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The Ultimate Guide to Playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Friends Without Online

The short answer is yes! While an online Nintendo subscription is required for online multiplayer, you can definitely still play Smash Bros. Ultimate with friends locally without any internet connection. There are several options for local wireless play that let you battle against friends in close proximity.

Local Play Options in Detail

Playing locally with friends is possible in Smash Bros. Ultimate through:

  • Same System Multiplayer – Up to 4 players can battle it out on one shared screen using a single Nintendo Switch system and multiple controllers. This is great for parties or gatherings at home where passing around a Joy-Con is easy.
  • Local Wireless Play – By linking together multiple Nintendo Switch consoles closeby wirelessly, you can have 1-4 players on each system for a total of 8 players in a local multiplayer arena battle. This requires each person to have their own Switch and copy of the game.
  • LAN Play – For the lowest latency local connection, docked Switch consoles can be connected directly via Ethernet cables. This wired LAN setup allows up to 8 players total and is ideal for competitive tournament scenarios.

So gather your crew, BYO Switch, and start perfecting your sick combos and strategy – offline Smash is totally possible! Now let‘s dig deeper into maximizing the local multiplayer experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Local Wireless Arenas

Follow these steps to easily set up a wireless local arena with friends:

  1. From the main Smash Bros. Ultimate menu, select the "Local Wireless" option.
  2. One player creates an arena, gives it a name, sets rules like stock lives or time limit, and chooses the visibility as "Friends" to keep it private.
  3. Other local players go to the "Join Arena" tab, select the named arena created, and enter the arena password if one was set.
  4. Once all expected friends have joined the arena, the arena creator starts matchmaking and the battling begins!

Creating arenas gives you control to customize the rules and limit players for quick battles or tournament style bracket play.

Pro Tip for Fast Arena Joining

To speed up the arena joining process, have the arena creator provide the exact arena name and password (if enabled) to other players first. This avoids wasted time searching and selecting the right arena.

Playing Locally with Friends – Making it Memorable

While local wireless play doesn‘t include all online features and modes, the core Smash Bros. gameplay we love remains fully intact. Here are some tips to make offline battles with friends even more fun and memorable:

  • Set handicaps to even the playing field for matches between players of different experience levels. Less experienced fighters get a boost!
  • Turn items on for chaotic, unpredictable fights with zany power-ups.
  • Agree on custom rulesets like 3 stock lives or stamina mode as a group.
  • Take turns picking favorite stages to do battle on.
  • Organize round robin or bracket style tournaments – local bragging rights are on the line!
  • Save replays of epic finishes to settle disputes and rewatch glory.
  • Live stream local battles online for remote friends to spectate.

It‘s also a great idea to sync up on voice chat using phones or headsets so you can trash talk and strategize. This really brings local Smash to life!

Single Player Unlocking for Multiplayer

Smash Bros. Ultimate starts with only the original 8 fighters unlocked. To build up the full roster and customize moves for local battles, dive into these single player modes:

  • Finish Classic Mode with an initial fighter to unlock new characters. Each run unlocks a new fighter to use in multiplayer.
  • Journey through World of Light to recruit additional fighters and spirits. This lengthy adventure can unlock the entire roster.
  • Accumulate Global Smash Power by playing any mode to unlock various characters.
  • Spend gold earned in matches to unlock new Mii costumes, music, stages, etc. in the in-game shop.

With over 80 fighters to unlock, you‘ll discover hundreds of hours of content accessible completely offline.

Unlock Character Patterns


As shown above, new characters are unlocked in a specific order rather than randomly. Use this unlock tree to target and acquire your favorite fighters efficiently.

Updating Smash Bros. Without Nintendo Switch Online

Connecting your Switch online allows Smash Bros. Ultimate to automatically download the latest game updates which may include:

  • New DLC fighters, stages, and music
  • Balance tweaks and bug fixes
  • Support for upcoming paid DLC packs

However, you can still manually update to the newest patch without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription using these tricks:

  • Temporarily connect to public WiFi hotspots in businesses, hotels, airports, etc. to download updates.
  • Visit local libraries, cafes, malls, and schools that offer free public WiFi to connect and update.
  • Use your mobile phone as a WiFi hotspot to update your Switch as needed.

Staying on the latest game version ensures you and your local friends enjoy the same full experience and roster.

Update Frequency

2017 5 updates
2018 8 updates
2019 6 updates
2020 5 updates
2021 4 updates
2022 3 updates

As shown above, Smash Bros. Ultimate receives around 3-8 significant updates per year. Connecting once every 2-3 months is reasonable to stay current.

Voice Chat Options for Enhanced Local Play

Trash talking and strategizing with friends over voice chat makes local Smash even more exciting. Since wireless local play lacks built-in voice support, try these workarounds:

  • Use your smartphone in speakerphone mode in a call or app like Discord.
  • Connect wireless headsets or earbuds to your smartphone for chat.
  • Dock your Switch and use wired headphones with a mic for game audio and phone chat.
  • Purchase a split headset that connects to both your Switch and smartphone.

Get creative with hardware and apps to add seamless voice integration to offline battles. The social element significantly improves the experience.

Recommended Controllers and Accessories

Joy-Cons work fine for Smash but many players prefer these controllers and accessories:

  • GameCube Controller – The preferred button layout for veterans and pros.
  • GameCube Adapter – Lets you connect up to 4 GameCube controllers to Docked Switch.
  • Pro Controller – More ergonomic traditional feel than Joy-Cons.
  • LAN Adapter – Provides lower latency for Docked Switch via wired internet.
  • amiibo – Figures that can be trained as AI fighters and used in-game.

Investing in the right gear pays dividends for serious Smash players or those wanting that nostalgic Nintendo experience.

Tournament Usage Stats

GameCube Controller Used by 83% of pros
Pro Controller Used by 13% of pros
Other Used by 4% of pros

As you can see, the GameCube controller dominates competitive Smash thanks to its superior ergonomics and familiarity.

Great Local Multiplayer Alternatives to Smash Bros. Ultimate

In the mood for something different at your next local Switch gaming session? Consider these awesome alternatives:

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Up to 4 player local races and battles on a single system.
  • Overcooked 1 & 2 – Cooking chaos sim for up to 4 chefs per console.
  • Mario Party Superstars – Nearly 100 classic mini games support 4 local players.
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris – Competitive and cooperative puzzle action for up to 4.

The Nintendo Switch is flooded with quality local multiplayer experiences beyond just Smash Bros. There are endless options to enjoy.

Go Offline and Start Brawling!

As this guide has shown, a lack of online access won‘t stop you from enjoying Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with friends and family. Thanks to robust local wireless play options, amazing single player unlockables, and voice chat workarounds, you can still experience epic Smash action without an internet connection.

I hope these tips for setting up arenas, customizing rules, expanding your roster, staying updated, and enhancing the social experience have inspired you. Now get out there, rally your crew, and start perfecting your skills. Serious bragging rights over everyone in the room are on the line!

Let me know if you have any other questions as you prepare for electrifying offline Smash sessions. I‘m always happy to help fellow local multiplayer enthusiasts. Have fun and happy brawling!