Super Smash Bros. returns with an interesting twist in the fourth entry of the series. Instead of being only on a home console, the game is on both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U, very creatively dubbed “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” and “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U”. The latter won’t be coming out until late November, but the 3DS version is now available.
While both versions have the same roster of characters, the features present in both are vastly different, with the 3DS version getting the short end of the stick in terms of content. However, it still manages to be fun enough to be worth consideration.
The game features over 40 characters from Nintendo franchises and some third party games. Smash Bros. veterans such as Mario, Link, Pikachu, and more return. Newcomers include Megaman, Little Mac from “Punch-Out,” the ever so despised “Duck Hunt” dog, and even Pac-Man. Unlike the last game, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” it feels much more focused and balanced between both competitive and casual play.
The controls feel much tighter and less floaty than the previous game. Whereas “Brawl” was sluggish, this new game is much faster paced, with moves that have a lot more potential for stringing together combos and high level play. Attacks have a lot of power to them, making pulling off a killing blow much more satisfying than in “Brawl.” Some questionable features like random tripping have also been removed, making for a fighting game that’s much more tournament friendly.
Characters appear to have better balance instead of having one character dominate all like “Brawl” did. It’s not perfect as some fighters are definitely underpowered, like Ganondorf, who is much too slow to really be decent at pulling off combos, but it’s definitely a major step up from the balancing disaster that was “Brawl.”
The game does contain a good amount of modes to choose from outside of just the regular Smash mode, where you just fight free-for-all or team battles. There is Classic mode, where you defeat randomly selected fighters until you get to fight the Master Hand, Target Blast, an Angry Birds-like mini-game in which you attack a bomb until you launch it into targets, and All-Star mode, where you defeat computer controlled characters in order of their initial debut. The game definitely has a lot of modes to choose from, but most of them don’t really have much lasting appeal. This makes the game feel a bit gutted in terms of content, especially after the revealing of what the Wii U version has in store.
A major new mode is Smash Run, where you travel across a map filled with enemies from different games and collect powerups in a five-minute time limit to help you in a free-for-all match. While this mode can be fun, the enemies seem to knock you around a little too much, which can get extremely annoying. Some characters, like Little Mac for example, also really don’t seem suited for the type of play that Smash Run requires.
Online in this game is a bit of a mixed bag. It seems like half the time you’ll get a good match with little problems, then the other half of the time you get matches that are virtually unplayable. Matches that are in the latter category usually are like that due to poor connections from other players causing input lag and even slowing the game to a crawl. There have even been reports of the game stopping completely and going to a loading screen before resuming. Hopefully, online-support for the Wii U version is massively improved.
Overall, “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” is a massive improvement over its predecessor, and having a portable “Smash Bros.” game is certainly worth it. It should also prove to be a good time waster over the next month until the version that everyone’s actually waiting for finally releases.