Can you master R.O.B., the video robot?
So we finally have a complete launch roster for Nintendo’s final major release of the year (arguably their biggest release of the year) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Shantae didn’t make the cut, the only character I was hoping for, but its fine. These things happen, and I’m not about to lose my mind on the internet about it. Life’s too short and there’s a thousand more serious problems to address in the tapestry of existence.
I’ll tell you who else I love, other than the half-genie hero, and that’s R.O.B. the Robotic Operating Buddy. A big part of it comes from nostalgia, I remember R.O.B.’s launch and the really exciting commercials featuring the “video robot”. It seemed like gaming was entering a whole new world, an age of technology that was going to blow our minds. It was gonna be all robots, all the time.
Ok, we know now that it didn’t really work out that way at all. R.O.B. and his disc spinning skills were essentially good for one game, Gyromite (he was also compatible with Stack-Up, but I never came across that). Very quickly, R.O.B. was consigned to the museum of gaming, the little robot that could, but didn’t.
Making spot cameos in the following years, R.O.B. eventually burst back onto the scene as a playable fighter in Smash Bros. Brawl, scoring his own amiibo and even featuring in the Subspace Emissary story mode. But what really mattered was that he hadn’t been forgotten, he could still be relevant in the modern gaming world, despite his age, obsolescence, and lack of any practical use… Self-projection? Never heard of it, pal.
So, who is your favourite character in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launch roster? Let’s see what some of our beloved staff had to say on the matter.
While there are a lot of new characters to consider, this list is about our favorites on the roster, and for me, it’s Little Mac. The boxing underdog made of short stuff and iron fists plays unlike anyone else on the cast. Any regular character made for Smash has some ground game, some air game, and some recovery, with varying characteristics between those. But Little Mac goes all-in on ground game, to the point where he’s wildly unbalanced when it comes to any situation where his feet aren’t planted on the floor.
Punch-Out!!, and all the games before it, are about playing as a tiny underdog who takes on a boxing championship’s worth of racial caricatures and, aside from Mac’s fairly well-informed boxing stance, his underdog status also translates to the game as well. Mac dominates on the ground but any time he’s in the air, which is inevitable for Smash Bros, he’s immediately in trouble. More than half of your time fighting is spent in the air and Mac sucks at that. Thus, he’s an underdog when it comes to competing in the game.
Of course, I love Mac mechanically too. His ground attacks are so strong, I get a hoot applying basic spacing and footsies while walking in a game where most players will run and jump into melee range. Wacky combos like down tilt to side tilt or neutral normal to tornado uppercut against unsuspecting players. It’ll be an exciting time in Ultimate for Little Mac to have his side B buffed to allow for more recovery afterward instead of going into a helpless state.
I’m probably cheating given that he’s not quite a launch character, but he’ll be released for free to everyone who gets the game at launch, soooo I’m gonna see if I can stretch the definition. Besides, I can’t deny the fact that I am more excited to play as this boy than anyone else. I mean… he’s a freaking Piranha Plant. A Piranha Plant!
I’ve always had a soft spot for mooks and “generic” characters ascending to the same level as iconic heroes, if not above them. It’s something I love about Paper Mario partners, about Disgaea’s class system and limitless grinding, about collectible creature games like Pokémon, and so on. It’s a weird trope I love because I just think it’s awesome and inspiring, much like the classic tale of the underdog claiming victory over the frontrunners, or the not-so-classic tales of moths suplexing dragons. And while Smash unfortunately still lacks playable insect people, Piranha Plant happens to hit the almost-as-rare niche of playable plants!
His reveal trailer was the highlight of Sakurai’s trolling career. His moveset is full of long-reaching strikes in a fighting style, unlike most other characters. His animations are extremely expressive. He’s so happy to be here. He’s doing his best. He’s a good boy.
Not relevant to this question, but as a bonus — now nobody can say that Bandana DeeLC is impossible.
This is tough. The paternal side of me wants to pick Pichu, because I have nothing but love for a little kid who’s brave enough to mix it up with the big boys. The old man in of me wants to pick Mr. Game & Watch, because I absolutely love that in the midst of one of gaming’s most heated eras of tech competition, Sakurai decided to include a fighter in Melee that was monochrome, two-dimensional, and rendered with single-frame animations. My sentimental side wants to pick Lucas, who against all odds managed to make it to Brawl, despite the many forces (both in his game and in the real world) that were working against him.
Since I have to pick just one, I’ll go with Toon Link. Like Pichu, he’s a child who’s willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone, no matter their weight class. Like Mr. Game & Watch, he went boldly abstract when the rest of the industry was pining to be more complex and realistic. Like Lucas, he’s a commercial underdog who was misunderstood and even hated at first, but who’s undeniable heart eventual won over even the most Grinch-y of curmudgeons.
Also, in his last game, he could dress up like a cheerleader, Tingle, or even Zelda herself. I can only hope that some of those unique looks from Tri Force Heroes make their way into Ultimate in some form or another.
I will level with you all. The Legend of Zelda is my favorite series of all time and Link is the reason I discovered a lot of other games. I would have never gotten into Soulcalibur if Namco Bandai didn’t think to include him in the Gamecube port of Soulcalibur II. I picked up Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate solely because there was a Link costume. When Nintendo added Link to Mario Kart 8, I was over the moon.
Ever since I played Ocarina of Time when I was 10 years old, Link has been my favorite character in all of gaming. If he is present in a game, chances are I’ll pick him. In Hyrule Warriors, despite having an entire cast of characters to select from, I go with Link. When I was a kid, I begged my mom to buy me that shitty Link figure at Toys R’ Us just because I had to have it.
In every Smash Bros. game, I tinker with other fighters but always return to Link. He was my original main and he’s still the one I’m the best with. He might suck in more than half of the series, but I’ve become so skilled with him that I can take out my friends with ease. At one point during our many battles in Brawl, I earned the nickname of “The Green Monster” for surviving completely insane odds.
It might be a little cliche since Zelda is a highly regarded Nintendo franchise, but I just love Link. Wherever he goes, I’ll follow.
So if we’re talking characters then obviously the character I’m going to play as most would be Daisy. Peach is my current main and I want to see what types of changes she has as an Echo Fighter. I’m not exactly a huge Daisy fan – though I love her cruiser – but if she’s a better version of Peach, she’s my new go-to girl. I am a fan, however, of Chibi-Robo.
I’ve been stanning for the robot since before I even played one of his games because I’m that type of person. I own every Chibi-Robo title, at least the ones released in North America, and have been pretty sad and somber that he may never get another big adventure game. Seeing the character as a Spirit in Ultimate certainly raised my hopes, but when I found out he would also be a costume, well, suddenly my most anticipated character became the Mii.
As excited as I am to cosplay as Chibi-Robo in Smash, I’m not exactly looking forward to developing my skills with a brand of fighter I don’t particularly prefer. I don’t play as Samus, or Fox, or Falco, or really any of the shooter characters in the series. I’m more of a brawler type myself, so as happy as I am at the thought of wearing Chibi-Robo’s flesh over my own, I really wish he was either of the other two Mii Fighter types. Boy, now that I’m reading all this back to myself, I don’t sound much elated at all to play as Chibi-Robo.
Well, nevermind then. Daisy it is!
Pixie The Fairy
As much as I might be looking forward to the return of Solid Snake, dancing as Bayonetta or whipping folks good as Simon and Richter Belmont, or Zero Suit Samus, fighting games are all about memorizing inputs and relearning the wheel, because characters get rebalanced over time and from one game to the next. Soulcalibur took that too far for a while and it put me off for three entries, now that Ivy has a some of her SCII moveset back in SCVI, I’m a happy camper.
Thankfully in Smash 4, they added a guy that I never, ever have to relearn, so my default will often be the classic World Warrior; Ryu.
Shoryuken, Hadoken, Hurricane kick — these are things I know by heart and I’m going to try and unlock Ryu as soon as I can. After that, I can figure out all the other characters later. As a bonus, Ken is also in Ultimate as an echo fighter, so there’s two characters I don’t really have to relearn at all!
And really, the fact that Ryu and Ken have the inputs they are famous for is just one of those things I love about Smash – every character really is in-character, regardless of the game they hail from. That’s a level of dedication that makes Smash a love letter to all video game fans.