I’ll admit, I’ve never played a Smash Bros. game up until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and because of this, I’ve had to learn a lot of tips and tricks about the game which veteran players were likely already familiar with.

So, rather than keeping all of this information to myself, I thought I’d knock up a nice little Super Smash Bros. Ultimate basics post for beginners, like myself, who have never picked up a Smash game before.

How to Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Seems like a pretty simple answer right? Put the game card in or download the game, and off you go! Well, yes and no. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate offers several ways for players to play the game. The first thing you’re probably going to do is head to the big red “Smash” menu option.

Within this menu, you’ll have Smash, Squad Strike, Tourney, Special Smash, and an option to configure your controls. Naturally, Smash will be the first place you’ll head, and you’ll be presented with the first thing that completely threw me off. Rulesets.

What are Rulesets in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

Rulesets are basically the rules of the game you’re about to play. You’ll be given two options to begin with, 3 Stock – 2:30 and just 2:30. Stock are Lives in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that means each player will begin with three lives and the last to lose all three wins. The 2:30 modifier is how long the match will last, and the winner will be determined based on who has the most lives left.

The 2:30 ruleset simply gives players a time of 2:30 to achieve a win.

You can also create your own Ruleset if you so wish, with more Stock, a longer time limit, CPU level, Stage Selection, Spirits, and much, much more.

Once you’ve got your ruleset, you’ll be able to choose your stage and characters and be on your merry way. Smash is, however, one of the many ways to play the game, as there’s World of Light, and Classic Mode, but we’ll get to those in a little bit.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Stage Selection

How to Attack in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

With very little in the way of tutorials, learning to attack is probably the first thing you’ll want to learn and fortunately the basics aren’t too difficult to pick up on.

There are two types of attack, “Attack” and “Special” these are then used in combination with the left stick to unleash different attacks. Your basic attack is bound to the A button and this is best used to weaken your opponent quickly. The more damage they tack (the percentage under their name) the better.

Once the percentage is high enough, you can begin with your Special attacks. Combining Special attacks with the left thumbstick does something called a Tilt Attack, and, depending on the direction will unleash a different attack. Special attacks are bound to “B”.

One thing you may also want to learn is how to unleash your Shield. Using ZR you can temporarily shield yourself from attacks. Combine this button with the left stick also allows you to dodge attacks, too.

Finally, Jump is bound to Y and X and depends entirely on your preference.

How to Pick Up Items in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Picking up items is a big thing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as it’s a way for you to get a quick advantage in-game. Items also offer health boosts and much more. But if you have no idea how to pick them up, especially as everything is going too fast on screen, they’re not going to be much use.

Fortunately, picking up items is fairly simple. You just press “A”. You can then press “A” again to use or throw the item, depending on what it is.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Screenshot

How to Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

A Final Smash can be achieved quite simply as soon as a Smash Ball appears. Once in play, any player can attack and smash the Smash Ball this then gives them the ability to unleash their Final Smash which can be done by simply pressing “B” once your character is glowing.

How to Parry in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players can parry attacks if they’re quick enough and have a keen eye. Now you know how to use your shield, to parry, all you have to do is tap your shield just as you’re about to be hit by an opponent. This should parry the attack. But timing is absolute key.

How to Access World of Light in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate comes with its own single player or campaign mode in World of Light, but one thing I struggled with upon opening the game was navigating to this mode. Turns out, Nintendo has hidden this within the Spirits menu under the title “Adventure”.

Here, you’ll be able to play as Kirby and help free many of the other Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters from the grip of Galeem.

How to Unlock Characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate offers over 70 characters to choose from, however, at the very beginning, a huge number are locked. In order to unlock these characters you’ll come across random encounters throughout the game as well as a number of challenges which can be complete.

One of the quickest ways to unlock new characters is to play Smash mode. Once you’ve completed a match you’ll likely find yourself encountering a new enemy. Once defeated, you’ll unlock their character in the game.

These are apparently timed to happen every ten minutes, however, rumor has it, if you reset the game after each encounter resetting the timer.

Another way to unlock specific characters is to head on over to Vault and then Challenges to see a list of challenges which you can attempt to unlock characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Selection

How to Change Character Colours in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

One thing I didn’t realize is that characters come in different colors. If you want to stand out from the crowd, or simply play as Zelda with silver hair, you can! All you have to do is press L or R while in the character select screen.

How to Play Two Player on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

With the Nintendo Switch being geared towards multiplayer, you and a friend or sibling can play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate right out of the box with a single JoyCon each. Once you’ve loaded up Smash and chosen your level, you can then navigate to the “P1” icon underneath “Player 1” and cycle through until it says “Disconnect” and “P1 None”.

From here press SL+SR to register the controller for the first player. The second player should also press SL+SR and they’ll be brought into the game. From here you can select your characters and battle away!


These are just a few of the basic things I’ve learned during my time with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, however I’ll continue to add to this post as I learn more things which I assume, to veteran players, is common knowledge.

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