On a case-by-case basis, Smash Ultimate has made great but subtle tweaks to heavy fighters that should inspire naysayers to give them a fair shot this time around. Bowser feels strikingly good in Smash Ultimate. His smash attacks still dramatically creep up on opponents and take up a lot of time, but in the air, he feels lithe and responsive. He lands with less lag now, too, making it more difficult to punish his in-air combos. Donkey Kong is very strong, and with some extra armor on him now, he won’t suffer so much when one of his slow-moving attacks misses. Surprisingly, Ganondorf, a traditionally low-tier character, has finally found his footing in Ultimate. Although his recovery is awful, it’s become easier for him to string together his moves into threatening combos on the ground and in the air. Finally, although Barrios has some strong words about King Dedede, one of our top players in the office has been destroying us with him. Over Slack, devops engineer Chris Jones told Kotaku, “DeDeDe is godly now. His air game is ridiculous. He can cover so much distance so quickly. I especially love the stage dive forward air trick. That would kill some characters, but he can always recover from it.”


In terms of new heavy fighters, King K. Rool is king. He has an exquisite combination of strong projectiles that create distance between himself and opponents and some killer aerial attacks for when he closes that distance. Plus he’s got a long and forgiving recovery move thanks to his helicopter backpack. And while Incineroar is the slowest fighter in the game, he can handle projectiles well with his “Revenge” attack while, at the same time, wrecking opponents with his dangerously powerful throws.

Smash Ultimate does appear to be “ultimate” but in more subtle ways that go beyond its all-inclusive roster of 76 fighters. So many of those fighters are competitive and, at the same time, fun to play. That means that within Smash Ultimate is an infinite number of match-ups and playstyles to try out—well, okay, more like 3,000 match-ups. Making the heavies feel like less of a slog, and giving them more of an opportunity to be calculating and strategic, opens up new possibilities for high-level play. Hopefully, in 15 years, pros will be competing with more than just Fox.