After engaging in countless Brawls and Melee skirmishes, Nintendo’s ever-popular Super Smash Bros. series has started new dojos on the Big N’s flagship 3DS handheld and under-performing Wii U console. Together, the interconnected pair offer gamers the opportunity to battle it out wherever and whenever, without having to worry about being connected to a home console and television set at all times. For fans, this portability factor is a huge step forward and something that they’ve been cherishing since the 3DS version released not long ago. Now, they get to enjoy the impending launch of its big brother version, the appropriately-titled Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
For the uninitiated, the venerable Smash Bros. franchise is best described as the king of all mascot fighters – a crown it’s owned since its late nineties inception. Bringing almost all of Nintendo’s more renowned characters together for one epic battle, it doesn’t skimp on fan service or nostalgia. Adding to that is the fact that doors were previously opened to allow for other companies’ best and brightest to join the fight, including Solid Snake (who’s not available this time around), Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and pellet-eating Pac-Man. All of this results in a roster that never ceases to expand, and has certainly done so once again for these anticipated sequels.
With Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the core formula remains intact and is polished to a tee. As such, it has that greatest hits type of shine and feel to it, even though it’s more than just a simple remaster. Truthfully, it’s added quite a few new things, including new characters like Duck Hunt, as well as some rather unique and impressive stages. Of course, what would a new Smash Bros. game be without new weapons, items and assists to use?
The most notable change comes in the form of eight-player multiplayer. Yes, you read that correctly: You can now battle it out against seven other fighters. It’s insanity on paper, and can be the same thing in action as it becomes hectic rather quickly. Even with the expanded stages’ added real estate, competitors still migrate towards each other, as they opt for the too-close-for-comfort melee approach.
As someone who’s never been particularly great at battling three other players, the inclusion of four more certainly ups the challenge. Then again, that’ll be true for all folks who step up to the plate and opt for grandiose action over more contained affairs. It’ll certainly be great to see what experts can do in these eight-combatant tilts, because there’s a recipe for some really memorable battles there. And, though it certainly is hectic, it works pretty well. It’s different, of course, but offers something new and presents a nice change of pace that both newcomers and grizzled veterans will appreciate.
Eight player fighting isn’t the only notable facet of the new and revamped Super Smash Bros. for Wii U experience, though, as not only has the game’s Classic Mode been refined, but it’s also added a Smash Tour board game option. We’ll start with the former, though, because Classic Mode is the base for everything this series is about. It’s what we all grew up on, and what blew many away the first time they fired up the game on the old Nintendo 64.
Instead of presenting a traditional ladder, Classic now allows for user-choice. It does this by giving you a rival, before dropping you onto a board of sorts, where other groups of characters can be found. The idea is that you, the player, get to choose how to progress your experience, be it against your rival, or against a select amount of other fighters. It’s all up to you, and really makes a difference.
If you’re not great at the game, this can be a way to strategically select your opponents. Otherwise, it’s an opportunity to mix, match and have fun, and to create a new experience each time through. Of course, you can still dictate difficulty by operating a numerical slider before beginning your short quest, with every loss dropping said difficulty down a bit. And, as before, you’ll earn better bonuses for higher difficulties, and will also face stronger opposition. For example, choosing something around 3 or below will only make you fight Master Hand at the conclusion of Classic Mode, whereas opting for something more challenging will add Crazy Hand into the mix.
Smash Tour, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as interesting or impressive. In fact, it’s a rather lacklustre inclusion that feels kind of half-baked. It’s too bad, because this is a franchise that will need to find new modes as it evolves, but in Smash Tour, I honestly couldn’t wait to get the rounds over with so that I could go back to the more traditional game modes.