I’ve always loved Smash Brothers, ever since I took a risk on the original Nintendo 64 version. The gameplay, the frantic fun, the timing, the challenge. It was all spot on. Following on from the original N64 version, for which there was 12 characters was Super Smash Brothers Melee. This one took everyone by storm – boasting more modes, more characters, more stages and more secrets. By this point the Smash Brothers series synonymous with fun and polish.
Then came Brawl. The game remained legendary, even if it didn’t quite live up to Melee’s success. Brawl included even more characters – and third party ones, a sizable story mode as well as the modes and mini-games that have gone before it. Even more unlockables was also quite fun.
The past is the past
So why am I covering the first three games of the series? Mainly because Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U doesn’t feel as new or as innovative as previous entries. I’m unsure if it’s nostalgia speaking or if I’m just a little bored with the formula, but Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U wouldn’t be my game of the year.
Don’t get me wrong – it has a whole load of fun packed in, and comes with enough original content (that it shares with the 3DS version) that it’s defintely worthy playing through. It just doesn’t feel quite as epic. Maybe the hype train really has derailed on this one.
Nintendo hate? From me?
This is also coming from a Nintendo fan. I see some of their bad moves, but for the most part, I understand where they take the company. I still love my Wii U and intently look forward to every Nintendo Direct. But Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U just ain’t all that and a bag of chips.
Staying the same
If you’ve read my review of the 3DS version, you’ll see I’ve already gone over a lot of the new stuff – customisation, modes, gameplay, etc… What makes this game really different is the Amiibos (for now), the board game and the 8-player mode.
For me, the biggest highlight is the 8-player mode. It’s as frantic as the original 4 player used to be and then some. We’ve got used to keeping track of ourselves and 3 other players, but with 8-player – get ready to learn how to keep track of everyone, all over again. If you’re playing stock (the only way to play if you ask me), then it will eventually come back down to four, to two and then the winner is declared, and whilst you’ll feel a little pride that you didn’t get knocked out first, you only realise just how bad you did in the victory screen. “6th?” you exclaim, “I thought I did better than that!”.
The other thing is that it allows quite a bit of scope – coupled with the usual four buddies, you can do 2 teams of four, human/CPU teams, you can even have Amiibo and human teams, or just grab another four friends and have an all-out human brawl – not something I’ve had the chance to do yet.
WTF? AMIIBO? BBQ!
The Amiibos are the Nintendo figures that you can tap on the gamepad to bring them into the game. The Amiibos are trainable – so you can get them to play in a style that suits you, they can level up to make them stronger and faster. They can also munch on some of the spare equipment you’ve got to permanently increase their stats. The bad side? While the Amiibos can be used in other games to unlock or give items, for the games that actually require data being written onto them, you can only use them on one game at a time. So if you wanted to use your Mario Amiibo on Mario Party 10, you’ll have to erase your Super Smash Bros data.
Whether they’ll introduce some sort of Amiibo sleep mode where you can store all your Amiibos data onto the console to backup and then restore onto your Amiibo figure hasn’t been publicly considered, but I cannot imagine Nintendo fans being happy with the idea that they’ll either have to buy another Amiibo of the same character or clear the Amiibo data every time they wanted to switch games. It seems like a big oversight to me (on the scale of not allowing the tablet controller to be sold separately).
Party on Wayne! Party on Marth!
The other Wii U specific mode mirrors the 3DS’s own unique mode. Though this time you’re looking at more of a board game mode. In Smash Tour, everyone gets a spin of the counter, and gets to move around the board – hoovering up all the stat building icons as they go. Every time someone bashes into someone else, there’s a four-way brawl with the characters you’ve collected on the way. Losing this match means potentially losing your fighter. After all the moves have been taken (which you can set at the beginning of the game), you’ll get all your stuff tallied up for the final fight.
While it’s an interesting mode, it’s not a replacement for the tried and tested modes from previous games. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Smash Brothers is a series that has always tried to build upon what’s come before, but even though there’s enough stuff in this game to keep you going and going, they’ve seemingly scrapped some of the other modes which were also fun.
So, is it worth a play?
Oh, it’s definitely worth adding to your game collection, but I think if you were going to get a Wii U specifically for it, I’d be inclined to look for other games in the Wii U games library for justification. It’s good, but it’s not epic. Maybe that’s not a problem for you, and that’s absolutely fine. But I just felt a little underhelmed – maybe some of the sparkle has gone.