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A Hands-on with Super Smash Bros. For Wii U and 3DS

Smash Bros. fever is in the air and Leviathyn’s Nintendo writers have it bad. The team’s own Tim Gruver and Coty Sugg have at it discussing their latest hands on impressions with the game at Best Buy’s latest live demo of the game’s dual versions and preview a few of their thoughts just for you.

“3DS Vs. Wii U: FIGHT!”

There’s a fight brewing in Nintendo’s virtual ranks, only this one’s on two different systems. In the palm of your hand or on the big screen, Smash Bros. is raising its fisticuffs on screens aplenty and with what modes and stages come with them:

Smash On The Go:

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Tim: There’s always something novel about carrying your game with you, and that charm’s not lost on Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. Naturally, Smash isn’t as pretty a picture as its console counterpart, but its cel-shading does it justice, adding a cool retro flavor and a stable framerate, but there is a decidedly lower amount of visibility because of it. Enemies and items can get a bit muddled onscreen.

What’s really special is Smash Run. It’s surprisingly open and multi-layered, with persistent enemies and a wealth of worthwhile power-ups that keep you exploring. Its four-on-four Super Smash battle is a bit more predictable against A.I. fighters, and in my case, I landed a sudden death match that had me quick on my feet even if it was over quickly. Overall, Smash Run’s a solidly satisfying single-player campaign that’s a perfect testing ground for tinkering with move sets as it is an undoubtedly good time sink.

Coty: While the 3DS version isn’t quite as pretty as its console brother, it’s by no means a bad looking game. I like the use of cel-chading and the heavier, comic book style outlines on characters. I will agree that on occasions things can look a bit cluttered, particularly in 4 man fights with lots of items, but the game does manage to keep a respectable framerate during the colorful, multiplayer fracas.

I was a big fan of City Trial back in Kirby Air Ride so the moment I saw the similarities in Smash Run, I was excited. It looks to combine some of the more entertaining portions of previous Smash entries’ story-based modes, which I also enjoyed. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to give Smash Run a play myself, I did get to see a couple of matches and I’m very pleased with the looks of the mode thus far. We may not get a true story mode in this game, but this should serve as a fun alternative. It’s a shame that it’s a 3DS exclusive feature though.

Smash On the Big Screen:

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Tim: Playing Smash Bros. on the Wii U feels like coming home. Menus are simple, easy to read, and within just a minute has players slamming each other in the ring. I had the privilege of landing a match against four of my fellow human players, and the match was genuinely smooth.

Character models are as crisp as you could ask for, and their ever-moving backgrounds, like my own place of play at Dr. Wily’s Castle, are shiny enough to sometimes draw the eye away from the fighters in all the right ways. Its Yellow Devil boss is a brilliant on-screen distraction to mess with players mid-battle and the combat is faster, grander, and more explosive than its handheld rival.

Coty: The Wii U version of Smash Bros. felt right. The game feels more like Melee in terms of speed and the controls feel a bit smoother compared to Brawl. My match had me using a classic controller, which was a bit awkward at first, but I was able to adapt pretty quickly. I think I’m still going to prefer the feel of a Gamecube controller for the game but I am glad to see there’s such a nice variety of controller options.

My battle took place in the Punch-Out Boxing Ring and I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite for me. The stage looked great and while it’s a fairly flat course, the size and available height made for a solid stage design. The character models all look amazing. I didn’t even mind dying since I got to see the delightfully goofy/adorable screen impact death that Greninja has. The little details like the lighting around the ring and the excited movements of the crowd really helped bring the course to life.

“Who Joined My Fight?”

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Tim: Rather than dabble with the usual suspects, it was the oddballs that caught my eye this time around. Only getting one match for each system, I got my hands on the Villager and Wii Fit Trainer. The Villager’s a relaxed little guy, taking his time dropping bowling balls and taking potshots with his slingshot. The sight of him catching opponents in his net never gets old, and though he likes to stick to the ground most of the time, don’t underestimate this rascal’s shovel if he does manage to swing his axe in your vicinity.

If the Villager was a slower moving land lubber, then the Wii Fit Trainer’s an ace acrobat in the air. As nimble as you’d guess from his/her fitness schtick, the Trainer’s advantage is defense. Stretches, kicks, and yoga poses compose most of the Trainer’s moveset, and they’ll keep you on a near unbeatable defense in the air as much as you won’t get much in the way of offense on the ground.

Coty: What kind of Pokémon fan would I be if I didn’t try out everyone’s favorite ninja frog? Greninja feels like faster and versatile version of Lucario. I used Water Shuriken to get some solid pot shots off while the other combatants fought in a close range scrap and was able to close in for the kill with some swift down airs and water kunai side smashes.

I was able to move in and out of combat super easily thanks to the one-two punch of Greninja’s Substitute counter and then Shadow Sneak my way over to my next victim. However, being lighter than the likes of Lucario, I did find myself flying through the air a bit easier when I did get hit. I was very pleased with how my favorite Gen VI starter faired in the Smash arena. Also unlike the people who played him at the Smash Invitational, I was actually able to land my Final Smash pretty easily. MAXIMUM GRENINJA!!!

“How’s My Smashing?”

Tim: The controls for either system are rock solid with the right play-style. The 3DS version’s 2D, more side-scrolling orientation benefits from its directional pad and as for the Wii U, there’s only one currently sold controller players should be looking at, and that’s the “pro” choice. Though the 3DS is comfy in itself, I can’t imagine a better grip than the Wii U’s pro-controller beyond the Gamecube’s for tenser console sessions, opposite the Wii-motes’ asymmetrical handgrip or the gamepad’s bulkier one. Unless you do pick up Smash Bros.’s GC controllers, go pro.

Coty: While I didn’t get to try out the 3DS version first hand, I don’t foresee the handheld version being the least bit unwieldy to control. I’d like to try the Pro Controller a bit more for the Wii U version. Like I mentioned before, it was a tad awkward at first, but I could see it being a good way to play. I was never much of a fan of the Wiimote control scheme option in Brawl, but the Pro Controller does feel comfy. As someone with big hands, it’s nice to finally be able to play the game with a controller that feels a bit weightier and comfortable to grip.

“What’s Up, What’s Down”

Tim: By this point, Smash has a lot going for it in a number of ways. Whether under mine or opponents’ control, characters seem the most balanced they’ve been in recent memory. Every one I saw or played, from Rosalina and MegaMan down to Zelda and Donkey Kong, carried a certain fluidity to them weightier than Brawl’s and lighter than Melee’s.

If I could cook up a wishlist, it’s that the 3DS’s graphical display could be a bit cleaner and at times it feels like you can be sailing through the air offstage far too long, but otherwise, there’s a bright future ahead for Smash to come.

Coty: To be honest, there wasn’t much about the game I disliked in my brief gameplay experience on the Wii U version. I’ll agree with Tim that a slightly cleaner look might benefit the 3DS version but all things considered it still looked like a ton of fun.

I suppose if I did have one concern based on what I’ve seen thus far, it’s that I kind of get the feeling that some of the more traditionally heavy characters like Bowser seem to be a bit lighter than before. I’m wondering if the likes of the Koopa King and Ike are going to have less heft and weight to their movements, which could potentially make for slightly less diversity in character weight classes.

“Final Smash”

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Tim: If Nintendo’s made this much progress with Smash already, than there’s certainly an all too long autumn of anticipation on my radar. As much as I hope these last few months follow with as much last-minute polish and hopeful character announcements as possible (Shulk, anyone?).

I’m hoping for nothing but a “smashing” success for Nintendo as much as I’m anticipating a real ball of a time online. I’ll mostly be crossing off the days on my calendar until I can finally punch my Leviathyn peers into oblivion, Shulk or not. Marth will reign supreme.

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Coty: Nintendo, I’m already going to buy both versions of this game and I’ll definitely be picking up a Gamecube controller adapter to boot, but you know what would completely and unabashedly sell me on this game…

You already took away my main from Melee (RIP Mewtwo), don’t axe my main from Brawl. That being said, I’m already very fond of Greninja and I can’t wait to try out Pac Man, Rosalina, and Mega Man. I imagine much carnage will ensue amongst the Nintendo team come October.

Words will be said, friendships tested, and salt will flow like water. I for one couldn’t be more excited.

And we don’t have much longer to wait folks! Super Smash Bros. for 3DS releases this Oct. 23rd with its Wii U brethren smashing onto the scene with Nintendo’s very special Amiibo figurine line this holiday season. 



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