Reviewing The Best Smash Bros. Mods
Super Smash Bros. is a hit game series from Nintendo, known for establishing the platform fighter genre and its nigh unprecedented crossovers.
The original Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 brought characters from all of Nintendo’s mainline franchises (and a few of their obscure ones) in a nigh-unprecedented gaming crossover event.
Super Smash Bros. Melee, for Nintendo GameCube, followed a few years later. It expanded the roster, had incredibly deep and technical gameplay, and became a darling for the competitive scene, a crown it carries to this day.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is where the crossovers got truly crazy, with characters like Solid Snake and Sonic The Hedgehog making their way into Smash Bros. Adding third-party characters to Smash opened a Pandora’s Box, of sorts, one that has only gotten more and more out of control in the years sense.
In addition to adding the first third party characters, Brawl also found itself open to an international modding community, dedicated to cracking it open, improving it, adding to it and even taking away from it. While there is a non-Brawl mod on this list, most of the mods covered here are Brawl mods, as they have done the most to change the base game and have had the longest development time.
While mods are possible in the newer titles for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, they usually sum up to single-character skins or lighter gameplay modifications. These mods don’t even begin to compare to the full suite of craziness on offer in the Smash Bros. mods we’ve listed below.
Below, we’ll be covering the biggest, best Smash Bros. mods on the scene. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about each mod- what content it adds, how it changes the game, etc. With no further ado, let’s hop into it!
Returning characters from Super Smash Bros. Melee:
- Roy – Returning from Melee with a tweaked moveset and re-adjusted balancing, becoming much more viable all around.
- Mewtwo – Returning from Melee with a mostly-similar moveset, but a stronger one overall. Mewtwo is made more viable by these changes than in the original Melee, and arguably even Smash Wii U/3DS.
- Charizard (completed moveset, separate from Pokemon Trainer)
- Squirtle (completed moveset, separate from Pokemon Trainer)
- Ivysaur (completed moveset, separate from Pokemon Trainer)
- Zero Suit Samus (completed moveset, Final Smash still switches to Samus)
- Sheik (non-complete moveset, down-B still transforms to Zelda)
- Smash 64 HD Remasters – Dream Land, Hyrule Castle, Peach’s Castle, Metal Cavern and Saffron City have all been remastered in HD from their original forms in Smash Bros. 64.
- Delfino’s Secret – A brand-new stage built from the ground up for Project M, taking place in a secret stage from Super Mario Sunshine.
- Bowser’s Castle – A brand-new stage built from the ground up for Project M, taking place on a platform surrounded by lava inside Bowser’s Castle.
- Turbo Mode – A game mode that allows players to cancel any successful attack into a different attack, allowing for more combo-oriented gameplay.
Description and Review
Project M is the definitive Smash Bros. mod, and easily earns its place atop this list.
Project M is a mod for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, adding new stages and returning characters from Super Smash Bros. Melee who were cut when moving to Brawl. Project M is born from the remains of Brawl+, an early Brawl mod meant to improve the mechanics of the original game.
Almost every character in Project M has been changed significantly, either to bring them closer to their Melee counterparts or, in the case of Brawl’s newcomers, to build something new from Brawl’s foundations.
While Project M has faded from the limelight in recent years (thanks to the project’s development ceasing and Nintendo banning it from official tournaments), it used to be the most-played competitive Smash game, far outpacing the popularity of Brawl and in a close second to Smash Bros. Melee.
While modding is generally considered a PC gaming thing, Project M proved that even a console game can be modded to such an extent that it takes on new life, and in the competitive scene, Project M was considered a wholesale improvement over its base game, and possibly even a rival to Melee.
If you like Brawl’s crazy content density but miss Melee’s tight, fast, and precise gameplay, Project M might just be for you.
Even if you aren’t a hardcore Smash player, though, there’s probably something here you’ll like! Characters like Snake and Lucario get movesets much more befitting of the characters they’re based on, fans who missed the Melee fighters get to play them again, and the HD recreations of the N64 stages are still quite loved.
Project M still has an active community, as well. We recommend looking around your local Smash scene for people to play with, or taking to Dolphin Netplay communities like Anther’s Ladder to find rivals to fight against.
Super Smash Bros. Legacy XP
New content added in Smash Bros. Legacy XP includes everything added by Project M, as well as what is listed below.
New playable characters:
- Dr. Mario – A slightly de-cloned version of Mario, including much different pill throw arcs and projectile physics.
- Waluigi – A whole new character- Waluigi reimagined for Smash Bros. You won’t get this in Smash Bros. Ultimate! Seems to be an altered port from another Brawl mod, Brawl Minus.
- Geno – A fan favorite from Super Mario RPG makes his Smash Bros. debut.
- Pichu – A de-cloned Pichu, returning from Smash Bros. Melee with all new buffs and reworks.
- Ridley – Another fan favorite, wanted in Smash since Melee. While this character will be arriving in Smash Bros. Ultimate, he showed up in Legacy XP first!
- Lucina – A unique take on Lucina, a character from Fire Emblem. Plays entirely differently from her Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS counterpart.
- Shadow The Hedgehog – A newcomer from the Sonic series, featuring a unique moveset.
- Metal Sonic – A newcomer from the Sonic series, featuring a unique moveset.
- Young Link – A de-cloned Young Link, returning from Smash Bros. Melee.
- Mage Ganondorf – A de-cloned Ganondorf, playing a lot closer to how he appears in Ocarina of Time than Captain Falcon. Easily the coolest addition to the roster, at least in my opinion.
- Stage Alts – Legacy XP has an insane number of stages, with Stage Alts modifying existing stages or adding entirely new ones. This adds up to an insane total of over 800 stages stuffed into a single mod, far more than an any mainline Smash Bros title.
- Kappa Stages – “Joke” stage alts accessed by a secret button combination. These include such highlights as a tilting Final Destination or a Dragon Ball alt of the Boxing Ring. Not all stages have Kappa Stages, but the ones that do make for fun twists!
- Smash 64 Stages – All your favorites from Smash 64 return. This includes the HD remasters created for Project M as stage alts.
- Melee Stages – All your favorites from Melee return.
- Wii U/3DS Stages – A great number of stages from Smash Bros Wii U/3DS appear in this mod.
- Ganon’s Castle – A stage taking place in front of Ganon’s Castle from Ocarina of Time, with stage alts taking you to different places in and around the castle to fight.
- Dr. Mario – A stage based on the classic Dr. Mario games.
- Dead Line – A stage based on the location of the same name from Sonic Rush.
Description and Review
Serving as a massive extension of the Project M mod, Legacy XP hopes to capture the “legacy” of Smash Bros and its modding community all in one jam-packed mod.
First off, let’s just be honest: we do not have the time or space to cover everything that Super Smash Bros. Legacy XP adds to the game. If Project M is Brawl+, Legacy XP is Brawl∞. Half of the fun of playing Legacy XP is just diving into the game and seeing what all has been added, because there is a lot.
Smash Bros. games are already infamous for their content density, and Legacy XP takes it to an absurd new level.
While the Legacy team claims to not be continuing the work of the original Project M Development Team, it’s hard to argue they aren’t doing so at all. Legacy XP is, first and foremost, based on the work already done in Project M. Everything it adds builds upon Project M, and removes nothing from the original mod.
Now, there are a few downsides to this approach. The first thing you might notice is a lack of polish in some areas, namely certain stage alts that seem to have been added just for the sake of being there with noticeable graphical issues.
Additionally, while the newcomers feel…generally balanced, it’s very unlikely that this mod will see any tournament play. The new characters added here are purely for fun, not for you to become a world-class expert in.
But if you aren’t super competitive- or you just want a Smash mod with a truly insane amount of content- then Legacy XP comes highly recommended. We recommend the base Project M or Legacy TE if you plan on sticking to tournament play, though.
Also, this mod features Waluigi and Ridley! If you’re a supporter of #WaluigiForSmash or want to see what Ridley might play like in Smash Bros. Ultimate, this is a great place to try them out!
20XX Tournament Edition
Things this mod adds:
- Match Replays
- Extended name entry
- Menu music changes
- Stage striking
- Frozen Mode stages (stage hazards don’t appear, stages don’t move)
- Widescreen toggle
- A 1.00 and 1.02 hitlag toggle
- Other miscellaneous tournament-centric features
20xx Tournament Edition is a mod for Super Smash Bros. Melee designed to help players train for and play in Melee tournaments.
This is actually the lightest mod we’ve listed here- it does nothing to change the base gameplay of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The only real gameplay-effecting behavior is the toggle between 1.00 and 1.02 hitlag, and even then that’s only to switch between different releases of Melee.
20xx Tournament Edition essentially just serves as a way to streamline the Melee experience for competitive players. By enabling debug modes and other features, solo players can practice techniques like DI and L-canceling. When it comes time for an actual tournament, 20XX will boot right to the character select screen, can be configured for widescreen play, can be loaded right off of a memory card, and have tourney-centric features like stage striking and frozen mode.
If you fancy yourself a competitive Smash Bros. player, or want to train to become one, 20xx Tournament Edition is a great place to start doing that.
- Roy – Roy returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
- Mewtwo – Mewtwo returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
- Young Link – Young Link returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
- Pichu – Pichu returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
- Dr. Mario – Dr. Mario returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
- Wario’s Castle – A brand-new stage set in Wario’s Castle.
- Assorted Smash 64 stages – A lot of Smash 64 stages that weren’t in Brawl return in Smash 2.
- Assorted Melee stages – Some Melee stages, like Brinstar Depths, return in Smash 2.
- Melee Adventure Mode – An alternate take on All-Stars Mode that takes you through arenas and fights from Melee’s original Adventure Mode.
Smash 2 is a Brawl mod that tries to tackle the concept of an alternate universe Smash Bros. Melee.
Well, maybe not quite that extreme. A lot of what you love and remember about Melee will feel pretty intact here, enough that you may be able to trick yourself into thinking you’re playing the same game.
Smash 2 imagines what Super Smash Bros. Melee might have been like under different circumstances. While Melee is a series favorite to many, it was developed over an extremely short crunch time, a time period so short that it didn’t allow for nearly as much additions as, say, Brawl, which would release for the Wii years later.
One common history point concerning Melee is the fact that Solid Snake could have gotten in. The director of the Metal Gear franchise, Hideo Kojima, is a personal friend to the director of Smash Bros., Masahiro Sakurai. When Melee was originally under development, Kojima wanted Snake to make an appearance, but Sakurai had to decline because the game was too far along in development.
The very first trailer for Smash Bros. Brawl, the following game, revealed Solid Snake as a playable character.
But if Melee had been given a little more time to brew…Snake wouldn’t have been kept waiting that long. Smash 2 imagines a version of Melee that didn’t need to compromise, and had a more reasonable development cycle.
Smash 2 removes some characters from Brawl, like Lucario, but all of its newcomers are either Melee veterans or characters introduced in Brawl, like Snake or Wolf. Everyone from later games has a graphical makeup to look appropriate for the era and Melee’s graphical style, and even HUD elements have been changed to the point that, at a glance, you might just think this game is Melee.
If you want to have a little fun and try out an alternate universe Melee, we highly recommend Smash 2.
New playable characters:
- Waluigi – This Waluigi is similar to the one seen in Legacy XP, but amped up with the rest of the cast in typical Brawl Minus craziness.
- Pichu – Pichu becomes a god of thunder thanks to Brawl Minus’ crazy mechanics.
- Mewtwo – Mewtwo returns from Melee stronger than ever in this mod. May be an altered port from the corresponding Project M character.
- Roy – Roy returns from Melee seeking revenge in this mod. May be an altered port from the corresponding Project M character.
- Final Frustration – A version of Final Destination with funny background events and random, jarring tilting. Playable as a kappa stage in Legacy XP.
- Lavaville – A version of Smashville suspended in Norfair, including the latter’s stage hazards.
- Lavender Town – A 2D stage ported from the Smash Land Smash Bros. demake, based on the location of the same name from the Pokemon series.
- Venus Lighthouse – A new stage made for Brawl Minus, featuring the location of the same name from Golden Sun.
- Assorted Smash 64 stages – Smash 64 classics like Meta Crystal return in this mod.
- Assorted Melee stages – Melee classics like Fountain of Dreams return in this mod.
Description and Review
Last but not least is the oldest Brawl mod that’s still in active development, Brawl Minus.
Brawl Minus was originally developed as a parody of Brawl+, which evolved to become Project M. Where Brawl+ and Project M wanted to bring Smash Bros. Brawl closer to Melee in terms of balancing and gameplay, Minus takes the game in a completely different direction by instead choosing to amp every character up to eleven.
Seriously, Brawl Minus is nothing but craziness. Its balancing philosophy seems to be an exploration of the quote “If everyone’s super, then no one is!”. Instead of nerfing anyone at all, Minus just makes every character as overpowered as possible, making many modifications to the base gameplay that also makes mistakes more punishable than ever before.
Brawl Minus, like Legacy XP, also offers Waluigi! In fact, Brawl Minus added Waluigi back in 2016, before Legacy XP released its more…balanced and reasonable rendition of the character. If you want to experience Waluigi in Smash with added absurdity and ridiculous power, Brawl Minus is the place to look!