Even as it approaches 80(!) fighters, it’s impressive how Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can still find fresh ideas to liven up its roster. Nintendo’s incredible stable of characters certainly helps, but even in that context, Min Min, the latest character kicking off Ultimate’s second DLC Fighter Pass, is an odd pick. She’s not a fan-favorite or wild third-party guest star, but she quickly sets herself apart by forcing you to rethink your usual habits and be a little more methodical in how you approach Smash Bros. She’s a specialized character with a steep learning curve and clear weaknesses – but if you’re willing to stick with her, she’s one of the best examples of melding a character’s source material with their kit Smash has seen in a while.
Min Min hails from Arms, the Switch’s slow-paced arena fighter that has you leading your shots as you land long-distance punches with extendable arms. Her playstyle in Smash matches that pace, and I had to rewire my Smash Bros. brain a bit when I started playing as her. Instead of relying on the standard combination of regular A attacks and special B moves, the A and B buttons map to Min Min’s right and left arms, respectively, and the two movesets mostly mirror each other. She only has two “special moves,” in the traditional sense: holding an attack button down has Min Min deliver a mid-range swing with its respective arm, and her side-B delivers a Smash attack with her left arm, just like her side-A attack would.
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The huge reach of her arms makes her great at a range most fighters aren’t, and she can keep out most melee fighters; this is especially fun to do with her throw, since she can grab enemies from the same distance, or even out of the air when they’re trying to jump back onto the stage. Even better, her independently controlled arms mean she can deliver two Smash Attacks in a row, and in different directions, which lets her cover a wide distance around her. It’s a different style of Smash Bros. than almost any other fighter, and while it was exciting to play a little differently than I had before, it does take some getting used to.
The original Arms also lets you customize your extendable fists, and that’s represented here as well. Min Min’s down-B move swaps her left arm between three different options, and micromanaging these weapons adds a great strategic layer to the character. The circular Ramram has a winding arc and is great at guarding ledges from characters who can’t easily jump back on the stage, but doesn’t deal a lot of damage; the ball-like Megawatt makes all of your B attacks hit much harder (her neutral air attack goes from decent defensive option to powerful finisher, for example) and can secure a kill at lower percentages, but is slow and lacks reach; the Dragon Arm has the best range, but isn’t as powerful as the Megawatt or as versatile as the Ramram. Keeping track of which arm I had equipped tripped me up at first – judging when to build up damage with the Ramram, when to surprise people with the Dragon and when to go for the kill with the Megawatt reminded me of using Pokemon Trainer, and it’s a great way to give her options and keep you from just spamming the same few attacks at a distance.
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Playing well with Min Min means reading both the distance and actions of your opponent a little more in advance than usual – just like in Arms. Her slow, mid-range attacks feel unwieldy at times, since they’re easily stuffed up close. You can’t mash with her, either, since tapping A or B has her use her legs to push people at close range, which isn’t her best option. And, like Little Mac, she wants to be level with her opponent as often as possible: keep opponents out, surprise them with back-to-back attacks, and swap arms to keep them guessing. But because of how freeform Ultimate’s vertical movement is, most other characters should find it fairly easy to stay out of her ideal range, and if you miss an attack, chances are you’ll be left open to counterattacks. Min Min has an especially tough time against zoners like Palutena, who can keep her out of her comfortable range for most of the match without having to get in close. And while her grappling recovery has a good reach when you do get knocked way, she otherwise doesn’t have a ton of options for getting back on the stage, and suffers a little on some of the stranger stages like Hanenbow.
Thankfully, Min Min has a few fun tricks to work around her lack of vertical finesse, like an aerial dive kick that can surprise opponents used to only watching their sides, and her Up-B lets you close the distance quickly when used on the ground. These can catch people off-guard, but the novelty of these tricks wears off once you start learning how to play against her, and I expect they will only get harder to land as more people inevitably figure out how to play around her range. But I don’t see her ability to deliver two Smash Attacks in a row losing value any time soon; every time my opponent dodged my first Smash Attack, only for me to forcefully remind them I had a second arm to score a gratifying kill, all her rough edges seemed to just disappear.
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The Challenger Pack 6 DLC also comes with the Spring Stadium stage and 18 new music tracks from Arms. Spring Stadium is a flat, somewhat bland stage, similar to Smashville. It does have a couple of cool gimmicks, though; a few jump pads activate at different times, letting you get some distance from your opponent if they’re smothering you. A couple of them are outside the main stage, too, making it easier for characters to recover. There are also a couple of small ceilings that can keep you from getting knocked out vertically, which feels like a thematically appropriate boon if you’re playing as Min Min. Spring Stadium can get pretty chaotic with more than two characters, but unlike Min Min herself, it feels pretty in line with the more basic stages in Ultimate.
Source: IGN.com Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Min Min DLC Review