Everyone who reads the site should know that I’ve been looking forward to this game for a good while now. From E3 to the hands-on Wii U demo at Best Buy. I specifically pre-ordered this game at Best Buy just so I could get this collector’s coin. It’s pretty freaking sweet if I do say so myself.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

But enough about the swag and on to the review.

GAMEPLAY

Not much has changed here. It’s still your classic 4 player party/fighting game. All of the modes are still there plus more. Items are back with new additions. The Smash Ball has also returned from the last installment on Wii. The Subspace Emissary however did not make a return, but this doesn’t really cripple the game in any way to me.

It’s all about that local smash with your friends.

Depending on the area that you’re playing in, you may or may not have some connection issues between local and online. It’s mostly been okay for me. Only once has the game ended with a draw before the match could even start. It didn’t bother me much, but it happened. One note to add to this is that no one, I repeat NO ONE, should close their 3DS mid-game or at the character selection screen. You will end the connection for everyone. We learned that the hard way…

Most of us are coming from the GameCube brigade when it comes to controls. The button layout is quite similar minus a Z-button and a C-stick for macro smashes. The Circle Pad Pro is not compatible with this game either. You can however, somewhat customize the controls. Having trouble performing up-smashes by jumping constantly? Turn off the jump function for up. It’s pretty convenient. Playing on a 3DS takes a bit of getting use to, but once you get past that small learning curve, you’ll hopefully find that the game feels quite all right.

As far as gameplay goes, it holds up okay. For a handheld, I’m impressed. My only gripe is not being able to use the d-pad for movement and that the size of everything is so small, since it’s on tiny dual screens.

PRESENTATION

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS lacks a cinematic intro but they make up for it by having all those amazing character trailers. The menu was a bit disorienting to me at a first glance. Holding a similar design to Brawl’s non-uniform design, except it’s more compact since it’s on a handheld. Every selection is clear on what it’s suppose to be, it’s just in a tighter format. There’s an explanation for each mode on the touch screen which is a nice feature to have.

One of the game’s biggest redeeming qualities is its level of detail. There is so much effort put into this game, and you can see the attention the developers paid to it. From the small details in the character models, to their move sets that pay homage to their appropriate franchises; the stage designs, music, items and collectible trophies. If you’re a big Nintendo fan, not much will go by you unnoticed. After all, this game is like one giant love-letter from Nintendo to its fans.

FEATURES

Like it’s predecessors, this game has a lot of bells and whistles attached to it. Your typical “Vs. Smash” mode is here along with the Home-Run Contest and Training mode. There are some new modes that have been added to the game, such as the 3DS version’s exclusive “Smash Run.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that it is, you and 3 other players (real or CPU) will travel through one giant map filled with multiple enemies from various games. Beating these foes up will drop some random upgrades that will boost your stats. If you’ve played Kirby’s Air Ride, it shares a similar function to “City Trial” mode. You play through for 5 minutes exactly, collecting items to equip and new moves for your custom characters. A random game mode will follow shortly after. You could be playing a classic smash fight or perhaps you’ll be racing your opponents to a finish line or even competing in who can destroy the most enemies within a time limit. This mode specifically has a lot of replay value to it.

Another new one is the Target Blast mode. Similar to Home-Run Contest, you beat up a bomb until the countdown reaches 0 and you launch it into a, for lack of a better term, Angry Birds-esque architectures filled with targets. There is a StreetPass mini game where you have to knock your opponents off the stage in the form of tokens with a character’s face on it. A lot of features have been added and I’d be lying if I said you weren’t getting your money’s worth here.

MUSIC

One of my favorite parts about this game is the music. What I was saying about the attention to detail earlier, applies heavily here. Hearing remastered versions of your favorite Nintendo tunes as well as some really well-done remixes is packed with nostalgia while being refreshing at the same time. Being able to choose what songs you want to play in the game makes fighting your friends that much more satisfying. They even included a feature where you can hook up your headphones and close your 3DS so you can simply listen to your favorite tracks on the go. Maybe I’m biased about this but this is one big redeeming quality for me.

REPLAYABILITY

For the time being, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has an extremely high replay value. This applies mostly to the Vs. mode. Between free-for-all, team battles or the classic one-on-one fights on Final Destination with no items (possibly Fox only?), all of this will mostly be utilized on this version until its superior Wii U version is released. Then, I can foresee the 3DS version not getting as much attention unless you’re playing on the go or on the toilet. I like to believe that’s why most of us got the 3DS version to begin with. To simply scratch that Smash Bros. itch. Waiting so anxiously to play the long-awaited beautiful Wii U version that I’m sure if you’re excited/desperate enough, you’d play anything remotely close to that game. As for me personally, I like to this game as a great way to warm up your skills in between playing on consoles.

AFTER THOUGHTS

I do have to address one thing. After the multiple character trailers, daily screen shots on the website, the E3 Best Buy demo and now owning the 3DS version, I’m a bit exhausted with Smash Bros. Shocking, I know. I don’t hate the game, but I feel overly spoiled now. I feel like I’m not going to be as excited for the Wii U version. Maybe they took too long to release it or perhaps it was too much marketing for it. I’m not sure, but I don’t find myself running to this game at every waking moment like I use to with the previous titles. Maybe I just need to distance myself from all the publicity like I do with movie trailers. Before you know it, they start to give away so much about the product it kinda kills the discovery for you. I don’t know, I still love the game and the series as a whole. Maybe I just need to take a small break before jumping back into it. Or maybe I just need those worthy rivals I call my friends to reignite this withered flame I have for this game.

Second Opinion

I really did not like this game when the demo was first sent out via Club Nintendo. I knew I was playing a gimped version of the final product, it offering only one stage and five playable characters. However, I spent my time with it and grabbed the retail copy the second that I could. Playing through it that first weekend, I still didn’t love it. The controls did not feel right to me, even after some manual tweaks. I was impressed with what the team was able to pull off on the handheld, but it felt like a lesser version of what is to come next.

Playing through the game more, I kept noticing more and more reference to Earthbound and the Mother series. The constant reminders pushed me to instead pick up my Wii U and return to Earthbound. When I would lie in bed after hours of playing the classic RPG, I would toy around with Ness in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. Ness never quite clicked for me, despite my history with the franchise dating back to the Nintendo 64 version of the game. He’s difficult and a bit less straight-forward than other characters are. For whatever reason, something fired in my brain that never did before, and I fell in love with Ness. As I played him more, I started to understand the game on a new level, one that frankly I didn’t think I could learn.

This opened up the game and I started to really, I mean really, understand the controls and the nuance to this version of the game. Playing other characters, particularly Little Mac and Samus, I felt like I really got a grip on how this game is meant to be played. I don’t know if that will change at all when the Wii U version is released, or if that game will feel drastically different, but I get this one, and I like what I get.

My favorite new addition that is present here is the aforementioned Smash Run. Something about breaking away from the typical brawling and one-on-one melee of the series just feels right. The mode offers somewhat of an adventure, and I like what it does, ultimately culminating in the battle that not only reflects your skill, but your ability to collect power-ups for your character during the run. I love that I can select a handful of music to play as I run through, and all the while I can beat up enemies from more series than I can name.

I can happily say that this game is great, and it exceeded my expectations and my initial reactions to it. I think the pacing of the game is a nice balance between the extremes from previous iterations, while it still offers room for the player to learn and understand the game’s systems.

I love how smoothly everything just works, as opposed to previous attempts to do so in the series. Online play takes a minute or two to load, but once you’re in a match, everything works really well. I’ve only experienced a few hiccups in connection and those were across the tens of hours that I’ve put into the game. Additionally, the spectator mode online is so addictive. I’ve hit the end of the night several times and decided to jump into the spectator mode, where you can bet on matches and on who you think will win. Every time I’ve done this, I end up staying awake an extra thirty minutes to an hour just to keep watching people play and bet fake money on them.

For the first handheld entry in the series, Bandai Namco and Sora Ltd. really pulled it off. Super Smash Bros. never feels small or gimped. If you own a 3DS, you should own Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.

3.5

Posted by Marc Augustyniak

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