Super Smash Bros Ultimate replaces the fan favorite trophies with Spirits Mode. This is a new way to play that has you completing challenges based on various characters. In the lore of Smash Bros, characters are animated toys trying to return to the real world. Spirits Modes introduces the concept that characters who aren’t fighters in the game lose their physical form. Now merely spirits, these characters can lend their powers to the fighters to enhance their abilities.
Spirits are an entirely new collectible that ranges from novice abilities all the way to four-star legends. Primary spirits add power to the fighter equipped to them. Primary spirits also have slots that can be equipped with Support Spirits. These give characters additional abilities, such as an improved jump or metallic skin.
You can acquire new spirits in Spirit Battles. These are challenges that tweak the gameplay of Super Smash Bros Ultimate to be similar to the character you acquire. For example, to get a Lakitu and Spiny spirit, you’ll be fighting an Iggy Koopa with a host of small red Bowers behind him.
Other battles include Gordo, the spiked ball from the Kirby franchise. In this fight, you’ll face three King Dededes and have to contend with Gordos dropping in from every which way. In the Guts Man fight, you’ll battle an oversized orange Mega Man who is keen on throwing you off the stage. Owain, a fighter from Fire Emblem: Awakening, will have Chrom taunting every chance he gets and wielding a Killing Edge.
Before going into battle, you’ll get hints as to what hazards you’ll face on the prep screen. You can also go in and have the game automatically pick a spirit that will help you for each particular fight. After the battles, you’ll need to hit the puppet fighter at the right time to acquire their spirit. A rotating shield will try to block you, but hitting the shield will damage it and let you more easily acquire the spirit on your next playthrough.
Spirits will level up with you after each battle. You’ll also get snack items as you continue battling that will level up your characters faster. Some spirits can evolve into enhanced forms if they hit a higher level. There’s also an element of crafting, as you can send spirits back to the real world to gain their cores. Combine enough cores and you can summon a different character to help you next time.