By Ben Grandis
Nintendo’s latest fighting game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, has been out for just over a month now. Yet in that short period of time, it has changed the world of video games forever. With a robust and fast-paced set of mechanics, new battle modes, a fun single-player campaign, and expansive online play features, the latest iteration of Smash is a crowning achievement and is easily one of my favorite games to come out of 2018.
But what really makes Smash so great is its staggering roster of playable fighters. With over 75 combatants to choose from in Ultimate, players have a dizzying selection and will find that both familiar and fresh faces have a lot of new play-style to offer.
Yet even with such an impressive list of playable characters, I can’t help but feel that there are some worthy personalities who should have made the cut in this tremendous game. Yes, there are hundreds of Spirit and Assist Trophy characters who certainly make an appearance, but it’s just not the same as getting to control the character itself. As of this writing, here are my picks for the Top 10 characters who should have been fighters, including characters who appear as Spirits or Assist Trophies, in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:
#10. Red – Transistor
In a world where Lady Gaga can succeed as a singer, actor, and producer, then there’s no reason why Red from Transistor can’t kick ass as a singer, sword wielder, and Smash fighter. This pop star knows how to pop her enemies into smithereens with the help of the sentient and eponymous weapon, Transistor. Having Red enter the fray would be music to my ears.
#9. Meat Boy – Super Meat Boy
Another indie character who has received a lot of love in recent years, Meat Boy is a perfect fit for the chaotic and colorful world of Smash. His bouncy nature would make him a perfect match to other floaty characters like Kirby or Jiggylpuff. He would also add plenty of mischief and mayhem to an already wild fighting experience.
#8. Travis Touchdown – No More Heroes
Of all the characters on this list, I was genuinely the most surprised when I saw that Travis did not make the list of fighters for this iteration of Smash. This everyman assassin antihero is one of the rare Nintendo-exclusive characters to appear in an M-rated game. He also wields a powerful lightsaber-esque weapon called Blood Berry and has an upcoming game soon to be released on the Switch. If my dreams for this whole list came true, he and Red would have the duel of the century.
#7. Krystal – Starfox Adventures
It’s no secret that Smash’s fighting roster is predominantly male. Of the female fighters in Smash, only Isabelle, Inkling, and Jigglypuff (kind of) qualify as a non-human female character. So it’s a shame that Krystal didn’t make the cut, especially since her moveset would have been very different from the other three Starfox characters currently in Smash. And while she does appear as an Assist Trophy, it still feels like she could have made for an even better fighter. Oh well, better luck next time.
#6. Banjo and Kazooie – Banjo – Kazooie series
Given that Duck Hunt, Rosalina and Luma, and Ice Climbers are already in the mayhem of Smash, it seems that coupling up certainly has its benefits. So please let Banjo and Kazooie get in on this epic date night and show the world just how two heads really are better than one! Honorable mention goes to Yooka-Laylee for this particular spot on the list, but nobody does a dynamic duo like the original Banjo and Kazooie.
#5. Birdo – Mario series
I try to avoid reusing characters I have already featured on other lists here at Game Brainer, but I’ll make a special exception for Birdo. This queer icon would be a perfect Echo fighter to Yoshi. Yes, she does appear on one of the stages in Smash, but given her long history in the Mario franchise, it feels unfair that she got beat out by lesser Mario characters, like Bowser Jr. for a spot on the roster.
#4. Goku – Dragon Ball Z series
While many of the recent Dragon Ball Z fighting games have not made an appearance on the Switch, Nintendo still has a long and storied history featuring Japan’s favorite Super Sayian’s on their consoles. What better character to represent the franchise than its iconic protagonist? Often referred to as “The Superman of the East”, Goku is a powerful and popular fighter who already has plenty of experience in the world of video games. Besides, who wouldn’t have a blast releasing a Hamekameha on their enemies?
#3. Sora – Kingdom Hearts series
With Kindom Heart III releasing soon at the start of 2019, it seems like a missed opportunity to not have its spiky-haired protagonist get in on the Smash action. Many Internet spectators on Reddit and other gaming forums speculate on the myriad reasons why Sora probably won’t ever be featured in Smash. But I hope these theories prove to be untrue. With Disney and Nintendo’s shared history of partnership, nothing is impossible for the greatest crossover fighting franchise of all time.
#2. Midna – Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Joining Krystal under the oddly specific category of “non-human female characters who are capable of combat but who did not make the roster as a fighter in Smash yet are featured as an Assist Trophy”; Midna is one of my all-time favorite video game characters. She deserves far better than her current manifestation in the Smash universe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still delighted that she is able to terrorize opponents when I’m lucky enough to receive her aid on the battlefield. But think of all the different ways she could have been used as a fighter! She could have appeared in her imp form, her riding Wolf Link, or as her (SPOILER ALERT) true, royal self as the Princess of Twilight. All hail her majesty!
#1. Tabuu – Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Bet you thought Waluigi was gonna get this coveted spot, didn’t ya? Despite the online hype train for his inclusion, I just don’t see the appeal. Instead, I think a far more compelling and unusual addition would be Tabuu, the main antagonist of the third game in the Smash series. Never before has Nintendo included a playable character in Smash who was created exclusively for the Smash universe itself. And while some gamers may argue Tabuu is simply too physically large to compete, I counter that Ridley, who was originally a much larger boss in the same game, has been downsized to accommodate his appearance as a fighter in Ultimate. So it really shouldn’t be so taboo to include Tabuu!
Do you agree with this list? Who do you want to see get included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Let me know in the comments!