Super Smash Bros. It’s had a couple of iterations, beginning on the N64 in 1999, moving to the Gamecube with Melee in 2002, then coming to the Wii in 2008. This latest iteration, for 3DS and WiiU, was teased at E3 2011, and finally released on 3DS early October 2014, and the version I’m going to be looking at, WiiU, came out late November. I assume you already know how the game plays and if you don’t, it’s a party-style game for up to 4 people to kick the crap out of each other as their favourite Nintendo characters.
Let’s begin by going through the regular modes of play available for one or two players. Classic mode, where you face off against a series of random fights of your choice, before going up against an onslaught of Mii Fighters, and then finally Master Hand, a boss who has been in every Smash game to date. There’s All-Star Mode, where you have to fight against every character in the game, grouped by year spans of their appearances in their original games. Event mode is where you are put in specific scenarios with a character, and have to win the match or do whatever the challenge tells you to. There’s different challenges for solo and co-op play, giving a bit more longevity to the mode.
As you’d expect, the big draw to this game is the multiplayer. Local fights now have the ability to go as far as include 8 players at once, controlling with either the Wii gamepad, a wiimote/nunchuck combination, a classic/pro controller, a GameCube controller with the help of an adapter which only works with this game, which kinda sucks, or even a 3DS linked up to the system. You can only use specific stages in this mode, as the madness that ensues would be too much on some of the game’s stages. I’ve had the opportunity to play with myself and five others, and while it is a bit hard to tell exactly what is going on unless you put on nametags, it’s good fun and definitely something I’ll play whenever I have the footfall to do so, as this mode is local ONLY, no online play for 8.
When you decide you want a slight bit of order to the chaos, you can always fall back to regular 4 man fights, either in teams or a free-for-all. There’s a vast amount of stages to pick your fights on, and you can even set them all to play in Omega Mode, which makes every stage pretty much a flat plain with different backgrounds, making the fight more a game of skills rather than a stage setting determining wins. There is also Smash Tour, where the game becomes a board game or sorts, collecting abilities and characters as you travel, and fighting for prizes every once in a while. Once the game is over, you use everything you’ve acquired or have left in one final free for all to see who is the winner. This mode is pretty simple, and while it doesn’t have much of a lifespan, it’s a good way to play with all sorts of different characters in a unique setting.
Like Brawl before it, you can also take the fight online, either by yourself or with a friend for 2-on-2 fights against the world in For Fun and For Glory modes. For Fun is your standard Smash Bros affair, with crazy stages, items and a generally more relaxed atmosphere. Whereas For Glory uses the Omega versions of stages mentioned previously exclusively, with no items spawning at all. The game then becomes more about skill and character knowledge to beat people, rather than a lucky Bom-omb drop blowing someone up! I’ll admit that this mode isn’t for everyone, but if you want to get really good then this is the place to get your online fix.
Much like every Smash game after the original, which only had 12 characters, there is a ton of choices at your disposal this time. For this game, 12 new characters were added, like Duck Hunt Duo who reference old Nintendo games in their name and attacks, Rosalina & Luma from Super Mario Galaxy, and even non-Nintendo characters like Mega Man and Pac-Man are thrown in. This brings the roster to around 52 playable characters (if you include the three variations available for the Mii characters). Theres going to be even more as well, with the recently announced Mewtwo coming for free to people who own the 3DS and the WiiU versions, or as paid DLC. This also could open the door for even more characters, stages and options to be added down the line, much like Nintendo have done successfully with the likes of Mario Kart 8, and Hyrule Warriors.
One of the best things about all these characters, is that they all play differently, albeit some are not so obvious. Large characters like Bowser and Donkey Kong use hefty blows and grabs to deal damage in single, big chunks, whereas characters like Little Mac use flurries of attacks to do damage, and are nimble enough to chase opponents down. Then there’s characters like Rosalina & Luma, where Rosalina can use her attacks like normal with Luma next to her, or throw the luma out a distance and attack while being way out of harm’s way. One of the not so obvious difference in playstyles is with mirror characters, like Link (think Ocarina of Time style Link) and Toon Link (Wind Waker style, cel-shaded). While they both have a sword and shield, along with bombs, bows and a boomerang, they play very differently. Regular Link uses his projectiles from a range, dealing lots of damage from far away, and can use his string attacks to deal large amounts of damage. Whereas Toon Link uses his projectiles to combo an opponent, or create an opening, where he can use his greater agility to create combos and keep the pressure on players close up.
This slightly technical analysis leads into the next point, the longevity. With a title like this, you can view it in two ways. The first, is the actual content in the game, with a large Event mode, lots of characters to clear modes with on differing difficulties, and challenges, where you’re told what requirements unlock something, and then you go do it to get a reward, and rinse repeat. Some are easy like clear Classic mode once, and then some are ridiculous, such as trying to get within 500-505m with ROB in the home run challenge. And whilst this is generally seen as a party game, there’s also the competitive angle to consider. Much like Street Fighter, Tekken and other fighting games, this too has a great deal of depth and understanding if you’re willing to learn. Ever since the original iteration, it’s been played at a very high level at tournaments around the world, at events such as Apex and more recently, Evolution 2014, the largest fighting game event in the world.
Overall, I love it. The first Smash to be in HD looks fantastic on a big screen, has a large roster of characters to play as, and has lots of modes to use them in!
+ Looks glorious in HD
+ 8 players on one screen? Yes please!
+ Lot’s of modes to play about in
– Gamecube adapter not compatible with other games