There's been a lot of confusion regarding how to unlock characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Some players claim that unlocks are entirely random; others insist that they follow a distinct order. Our own staff falls between these two extremes, having unlocked characters in an order seemingly different from other players. Despite all this confusion, one thing is for sure: new characters unlock by playing Classic Mode. And, as luck would have it, there's one strong community resource that seems to indicate clear-cut Classic Mode character unlock methods.
Edit: this guide was updated on January 2 with more information and an extra infographic about the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Classic Mode character unlock order.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Classic Mode character unlocks
Smash Ultimate has been out for long enough now that players have been able to determine a specific unlock order for each of the game's characters. In particular, the folk over at the Smash Bros subreddit have provided a large amount of information concerning their experiences with specific character unlock conditions.
With regard to Classic Mode unlocks, they are largely conditional: for instance, playing with Bowser can unlock the Pokemon Trainer, but if players have already unlocked Sonic, the Pokemon Trainer can be instead unlocked with Mario. As such, the Classic Mode unlocks featured below may not necessarily represent the proper order of unlocks for all players. Instead, they represent what appears to be the proper order as offered by the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community.
Before getting to the specific details, it's worth looking at the following widely-spread image which neatly details the order of character unlocks in Smash Ultimate's Classic Mode. Each of the eight starting characters line the top of the image, and each character beneath those headings can be unlocked by using the starting character at the top of the column or by using any of the characters that follow. For instance, to unlock Ryu, players must first beat Classic Mode using Yoshi. Doing so will unlock Lucario, at which point players can use either Yoshi or Lucario to unlock Marth. From there, Yoshi, Lucario, or Marth can be used to unlock Ryu, and the pattern continues all the way down the chain.
By now, especially considering the above graphic, the Classic Mode character unlock order in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is no longer a mystery. Still, players who wish to unlock and try out each and every character in Smash Ultimate can follow the character unlocks below, which are listed solely by the character or characters immediately preceding them in the chart above. By following this list, series fans can scoop up and get a feel for every new fighter in the game.
Classic mode character unlocks in Smash Ultimate
- Bayonetta - unlocked by Sonic
- Bowser Jr. - unlocked by Donkey Kong or Falco
- Captain Falcon - unlocked by Fox
- Chrom - unlocked by Ridley or Yoshi
- Cloud - unlocked by Dark Samus
- Daisy - unlocked by Falco
- Dark Pit - unlocked by Wario
- Dark Samus - unlocked with Samus
- Diddy Kong - unlocked by Dark Pit
- Dr. Mario - unlocked by Bayonetta, Roy, or King K. Rool
- Duck Hunt - unlocked by Pichu
- Falco - unlocked by Captain Falcon or Peach
- Ganondorf - unlocked by Ryu
- Greninja - unlocked by Rosalina
- Ice Climbs - unlocked by King K. Rool
- Ike - unlocked by Little Mac
- Inceneroar - unlocked by Wii Fit Trainer
- Inkling - unlocked by Samus
- Isabelle - unlocked by Samus or Shulk
- Jigglypuff - unlocked by Ness (in first instance)
- Ken - unlocked by Duck Hunt, Ryu
- King Dedede - unlocked by Pokemon Trainer
- King K. Rool - unlocked by Link
- Little Mac - unlocked by Bayonetta
- Lucario - unlocked by Yoshi
- Lucas - unlcocked by Corrin or Ken
- Lucina - unlocked by Marth or Ryu
- Luigi - unlocked by Ike
- Mega Man - unlocked by Wario
- Mr. Game & Watch - unlocked by R.O.B.
- Ness - unlocked by Kirby
- Olimar - unlocked by Little Mac
- Pac-Man - unlocked by Ness (if Jigglypuff has already been unlocked)
- Palutena - unlocked by Lucas, Ryu, or Young Link
- Peach - Unlocked by Falco
- Pichu - unlocked by Isabell
- Piranha Plant - DLC unlock for registering Smash Ultimate
- Pokemon Trainer - unlocked by Bowser, Donkey Kong, or Mario (if Sonic has already been unlocked)
- R.O.B. - unlocked by Luigi
- Richter Belmont - unlocked by Snake or Young Link
- Ridley - unlocked by Lucina
- Robin - unlocked by Zelda
- Rosalina - unlocked by Donkey Kong, Pokemon Trainer, or Pichu
- Roy - unlocked by Little Mac
- Ryu - unlocked by Marth
- Shiek - unlocked by King Dedede or Pokemon Trainer
- Shulk - unlocked by Pikachu
- Simon Belmont - unlocked by Ice Climbers or King K. Rool
- Sonic - unlocked by Mario
- Snake - unlocked by Meta Knight
- Toon Link - unlocked by Richter
- Wario - unlocked by Cloud
- Wii Fit Trainer - unlocked by Inkling
- Wolf - unlocked by Peach
- Young Link - unlocked by Simon
- Zero Suit Samus - unlocked by Captain Falcon
After completing a Classic Mode run, the character to be unlocked will appear as an Approaching Challenger. Don't worry if you lose the battle against them, because there is a way to start a rematch against any Challengers.
This concludes the list of all the Smash Ultimate Classic Mode character unlocks. If you notice anything different in the game, or if you notice an unlock condition for a character we haven't covered, let us know in the Chatty comments below. For all the rest of our coverage of Nintendo's latest Switch brawler, head over to Shacknews' Super Smash Bros. Ultimate walkthrough and guide.