Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is here to bring friends together to beat the percentages out of each other. Yet there is a robust single-player component to the game. It's actually part of a legacy, from the mainstay classic mode to Melee's platforming adventure mode to Brawl's Subspace Emissary. Ultimate's take on this is called World of Light.
World of Light focuses less on cutscenes and more on a giant world map chock-full of Nintendo references. Still, there is a reason why Everyone Is There, and a plot that slowly reveals itself over time. Here's what happens in World of Light, in case you don't have a Switch or are forced to wait until Christmas to get one.
It all begins with the now-infamous cutscene posted above. The ball of light with wings, later named as Galeem, shoots most of the Smash cast with some kind of beam that reduces them to nothingness. The only one to escape the catastrophe is Kirby, which according to the game's creator happened because the little guy is able to travel at warp speed. As for the rest of the smashers, they are bound and drenched in a liquid that creates dark clones of them. These clones are then possessed by the spirits of other video game characters.
Spirits And Captured Fighters
The lone Kirby, meanwhile, arrives on a map enshrouded by fog. Galeem can be seen at the other end, encased in a protective shield. The player is then put in control of Kirby, with only one path to follow. It doesn't take long for the player to encounter their first few spirit battles. Through these battles, we learn that the clones are called "puppet fighters" and that their spirits are those of other Nintendo characters. For instance, the Great Fairy from The Legend Of Zelda possesses a giant Zelda. By defeating these puppet fighters, the player frees the spirit inside and can use them in battle.
Soon, Kirby finds the captured Mario and frees him. From that point on, the player can choose to use either Mario or Kirby in battle. Right after that, there's a fork in the road. The player can choose to rescue either Marth, Villager, or Sheik next. Once the choice is made, a Master Hand appears and creates barriers blocking the other two paths.
From there, the progression goes according to a basic pattern. You continue going down various paths and adding more spirits to your collection. Occasionally you'll rescue a fighter as well. Certain parts of the map are barred by hazards. For example, an ocean too wide to cross or a broken bridge. Getting through these hazards requires the player to find particular spirits. To cross the ocean, one must find the spirit of the water-dwelling Pokémon Lapras on the map.
Revealing enough of the map and/or rescuing enough fighters causes Galeem to send out its power. This power opens a portal to one of several dungeon-esque areas. Bowser's castle is one, as is a Rathalos habitat from Monster Hunter. As these examples imply, there is a boss waiting at the end of these areas. Defeating these bosses causes the shield around Galeem to weaken a bit each time. After enough bosses are taken out, Galeem's shield goes away for good. Then it's time to take on Galeem.
...Or it should be. Right before the player reaches Galeem, a Master Hand attacks. After defeating the hand, the player can actually fight Galeem. Defeat it, and the game is over.
Dharkon And The Dark Realm
Except it's not really over. Defeating Galeem actually creates an opening for an enemy we didn't even know existed. Dharkon, the lord of darkness, breaks through space itself with an army of Crazy hands. With Galeem weakened, Dharkon easily takes over and plunges the player into its Dark Realm version.
The Dark Realm is a whole new map to explore, complete with its own set of spirits and fighters. The spirits have a darker aura to them, and tend to be those of villainous characters. The bosses here are also sinister characters like Marx and Dracula.
The Dark Realm is more straightforward than the World of Light. There are fewer spirits, but this is made up for in the form of some unique challenges. To start, Crazy Hand battles are scattered throughout the map. One dungeon area also features a quiz, where the player must choose the correct spirit to fight based on the question provided.
All in all, however, it comes down to a final battle against Dharkon. But even defeating him is not the end.
It seems that both Galeem and Dharkon have some fight in them despite taking a beating from the smashers. They engage in an aerial battle, firing lasers and hands at each other, while Mario and company watch. Then, you're brought to an odd web of energy pathways. These snake through the sky, leading to the two battling lords.
Of course, the path is not clear. There are still plenty of spirits, fighters, Master Hand, and Crazy Hand in the way. And that's where things get tricky.
There are actually several endings to the story depending on what actions the player takes during this battle. Both light and dark spirits are present here, and defeating too many of one side will turn the tide of the war. If you focus purely on defeating the dark, for instance, you can destroy Dharkon for good. But then Galeem will cover the world in its light, which is considered a bad ending.
The true ending is to free Master and Crazy hand by defeating them first. They actually help you in this case, creating a bridge to fight both Galeem and Dharkon at the same time. After defeating both at the same time, they will explode simultaneously into a wave of balanced energy. The captured spirits will all be freed, and fly into the sky to celebrate your victory.