I’ve had Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS since it launched. It’s jam packed game and one that is sure to be played on my 3DS for quite some time, but is it a good game?

Disclaimer: While I’ve owned handheld consoles, I’m not anywhere near as big of a fan of them as regular consoles, so expect extra grouchy-ness.

Of course it is, surely?!

As I said, there’s a lot in the game for you to do. You’ll easily sink major hours into unlocking characters and levels. You’ll even spend quite a bit of time unlocking the unlockables and way more hours collecting custom moves, outfits and items. But there’s a really big flaw in what I’ve seen. Okay, maybe not that big, but it’s bugged me for a while.

All new Smash?

Comparison

Very similar aesthetics…

I’ve played both this and Super Smash Bros. Brawl for a while now. There’s a lot of similarities. But then something hit me when I was playing the 3DS version – I’ve seen these trophies before. In fact, there’s a lot of the game I’ve seen before. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like I was playing a beefed up Brawl on my 3DS. If Brawl was Smash Bros 3, this felt more like Smash Bros 3.5 than Smash Bros 4.

But it’s different where it matters

Don’t get me wrong. The Wii U version isn’t out yet, and I’m basing the comparison on this one. This is a brand new game. As I mentioned earlier, it’s got a whole heap of new content on it – ranging from different variations of new modes, customisable characters, Miis and stats. The name of the game is individuality. Perhaps it’s just me, but that is the part I really like.

“If Brawl was Smash Bros 3, this felt more Smash Bros 3.5 than Smash Bros 4.”

My Mario can beat up your Mario!

While this is the Wii U version, the 3DS version works the same way.

While this is the Wii U version, the 3DS version works the same way.

Not only can you customise a new moveset for your fighters, but you can add items to them. They’re not items that you see in most games – cosmetic – but they’re items that adjust how your character plays. For example, you can get items that make you regain health, items that make it easier to grapple onto ledges and allow you to do it from further away. You get items that allow you to do your smash attacks for longer and more powerfully. And the great thing about all of this? It does feel like it preserves a balance. Items with special abilities tend to reduce other stats and items that boost one stat lower another. So yes, you may be quick, but you don’t pack as much of a punch or you’re mega powerful, but you’re easily knocked out, etc…

In the end, you can build characters that cater to your strengths, which will give you an edge. Once more, you can save entire loadouts to use on each character – so that you can have a brilliantly powerful Mario or a speedster. You can have a Mario which really helps you get the Smash Ball or you can have one that is really difficult to knock off. Once more, you’ll come across items that only certain groups of fighters can use, and often these will increase stats more.

But what about the gameplay itself?

Smash is Smash. If you’ve played one, you’ve roughly played them all. Okay, so they differ in speed and other small tweaks here and there, but on the whole you know what you’re getting into. And that’s good. But it’s also bad.Bad because part of the reason this felt like Smash Bros 3.5 is it’s aesthetically close to Brawl. So much so that I think it loses a bit of its core identity. But on the other hand, it does have a lot of unique stuff. While you’ll still have access to some of the staples – Classic Mode, All-Star mode, the Multi-Man Melee, some of the practice stages, etc… It often has unique elements to them.

“…customising fighters is compatible with the Wii U version, so it seems like it’ll be ideal to get both, and I highly doubt if that’s the extent to their interaction.”

For Example?

The Classic mode, you get to choose paths and you get rewards for each match won (based upon the difficulty you set it to). These include coins, trophies and items. The All-Star mode is set up by matches based on the time period of the character’s first introduction. The hit-the-target mode has been adapted so you hit a bomb into an arena to see how many you can hit, almost like Angry Birds. You can tell they’ve put a lot of effort into this game.

Are there any new modes?

Collect powerups to get beefy and stand a better chance of being the final victor.

Collect powerups to get beefy and stand a better chance of being the final victor.

Well, outside of the selection of online options, there’s the Street Smash, which is a minigame where you try to knock off as many of the opponents counters off the arena as possible. There’s also the Trophy Smash where you hit boxes so they don’t stack up and you can end up earning loads of trophies and custom parts.

But the biggest and newest mode is Smash Run, which replaces the story mode and sees a lot of it replaced with a Subspace Emissary style platformer where the aim is to improve your stats to be launched into a final at the end, where you compete against 3 others in a random style of battle. Some are “be the highest”, “be the fastest”, “Everyone is on 300%” or “one-life stock match”. This can mean that you may have collected the stat improvements for jumping or speed, but that doesn’t guarantee you victory in the following challenge.

Speaking of Challenges

I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a challenge mode in this game. I liked the scenarios and such that the previous two titles had. In fact it feels a lot like they split the game into two parts – the 3DS and the Wii U version. The stuff like customising fighters is compatible with the Wii U version, so it seems like it’ll be ideal to get both, and I highly doubt if that’s the extent to their interaction.

” I kind of see this as a game to tide you over until the Wii U version is out… I’m waiting for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U to come out before I really get my Smash on. ”

If there’s one real complaint about the levels – it’s actually that it doesn’t seem like there’s enough. Brawl was jam-packed with stages and I wonder if they took the usual amount and halved it. I expect the other half will arrive with the Wii U version. Oh, and there doesn’t really seem to be many old ones coming back, which feels a little odd.

This game does give me hope that I will enjoy the Wii U version. And the fact that I have played the online mode and it does seem fairly stable to me (although in at least one of the matches, I believe someone had a dodgy connection) – I kind of see this as a game to tide you over until the Wii U version is out. It’s one that chances are, if I’m out and about I can play, and I think it will be worth getting both, but to me, I’m waiting for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U to come out before I really get my Smash on.

A Smashing Success?

paulcouldbebetter It’s no doubt that this game is fun. There’s a fair amount of this game to love – especially the customisablitity. But it’s far from a perfect game. But what it does do, it does well. As always with Nintendo, you won’t see much – if anything – of elements that are broken in this game. Everything is well polished and plays as such. I just feel maybe it could have been more, and maybe it would have if it didn’t connect to the Wii U version. Definitely not bad. Just probably not quite as compelling as some of the other Smash Bros titles from the past.

The reviewer bought the copy of this game himself.

…although he did have to fight off three other people for it.

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