It’s no secret that I absolutely adored Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Nintendo somehow took the series and made it work perfectly on their handheld console. The portable title certainly stands on its own, but what it really did was serve as a teaser for Super Smash Bros. Wii U. The bigger sibling includes everything that made the 3DS title fantastic and a whole lot more.
If you have no idea what I’m rambling on about, allow me to quickly bring you up to speed. Super Smash Bros is a brawler, a ridiculous one at that. Players get to choose from a whopping 51 characters, the majority of which are pulled straight out of first-party Nintendo titles, and then do battle across many wacky arenas. Your primary objective? Smash your opponents straight off the level, while trying to stay on yourself. It’s fast-paced, over the top, and addictive action.
New Ways to SMASH
There are the usual suspects when it comes to game modes. Smash is the go-to if you’re looking to do an ordinary battle with AI, friends, or both. There are others like Classic, All-Star, and Stadium too, all of which will suck up even more of your time and earn you gold. It doesn’t end there though. Are you one of those hermits living up in a cave? Fear not, there’s plenty to keep you busy should you be flying solo. I’m not even kidding, the amount of content is genuinely enough to keep players busy for a very long time! New modes include the likes of Special Orders, Event Mode, and Smash Tour.
Special Orders is split into Master Orders and Crazy Orders – modes which have the antagonists handing out battles with special conditions. Master Hand is more easy going, letting the player choose how much gold they want to dish out for a certain reward – should they win the battle of course. Crazy Hand on the other hand is more of a bastard. He requires an upfront fee of 5000 gold. Once paid, players can take on challenges at will, with the opportunity to cash-out at any point, and by cash-out, I mean battle Crazy Hand himself before they can claim the rewards they have accumulated. It’s high risk for high reward, and it’s highly enjoyable.
The Event Mode poses different scenarios to the player, all of which are meant to simply poke fun or serve as an excuse to showcase hypothetical battles. For example, Mario needs to go on his next adventure, but which Yoshi will he choose? It should be you of course, you’ll just need to beat the screen filled with other Yoshis to prove it!
Lastly, Smash Tour is essentially the result of one drunken night of passion between Super Smash Bros and Mario Party. Players are placed on a board and move around to collect stat increases and new fighters. Between all of this are random battles and powerups, all of which can sway the game in anybody’s favour at any moment. The winner is determined in the penultimate fight, where players use all their collected fighters with accompanying stat boosts to determine who exactly is the best. I know Smash Tour won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I personally enjoyed it. It can be played with both AI and friends.
An excuse to SMASH (with) friends
Easily the best feature the Wii U version has is the ability to partake in couch co-op. The 3DS felt surprisingly lonely, requiring either an online connection or a bunch of mates with their own game and devices to partake in multiplayer mayhem. This is no longer the case.
Nintendo have gone ahead and made almost every damn controller compatible with the Wii U. You can use anything like the Gamepad, a Wiimote, and even a Gamecube controller (should you have an adaptor). Heck, even the 3DS can be used as an input device. I synced mine up to test it out – it worked like a charm. You’re going to need every controller you can get your hands on too, especially if you want to try out the 8-player Smash – a first for the series.
It is truly chaotic! In order to facilitate all of this, only certain larger levels can be played. The smaller of these can be a bit too much as there really isn’t room to manoeuvre around. It can be a tad frustrating getting knocked off over and over again too. The larger stages are more awesome at least, even when the camera zooms out far enough to make you feel like you’re squinting at a 3DS screen.
It was quite something to see one large scale battle break off into smaller skirmishes, which ended up in another eight player pile up again shortly after. You know what was immensely satisfying? Landing a glorious Final Smash on nearly everybody. Those moments are rare, but oh so magical!
8-player gameplay isn’t exclusive to multiplayer either. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself battling up to seven other AI contenders in the Event mode. Remember my Yoshi example from earlier? I wasn’t battling three others… I was up against seven lovable Mario companions.
That’s not all. If you don’t have loads of friends lying about, you can co-op with just one in several other modes. The event mode for example, has a completely separate set of levels to the single-player component. Heck, why stop there? You can battle each other in the Stadium mini-games, or team up once more to tackle the All-Star mode.
One feature I was personally interested in testing out was Amiibo. For my review, I received Princess Peach, and ironically, Marth (add that missing ‘a’) to test out. The idea behind these figures is that a player can scan them into the game and train them up to be even better and stronger.The data is stored in the Amiibo itself after each battle.
Levelling takes place whenever the Amiibo sees game time. They can further be improved be “feeding” items between skirmishes which raises their stats. You can’t feed them too much though, they will get full and you’ll need to make them fight more to work up an appetite once again.
Trust me when I say I was sorely disappointed to have received both these characters (I was hoping more for Kirby and Samus). I chose to fight them, fight alongside them, and even watched them fight alone against others. By by the time I had levelled them up significantly, I was inexplicably attached.
Is it a novelty? Perhaps. Is it necessary to enjoy the game? Not at all. I’d be lying if I said those two characters didn’t make me feel like a kid though. I watched them grow, and I wish the Super Smash Bros community here in South Africa was big enough for me to put them to the test against other people’s Amiibos. I would happily watch Peach or Marth duke it out with others like a proud parent at a kid’s football game
Super Smash Bros. Wii U is almost flawless… almost. I still have some minor gripes here and there. The menu for example really needs an overhaul. Even as a “veteran” player, I still felt like I needed a degree in Navigation just to spot the mode I was looking for.
The controller defaults are also annoying. It was easy enough to change my buttons on the 3DS to suit my style. The Wii U edition on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any similar option. Instead, players can create their own controller profiles, and they have to select it before each battle. I can’t even count the number of times I started a game mode only to realise I hadn’t selected my controller profile of choice. This resulted in many silly quit-outs. I know it’s something so minor to pick on, but it’s something I’ve seen others moan about in online forums too.
Finally, there is no kind of tutorial mode. Yes, there is a short video explaining everything, but it’s hardly enough to make a newcomer understand exactly how the game should be played. It takes a good while to really come to grips with the action happening on-screen. A nice detailed tutorial would certainly help.
Other than those minor issues, it is really hard to not gush about this game. It looks beautiful, and plays really well. I have spent many an hour exploring all the different modes, both alone and with friends. Somehow, I’ve still barely done anything. There are tons of collectibles to find, hours of game modes to fully enjoy, and even more Amiibos to collect and level. I will be getting lost in Super Smash Bros (once again) for a very long time.
Last Updated: December 5, 2014