The feature-packed game weighs in at 14GB and sees the return of Ice Climbers, which were removed from the previous release due to performance issues on the 3DS. In terms of the finer details in the Switch version of the game, lighting has been given a drastic overhaul, background details have been improved, character outfits are revamped and fully dynamic shadows are on display. Unfortunately, Donkey Kong’s fur didn’t make the cut and has now been replaced with a basic texture. Whether or not this was an artistic choice on the development team’s behalf is unknown. The new entry also utilises elements of cel-shading previously seen in the past handheld release and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
In handheld mode, this Switch release runs at 1280 x 720 which is a big step up from 400 x 240 on the 3DS. Gone are the low-resolution textures and blurry shadows. In docked mode, Ultimate runs at a native resolution of 1980 x 1080 (the same as the Wii U version). Across both styles of play, Ultimate’s visuals are broadly identical. The resolution drops from 1080p to 720p but the frame rate stays the same at 60fps.
The only time DF noticed performance struggles was it ran tests featuring eight Ice Climbers on screen at once. During these tests, the game ran at a higher frame rate in portable mode. In terms of input lag, Ultimate is most responsive when using a controller connected to the GameCube adapter. As for how Ultimate stacks up against existing releases, it’s the least responsive Smash game to date
Regardless of the minor technical drawbacks, DF still thinks Ultimate will get plenty of mileage and is one of the best Smash and Switch games to date.