More Indie Games That Deserve Representation in Super Smash Bros.

by Em E. Lee about a year ago in nintendo

With worlds like 'Shovel Knight' and now 'Undertale' joining the roster in some capacity, what other independent properties should we see added next to 'Smash Ultimate'?

More Indie Games That Deserve Representation in Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate X Undertale announcement banner; SSBU belongs to Nintendo and Masahiro Sakurai, Undertale belongs to Toby Fox.

Well, then: After I thought he really couldn't outdo himself after Ridley, Joker, Banjo-Kazooie, and even the Piranha Plant combined, Masahiro Sakurai-san has proven yet again that he can still totally break the Smash Bros. fanbase with his incredible announcements.

What still boggles my mind though, even a whole month after it happened, is that the reveal of the next DLC fighter—Terry Bogard from SNK's own fighter series Fatal Fury, in fact—got completely overshadowed by, of all things, a Mii costume.

Yes, I—like pretty much everyone else on the internet—was completely floored by the release of the Mii costume of the infamous Sans the Skeleton, of Undertale fame back on September 4. But, once the initial shock that it wasn't just a fever dream wore off, I was floored yet again, this time with joy. I was extremely late to the Undertale party—I mean, I finally played it for the first time when it got ported to the Switch, so... yeah, extremely late—but it almost immediately became one of my favorite indie games, if not one of my favorite games of all time, period. Who cared if this would likely get memed to Hell and back? One of my favorite games has some well-deserved Smash rep!

But, now that the Sans hype has finally died down, I've been thinking a lot lately about Smash rep for other franchises—more specifically, for more indie-developed franchises, just like Undertale. It's not like it's impossible, or even unlikely at this point, that Sakurai would consider adding more indie-worlds to his crossover behemoth; even before the Sans costume, we had characters like Shovel Knight popping up in the game as assist trophies or spirits. And with the sheer amount of indie games getting love on the Switch right now (like Cuphead, A Hat in Time, and Little Nightmares), I'd say that we're almost guaranteed to see more indie faces in Smash Ultimate in the future, seeing as how strong Nintendo's relationships with independent developers look so far.

Of course, there are tons of indie games out there that deserve Smash representation, way more than I could list in just a single article; those that I've listed on here are just a small handful from those tons, and I'm sure that you readers are already thinking of games that I didn't mention, that deserve the rep just as much as these—all of which I'd love to hear about. These are just the games that I believe would be the most popular choices, and those that I am most familiar with; plus, some of these games are my own personal choices, so please keep that in mind


Official Cuphead artwork, depicting Cuphead and Mugman; Cuphead and its characters belong to Studio MDHR.

I'll get perhaps the most obvious choice out of the way first. I can't think of a single person who wouldn't want some Cuphead rep in Smash; it's easily one of the most celebrated indie games of all time—not the least of which by me—for everything from it's gorgeous 1930s-inspired art style, notoriously challenging gameplay, creative boss encounters, and painstakingly authentic, hand-drawn animation. Think about that, and then throw in the game's recent Switch port, the upcoming DLC adventure set for release in 2020, and the fact that the game's creators themselves have said that they, too, want to see their little chinaware run-and-gunner show up on the Smash roster, and it becomes clear that it'd practically be a crime not to feature this incredible game, in some capacity.

But, if it were up to me, I would say that Cuphead deserves representation the most, as one of the next DLC fighters more than anything else. His possible moveset is pretty much already given in his home game, what with the wide variety of equitable Shots, as well as the three Specials (which could also work as some solid Final Smash choices), and his side-scrolling combat would feel right at home in a game like Smash. Mugman could get in on the action as well, acting as the Alph, or alternate Dragon Quest Heroes for his brother, and sharing the roster slot with him. All the pieces to a great new fighter are definitely there; it's just a matter of whether or not Sakurai wants to (or even has the ability to) put them together.

(Then again, this is Sakurai we're talking about, and that man can do pretty much anything with his game by this point.)

A Hat in Time

Official artwork for A Hat in Time; image and characters belong to Gears for Breakfast and Humble Bundle.

This is probably another obvious one for a lot of you out there, and for good reason. I haven't played it myself yet, but everything I've seen and heard about A Hat in Time tells me that I need to get to playing it, as soon as humanly possible—not to mention, everything that makes it great is also what makes it the perfect candidate for Smash representation. The game as a whole is basically one huge Nintendo homage, specifically for the N64 era, and classic "collectathons" like Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. That, along with the quirky characters and the oh-so-deliciously Nintendo-esque art style, would make it fit right at home in the Smash universe; besides its popularity and its recent Switch port, those are the main reasons why it seems like such a good pick for indie Smash rep, since its basically an extensive tribute to the company in charge of the fighting series.

(Plus, after the explosion of hype that Banjo and Kazooie set off, just imagine how destructive the hype for this could be...)

Bendy and the Ink Machine

Official screenshot; image and characters belong to theMeatly and Joey Drew Studios.

Here's yet another candidate that I'm personally rooting for!

Just like Cuphead and A Hat in Time, Bendy hearkens back to a classic style in entertainment and media, specifically classic Disney cartoons and hand-drawn animation studios. Even if it isn't nostalgic specifically to a form or style of game, the simple fact that it was inspired by classic media at all should give it a good chance of even being considered for Smash rep—because, let's face it: When it isn't an intricate fighting game, Smash is basically an overblown nostalgia collection (Mr. Game & Watch and Pac-Man, anyone?).

Bendy is also a likely candidate because of its—you guessed it—Switch port, which proves that Nintendo does have at least a good production relationship with theMeatly and his team. It's really a given that any indie title on the Switch right now has at least a chance of consideration—but honestly, if it were up to me, I'd say that Bendy probably has a much better chance than the indies, like Stardew Valley, simply because of its iconic characters.

Night in the Woods

Official artwork featuring five of the game's characters; image and characters belong to Infinite Fall and Finji.

This is definitely a weirder one on this list; I mean, it's a detailed, character-and narrative-driven adventure game with a deeply emotional story—Compared to games like Cuphead or A Hat in Time, Night in the Woods is an extremely unconventional choice, to say the least.

But, honestly, does it matter anymore how unconventional the choices may seem anymore? If characters like Isabelle or the Animal Crossing Villager can be eligible fighters, then who's to say it's impossible to get even just spirits of Mae and her friends?

Not to mention, the popularity of the game should at least put it on Sakurai's radar for a possible indie rep. I personally have not played it yet, but I have seen countless playthroughs, and more enthusiastic fans than I can count, many of whom I'm sure would clamor to have it represented in Smash—even if not a fighter, there's always room for more spirits and assist trophies, both of which I feel would be perfect for these characters in particular.

(But, seriously, what is everyone's deal against assist trophies???)

Final Thoughts

Once again, this is only a small handful of indies that I personally believe have a chance of ending up in Smash, in some fashion. God knows how many I left out that you readers can think of off the top of my head, so I'll leave you all with this question: Which indie games do you feel could be represented in Smash Bros. that I didn't cover here? How likely would they be? Why do they deserve the representation more than other games?

Obviously, this is all still speculation; even if none of these titles end up in the game, it's still fun to think about!

Em E. Lee
Em E. Lee
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Em E. Lee

Writer-of-all-trades and self-appointed "professional" nerd with an infinite supply of story ideas and not nearly enough time to write them down. Lover of all media, especially fiction and literature. Proud advocate of the short story.

See all posts by Em E. Lee