Smash Ultimate boasts 74 characters — the largest roster in Super Smash Bros. history. But only eight of those characters appear at the start of the game. You must unlock the other 66 by playing in a variety of ways. Different methods unlock the roster in a different order, too.
Thankfully, there are a few tricks and good-to-know tips that help you fill out that select screen faster. Some are easy! Others require a lot of time and patience. Follow this guide, however, and you’ll find every Smash Ultimate character in no time flat.
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World of Light – Unlock Through Single-Player Battles
The most time-consuming way to unlock characters is by playing World of Light: the robust single-player component of Smash Ultimate. In this mode, each character is represented by a statue icon on the map. And defeating the character in combat unlocks them in every other mode.
Unfortunately, we mean it when we say “time-consuming.” Collecting all the Spirits and character statues through the mode’s sprawling paths takes upwards of 24 hours to complete. If you’re willing to wait that long, and want to see the story of Super Smash Bros Ultimate in the process, then hop into World of Light and get grinding.
Classic Mode – Every Character in a Specific Order
Classic Mode doesn’t take as long as World of Light, but unlocking characters with this method will challenge the most seasoned Smash Bros. players.
Each character has their own path through Classic Mode, themed around some feature of the character. Ryu’s, for example, emulates the Arcade Mode of Street Fighter II, with different Smash characters representing Street Fighter characters.
Completing each Classic Mode unlocks an A.I. battle against a different character, in a specific order, depending on who you play. Winning that one-on-one battle unlocks the corresponding character. However, some Classic runs may unlock a character you already have. So be aware of who you still need and how to unlock them.
An official Smash Ultimate unlock list (shown below) has also surfaced, detailing each Classic Mode unlock. Just follow the list (and our instructions) to navigate through the different characters’ lineups.
The list reads from top to bottom. So, for example, Mario’s Classic Mode run allows you to fight and unlock Sonic, whose Classic run unlocks Bayonetta, who unlocks Little Mac, and so on. Every character in the game is represented here, so following these paths will get you to the full roster.
Basic Matches – A New Character Every 10 Minutes
The fastest way to unlock the roster is also the simplest: just play basic matches. The first match you play provides the opportunity to unlock a character. Every 10 minutes of play thereafter, a new challenger will “approach” until all 74 are available. This applies to both matches in the Smash menu and the Spirit Board area, so double unlocking duty for Spirits and characters is possible.
One quick note that applies to the Classic and Basic approaches: should you lose a match to a new challenger, you do not have to wait for them to randomly appear again. After a few more matches the door highlighted in the image above will appear in the “Games and More” menu. That door, called “Challenger’s Approach,” is the literal doorway to rematches against new fighters that got away the first time. Challengers appear in the order you first saw them, too. So keep an eye out for that door if you lose a challenger match. Revenge can be yours!
The Smash Ultimate Character Unlock Trick
You might have heard by now, but there’s also a quick (albeit annoying) way to unlock characters slightly quicker. You just need to follow these simple steps.
First, boot up Smash Ultimate from the home screen of your Switch. Play a quick match and, regardless of the outcome, return to the home screen. Then close the Smash Ultimate software with the X button.
Next, boot the game back up and create a new, custom rule set with one “stock” per player. That’s the Super Smash Bros. term for the number of lives players get. You don’t need to play with one stock, but it should provide the fastest possible play time. Speaking of which, you can grab a friend and/or a second controller to cause player two to walk off the edge of the stage. That will make things even faster.
Button through the end-of-match stats and you should get a “Challenger Approaches” warning. Beat whichever character to appears to unlock them. You can repeat this entire process over and over again to cut down on a few precious minutes. Although, depending on what kind of player you are, it might suck some of the fun out of the whole thing. That’s up to you!
By following these methods, unlocking the full Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster should be a breeze. The length of time breeze takes will vary, but before long the full Smash Ultimate experience will be available. Happy smashing, and check back here at Fanbyte for more Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coverage.