I literally had to place my Nintendo 3DS into a different room just to write this. I tend to do this with most things in my life that are extremely addictive; gadgets, toys, even cute pets if they keep giving me googly eyes whilst I’m trying to work (I love them really). Super Smash Brothers has arrived in portable form for the first time in the West and it’s insanely similar to the fast paced action known from the Wii and Game Cube versions. This is a successful dangerous combo: everything we know from Super Smash Brothers and it being playable on the move.
Why all the hype?
The Super Smash Brothers games have been utterly successful internationally over the many years dating back to its first release on the Nintendo 64 in 1999. Mascots, heroes and villains from all eras on the Nintendo thrown into battle, what more could you ask for from an all stars brawler? Fast forward to the current day and we’ve seen more 50 characters grace our screens. From retro familiar faces like Mario, Zelda and Metroid’s Samus, to the current day characters like the Villager you play in Animal Crossing and even the Wii Fit Trainer. So why all the hype? Well the games have a huge following in tournaments, it’s charm and roster goes down well with gamers of all ages and my personal preference, its accessibility for gamers at whatever skill.
Super Smash Brothers on the 3DS feels great to play as a handheld fighting game. Even though there’s less buttons to use in comparison to using the Game Cube’s controller you’ll still have full control to dominate the battlefield. This, as well as the same characters that will be in the Wii U version released soon and the fact it’s portable is the main reason why this game is spot on and pretty much the reason we’ve all been excited for it.
The many features
There are various features in this game that’ll be favourable to different players. There’s literally a brawl mode for every occasion; Smash, for a quick battle against the A.I or other local players; Online, if you prefer to play distant friends or strangers across the globe using the 3DS’s Wi-fi; Smash Run, the new mode for collecting power-ups and facing familiar Nintendo foes before battling your rivals; as well as a host of many other game modes such as the classic Stadium challenges and the All-Star mode. I played through each and every mode before writing this review and I must say that when I tire of one mode there’s always something else that would keep me interested within the same game. This is pretty impressive as other fighting games on the market rarely offer more than a handful of additional things to do other than duking it out.
The traditional story mode that most fighting games have isn’t here however. The previous outing ‘Brawl’ on the Wii had a fantastic story where we followed the game from several fighters’ perspectives that fought and traversed across platformer stages. This is something I thought I would have missed more than I did but I certainly couldn’t ask for any more than we already have. In it’s place we have the Classic solo mode where you pick your player, choose the intensity of the matches as a wager balancing option for more prizes, follow a path which you can choose who you want to fight next and then take on the Master Hand boss. Fancy a harder challenge? Simply up the wager which boosts the difficulty, choose the paths with the most coins for harder fights which will also include Master Hand and Crazy Hand, two bosses which turns into several ghost-like incarnations including your own character with a bigger pay off if you survive.
I’d say my favourite new feature has to be the ability to customise your fighters and the cherry on the cake being the creation of your very own Mii Fighters. Choosing your 3DS profile’s Mii you can literally have your head on a fighter’s body. With the option to choose the Brawler, Sword Fighter or Gunner fighting type for your Mii you can choose one of three moves for each of the special attack inputs. For instance I chose a Helicopter kick over an Uppercut for my brawler fighting to fit into my fighting preference. Whilst playing through the game you’ll unlock additional outfits and headwear for them to fight making your Mii Fighter more unique to you when you play locally or online.
Furthermore, the option to change your Mii fighters’ and other character’s strengths is now an option for the first time in the series. Tweaking their Attack, Defence and Speed using a combination of unlockable equipment is a fun new customisable feature. But beware; adding vast amounts of one thing lowers something else to keep a balance. So my Sword Fighter Mii might have boosted Attack and Defence but my overall Speed suffers thus making this character slower and heavier. You can do the same with the already perfectly balanced traditional fighters but you’ll find that default would always triumph for all rounder reasons.
Playing with others
Now we all know that we have more fun when we can play with other humans, well some of us anyways. And playing Super Smash Brothers couldn’t be any easier with quick navigations to find exactly what you need. If you fancy a quick game with up to 4 of your local friends you’d simply hit the Group option and either host a game or join them from the list. The same applies to the Smash Run mode, choose the group option and connect. Want to play over the internet with friends? It’s pretty much the same as before after you just connect. I have to admit that the choice to play with others as opposed to your friend did have the better game modes. As well as spectating you can choose to fight For Fun, which includes playing with items on every stage, or For Glory, which is the core battling gameplay without items, simplified stages, optional 1-on-1 fights and access to your fighting records for bragging rights.
The game has some other options for you to get excited about other than the main game modes. StreetPass on the 3DS will allow you to play a mini game with collected data from other players who have passed you by. You’ll collect their profile in token form and will be able to play an air hockey type game where you’ll have to knock their token off the stage by moving your piece with the analogue stick and attacking with the A button. The Wii U has its own tab for when Super Smash Brothers is release on that format so you can use the 3DS as a controller or exchange your custom fighters from the console. Trophy Rush is available as another mini game to destroy falling blocks to earn prizes which is surprisingly addictive and difficult for some less agile characters.
The Stadium is home to the returning Home-Run Contest mode, the new Target Blast equivalent and Multi-Man Smash that features 6 more variants within. What more could you ask for? Replays and Screenshot snaps are available too to capture your most epic moments to share or save to your SD card in your picture album.
At first getting to grips with the analogue stick on the 3DS is a little strange at first especially after using the Wii’s Nunchuck stick. I found at times when I’m not concentrating on the inputs I’ve mistakenly done a Up/Diagonal direction instead of Right/Left which, for a game that requires precision and accuracy, has lost me a few games. But with practise I’ve curbed this issue and I do it less but it’ll always be there waiting for me to slip up whilst using this stick. I’ve rarely had any lag whilst playing locally or online which brings a huge smile to my face. I’d have thought other than the Smash fighting mode online there’d at least be the option to play some of the other local modes such as Smash Run, All-Star or Multi-Man modes online too which is a shame.
Other than this I must say I’ve very impressed that Super Smash fits into this handheld console. I was genuinely debating with myself whether to get it solely for the Wii U as I wanted a fast paced game that looked great and I can play with my friends online. Now I have all the above with the ability to leave my home and play on the go with the option to play locally too. This is defiantly the definition of perfection.