Smash Bros. Ultimate Challenger Pack 7 Review: Bring Your Minecraft Big Brain

It finally happened: there’s a Minecraft character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For some this was an inevitable event. Minecraft is the best selling video game of all time, after all. For others it’s a baffling decision – how does a kid-friendly building game fit into the most epic fighter of all time? Pretty well, it turns out. Sakurai managed to turn Minecraft’s creation-oriented mechanics into a delightful moveset, albeit one that requires precise planning on the player’s part.

Minecraft Steve, The Fighter

The Minecraft fighter represents the customization of the game right from character selection. Steve, the default male avatar, is the first selection and who I’ll be referring to for this review. But players can also pick female avatar Alex, a Zombie, and Enderman. There’s also two extra skins for Steve and Alex that give entirely different looks. Only the Koopa Kids offer a competing amount of selection for one fighter.

Steve and friends all control the same, however, with a moveset based around the titular mining and crafting of Minecraft. I go into more detail here, but the main focus is on using B to mine material from the stage itself. Steve then uses these materials to upgrade basic weapons, build blocks in the air, create a TNT box, or ride in a mine cart that runs as they build track.

Playing as Steve feels like a mix of using Robin and Snake. There’s the element of resource management and always needing to make time to mine so you’re not caught empty. There’s also amazing plays to be had from setting up Steve’s constructs in the the right place and at the right time. Sakurai showcased this in his video by denying Pikachu’s recovery with a wall of blocks and by standing on an aerial block for edge guarding. So far, however, I haven’t seen much of this except from streamers who play nonstop. The average player might find Steve to have a bigger learning curve than other DLC fighters.

Just like in actual Minecraft, many will find this rewarding. Putting in the time to dissect Steve’s kit and put it to proper use (Or just experimenting like a madman) will be just the challenge the dedicated are looking for. The casual players dropping in for a few matches during game night might come away frustrated.

Minecraft World Is The Best Name They Could Come Up With?

Steve’s stage is Minecraft World, which is… accurately named if nothing else. The stage generates a full Minecraft World in the background and also somewhat randomizes the actual fighting platform. There is some hope that the stage can be tournament viable, as there are no hazards and two platforms at most. The stage is a nice visual treat, even if it doesn’t carry the same novelty that Steve himself does. And actually, a more straightforward stage is what competitive fans want anyway.

The Music Of Minecraft

Challenger Pack 7 has the least amount of songs we’ve seen in a while, although six of the seven are new remixes. Minecraft’s soundtrack never appealed to me as much as, say, that of ARMS, but fresh Smash remixes are always a welcome sight.

Steve himself carries Challenger Pack 7 with his unique moveset. As always, Sakurai and the Smash Team deserve praise for taking the furthest thing from a fighting game character and making them work.

3.5 Out Of 5

NEXT: Phil Spencer Says Elder Scrolls 6 Might Not Come To PlayStation

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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.

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