Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has loads of characters for players to unlock, from recurring favorites to some newcomers as well. Players will want to know how to unlock each character so that they can dive into battle as their favorite fighters. Below, we’ll explain how to unlock characters in each of the game modes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

How to Unlock Characters 

How to Unlock Characters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Classic Mode

Players can unlock characters in various ways in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The first way to unlock your favorite fighters is by playing through Classic Mode as a specific character. You can unlock nearly every character this way, aside from the original eight. For example, if you want to unlock Sonic, you would play through Classic Mode as Mario. For Zero Suit Samus, you must do a Classic Mode run as Captain Falcon.

Below you'll find a chart that details how to unlock each character in Classic Mode, based on information gathered by GusBus6Volt on Twitter and other reports from Smash players. Note that the details in this charts are subject to change as new information is discovered, so check back here for updates. The original eight (Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox, and Pikachu) are unlocked from the start, so we've omitted them from the list.

Characters How to Unlock in Classic Mode 
Dark Samus Unlocked by Samus (2P)
Luigi Unlocked by Ike
Ness Unlocked by Kirby
Captain Falcon Unlocked by Fox
Jigglypuff Unlocked by Ness (1st time)
Peach Unlocked by Falco
Daisy Unlocked by Falco
Bowser  
Ice Climbers Unlocked by King K Rool
Shiek Unlocked by King Dedede, Pokemon Trainer
Zelda  
Dr. Mario Unlocked by Roy, Bayonetta, King K Rool
Pichu Unlocked by Isabelle
Falco Unlocked by Peach and Captain Falcon
Marth  
Lucina Unlocked by Marth, Ryu
Young Link Unlocked by Simon
Ganondorf Unlocked by Ryu
Mewtwo  
Roy Unlocked by Little Mac
Chrom Unlocked by Ridley, Yoshi
Mr. Game&Watch
Unlocked by ROB
Meta Knight  
Pit  
Dark Pit Unlocked by Wario
Zero Suit Samus
Unlocked by Captain Falcon
Wario Unlocked by Cloud
Snake Unlocked by Meta Knight
Ike Unlocked by Little Mac
Pokemon Trainer
Unlocked by Bowser and Donkey Kong. If already unlocked Sonic, unlocked by Mario
Diddy King Unlocked by Dark Pit
Lucas Unlocked by Corrin, Ken
Sonic Unlocked by Mario
King Dedede Unlocked by Pokemon Trainer
Olimar Unlocked by Little Mac
Lucario Unlocked by Yoshi
ROB Unlocked by Luigi
Toon Link Unlocked by Richter
Wolf Unlocked by Peach
Villager  
Mega Man Unlocked by Wario
Wii Fit Trainer Unlocked by Samus (Solo), Inkling
Rosalina Unlocked by Pokemon Trainer, Pichu, Donkey Kong
Little Mac Unlocked by Bayonetta
Greninja Unlocked by Rosalina
Mii Brawler Not Playable in Classic
Mii Swordfighter
Not Playable in Classic
Mii Gunner Not Playable in Classic
Palutena Unlocked by Lucas, Ryu, Young Link
Pac-Man If already unlocked Jigglypuff, unlocked by Ness
Robin Unlocked by Zelda
Shulk Unlocked by Pikachu
Bowser Jr. Unlocked by Falco, Donkey Kong
Duck Hunt Unlocked by Pichu
Ryu Unlocked by Marth
Ken Unlocked by Duck Hunt, Ryu
Cloud Unlocked by Dark Samus
Corrin  
Bayonetta Unlocked By Sonic
Inkling Unlocked by Samus (Solo)
Ridley Unlocked by Lucina
Simon Unlocked by Ice Climbers and King K Rool
Richter Unlocked by Snake and Young Link
King K Rool Unlocked by Link
Isabelle Unlocked by Samus, Shulk
Incineroar Unlocked by Samus (Solo), Wii Fit Trainer
Piranha Plant DLC

World of Light

Since not all characters may be unlock through Classic Mode, the other option is to play World of Light, which is basically Adventure Mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. World of Light features various maps, routes, and regions. Unlocking certain characters in World of Light involves encountering them at a specific location and completing a challenge to obtain that character. Certain characters may also require completing a Final Battle as well. 

Unlike Classic Mode, character unlocks in World of Light are not tied to using specific characters, which means you can play the mode as whomever you like and still unlock characters by finding them at their designated locations.

Below is a chart similar to the one above that outlines the general requirements for finding and unlocking each character while playing through World of Light, courtesy of GusBus6Volt on Twitter.

Characters How to Unlock in World of Light
Mario World of Light, 1st Character you met
Donkey Kong World of Light, Marth route
Link World of Light, Villager route
Samus World of Light
Dark Samus The Final Battle
Yoshi World of Light, Shiek route (Ribbon Road)
Kirby Starter Character
Fox World of Light
Pikachu World of Light
Luigi World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension)
Ness World of Light (Magicant-like area)
Captain Falcon World of Light, Villager route
Jigglypuff World of Light, Shiek's route
Peach World of Light (The Molten Fortress Sub-area)
Daisy World of Dark (Defeat Dry Bowser's Spirit at Dracula's Castle before encountering)
Bowser World of Light (The Molten Fortress Sub-area)
Ice Climbers World of Light, Villager route
Shiek World of Light, one of 3 Starter Pokemon (One of the first 3 routes)
Zelda World of Dark (Sacred Land)
Dr. Mario World of Light, Marth Route (Near Lumious City)
Pichu World of Light
Falco World of Light (Space)
Marth World of Light, one of 3 Starter Pokemon (One of the first 3 routes)
Lucina World of Dark (Right route, The Dark Realm)
Young Link World of Dark (Sacred Land)
Ganondorf World of Dark (Sacred Land)
Mewtwo World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension, defeat Wispy Woods’ spirit)
Roy The Final Battle
Chrom
World of Dark (Sacred Land. Near a treasure chest. Press (A) on an open treasure chest.)
Mr. Game&Watch
World of Light
Meta Knight World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension)
Pit World of Light
Dark Pit World of Dark (Defeat Boo's Spirit at Dracula's Castle before encounter)
Zero Suit Samus
World of Light
Wario World of Dark (Defeat Mummy Spirit's at Dracula's Castle before encounter)
Snake World of Light, Marth route (Base (Metal Gear-Like area)) (Get Otacan's spirit first)
Ike World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension)
Pokemon Trainer
World of Light
Diddy King World of Light (Near DK Island)
Lucas World of Light
Sonic World of Dark (Sacred Land)
King Dedede World of Light (Sub-area)
Olimar World of Light, Marth Route
Lucario World of Light, Villager Route
ROB World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension)
Toon Link World of Light
Wolf World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension)
Villager World of Light, one of 3 Starter Pokemon (One of the first 3 routes)
Mega Man World of Light, Marth Route (Near Sigma Spirit)
Wii Fit Trainer World of Light, Marth Route (Lumious City)
Rosalina World of Dark (Top middle route, Dark Realm)
Little Mac World of Light
Greninja World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension)
Mii Brawler World of Dark (Sacred Realm. Complete a puzzle involving red and blue torches)
Mii Swordfighter
World of Light, Villager route (Town)
Mii Gunner World of Light
Palutena The Final Battle (Near Mythra’s Spirit)
Pac-Man World of Light, Marth route
Robin World of Dark (Defeat Werewolf’s spirit in Dracula’s Castle before entering)
Shulk World of Light
Bowser Jr. World of Dark (Sacred Land)
Duck Hunt World of Light, Marth route (Hidden Forest)
Ryu World of Light (World Tour)
Ken World of Dark (Dracula’s Castle)
Cloud MIA World of Dark (Sacred Land. Unlock Zelda first, path will upon up to lead to him)
Corrin World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension, near Azura’s spirit)
Bayonetta The Final Battle
Inkling World of Light (Nintendo Themed City Northwest of Starting Area)
Ridley
World of Dark (Defeat The Creature & Flea Man spirit in Dracula's Castle before encounter)
Simon World of Light (Near final boss)
Richter
World of Dark (Defeat all dark spirits in Dracula's Castle before encounter. Nearby Clock Tower.)
King K Rool World of Dark (Mysterious Dimension, near Risky Boots’ spirit)
Isabelle World of Light, Villager route
Incineroar World of Dark (Left Route, The Dark Realm)
Piranha Plant DLC

VS Mode

The last way you can unlock new characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is by playing VS Mode. The character unlocks are based on a 10-minute timer, which means that once you unlock a character outside of the World of Light or Classic modes, you must wait for 10 minutes before you can unlock a character this way again. 

Players seem to have found a way around the timer system, however. After unlocking a character, exit out of the game and then reopen it. This reportedly should reset the timer, allowing you to unlock another character in a mode outside of Classic and World of Light without having to wait. This method isn’t totally confirmed, so take these details with a grain of salt.

The unlock order for VS Mode is as follows, courtesy of Zachmin on Twitter:

  1. Ness
  2. Zelda
  3. Bowser
  4. Pit
  5. Inkling
  6. Villager
  7. Marth
  8. Young Link
  9. Wii Fit Trainer
  10. Ice Climbers
  11. Captain Falcon
  12. Peach
  13. Ryu
  14. Ike
  15. Jigglypuff
  16. King K Rool
  17. Sonic
  18. Simon
  19. Zero Suit Samus
  20. Little Mac
  21. Isabelle
  22. Shulk
  23. Lucina
  24. Wario
  25. Ridley
  26. Pokemon Trainer
  27. Lucario
  28. Daisy
  29. Roy
  30. King Dedede
  31. R.O.B.
  32. Falco
  33. Luigi
  34. Pichu
  35. Richter
  36. Diddy Kong
  37. Meta Knight
  38. Snake
  39. Ganondorf
  40. Corrin
  41. Mega Man
  42. Bayonetta
  43. Toon Link
  44. Rosalina and Luma
  45. Incineroar
  46. Sheik
  47. Olimar
  48. PacMan
  49. Dark Samus
  50. Wolf
  51. Mr. Game & Watch
  52. Robin
  53. Dark Pit
  54. Cloud
  55. Duck Hunt
  56. Ken
  57. Greninja
  58. Chrom
  59. Mewtwo
  60. Bowser Jr.
  61. Dr. Mario
  62. Palutena

Note that the details of these character unlocks is subject to change as new information is revealed. To determine which characters you should unlock first, check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tier List