So, I realize that alternate forms were just announced two months ago, but I do have a small critique: they're rather uncreative, despite the concept itself being creative. "Aura" and "No Aura" aren't very exciting, just like "Spread" and "Tipper". And a solo option for Ice Climbers?
The common thread I'm noticing here is "subtraction;" that is, the alternate forms subtract from what makes the fighters unique (I realize "Spread" is to emulate Lucina, and it isn't a terrible idea, just not very creative). At the same time, I understand what alternate forms are supposed to be: a way to change mechanics and playstyles without having to make all-new sprites. A low-budget solution to a potentially high-budget dilemma.
I think I have a suggestion that might help: base the alternate forms off of something from that character's canon world and abilities, rather than strictly gameplay. It solves the problem of uncreative and unappealing alternate forms and adds to the character instead of subtracting.
Here's an example I was thinking of for Lucario: instead of No Aura, let's shift in the other direction and use Life Orb? In the Pokemon games, the Life Orb boosts the holder's power universally by 30% (a useful increase in the Pokemon games), at the cost of a percentage of your HP every time you use a move.
How does that apply in Crusade? A modest boost in power throughout his entire kit, at the cost of recoil damage with every move he uses. This works to his benefit and helps him reach higher levels of Aura faster, but makes being hit even more of a risk. This facilitates a new playstyle for Lucario, but instead of subtracting, it adds to what makes him unique!
I'd really like to see what the rest of you think about this. Do you like the alternate forms so far? Why or why not?