“Super Smash Bros.” was based on the foundation of Masahiro Sakurai’s beta project “Dragon King: The Fighting Game” which changed the way we interact with each other in a fighting environment. The whole concept of disputing among your favorite heroes that came from various Nintendo franchises seemed like a distant dream — that eventually became a reality. As the newer installments of “Smash Bros.” releases over the generations, the fan base continues to grow at a fast rate. Likewise, as loyal fans become more vocal towards their beloved fighting series, the level of anticipation and expectation increases tremendously for the following title. Needless to say, “Super Smash Bros. for 3DS” goes above and beyond by incorporating all of the core functionality without making any compromises for its first debut on a handheld.
To be rather blunt: the “Smash Bros.” series is essentially known for having little to no story line once so ever. The original “Super Smash Bros.” and “Super Smash Bros. Melee” both contained some story elements within its introduction and the ending after defeating the Master Hand — but that’s where the rubber hits the road. “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” on the other hand surprised everyone with a full ledge plot and its highly engaging cut scenes in Subspace Emissary. Give or take, the ambiguous journey to save their allies from reverting back to trophies sparked some controversy among the fans, thus finalizing the decision to exclude any cinematic content into the future “Smash Bros.” titles. This time around, “Super Smash Bros. for 3DS” completely strays away from any story material as it doesn’t feature a brand new introduction or any character snippets upon the completion of Classic mode.
The visuals within the latest installment of “Smash Bros.” is very impressive — given the fact that it pushes the boundaries and limits of the Nintendo 3DS. The polygon count within the characters are high, the textures of the characters and the stages are nice and detailed, and the atmosphere overall is simply breathtaking — especially when you realize that it only occupies 2.1GB of a 4GB Game Card. The art style for the new “Smash Bros.” focuses more on warm bright colors along with a slight cartoonish appearance towards the whole cast that meshes well together. Speaking of cartoonish, the 3DS edition features cell shaded graphics where the black lining around the characters can be adjusted by the user with three choices of thick, thin, or none. The 3D functionality is a welcome addition as it adds a substantial amount of depth in appropriate places without it going overboard.
The iconic silhouette that’s in the “Smash Bros.” series is what attracts Nintendo enthusiasts into the franchise to begin with. During the development of every Smash title, fans always make requests for their favorite character(s) that could potentially make the final cut. This time around, there’s a staggering selection of 34 new and old characters to choose from which are playable by default. Believe it or not, 34 characters isn’t the finalized set, given the fact that there are 15 more secret combatants to unlock — thus adding up to a grand total of 49 fighters. Even though the fourth iteration has the biggest roster out of the whole franchise, it also suffers the same fate as “Super Smash Bros. Melee” with the carbon copy characters . Tournament players would obviously beg to differ since the original and clone possesses different stats and properties, nevertheless, it would have been nice to see the doppelganger have its own identity.
Fans of the “Super Smash Bros.” series should feel right at home as the gameplay throughout the franchise has remained mostly the same. The main objective in this four player action fighter is to rough up your foes until they reach a high percentage so you launch others beyond the limitless sky. Players have full arsenal of movesets that involves the placement of Circle Pad with A or B button to compose various normal, strong, aerial, special, and smash attacks. Most of the characters still possess the same set of moves from Brawl, however, some characters like Peach and Sonic for an instance have some attacks that have been altered. Comboing in the latest “Smash Bros.” is not easy task since conducting a normal combo or a dash attack simply launches the enemies too far to even follow up — regardless of whether the percentage is low or not. With that being said, the overall game speed is balanced between Melee and Brawl, therefore, it feels like the perfect medium between those two predecessors.
Despite the fact the fact this is the first time “Super Smash Bros.” has ever been released to a handheld, the controls are still as solid as the other console counterparts. The Circle Pad is used to maneuver your combatant in precision, whereas, the Direction Pad is still used for different forms of taunting. Likewise, the 3DS features an A, B, X, and Y, therefore, those buttons still function the same as the previous titles. The A button is still used to do your regular attacks, the B button is for special attacks, and the X/Y button is used for jumping (if you prefer that opposed to using the Up-direction to jump). Since the 3DS only had two shoulder buttons — it doesn’t leave it at a disadvantage, due to the L button and R button being used for grabbing and shielding. At first, it felt pretty awkward to brawl against others, however, players will become accustomed to it rather quickly — or change the layout to their favor in the settings.
There are a handful of modes to choose from in “Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.” The selection of modes that makes an inevitable return from the previous “Smash Bros.” titles are Smash, All Star, Stadium, Multi-Man, and Training mode. One of the biggest mode without a doubt is the revamped Classic mode where users climb the ranks to eventually reach the Master Hand — but with a new twist. Prior to facing the fighters, players can now adjust the level of intensity from a scale to 0 – 9; the easier it is, the less rewards you get, however, the harder it is, the more rewards you gain. In the older Smash titles, there was a predestined route to fight random characters, now, there’s split roads to choose from that varies in difficulty and fighting conditions. When you reach towards the end, you’ll have a choice to fighting the regular Master Hand or challenge yourself to the fearsome Crazy and Master Hands duo. The interactive credits are still here as players can try to complete the background image based on the number of names that has been hit during the screening.
Aside from the changes towards Classic mode, the handheld version features an exclusive mode called “Smash Run.” What this new mode entails is that players must maneuver around a massive labyrinth to collect as much power ups as possible within the five minutes. There are a total of six power ups such as arms, speed, attack, defense, jump, and special that can be found in treasure chests, hidden areas, and defeating various enemies. After the timer runs out, the stat boosters will be tallied and a random fighting condition against three others CPUs (or local players) will be enforced. Once you overcome the battle type that’s being thrown at you, the 1st place individual will be deemed as victor of the Smash Run. The exclusive mode is quite intriguing for the first couple of times — until the experience wears paper thin over time.
The level of presentation in the latest “Smash Bros.” is more or less similar to last generation’s Brawl. If you’re expecting a full blown overhaul in terms of the menu layout and theme — then prepare to be a bit disappointed. Quirky shapes and pastel colored hues with thick black outlining is still the focal point across the whole interface. Navigating through a plethora of menus to reach a certain mode can be somewhat confusing at first due new standalone categories (compared to the previous titles). What adds a little nice touch to the overall package is the image that’s being displayed on the bottom screen depending on what mode is being highlighted. It’s a missed opportunity that touch screen isn’t utilized since it would have been more convenient to operate opposed to using the Circle Pad and the buttons.
Music has always been a big emphasis within the long-running “Super Smash Bros.” franchise. Ranging from the epic main theme to the wide array of themes from different universes, I can tell you right now that 4th edition makes no exceptions with its soundtrack. The composers did a great job on rearranging the signature tracks from its predecessors, as well as the newer tracks that found in other 1st party titles. Regarding to the newer tracks, the distribution of tracks from others IPs are well rounded, compared to Brawl — which contained way too many “Super Mario” and “The Legend of Zelda” tracks. Needless to say, the Battle Field and Final Destination track is very catchy this time around, as I’m constantly humming the tunes to myself from time-to-time.
Without a doubt, multiplayer is definitely the main attraction that’s going for this four player action fighting game. Whether you’re duking it out with a couple of friends locally, through online, or even StreetPass — the competitive spirit only continue to grow from here on out. In terms of the local multiplayer aspect, there aren’t any noticeable dips in frame rate or any inputs lag that I’ve experienced, however, the same can’t be said for online though. Online mode can be a tricky matter, since there are some instances where it runs seamlessly and cases where it’s a dreaded nightmare to play. Then again, if you’re strictly playing with friends only, then you shouldn’t come across any issues other than the occassional frame dropping. Stress Pass is a nifty little mini game where essentially the last man standing is considered the winner; if anything, it’s a nice way to kill a few minutes.
“Super Smash Bros. for 3DS” is simply not a game that you’ll reach full completion over a short span of time. Therefore, prepare to kick, punch, block, and throw your way to victory through countless hours worth of content. If you’re getting tired of playing against CPUs in Smash mode, then try tackling Classic mode or Smash Run to collect some coins, equipment, and abilities. With those coins, you can invest them into obtaining and building your trophy collection, likewise, you can use those new gear to customize your main combatant or your Mii fighter. Even if you essentially achieved all of the challenges, characters trophies, armor, and techniques — there’s still millions of players around the world to test whether your skills matches your credibility. “Smash Bros.” titles are notorious for lasting for months — if not years — due to the high amount of replay value.
The highly anticipated fighting phenomenon has finally arrived on a handheld for the first time ever! Since the “Super Smash Bros.” series isn’t known for having a concrete plot (with the exception of Brawl), the latest edition for the 3DS continues to follow that trend by excluding a new introduction and character endings. Despite not having a storyline, the high-end cell shaded visuals are simply gorgeous and well constructed soundtrack lives up to the previous Smash entries. The gameplay is hasn’t age a bit, however, conducting combos are be challenging along with some of the altered attacks that some characters got. Aside from the few quirks with the game mechanics, there’s a surplus of modes and content to keep the Smash Bros. enthusiasts occupied for years to come.
- Great representation of the console counterpart
- Performs flawlessly regardless of any chaotic moment
- So many features that will keep anyone content for a long time
- The exclusive Smash Run is pretty underwhelming
- Certain questionable attack properties across the roster
- Online mode can be blessing or a curse when played globally
Ultimately, should you buy this game…?
[ DEFINITELY YES | YES | MAYBE | NO | DEFINITELY NO ]