Good, but not quite Wii U.

SIDE NOTE: Marcus really, really wanted to review this game, but I refused to let him, because he’s only done 8 classic modes or something. But don’t be too surprised if you see a review from him of the Wii U version at some point. He’s played it for over 500 hours, apparently. Unfortunately, though, he sucks. Well, I’d like to think he does more than I do. Oh! Sorry, but this is going to be a long review, so, please forgive me, I’ll call it in depth. Also, I’ll use subtitles, as I think that’s appropriate.

Super Smash Bros. is a game franchise which brings franchises together, through fantastically fun brawler gameplay between 2-4 players. Super Smash Bros. on the N64 was, really, the game that brought to the world the brawler genre, which is basically a fighter but with the possibility to play with more than just one other player, and a more wacky approach with a lot more free movement, items and the option of moving stages. Melee then evolved the genre and gave it new-found popularity, with an added optional competitive air, and many more modes and compatibilities. Next was Brawl on the Wii, perhaps the forgotten one in recent months, which is arguably the best Smash Bros. game – excluding the added “floatiness”, which I didn’t really care about. After that, though, last year, came Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and for Wii U; which evolved the series yet more, and gave it yet more popularity. I will review the 3DS version now, which is the one I own – though I’ve played a lot of the Wii U one, so expect some comparisons.

The first thing I have to get over is that the game looks very, very nice. Like, really nice; whether you choose to have outlines on or off — and the 3D makes it look even better.

Gameplay sturff.

The first thing I did when I got this game on Christmas last year was play a simple 4-player smash (with computers), with items on and a two minute time limit. I can’t remember who I played as, probably Sonic or Pikachu or something, but I remember that I was amazed. The fighting felt perfect – or pretty much. The controls: perfect. Every jump, every dodge, every attack. Perfect. It still feels perfect. I’m going into the present tense now. Yeah. I don’t like writing in the past tense for reviews. Okay, I’m rambling. Anyway! It seems Sakurai’s mastered the balance between Melee’s fast, dodge and skill based style and Brawl’s slower style, with more concentration on the wacky approach. This latest addition has more of a fast, skill based style than Brawl, but less so than Melee, striking the perfect in between.

The best character roster ever? You better believe it.

Also, the balance, though tweaked with various patches, between characters, with their strength and ease of use, seems to be the best it has ever been. No one player is obviously overpowered, as, though Rosalina and Luma, in the right hands, can dominate matches (through completely diminishing projectile use with her horrible down B) – even then she is tricky to master, as I have certainly not done so – I’d say, actually, any character in the right hands can dominate matches, and completely destroy any other characters — I don’t believe in the tier lists, if you didn’t guess. They’re all just silly. But the main thing with the characters is that they all have their perks, and they’re all fun to play as for whichever person they suit – I personally love to play as the quicker, more flair based characters, such as Pikachu, Duck Hunt Duo, Toon Link, Luigi, Sonic, Mario and Kirby, mainly. Every smash attack, every special attack, every grab, tilt, jump and taunt for every character is crafted in great detail, with tricks and combos embedded into the respective move sets. It’s surprising as you delve further into the game, and progress with your skills, the abundance of awesome things you can do whilst fighting, and the crazy amount of difficult tricks and maneuvers which can either get you killed or kill your opponent and leave them stunned. Every fight is different, and anything can happen, with excessive skill and right use of moves meaning glorious wins, and silly mistakes being the butt of some pretty bad punishments (AKA humiliating accidental suicides and LOSING).

Things can get pretty competitive, actually.

This game brings back Melee’s competitive air, but keeps Brawl’s strikingly silly approach; giving the game two contrasting layers, and two very different ways to play. The competitive side of the game is incorporated into it through the introduction of two separate online modes, For Fun and For Glory, and Omega stages, which enable players to make every stage the style of Final Destination, if they don’t want their stages to move or anything, and have a clear, flat stage for competitive fighting – or they just don’t like it when they get killed by a stage and it’s not their fault. It’s great Sakurai’s given players the opportunity to do this, not only because it means players can have more freedom in how they play the game, but in bringing the game a complete new layer, which really can be great to a part of. What I’m talking about is what “Smash” saying players pretty much exclusively play. No items. Omega stages only (pretty much). No annoying characters allowed – they’re talking to you, Sonic. I don’t like some of the annoying things that come with the competitive scene, but I do like playing it for a change. It feels very different playing without items to how it does with, and when you’re only playing on omega stages it makes for a lot more freedom of movement and more space for a serious fight. It’s the lack of items which removes the silly layer, and makes it the serious, competitive, classic fighting game style fighting it is in For Glory online and offline, and it’s the omega stage which puts you right in front of your opponent, with no option but to fight; and you better believe you do NOT want to lose. The omega stage and the daunting pressure to win also lets out the best skills you’ve got, because you really do want to win, and show off what all these hours of play time have given you. Lots more grabs and dodges in this version of the game, certainly.

Awfully regimented. But surprisingly fun!

The other half of the game, what you find in For Fun, is the classic Smash style with items on and no restrictions on what stage you go on. This half is more fun than it’s ever been due to the new items (as I will explain soon), and characters such as Duck Hunt Duo who are exceptionally silly. I love this half of the game for multi-player, and I do choose it over the competitive side. Playing with items on on whatever stage makes it the best multi-player experience there is to have on the 3DS.

Items and that.

I love the rejuvenated competitive side of the game, personally. However, it does remove a few important, and fantastically designed parts of the game, which only see the light of day on the other half of the game. Items and stages, they are. There’s been several items added to this new game, which make the experience all the more ridiculous, brilliantly unpredictable and, frankly, fun – which is what the game is about, really. Namely, there’s the Gust Bellows, Cucco, Drill Arm, Galaga, Rally-X Flag, Soccer Ball and the Fairy Bottle. Those are probably some of my favourite new items added, but there’s an abundance of others, which all add to the variety and aforementioned unpredictability, which I love, especially in stupid 4-player smashes.

Then there’s the stages, which consist of some old ones, but mostly new ones. Each stage is fantastic, and offers something different. I personally love the new Pokémon stages and Mario ones the most, namely Rainbow Mode, Prism Tower and Paper Mario. However, though the stages on this 3DS addition are brilliant, overall, I definitely prefer the stages on the Wii U version. They’re generally on a grander scale, and utilise the game’s compatibilies more effectively, with some really well designed stages, such as Jungle Hijinxs, Skyloft, Pyrosphere, Orbital Gate Assault, Gamer, Palutena’s Temple and The Great Cave Offensive. Each offer fantastic, unique perks and design features, in, just, simply, more impressive stages than on the 3DS. This is just one restriction the 3DS version has.

Offline modes, complete with mini reviews of sorts.

Finally, away from gameplay, there’s some more stuff in the game. I’ve already mentioned the characters, which are the best they’ve ever been, but not any modes or anything. First, let’s talk offline modes. This version of the game has to offer an abundance of modes: Smash, Classic Mode, All-Star Mode, Multi-Man Smash, Home Run Contest, Target Blast, Training, Trophy Rush, StreetSmash and Smash Run. Classic Mode is perhaps the most significant here other than obviously Smash, with being the classic mode (it’s in the name), and the one I consider to be basically Smash Bros’ version of arcade mode on classic fighting games. It’s the best Classic Mode there’s ever been, I can say with complete truthfulness. The new flexible difficulty system taken from Kid Icarus Uprising works perfectly as it does in the aforementioned game, and makes it all the more rewarding when you complete it on an especially hard difficulty (let’s say 9.0, which I haven’t managed yet), as you get more prizes; gold, trophies, customizations, etc.

Customizations, you say!? Yep. Now, you can create Mii fighters – Brawler, Gunner or Swordfighter – and customize existing characters’ movesets and edit their strengths in each area, Attack, Defense and Speed. I’m sure everyone’s in love with Sakurai for introducing customization (I know I am!), because it’s fantastic the extent to which you can tweak characters to your liking; and making your own Mii fighters is a dream come true.

Anyway, back to the modes. Next up is All-Star Mode. The difficulty system for this mode is simply Easy, Normal or Hard, which means less flexibility than Classic Mode. However, it’s a very different mode, and the Kid Icarus difficulty system wouldn’t necessarily work, as the extremities of hard and easy really make this mode what it is. I think it’s the same as before, but I would like for their to be less healing items on offer in between battles. It’s great fun, though.

Then there’s the extra modes, as you may call them: Multi-Man Smash, Home Run Contest, Target Blast and Training. Multi-Man has many separate segments, and, I will name them all to emphasise how much there are and how that’s a very good thing which has kept me coming back for more: 10-Man Smash, 100-Man Smash, 3-Minute Smash, Rival Smash, Endless Smash and Cruel Smash – my favourite being Endless and Cruel. It’s a mode brilliant not only for its variety but for its forcing you to try to beat your best scores, and show them off to whoever’s unlucky enough to be sitting next to you whilst your on it. Home Run Contest also forces you to do this, and is one of my favourite parts of Smash Bros. in general. I don’t think it’s any different from in Brawl, but that’s not a bad thing because it’s something that needs to keep its simplicity for it to be as good fun as it is. Target Blast, though for some reason not as good as the others in my eyes, is also very fun; ALTHOUGH, there is something about it that bugs me. It’s sort of there instead of Target Smash, which I think only turns up occasionally in lower difficulty Classic Mode playthroughs. This is a problem because I am a fan of Target Smash, as I’m sure many people are, and I’m sad it’s almost out of the game. What would have been perfect is that if they kept in Target Blast and Smash (bet you didn’t think of that, eh, Sakurai? IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH THINKING.). Finally, there’s Training, which lets you hone your skills and test all sorts of crazy shizzle, which can be great fun.

Next up is probably the most significant new addition to the game, and something owners of only the Wii U game will be aptly jealous for: Smash Run. It’s fantastic. It makes the most of customizations, and hones your skills in varied combat, but, most importantly, it’s really fun, really grand, and brings back the style of Melee’s great Adventure Mode. But it may even be better than that mode – albeit mostly because you can play it multi-player. In it, you build up your stats by beating up various enemies and picking up stat boosters whilst exploring a vast map filled with surprises, and, hopefully not for you, giant bullet bills your opponent has told to blow you up. Brutally. You do this stuff until you reach the end of the time limit and enter into a randomly selected challenge with your opponents (computer or friends), ranging from Race to the Finish, Stamina Smash (which interestingly only turns up on Smash Run, and is a good way to fight), Vs. the Enemy Team and Tower Climb among others. Some may think the fact it’s random is annoying, but I think it gives the mode an air of unpredictability which is fitting, and forces you to boost your stats for any given situation. It’s a brilliant mode, in conclusion, and better than Smash Tour, even though it would be better if they were both in both versions of the game. Yeah. It would. Despite this, though, it is a fantastic mode and one of the best things the game has to offer.

I don’t understand how IGN didn’t like this.

Finally, to wrap up my talking about offline modes, are StreetSmash and Trophy Rush. StreetSmash is a neat little extra, which is a good bit of fun and utilises the 3DS’ Streetpass feature perfectly for Smash Bros. Then, with Trophy Rush, it’s a great way to get trophies, of which I now have 623, off the top of my head? But yeah, Trophy Rush be cool.

In depth-ish with the online sturff.

Nowadays when I play this game, I spend a lot of my time online. The separate halves of the online in For Fun and For Glory work perfectly, and I like to go on both. For Fun is with items, and 3-4 player smash, and can be fought in normal fights or in team fights. However, I don’t often go on For Fun because for whatever reason it lags pretty badly most times I go on it, sometimes to the extent that it becomes unplayable; and, also, the amount of items that fall is pretty low, and that’s a bit frustrating. I do go on it sometimes despite this, but I tend to choose For Glory, which has no items and is only played on omega stages, over it, because, though lagging remains a problem, it is nowhere near as bad, or at least it isn’t on 1-on-1, which is the reason I spend most of my time on 1-on-1 — also because I swear I’ve improved from playing it more, my win rate is steadily looking better. Anyway, there’s also straight up smash and team smash, but I tend to stick to 1-on-1 because of the aforementioned reasons, and I think the competitive scene is growing on me, despite some annoyances that come with it.

I go online despite its flaws, much like Manchester United were successful last season despite Van Gaal (well, better than 7th anyway).

Why it ain’t as good as the Wii U one.

You can’t do this on the 3DS one.

Though this 3DS version is complete with an abundance of great modes, it is missing a vital mode in Events Mode, which has always been one of my favourite modes in Smash games – namely Melee; but is only on the Wii U version, which is disappointing. Furthermore, there’s a disappointing lack of Stage Builder, which distresses me as I’m not allowed to make my own stupid stages on the 3DS one, which is the only one I own. The Wii U one has this mode over the 3DS version, and Masterpieces, in which you can play parts of old Nintendo “Masterpieces” such as Super Mario Bros. 1,2 and 3, the old Kirby and Metroid games, and a whole load more. Also, it’s exclusive 8 Player Smash and, in my opinion, better stages emphasises the 3DS’ restrictions. Also, only the Wii U one has Special Smash, which is yet more disappointing, because I was looking forward to using that on the 3DS. And, finally, only the Wii U one has Tournaments Mode.

Although the 3DS version of the game is fantastic, it is simply not as grand, or possibly well designed a game as the Wii U one, which stands as the obvious superior version and possibly a game worth a 100 rating on this site; whereas the 3DS version is a downgrade (although a small one), and lacking in quite the depth which the Wii U version has.

Verdict:

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is one of the very best 3DS games, hands down. It plays the best any Smash game ever has, striking the balance between the styles of Melee and Brawl for perfect brawling. It also has the best character roster there’s ever been, has fantastic new items, stages, and brilliant modes – namely Smash Run, which I absolutely love. Despite it’s faulty online, and obvious inferiority to the Wii U version, I love this game to bits – and I also love Sakurai for bringing the series to the handheld.

There’s a reason I’ve been addicted to this game since last Christmas.

So I give it: 95/100.

– Speedy.

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