One of the biggest draws of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is its roster of 74 classic Nintendo characters, from stalwarts such as Mario and Bowser, to cult figures like Captain Falcon and Mr Game and Watch. This isn't immediately obvious from booting up the game, however. You start out with eight fighters: the same set as the N64 original Smash Bros game. Unlocking every character can take quite some time - but with our simple guide, you'll have the entire roster in a jiffy. We'll explain how to unlock every Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character below, plus we have playing tips for every fighter, outlining their strengths and weaknesses.
Here are two surefire methods to snag all the Smash Bros. Ultimate unlock characters - one that's quick and dirty using a workaround, and a more traditional method that'll still speed up the process. Whichever one you choose, you'll be on your way to a complete set of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighters in no time - and for some players, that's when the fun really begins.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate unlock characters - the fastest method
As is often the case, the most efficient way to get things done is to game the system - in this case, the "Challenger Approaching" battles. As YouTuber Fallout Plays explains in the video above, by closing your game immediately after defeating and unlocking a new challenger, you can force it to queue up another challenger immediately when you boot it up again. In other words, once you get one challenger to appear, you can continually reset the game to fight everyone back to back to back. The quickest way to start this process is spamming one-stock matches in traditional Smash mode and jumping off the edge, as you don't need to win to make a challenger appear.
- Just getting started? Don't miss our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tips
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate unlock characters - the intended method
Adventure Mode: World of Light is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's main solo campaign, where you'll collect Spirits from a host of Nintendo titles and slowly reawaken fighters from the control of the big bad Galeem. And wouldn't you know it: releasing a fighter from Galeem's power will also unlock them in your roster. You'll find these fighters as blue, winged icons on the World of Light map; there's no one set path to finding them all, but you'll amass plenty as you fight through the Adventure Mode.
While simply playing World of Light will unlock characters at a steady pace, there's an added way to speed things up. Every ten minutes of play, the game will queue up a "Challenger Approaching" fight where a new character enters the ring and you'll unlock them if you win. But these sudden battles won't trigger when you're in the midst of Adventure Mode, so you'll need to back out to the main menu in order to activate them. As far as we can tell, the triggers won't stack if you spend hours in Adventure Mode without exiting to the menu, so make a habit of backing out every few fights to make sure you don't miss out.
By using this method, you can effectively thin out the seemingly endless procession of characters who'll challenge you, as you'll never be challenged by a fighter you've already unlocked on the World of Light map. That said, be aware that this doesn't work the other way around, so there may be times when you reach a World of Light character encounter only to find that you've already unlocked that fighter through other means. No worries - the fight won't take long, and you'll be able to play as that character in World of Light from that moment on.
What to do if you lose during a "Challenger Approaching" battle
The more characters you unlock, the tougher each subsequent fight will be, as the CPU's difficulty ramps up towards the maximum Level 9. It's very likely that you'll lose a few matches on your way to a full roster - maybe the stage screwed you up, or you were forced to reuse a fighter who you're not familiar with just yet, or the AI just beat the snot out of you. If this happens, don't worry - you haven't lost your opportunity to unlock this fighter, and you'll get a rematch soon enough.
Whenever you lose a "Challenger Approaching" battle, you'll have the chance to fight that character again via the Challenger's Approach, a glowing door icon in the bottom left of the Games & More section of the main menu. If you lose an unlock battle, that fighter will reappear at the Challenger's Approach door after around 10-20 minutes, and you can choose any fighter you like before the rematch. You'll never be challenged by the same locked character twice using the above methods, so if you're having trouble against a certain opponent, you can just leave them waiting at the Challenger's Approach door until you think you're ready to give them another go.
Which character is best for you? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character guide on the next page