It’s pretty apparent that Nintendo is very proud of their latest Super Smash Bros. game. In fact, the majority of their setup is dedicated to the game (you can check out all our photos from the E3 showroom floor by clicking here). What makes this entry in the popular franchise different is that its debuting with two mostly similar versions, one for the handheld 3DS and one for the Wii U, and I was able to get my hands on both.
Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS features a brand new mode called the “Smash Run,” a game mode that sees players running through a near endless loop of enemies and locations from other Nintendo properties all the while collecting power-ups to aid them in the “Final battle” against the other players. It may be that I’m not that great at Super Smash Bros., but I found this game mode mostly boring. I did get to play as the newcomer Little Mac, which was definitely a highlight as he is an easy to control character, but the mode as a whole is kind of lame, at least when playing against AIs – it might be more enjoyable playing against friends.
On the other side is Super Smash Bros. Wii U, the version that is actually a treat to play and watch. In the first round, I played as The Villager, being an avid Animal Crossing player, and found him to be an easy to control character that is surprisingly powerful. Our first match took place in a MegaMan-themed venue and really showcased what makes the Wii U such a game changer for Nintendo, the high definition. The stylization of Nintendo properties, from the colorful characters to the intricately defined environments were made to be seen on a big TV in 1080p. Longtime “Smash Bros.” players will find this latest version easy to pick up and play but will keep coming back because of its truly stunning visuals.
Our second match was inside the Boxing Arena, a level Little Mac would call home, and this time I took on the role of the Wii Fit Trainer. Though a bit of a headscratcher as a character choice, the trainer is easy to play, though she’s not the most powerful of characters. Her versatility keeps her going though as shes able to outmaneuver many of the other characters on the screen. The level design for the boxing arena also shows that Nintendo knows how to take what we love about “Smash Bros.” and further expand on it. For example, the rafters above the arena are accessible throughout the match, until they fall and instantly KO anyone inside the ring, that is.
Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is just okay from a casual standpoint, though hardcore fans of the series may likely enjoy it more. The real treat of the series is the Wii U version which retains the classic brawls of the series but pushes it forward with jaw dropping graphics. In comparison, the graphics for the 3DS version are toned down, with more of a cell shaded look to them, and though it works for a handheld, I doubt many will want to go back to it after seeing the beauty of the Wii U version.
Super Smash Bros. will launch for the 3DS on October 3 with the Wii U version coming in this holiday season.