Super Smash Bros. 3DS Review

BY JACOB DICKENS

Once again, the stage has been set for Nintendo’s most iconic franchise players to battle for brand supremacy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. The chaos has gone handheld and suffice to say, the transition from the big screen to small is almost flawless.

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At it’s core, Smash 3DS is the same Smash you’ve been playing for years. Pick your favourite Nintendo luminary, proceed to beat the snot out of other said luminaries, smash them off the screen, bask in the glory of victory, repeat.

The formula hasn’t changed, yet where lack of innovation can often cripple a series, there’s something about Smash that keeps the feeling fresh, no matter how many times you hear that announcer shout “GAME!”

Action is fluid, running at a smooth 60 frames-per-second, even with the 3D capability turned on. This speed and responsiveness not only makes Smash easily the most technologically impressive fighter on the system, but also a game that Smash’s reinvigorated competitive scene can be proud of.

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The control scheme itself almost copy and pastes itself exactly to the face and shoulder buttons of the 3DS without issue, but the use of the Circle Pad to control your character is problematic. The Pad doesn’t seem to have quite as good a grasp on the force in which a direction is pressed compared to a stick, leading to many a whiffed smash attack and mobility blunders.

That being said, the problem isn’t persistent enough to severely hamper the overall gameplay. Everything else works like a charm, with the button controls being easy to use and the touch screen thankfully being relegated to navigating menus. The whole package is just not as accurate for a game like Smash, where precision can make all the difference.

However, one aspect you can always expect Smash to knock it out of the park on is the character roster. Fighters old and new gather to create a roster of 49 fighters, which is an impressive number to be sure.

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Nintendo’s love for both their big hitters and their more obscure creations is definitely on show here, from the franchise staples you’d expect, like Mario, Pikachu and Link, to nostalgic throwbacks like Little Mac of Punch-Out! fame.

What makes this huge amount of playable characters even more impressive is that it’s teeming with variety and surprisingly balanced at launch. There aren’t any outright “top-tier” characters in the game, so you can look forward to running the entire roster when you take the fight online or with friends.

These characters can be made even more unique with the implementation of customization. While in some games this can feel shoehorned in, this system works well in Smash, with the equipment you give your character making more than a noticeable difference in how they play.

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The Smash trope of clones also returns in force however, which stifles the rosters variety a little, but overall, there’s still a whole lot of creativity this time around when it comes to playable characters.

Where Smash excels in it’s variety of fighters, it falls a bit short in the variety of modes. The usual Smash fare is present, with standard Smash, Classic, All-Star and Stadium modes all making a return. The biggest addition to the offering of modes is Smash Run, which is exclusive to the 3DS.

This mode sees you taking your fighter through a fairly open landscape, filled to the brim with all sorts of baddies from Nintendo’s franchises. You level up your character as much as you can, before the five minute timer expires. Then, you face three others who have done the exact same.

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The final battles can really fluctuate in difficulty, as sometimes they will suit how your character has leveled (like how a race would suit a speedy character) and sometimes it’ll really be against you.

Primarily though, Super Smash Bros. is about multiplayer. The game offers both local or online multiplayer modes and both are for the most part, solid experiences.

As with most local handheld multiplayer, Smash works almost perfect with only a little input lag if you’re not too far from your opponents.

Only normal smashing is available online and it can be a bit hit or miss. Two player matches are almost always fine, three is occasionally shaky and four player matches are 50/50 at best.

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However, it’s a big step up from the series’ previous attempt at online play and while not perfect, it’s an adequate attempt at a feature that simply needs to be in all fighting games in this day and age.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS does a surprisingly good job of bringing the much loved brawler to handhelds. While not without a few nitpicks, the package is an impressive addition to the 3DS library.

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