Smash Bros. Ultimate: How to Unlock Every Character (Fastest Method)

Like other Smash Bros. games, you’ll be able to unlock different things like Music, Mii Outfits – and of course – Characters. This page will guide you on how to unlock your favorite fighters and more.

Unlike previous iterations, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate only starts with the original cast of 8 characters from Smash 64. All other fighters must be unlocked by various means – the only exception to this rule are the Mii Fighters, which can be created at any time.

There are three main methods confirmed for unlocking characters in Ultimate:

  • Free their Captive Spirits in the Adventure Mode: World of Light
  • Complete a full round of Classic Mode with any character
  • Accumulate play either in regular Smash Mode or any mode that pits you against either CPU or human opponents.

Below you will find more info on how characters are unlocked with each method, and the order they can be unlocked in. Please note some of the info is still being tested, and may be subject to change.

Video Guide: The Fastest Ways to Unlock Every Character

Contrary to early reports, Characters in Smash Bros. cannot simply be unlocked by playing a single match and resetting the game unless you have already met certain parameters. Unlike other Smash Bros titles, the parameters for unlocking fighters by simply playing Smash matches has changed dramatically. It is not based on the amount of matches, it is not based on play time, it is not based on distance traveled, KOs, or even damage dealt.

In order to trigger a new challenger, the game looks for player input – which means you will need to be active during a match: simply pressing one button repeatedly or running won’t be enough. By pressing multiple buttons as you would in the course of a match, or essentially button mashing, you can unlock a character in around a 2-minute match.

This also means any other mode you play, including Classic and World of Light, will also build up player input – and you’ll eventually have a backlog of fighters waiting to challenge you after leaving these modes.

Ultimate’s only tip to unlocking characters references the fact that having more people playing can influence how often new fighters appear – which means the more people who are playing, the more button inputs are tracked – which will greatly increase the rate at which challengers will appear after a match. Because of this, the VS. Mode unlock method is by far the easiest and quickest – so long as you have friends to play with.

There does seem to sometimes be a “cooldown” between fighters appearing that lasts from 5-10 minutes, but if you are certain you have played enough, you can reset this timer by using the aforementioned method:

  • Close the game application, relaunch it from the home screen.
  • Play a quick 1-Stock match in Smash VS. Mode and drop off the stage to quickly end the match and trigger the new challenger.
  • If no fighter appears, that means you still haven’t played enough to trigger a new fighter.

Vs. Mode Unlock Order[edit]

The unlock order for this method is not random – you will always find new challengers in the same order, unless that character has already been unlocked through other means. See the list below:


Separate from simply playing Smash Matches, fighters are also guaranteed to appear after completing Classic Mode with any character. These unlocks follow a very different path, although button inputs from fighting in Classic Mode still counts toward Vs. Mode Unlocks. Because of this, combining the Classic Mode and Vs. Mode unlocks may be the quickest route for someone playing solo.

Depending on which character you complete Classic Mode with, you will begin to unlock characters in a very specific order, and that order can change the more you play and which character you use next. Unlockable fighters appear to be linked to certain groups, and playing one of the 8 default characters or the fighters they unlock will go down that list.

For example: Playing as Mario in Classic Mode will have you unlock Sonic on his first run through. You can then play through again as Mario – or play as Sonic– and you’ll unlock Bayonetta next, followed by Little Mac.

On the other hand, play as Link, and you’ll reveal King K. Rool. Play as either of them for the next Classic Mode run, and you’ll unlock Ice Climbers, and then Simon. We’ve also found that after unlocking enough characters from one default fighter’s path will eventually lead to another – so if you keep playing as Link, you can eventually unlock Sonic without having to play as Mario.

The list below contains all the info discovered by playing Classic Mode with various characters – If there is a specific character you wish to unlock, find the default starting fighter that begins that unlock path.

Also please note that this list is still being tested – It appears that unlocking characters in different lists or modes, or challenging and losing to an incoming fighter may throw off the list until it reaches the next one.

  • Be warned – new challengers will increase in difficulty as you unlock more. Unless you unlock them in the World of Light, the last few challengers will be truly tough opponents.
  • If you lose the match to unlock a challenger, they won’t re-appear by replaying VS. Mode or Classic Mode. Instead, you’ll have to keep playing and periodically check the Games and More hub for a small door icon at the bottom right called the Challenger’s Approach. This allows you to rematch challengers you lost to for another chance to claim them, but it won’t always alert you when its available.
  • If you are re-matching a character, you don’t have to use the character that you had to use to trigger their appearance.  If you failed to beat them initially, you can switch to a character you know you’re good with and win a 1v1 to fight them.

Warning: Location-Based Spoilers are contained below – read at your own risk!

Unique to this mode – you only start with Kirby, and must unlock the rest of the cast including the other original 7 fighters, and each of the Mii Fighters. Any character you unlock in other modes won’t show up here – but those you unlock in the World of Light will show up back in other Smash Modes if you haven’t found them already.

Below you’ll find our list of the general areas in which to find fighters in the World of Light. For more detailed information, see our World of Light Adventure Mode Walkthrough.


Character Locations – World of Light: Download the Image Here

Fighter Location
Mario Starting Area
Marth* Starting Area
Sheik* Starting Area
Villager* Starting Area
*You can only choose one of these characters at the start – the others will be locked off until you complete a dungeon or backtrack around to them.
Captain Falcon RacewayVillager‘s Path
Link Southern Great PlateauVillager‘s Path
Olimar Mushroom PlatformsMarth‘s Path, requires Kammy Koopa’s Spirit to cross the mushrooms
PAC-MAN Edge of the Mushroom PlatformsMarth‘s Path
Jigglypuff River WoodsSheik‘s Path
Mii Swordfighter Eastern TownSheik‘s Path
Isabelle Eastern Town, take the secret path from the Northwestern Town using Kapp’n (Wild World) Spirit
Yoshi Ribbon Road, North of River Woods
Dr. Mario Edge of Ribbon Road and Lumiose City
Pikachu Cliffside Rapids
Peach Inside the Molten Castle Dungeon, at the top of the Cliffside Rapids
Bowser Inside the Molten Castle Dungeon, at the top of the Cliffside Rapids
Lucario Great Wall south of Rapid Falls
Ryu Complete World Tour Zone at airport between Great Plateau and Mushroom Platforms, required Kapp’n Spirit
Donkey Kong Kongo Jungle, west of Mushroom Platforms
Wii Fit Trainer Lumiose City
Inkling Console City, south of Lumiose City
Fox Heart Pool Mountain, west of Ribbon Road
Mega Man Metal Gear Base, south of Kongo Jungle, requires Hal Emmerich Spirit
Snake Inside the Metal Gear Base Dungeon
Duck Hunt Poison Woods
Pichu Inside the Power Plant Zone, located in the Poison Woods
Little Mac On the edge of Lumiose City, complete the Power Plant Zone to unlock his path
Lucas Northwestern Town
Ice Climbers Frozen Mountain, North of Northwestern Town
Simon Temple of Light Zone, requires all three colored switches to be activated to lower barriers in the far northwest
Pit Temple of Light Zone
Falco Outer Space, north of the Frozen Mountain (Requires Slippy Toad Spirit)
Samus Across the Canyon after clearing the Temple of Light
Mr. Game & Watch Pac-Maze area, go through the teleporters to reach him
Diddy Kong In the Jungle Japes Zone, East of the Pac-Maze
Pokemon Trainer South of the Jungle Japes Zone
Mii Gunner On the Alola Islands, requires the Lapras Spirit
Toon Link In the Forest Hill Zone on the Alola Islands
Shulk At the top of the Waterfall Peak, Northeast of the Pac-Maze
Zero Suit Samus Near the peak of the Raging Volcano, Northeast of the Train Tracks
Ness In the Magicant Land, North of the Great Canyon
King Dedede In the Gourmet Race Zone, on the Floating Islands Northwest of the Raging Volcano

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