Super Smash Bros. For The 3DS Review – More Than Just An Appetizer


So after a long wait, we finally have it. Super Smash Bros. is here on the Nintendo 3DS. I have to admit that I was among the naysayers who believed that a handheld version wouldn’t be that fulfilling. I didn’t think that Nintendo could have a game as big and involved as Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS and make it a full experience. I’m very happy to say that I was wrong.

The roster for Super Smash Bros. is huge and while there are a few clone characters, such as Lucina, the list is incredibly diverse. Of course the majority of the main roster is making a comeback, including Samus/Zero Suit, Ike, and of course Mario himself. But it’s the newcomers that have really drawn attention this year. Characters like Little Mac of Punchout!! fame, who is fast and incredibly strong but has been balanced with a pretty awful jump recovery, and the surprise addition of Wii Fit Trainer who is very agile and a delight for those who enjoy playing with characters like Sheik or Zero Suit Samus. The balancing in Super Smash Bros. has risen above the problems that were found in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that you can now use your Miis in game. That means that you can either use your own personal avatar or create one that looks like a character that wasn’t included in game. The Miis are customizable with three different abilities; fist, shot, and sword. Each of these comes with a customizable move set that really helps set the Miis apart in fighting ability. Of course Nintendo has made sure to allow you to customize the outfits of your Mii with costumes that can be unlocked as you play the game. You even get three pieces of Equipment that have different stats in Attack, Defense, and Speed. You’d be surprised by how much the Equipment can affect gameplay when applied to a character. Sure you can load a power character like Bowser with pieces that focus on strength but that means making a huge sacrifice when it comes to Defense. Meaning that if you’re not careful, your character could be susceptible to being knocked out much easier than before.

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Now it’s been mentioned in the Nintencast, that we weren’t completely sold on the idea of having such a big game on the 3DS. And I wasn’t really sure if I would feel comfortable with the control scheme. Fortunately Masahiro Sakurai and his team were way ahead of me. Super Smash Bros. allows for full customization, allowing you to tailor the controls to your needs. For example I made my jump button B, and disabled jumping with the analog nub which was uncomfortable for me. The nub isn’t really as accurate as an analog stick and personally I made some costly mistakes because I was having trouble adapting. Yes, it’s something that you can become familiar with but it’s just not as good as a traditional controller.

One thing that Super Smash Bros. has going for it is all the different modes. From the actual game, to single player that gives you both Classic and All-Star Mode, and of course we must include the Home-Run Contest, Multi Man Smash, and Target Blast. All of these modes have enough variety to keep the game fresh when you’re not battling real people online.

And of course there are the online modes, which really help with adding to replayability. There’s For Fun, which turns has the stages morph, items spawn, and as a bonus your wins and losses will not be recorded. For Glory however is for those who want the credit for their victories as items are limited, all stages are flat, and your win/loss record will be attached to your profile.

Super Smash Bros. also brings us Spectate Mode which really surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. Once you join Spectate Mode, you get to bet on each fighter, the screen then showing you each player’s odds as well as a payout multiplier. Then all that’s left is to place you bet and cheer your fighter on. Honestly the amount of enjoyment that I got from this mode really took me aback.

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Smash Run, is a different story. This is a 3DS exclusive that was heralded by Nintendo before launch and honestly was a disappointment. Essentially you run through different levels, defeating enemies and strengthening up your character. Which should be more interesting than it actually is but when you get down to it, Smash Run is the most forgettable of all the modes in the game. It has a great premise, but once you’ve buffed up your character then it’s hard to go back to, and if you’re playing with a heavy character then you will be at a huge disadvantage.

One major concern about Super Smash Bros. was the framerate, but that isn’t an issue. The game runs incredibly smooth for a 3DS title at 60 frames per second and the 3D looks amazing. So yes, the game looks great on the 3DS but I have to admit that the size of the screen is at times an issue. When you’re playing one-on-one matches it’s not that bad. But once you start playing full on 3-to-4 player bouts, then there are times that you can lose track of your character. Things get especially bad when you factor in the changing stages and assist trophies. While Sakurai and his team have done an amazing job, tailoring what is a wide screen television experience to a handheld, it’s in these times where one really realizes that Super Smash Bros. is best on a large screen.

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This is expounded by the fact that some of the stages that are exclusive to the 3DS make it even more difficult to see the action, like Mario 3d Land and especially Spirit Train.

Despite these complainants, Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is an amazing title, and a brilliant adaptation of the longstanding fighting franchise. It is more than just something to tide you over until the full console release, no it holds up on its own despite the shortcomings. And while we are all waiting what’s coming to the Wii U, there is no denying that for right now, the 3DS is where it’s at.

(This review copy was purchased by the reviewer, Super Smash Bros for the 3DS is only available on the handheld system.)