Smash Bros. a good one again

Graham C Wheat, Contributing writer


The fighting game-juggernaut that polished and solidified the frenzied four-player format has smashed its way, once again, to near perfection. Your dreams of pummeling Kirby’s cute pink face, or dropkicking Mario’s moustache, are now in the palm of your hand to duke it out on the bus, between classes, or in the bathroom.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (yes, that is the full name) is fast on its way to becoming the standard for action fighting games, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it holds it own in the rigid tournament community. The massive reception it received in Japan, selling over a million copies in the debut weekend, is only a telling sign as to its reception in the U.S. The fourth incarnation of the franchise hits the mark with aplomb and will soon be a gold standard for the handheld device.

The young, the older, and Nintendo fan boys and fan girls alike were scattered across Bakersfield for the midnight release on Friday Oct. 3. Well into the post-midnight hours, Gamestop parking lots were buzzing noisily, bleating out Mario voices and yelps or a Link war cry of destruction from so many 3DS speakers.

I tried holding my own against some unknown guys. I faired alright until they all started ganging up and I was roundly ousted from their nerdy circle. Not to be outdone, I plucked the last hit from the final smash ball, the new “ultra” moves for each character, and unleashed a blaze of Mario fireballs before I was booted from the game.

If you are a friendless hermit you can also connect online to fulfill your smashing needs. While it isn’t perfect in terms of match making and keeping good connectivity, it is very playable. I had some wonky match ups against crazy good players and was defeated in mere moments, however the majority of the matches I played felt balanced and at my skill level. There is also a betting/spectator mode where you can earn some in-game gold if your skills aren’t up to snuff or you are too afraid to jump into the online fray.

There are a ton of modes and mini games to keep things fresh if the pure versus mode gets a bit tiring. In addition to rewarding you for completing challenges, many of the modes offer huge role-playing game-like stat boosts to customize characters.

This too is one of the best and coolest features to enter the new Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.

Every single character, including a Mii version avatar that can get cosmetic upgrades, can equip stat boosting items or gain new moves. You can swap around or customize any fighter to your liking and them import them into the Wii U version when it releases this December. That also means you can take your customized versions of characters over to a friends house and have a sleeper character to pummel a buddy. For me, I see the customizing aspect getting pretty deep. Completion specialists will also find lots of collection in this aspect of the game.

The amount of content crammed into the little 3DS entry is nothing to scoff at and is going to provide hardcore smashers and newcomers to the franchise plenty of replay value.

Just trying to master one characters moves and nuances is hard enough, but with a cast of 52 fighters, the time needed to become truly dominant in all settings of the game is going to take some work.

The new combatants like Sonic, Pac-Man, Duck Hunt Dog, or Bowser Jr. to name a few, are right at home beating it out against Nintendo’s truly iconic characters and with such a huge roster, there are bound to be characters you have never heard of like R.O.B. (an old Nintendo peripheral is a full fledged character). They even revived Little Mac from the Punch-Out! Series, and quite honestly he picked up so fast I would have sworn he was in earlier iterations.

Speaking of characters, all of your favorites from nearly every game have returned and the rookies are in top contention for your much-loved main fighters position. I found myself selecting the newbies and playing for hours with someone like Sonic or Charizard without a second thought. Some veterans will cry foul seeing their favorite fighters nerfed (downgraded from previous entries), yet Nintendo’s careful balancing has resulted in ultimately the same feel of all the pugilists.

The fighting at the core of the game is the most balanced I have seen to date. I’m sure fans of Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Gamecube will feel right at home. Gone is the sluggish, “floaty” mechanics in Brawl. The game, at times feels supercharged, is ultra responsive even on the small real estate and built in control of the 3DS. I have heard stories of the control pad wearing out and crippling the owners 3DS. These people must be ham-fisted barbarians if they are crunching their glorified GameBoy that much. I have bigger than average hands and find playing on the harder difficulties to still be light and responsive, without treating my 3DS like a dominatrix victim. Although I do have an XL, I still can’t see this happening to the majority of players.

Every character handles uniquely and the amount of testing and conception it took to make and perfect them shows.

The ridiculous amount of game packed into this portable version is astounding, and I am positive there will be countless hours of smashing to be had. Be prepared to find it wriggling its way into any free time you thought you didn’t have.