Nintendo always attempts to and successfully brings nostalgia to gamers who grew up playing the Smash Bros franchise. Its routes can be traced back to the side scrolling fighter that first appeared on the Nintendo 64. This year, Nintendo is for the first time releasing a Smash Bros game on both their handheld and home consoles products. The latter comes out in late November on the WiiU. Yet this past Friday marked the launch of the 3DS, 2DS and 3DSXL versions of the game. The hype behind this game was expressed by its sales, which Nintendo is boasting are some of the best they have ever had for a day one handheld launch; they are comparing it to last year’s Pokemon X & Y sales figures. (At my Gamestop that I work at we sold more copies of Smash Brothers alone than copies of Forza Horizon 2 and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor combined!)
If you have played a Smash game you know what to expect in this iteration of the franchise. This version has 49 different characters (Although several are merely reskins IE Mario = Dr. Mario) which come from both first party Nintendo games and third party franchises as well. Examples of newcomers to the beat’em game include Pacman, Megaman and several others from third party developers. The Wii Fit trainer, Little Mac from Mike Tyson’s Punch-out, and Lucina and Robin from Fire Emblem are just a few of the Nintendo characters that have been added to the roster. The roster numbers a total of 48 character, 12 of which are unlockables. Several characters have been modified though, for example Zelda and Sheik are separate characters, as are Samus and Zero Suit Samus. Other characters such as Mario and Link are for the most part untouched.
This version of Smash plays a lot like a mixture of Melee and Brawl. (Any previous players will understand it) Recoveries however seem to be a lot easier in this version which frustrates people such as myself who has played every version of Smash. The reasoning for this i’m guessing is to make the game more accessible to a new generation of gamers since it’s on the 3DS. Gameplay mirrors that of the other games so players who haven’t played in the series in a while shouldn’t have any problems jumping back in. The atmosphere of also playing next to your friends wherever you want, say for example before or after school, also adds to the amount of fun this little handheld game has in it. The moments of fighting your friends in intense brawls hasn’t felt this good since Melee in my opinion.
However, this game isn’t without its share of flaws. The game mode Smash Run, which is exclusive to the 3DS, isn’t all that impressive. Essentially all four players are given a certain amount of time to search a labyrinth type area for power ups and items to collect which will be used in a final fight against all players when the time expires. I didn’t find the game mode to be that enjoyable, I felt as if I was running around and hoping that I would receive lucky drops from defeating enemies in the labyrinth. It basically boils down to the fact that the drops the player receives are either incredibly overpowered or are completely useless, this in turn makes the final fight against the 3 other players very lopsided.
My last two issues with this game revolve around the online mode and the camera/HUD. The online matchmaking rarely works for myself and when it does the matches typically lag out or simply freeze up. Local play which one can use at school works most of the time but every once and a while it will lag a little bit and will effect matches since the Host’s version of the game won’t lag at all. The camera/HUD seems to track the combat and players a little bit slower than previous iterations. The smaller screen also might contribute to this, the game just seems to take a bit to register where the players are knocked to.
In the end the New Super Smash Bros for the 3DS is a great addition to the series, in my opinion it plays better than Brawl which was way too easy on players. The art style works well with the 3DS’s capabilities and provides a really good preview for the full version which will come out on the WiiU on November 21, 2014. It provides much needed nostalgia for veteran players but fails to exit the shadow that is cast over it by the previous games. However it is still worth buying if you have a 3DS since there are no other versions of Smash Bros on a handheld device.