There's a crucially important mode in the new 'Smash Bros' for unlocking characters that's really easy to miss — here's how to find it

Nintendo‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ has the largest list of characters of any ‘Smash Bros.’ game — 74 in total at launch.
  • Nintendo just launched the latest entry in its long-running, beloved “Super Smash Bros.” franchise.
  • The Nintendo Switch game has an astonishing 74 playable characters – the vast majority of which must be unlocked, one by one.
  • Unlocking characters requires beating them in a fight, and they’re surprisingly tough.
  • There’s a tremendously useful way to rematch new characters if you lose that first battle – and you will lose a few of those first battles.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is the biggest Nintendo game of the year, and it’s available as of this past Friday on the Nintendo Switch.

It’s the biggest version of an already massive game franchise – there are over 70 playable characters in the new “Super Smash Bros.” Crazier still: The game starts you with just eight of those dozens of characters. The rest require unlocking through various means – playing through Classic Mode, for instance – always resulting in a head-to-head battle. If you win that battle, the new character is yours to play; but if you lose, they disappear back into the shadows.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’/NintendoWho could it be?!

It can be tremendously frustrating when the one character you’ve been waiting to play as trounces you in that battle, which happens with surprising regularity. As someone who spent the past weekend unlocking dozens of characters in the new “Smash Bros.,” I wish I’d known sooner about a tiny little side mode that allows players to re-match potential new characters.

Here’s how to find it:


To find the new mode, you have to dig into the menu system a bit:

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’/NintendoThe main menu in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.’

No matter where how you unlocked a character, they will all show up in the same place if you’ve lost the subsequent fight with said character: an area called the “Challenger’s Approach.”

Notably, that mode doesn’t actually show up in the main menu of the game – it’s somewhat hidden away. The first step to finding it is digging into the “Games & More” menu.


The mode is called “Challenger’s Approach”:

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’/Nintendo

The “Games & More” section is where you’ll find the “Classic Mode” – a linear progression through 10 fights that stands in for a traditional campaign mode. Each fight is successively more difficult, culminating in a boss fight.

It’s also where you’ll find the Training mode, which is exactly what it sounds like, and “Mob Smash” – custom fights that pit you against a variety of different-sized groups of enemies.

Most importantly, though, it’s where you’ll find the “Challenger’s Approach” section. See it above? You’re forgiven if you don’t, even though it’s highlighted: It’s in the lower right corner, and it only appears in this menu if you’ve got unlocked characters waiting for a rematch.


Since this is a rematch, you get to choose which character you want to fight as:

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’/NintendoMario, Donkey Kong, and Link are all available at the outset — the Inkling from ‘Splatoon,’ however, requires unlocking.

The “Challenger’s Approach” section starts off just like any other mode: With players choosing their character from the game’s massive roster.

It’s incredibly nice that “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” allows you to choose whichever character you’d like to use to fight the rematch. Maybe you encountered the Inkling above while playing through the game as Mario in Classic Mode, and maybe you’re terrible with Mario? Being able to rematch the Inkling with another character is hugely helpful.


“Challenger’s Approach” will stack your rematches, and disappears when you’re out of characters to unlock.

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’/NintendoWhen King Dedede trounces you — and he will — he’ll be waiting for a rematch in the Challenger’s Approach. Will you win this time?

Say you spent several hours with friends unlocking characters and, in that process, you lost a handful of battles with new characters. The next time you visit the “Challenger’s Approach” section, all of those characters will be available for rematches in whatever order you first found them.

Sorry: You can’t choose which order you want to fight them. They must be fought in the order in which they were originally found.

But, if you do lose to them a second time, all hope is not lost – after a short period of time, they will re-appear for another bout in the “Challenger’s Approach” menu.

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