The moment we’ve been patiently waiting for is finally here with Super Smash Bros. making its debut on the Nintendo 3DS. As Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS makes its mark on the handhelds, we will take a look to see if Nintendo’s most famous franchise can make the leap from our household TVs to the 3DS and be a part of the big leagues with its past Super Smash Bros. brethren — or will it have to bow out to its console counterparts.
With most of the veteran fighters returning back to play, some new characters (that have waited for so long) finally get to bout with Nintendo’s most iconic figures. While most just got minor adjustments or little overhauls to their move sets, the newcomers (minus the clones) all get new move sets that are much more unique. You have Little Mac and his K.O meter that has the potential to knock anybody out at any time, or Rosalina and Luma with the ability of having a human shield with her that can also fight. Not only that! They put some of the more well-known Nintendo mascots in the game, but they also have two of the biggest retro icons that faced Mario many years ago in Pac Man and Mega Man. You couldn’t pay me enough money to believe that four of the biggest stars in gaming history would be into one game ten years ago, but today, we have that match made in heaven.
Unfortunately for those who’ve played with the likes of the Ice Climbers, Wolf or Snake, you will no longer have that privilege as they did not make the cut. With such a vast roster (already with 48 characters), cuts did have to be made and those few classic characters were not chosen. However, a returning favourite from the Gamecube’s Super Smash Bros. Melee does make a comeback as Doctor Mario, as well as two new clones in Lucina and Dark Pit. If you ask me, clones shouldn’t have a place in the Super Smash Bros. games as they feel recycled (sorry Fox, Falco, and Wolf fans), but for this title, they were able to make these clones feel like less of clones and more of unique characters in and of themselves. I would have like to have seen what they could have done to make those characters even more different from their counterparts, but with such a big roster, there is a character for everyone.
Many older modes like Classic Mode get a bit of a tune up for this game. In previous titles, Classic Mode had you face off multiple foes and obstacles before having a final bout against the main protagonist of the Super Smash Bros. series, Master Hand. While that stays the same in this version, the number of fighters you now face are far fewer, in a more open environment with multiple paths to choose from. This makes the flow of the “old” Classic Mode feel revitalised without doing anything to change the game’s formula. Other modes like the Home Run Contest and the Multi Man Brawl have also been tweaked to keep the “On the Go” gameplay feel right at home when you’re…on the go!
Other new modes, such as Smash Run, come exclusively to the 3DS. This is a mini-game that you fight across a large scaled map and try to collect power ups before a final fight against a CPU or other people with Smash nearby. This mode would have been a nice addition, but the fact that you can’t play Smash Run online burdens the possibility of competitive play — unless your friends are over with their 3DSs in your home. You can tell this is a Sakurai mini-game, but again, the idea of not having an online option ruins any potential for the new feature to work at its best.
The main feature I wanted to touch on was the Online Mode. As most Super Smash Bros. veterans will know the Online for Super Smash Bros. Brawl was…meh…to put it nicely. It was very underwhelming. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, we see vast improvements over its predecessor as the game is still able to run close to 60FPS with barely any lag, depending on where you are. There have only been a few occasions when I was forced to drop out of a match due to bad connectivity, and that was when I was playing at close to 2 am, so I can say that the Online gets a pass.
Something that I struggled with in the game were the controls. In a series that is known for having the most comfortable and the highest quality controls, the 3DS version lacks far behind. Due to the handheld’s shape, it becomes annoyingly difficult to get that “controller feel” that is needed to play these types of games. The shape of the 3DS could be blamed for this, as some triggers are out of place, or perhaps the fact that having a Circle Pad that isn’t built to be relied on so much will hurt your thumbs. Luckily, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS offers the most it can considering it tries to compensate for the 3DS’s control limitations. This is done by being able to customize your control schemes any way you want them. So, if you are a left handed gamer like myself, you can switch up the back trigger buttons so that it feels closer to the console controllers.
Visually, the game looks top notch. As the steady flow of combat rarely drops, 60FPS keeps everything running smoothly without any hiccups. The game also is graphically impressive, especially considering that it’s on the 3DS. Everything running the way it does takes a lot of power and it certainly pushes the limits of Nintendo’s handhelds, but to our surprise the game came out looking better than ever, maybe even pacing Super Smash Bros. Brawl in comparison.
Now for the soundtrack. It’s amazing! The game boasts one of the best, if not the best soundtracks ever recorded in any game. It may sound odd to say, but the effort for every orchestrated song in this game is deserving of a medal on its own. You get songs from Classic Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mega Man and everything else from Nintendo into one simple selection screen. I would have probably bought the game if it was just for the music itself. The reworked tracks are absolutely fantastic, and just to make things better, you can listen to the songs when you aren’t playing by putting your 3DS in Sleep Mode and plugging some earphones in. Simply outstanding! 10/10! Moving on.
Smash games have always held up fantastic value and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is no exception. You will spend countless hours collecting the many trophies that are available in the game and with 48 characters to play with, you will certainly have your hands busy for more than just a few days. Although, even with so many things to collect, I found it became far too easy to unlock new fighters or collect trophies. I even unlocked a character after quitting a match because I forgot to put the game in Stock. So much for secret characters I suppose. At least the burden of collecting every single trophy in the game is a little less repetitive as you are now able to purchase some at the Trophy Store with either the coins you collect in game, or your play coins usually used for Find Mii.
The game also offers a new way to play that the console versions could never do, and that’s by playing on the go. No more do you have to quit your game because you have to go to work. No more do you have to stay up late in front of your TV screen sitting on your couch. No more restraints on how you play. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS becomes the first ever portable Super Smash Bros. game in the series and I can see many people choosing the 3DS version over the Wii U one because of that. With practically all the same features offered on both systems you won’t feel as if you got the lesser version of the game.
How well does Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS fare? As well as any other Super Smash Bros. game. With so many ways to play, it offers the same great game that everybody knows and loves. Its bright and diverse characters are even bigger on the little screen and having so much content in such a small package is amazing. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS becomes the perfect pocket brawler for any Super Smash Bros. fans to get their hands on.