|“||What exactly caused all these characters to lose their bodies, and transform into spirits?||”|
|—Masahiro Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct 11.1.2018|
On November 1, 2018, a Nintendo Direct ended with a cutscene that featured the entire roster of Super Smash Bros. characters going up against a mysterious foe known as Galeem with an army of Master Hands. They were all seemingly vaporized (except for Kirby who managed to escape on his Warp Star) along with the rest of the universe. Kirby then crash-landed on a mysterious planet and embarked on a mission to save everyone who are revealed to have been captured and cloned, with the help of Spirits.
The player starts with Kirby as the only fighter available in the party. The fighter travels in an overworld map where they encounter puppet fighters on their way, which are possessed by spirits. Once they are defeated, their spirit is obtained by the player, which can be equipped by the fighter. The fighter will also encounter other playable characters. Defeating them adds the fighter to the party.
Spirit Fights Conditions
Main article: Spirits
The story begins with Fox leading the majority of the playable characters (both heroes and villains) against an incoming army of Master Hands (with Marth claiming that each of the fighters has to defeat about 10 Hands). Before the battle begins, the exteriors of the Master Hands disintegrate and the glowing cores are absorbed by a mysterious being known as Galeem.
However, Shulk realizes from a vision that Galeem set them up and the whole thing was a trap, but Shulk was too late to warn his allies about the outcome. A fully energized Galeem then creates the aiming beams of light that decimate every fighter they hit; regardless of their agility, power or defenses. Thankfully, Kirby is the only exception and manages to flee on his Warp Star. Galeem's magical light then quickly engulfs the world, its other characters, and eventually the entire universe. Galeem turns the captive fighters into puppets, and then rests comfortably in the north behind a force field.
World of Light
Kirby crashes into a hill on a mysterious planet. After defeating spirits and freeing fighters from Galeem's control, Galeem sends Giga Bowser, Galleom, and Rathalos to stop the fighters. However, the fighters defeat the bosses, severely weakening Galeem and destroying the force field. The fighters then go after Galeem. Galeem attempts to stop them with a puppet Master Hand, but the fighters defeat it easily. The fighters then attack and defeat Galeem, but...
The Dark Realm
Once Galeem is defeated, the world is attacked by a dark, demonic energy known as Dharkon with an army of Crazy Hands. Dharkon sucks the fighters into his world, the Dark Realm. They seek out and defeat Dharkon's three bosses: Marx, Ganon, and Dracula. After defeating them, Dharkon appears in the center of the Dark Realm to challenge the fighters. However, he is defeated and he flees the Dark Realm through a portal, with Galeem in pursuit.
The fighters follow Galeem and Dharkon through the portal, only to find themselves caught in an all-out war between Galeem and Dharkon.
The battlefield shifts as spirits are defeated. If more dark spirits have been defeated, the battlefield will shift towards Galeem. If more light spirits have been defeated, the battlefield will shift towards Dharkon.
The fighters battle their way through light and dark spirits to the other side of the battlefield, where Galeem and Dharkon are. The player then has a choice to fight Galeem, Dharkon, or the Master and Crazy Hand on the battlefield.
If you fight Galeem: If you fight and defeat Galeem, Dharkon will chain up and destroy Galeem, and take over the universe. The scene ends with Mario falling down, presumably dead.
If you fight Dharkon: If you fight and defeat Dharkon, Galeem will destroy Dharkon with beams of light. Galeem will then emit a dazzling radiance much more powerful than the beams at the beginning of the story, once again taking over the universe and every fighter. The scene ends with Mario looking at Galeem in shock before falling under Galeem's control once again.
If you fight Master Hand and Crazy Hand: Defeating Master Hand and Crazy Hand will cause the true Master and Crazy Hand to appear. When you defeat them, they will be freed from Galeem and Dharkon's control, and will smash a rift in the battlefield between Galeem and Dharkon. Next, you must defeat an equal amount of light and dark spirits in order to move the battlefield exactly in the middle. You can then enter the rift and start the final battle!
Master Hand enters the rift first, defeating twenty light and dark fighters. Then, the fighters arrive at the base of the mountain. They scale the mountain, defeating several groups of puppets along the way. Then, they defeat easier versions of every boss they've faced. Finally, they enter a three-way battle against Galeem and Dharkon, defeating both bosses. Both Galeem and Dharkon break apart and crash into the ocean, creating twin purple and gold explosions. The Master Hand and Crazy Hand armies disintegrate, and the spirits return to their various homes. The scene ends with earth and the universe returning to normal.
|Fighter||Where/How to unlock|
|Mario||Mario is the first unlockable fighter in World of Light, found after clearing the first couple of spirit battles. The map has no branching paths at this point, so the Mario fight is impossible to miss, and Mario must be defeated in order to progress the story.|
|Marth||After defeating and awakening Mario, the player will arrive at a crossroads. The player can choose between one of three paths, each containing a different fighter to be awakened. Marth can be awakened by choosing the path to the West. After clearing the Marth fight, the other two paths will be blocked off, so the player cannot unlock them until much more of the map has been unlocked and a detour can be found, or if a boss has been defeated where the barriers will then break. Awakening Marth clears the path to the West, allowing the player to explore that area first.|
|Sheik||After defeating and awakening Mario, the player will arrive at a crossroads. The player can choose between one of three paths, each containing a different fighter to be awakened. Sheik can be awakened by choosing the path to the North. After clearing the Sheik fight, the other two paths will be blocked off, so the player cannot unlock them until much more of the map has been unlocked and a detour can be found, or if a boss has been defeated where the barriers will then break. Awakening Sheik clears the path to the North, allowing the player to explore that area first.|
|Villager||After defeating and awakening Mario, the player will arrive at a crossroads. The player can choose between one of three paths, each containing a different fighter to be awakened. Villager can be awakened by choosing the path to the East. After clearing the Villager fight, the other two paths will be blocked off, so the player cannot unlock them until much more of the map has been unlocked and a detour can be found, or if a boss has been defeated where the barriers will then break. Awakening Villager clears the path to the East, allowing the player to explore that area first.|
|Link||Link is located to the East and then the South of the Marth/Sheik/Villager crossroads, and can be unlocked soonest by choosing Villager. He is found on top of a plateau, most likely a reference to Breath of the Wild, where Link awakens and begins his journey on the Great Plateau.|
|Captain Falcon||Captain Falcon can be found on the racetrack that lies to the East of the crossroads. In order to access this area, the player needs a spirit from the F-Zero series who can drive the F-Zero Machine. Conveniently, there is a cluster of low-level F-Zero spirits located just north of the racetrack entrance, making it easy for the player to clear this obstacle. After entering the racetrack area, the player will need to battle at least three spirits to clear a path to Captain Falcon.|
|Olimar||Olimar can be found in the mushroom gorge located just West of the pond along the Southern edge of the Light Realm map. In order to reach Olimar, the player will need access to a nature-themed spirit, such as Viridi, who can make the mushrooms grow to create a path.|
|Pac-Man||Located just West of the mushroom gorge.|
|Lucario||North of the racetrack, where the road that borders the West side of the fissure crosses with the main road that runs West through the city.|
|Yoshi||Located on the ribbon roads that lie just West of the rapids.|
|Jigglypuff||Following the path North of the crossroads (or, following the path that leads South from the ribbon road, if the player did not choose Sheik first), the player will come across a wooden bridge over a river. This triggers a short cutscene where Master Hand destroys the bridge. In order to cross, the player needs access to a spirit that can repair the bridge (such as Cyrus & Reese, or Bord & Cord & Barst). After crossing the bridge, Jigglypuff can be found just to the East, next to a cliff. After defeating Jigglypuff, the path to the North will be opened.|
|Dr. Mario||Northeast of the town that contains Prism Tower, on a cloud just before the ribbon-road area.|
|Bowser||Bowser is located in the Molten Fortress. After solving the area's puzzle and reaching the end of the main path, the player will be presented with a boss battle against Giga Bowser. After defeating Giga Bowser, Bowser will be unlocked.|
|Peach||Peach is located in the Molten Fortress, and is found on a platform located just Southeast of the Giga Bowser battle.|
|Lucas||Lucas is located in the town-like area in the Northwest corner of the Realm of Light, West of the fog-covered forest and South of the entrance to the Temple of Light.|
|Mega Man||Mega Man resides next to the entrance to The Base, which is located in the Southwest corner of the Light Realm, just West of the mushroom area. To reach this area, the player must have a spirit that can open the electronic gate.|
|Snake||Located inside The Base, behind door #5. The player is only required to open doors 1-4 in order to reach the boss of this area, so, in order to find Snake, the player needs to activate terminal #5 (located near the entrance, originally blocked off by doors 1-4).|
|Donkey Kong||Can be found in the jungle area that lies on the Western edge of the Light Realm map, North of the Base.|
|Duck Hunt||Found inside the fog-covered forest. (From the South entrance, go left at the first turn, then continue straight.)|
|Wii Fit Trainer||In the town that lies East of the fog-covered forest, with Prism Tower in the center.|
|Falco||Falco is located in the space-themed section of the Light Realm, on the Northern edge of the map just West of Galeem. In order to reach this area, the player will need access to a spirit that can fly the Arwing (such as Slippy Toad). Falco is fought on the Omega version of Lylat Cruise.|
|Little Mac||Little Mac can be found on the Western edge of the town that lies East of the fog-covered forest, with Prism Tower in the center. Little Mac's path is blocked off by an electronic gate, which must first be opened by clearing the Power Plant puzzle.|
|Simon||Simon is located in the first level of the Temple of Light. The player must defeat him in order to reach the 2nd level of the Temple.|
|Pit||Located on the 2nd level of the Temple of Light. He is behind a closed gate that the player must first open. The button to open the gate is located just a short distance to the left. He is fought on the Omega version of Skyworld. Defeating Pit will quell the flames rising from the fissure stretching across the main Light Realm map, allowing the player to cross the bridge and explore the Easternmost side of the Light Realm.|
|Samus||Located just over the bridge across the fissure that leads to the Eastern portion of the Light Realm. She is fought on the Omega version of Brinstar.|
|Mr. Game & Watch||Found inside the teleport puzzle that lies just across the fissure bridge. From the Northwest entrance, head for the teleport tile in the bottom-right corner, then, after teleporting, go straight to the right and use the tile there, then head straight down and use that tile. You will be transported to the central area where Mr. Game & Watch is.|
|Diddy Kong||Can be found after clearing DKs Island, the entrance to which lies just East of the teleport puzzle. The map for DKs Island is completely linear, so Diddy is impossible to miss.|
|Ryu||To reach Ryu, the player first needs a spirit that can drive a boat, such as Kapp’n, thus allowing them to cross the pond on the Southern edge of the Light Realm map. Traveling North from the center of the pond will reveal a small island with a plane and runway. On that island is the entrance to World Tour, a Street Fighter themed area with a mostly linear map. After clearing all of the spirit battles in World Tour, Ryu’s fighter icon will appear on the map, allowing the player to battle him.|
|Pokemon Trainer||Located on the perimeter of the teleport puzzle, on the Southeast corner. (NOT inside the puzzle) After defeating him, the barrier blocking the path to the North will be removed.|
|Mii Gunner||Located on the small island in the Southeast corner of the Light Realm (accessed by using Lapras to surf across).|
- According to the creator Masahiro Sakurai the reason why Kirby was selected as the starting protagonist in this mode is because his Warp Star has the ability to warp and that makes for the most believable reason that he would be the one to escape Galeem's attack. Sakurai also mentioned that he wanted the starting character to be simple and easy to use so Kirby was the obvious choice. Sakurai has also claimed that both Palutena and Bayonetta could have survived Galeem's attack.