Long have I watched this series gain more instalments with each new Nintendo console forever thinking, “Damn they need Smash on a handheld!”. I can’t be the only one who’s wanted to take Smash on the road, yet ask and ye shall receive: Nintendo have finally given us our portable Smash fix after continuous fan demands.
When you considering the sheer amount of 3DS handhelds out in the wild today, being one of the best selling consoles of all time and Super Smash Bros being one of Nintendo’s biggest titles on paper it only makes sense to give themselves an avenue to print money. The gamble has paid off with Super Smash Bros for 3DS selling more than 2.8 million units already. The fact they brought this game out ahead of the main Wii U version was a stroke of genius. There are far more 3DS consoles out there (approx. 43 million) than Wii U’s (approx. 6 million) right now so which way were they going to get more sales from? I am hoping that this success will lead more players to pick up a Wii U and support the console. I will be looking for an Xmas Smash bundle that is certain. I bought my 3Ds a few weeks before Smash was released purely for this game.
So how did Smash Bros convert to a smaller screen and has it hampered the experience? Well I must admit from preview shots and a online impressions I had feared we would be getting a Smash Bros Lite version but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The creative team have definitely done a great job with compensating for screen real estate. Players on a 3DS XL will have a better experience purely from the bigger screen alone, however in general the default match set up is 3 player rather than 4 players. Playing 4 players can get very hectic and make it very difficult to make out who is doing what and where. I’ve found it was a great idea to set the default to 3 players as it does allow you to follow the action a lot easier, however over my time with the game I quickly adjusted and always change it to 4 players for more fun.
If you’ve played Smash Bros in the past on any previous gen console then you will feel right at home here. All the staples are there and more. It still feels like that if you’re good at playing one character you can practically play them all. There are approx. 50 characters give or take if you’re including clones or costume change type characters. Most characters do feel the same but they all come with their own nuance which help separate them all from each other. In true Smash Bros tradition there really is so much love given in the presentation and how they’ve represented each individual character. This is one part I love about this franchise. Sonic is my “go to” fighter and it amazes me how this creative team are the only people that have gotten Sonic right over the last decade or more. Plus this is a milestone: we have Pac Man, Megaman, Sonic and Mario all in one game. I thought this would never happen. Having such iconic gaming characters together reminds me of that scene in Roger Rabbit where Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse are on the big screen together. That kind of stuff blew little Chunt’s mind and still does as a grown man.
In preparation it seems for the Wii U version’s debut they’ve also incorporated Wii U connectivity. You can wireless connect your 3DS to your Wii U and use that as a controller if you so desire which just makes total sense. Speaking of controls: it is a little bit of an adjustment and you can’t change to D-Pad to movement but overall after a few hours the circle pad works just fine and feels just as easy as playing with a Wii remote or Gamecube Controller in my opinion. I’m not sure but I’m hoping that you can play against Wii U players online from your 3DS. You’ve got your typical Smash modes if you want to get straight to business. Then you have a “Classic” mode where you advance through fighters until to reach Master Hand at the end. Always fun. A new mode is “All Star” mode where we get taken through a visual timeline of sorts through gaming history fighting opponents through the ages from the roster until present day where you also fight on the reflective stages, this is a really great addition I thoroughly enjoyed. For more light hearted fun there is the “Stadium” section where you’ll find other modes like “Target Blast” which is like Angry Birds but you need to knock bombs into targets and walls for points. “Multi-Man Smash” is a real hoot where you just got a bout smashing a stupid load of random generated Mii characters and each challenge has a set requirement where its in a certain amount of time or a survival scenario. “Home Run Contest” is back and as good as ever. There are more modes but let me just say that there is plenty to do an unlock here in this iteration and they’ve really out done themselves for this portable format.
If they’ve packed this much into the 3DS version I can only wait to get into the Wii U instalment. If you have a 3DS and love Smash Bros than do yourself a favour and grab a copy like the other almost 3 million of us did.
Review by Chris Hunt