus
A long-running criticism amongst fans of Smash Bros. has been that Metroid was given the shaft for far too long. After fifteen years worth of Smash Bros. installments, Metroid was only represented with a measly two playable characters (both of which were Samus). It seems like this criticism has been completely squashed now, and Dark Samus is partially to thank.
Originating from the critically acclaimed and universally beloved Metroid Prime trilogy, this echo fighter felt like a long time coming. Her inhuman and alien movements are a perfect juxtaposition to Samus’ cold and calculated approach to combat, making her a perfect rival in both the titles she originated from, and on the battlefield.
It would be a lie to say that Inkling wasn’t a shoo-in for the new Smash title. Splatoon is undoubtedly Nintendo’s most successful new franchise in a long time, and the combat-centric nature of the titles makes the player characters perfect inclusions for a fighting game. Using a solid mix of different weapons as well as the ink refill mechanic, Inkling is an absolutely perfect inclusion to the game. Both unique and widely popular, it wouldn’t feel right to leave the squid kids out of the fight.
3. King K.Rool
The fan demand for King K.Rool was absolutely ravenous. Supporters of the overweight crocodile swarmed the ballot, and have been constantly requesting his inclusion to the franchise for well over a decade. It felt wrong that he’d been left out of the party for so long. The Donkey Kong Country titles are some of the most beloved platformers ever released, and it only made sense that the villain from the original installments would join a Nintendo all-star fighting game.
Now that he’s here, he thankfully looks perfect. His updated design is a more modern take on the classic character without sacrificing his defining features, and his move set consists of great call-backs to his various boss appearances throughout the series while also being practical. Realistically, how many things are cooler than a fat crocodile with boxing gloves and a blunderbuss? Not many.
Over the years we’ve seen plenty of beloved third-party icons joining the ever-growing Smash Bros. roster. However, after Mega Man’s inclusion in the previous title, the next essential third-party inclusion became blatantly apparent. Like the Mega Man franchise, Castlevania is synonymous with Nintendo’s early home consoles. They’re essential action platformers for anybody interested in revisiting the strongest titles on Nintendo’s first few systems. It feels like the developers and director Masahiro Sakurai felt the same way about Castlevania joining Super Smash. Bros, as Simon Belmont looks like a die-hard fan’s dream come true.
Simon is shamelessly retro. From his unflattering barbarian outfit and 80’s haircut, to his awkward and stiff walking animations that appear to be ripped straight from the original Castlevania on NES, this guy is a dork in the best possible way. Konami spent years trying to make Simon Belmont look “cool”, with numerous unnecessary re-designs that only served to alienate and upset fans. Masahiro Sakurai and his team made Simon who he is – a manly man hunting monsters and vampires.
He also manages to be a unique fighter in the roster, utilizing more long-range attacks with his whips and various sub-weapons that appear in the original titles. It was a long wait to see Simon in Smash, but it was a wait that ended up being well worth it.
A few years back, Masahiro Sakurai stated something along the lines of Ridley being “too big to be a playable character in Smash”. The recurring villain of the Metroid franchise was a character that was so widely requested, that it prompted the director of the series to try and kill any further expectations for him.
Dreams finally came true and rules were broken during Nintendo’s E3 2018 Direct, however. As well as every character that had ever been in a Smash Bros. game re-joining the roster, the most requested character in the history of the franchise also finally joined. Ridley was finally a playable character. It was the perfect example of fan demand being able to positively impact a title, and his inclusion alone was enough to completely sell a good portion of the fanbase on the game.
Ridley is the ultimate (excuse the pun) Smash Bros. crowd pleaser, and it’s entirely possible that there will never be a more highly requested character for the franchise again. That alone is enough to place Ridley at the top of the pile as the best newcomer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.