MUCH OPTIONS, MUCH WOW. Essentially, Super Smash Bros for 3DS packs a massive amount of content, customization, and random events to partake into a handheld device. The first thing I was concerned about when I heard the announcement for Super Smash Bros. on 3DS is how much was going to be included — or left out. From my past experience in this franchise, Super Smash Bros Melee had a lot extra content aside from the generic VS. mode. For example: the homerun + sandbag contests, adventure mode, and all-star mode were all a nice addition coming from its predecessor. If anything, Super Smash Bros for 3DS does reiterate the same modes, style and effectiveness that already existing console versions have. It does have a 3DS exclusive mode called Smash Run, which — for a lack of a better term — is only decent. The premise of this mode is you, the player, compete against 3 others and you start off by whacking and punching a whole lot of randomized characters within the Nintendo universe. There will be hordes of them and getting that smash move off into a group is incredibly amusing. Every time you defeat a character you get skill points on speed, strength or defense. This accumulation of stat upgrades will help you in the final battle once that timed event is due. In the final battle you will face off with 3 other computer players or friends that have gone through the same process as you have. The face-off event is randomized as a speed run or simple VS. battle. It’s honestly nothing revolutionary, but it does add a bit of a twist to the existing VS. mode.
Online modes are interesting, and I’ll say just “interesting” for the time being because the online experience is still a mixed bag for me. Basically, there are two modes once you’ve selected to go solo: For Fun or For Glory. For fun is essentially a testing ground, where stats are not recorded and you’ll face off with other online players. For Glory is the real deal with your battle data recorded. Going online is a new way of experiencing the VS. mode, however, there are some serious issues with lag and ranked matches. I suppose being across the world from other players may put a strain on connection, but there doesn’t seem to be an option to set your region to possibly alleviate that issue. Sometimes the lag is so real, that it looks like I’m trying to run Crysis on a low end Windows XP desktop. On top of that you’ll encounter a mixed bag of players online. I’m a casual player, and when I do meet a MLG pro-combo-combo-grab-360-airsmash-smash player, it usually doesn’t end well. Granted, it’s hilarious to see my character flying about and getting absolutely mauled, but if there were some sort of ranking system it would help those that are new to this online experience. There is also an online mode that you can participate with friends, but, seeing that I have no friends on the DS… On another note, conquest is a really cool feature that involves the developers to post a challenge involving 2 or more characters. If you play with one of these characters and win, you’ll add points globally towards that character. If your character wins at the end of the contest, you’ll get in-game rewards and customizable unlocks.
Speaking of customization, the Mii character is quite intuitive considering how much you can alter your character. From the get-go you can customize how he or she looks. After that you’ll get an array of options that’ll mod the character’s speed, defense or strength. If that’s not enough, you’ll get a chance to change the character’s move pool. However, the move pool is a bit limited, but that’s just a minute limitation if you compare how much more there is. Furthermore, the vast number of already existing characters are also customizable in the same ways the Mii character can be altered. Customization also adds a unique aspect in the game as it encourages players to meet challenges and milestones in order to unlock these customizations.
Small Screen, Small Characters
One major problem I had with this game was that during 4 player VS. mode, the characters would be too small to spot or see where they are facing. Inevitably, the small handheld screen would have this problem, but no matter how much the screen tries to accommodate the positions of the 4 players that damn little pink Kirby blob is a nightmare to spot (this could work in your favour though). There is an option to outline the characters to make their positioning more prominent, but that still doesn’t help as much. I’ve seen the 2ds and 3ds screens in action, but I’m not so sure if the XL versions would make a difference.
In terms of combat, the movement and combos feel fluid, quick and precise-ish. By “ish” I mean the accuracy of the input from the circle pad can vary from time to time. Attempting to move up-left or up right can be difficult because sometimes it registers the movement as up only. This inaccuracy can be averted by using the X and Y buttons to jump, but I fail to see why changing movement options to the D-pad is not an option. Finally, there doesn’t seem to be any lag time in regards to action input—which is essential to any fighter game.
Other than that, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is a solid handheld game that offers an enjoyable experience that revolves around tons action, customization, modes and options.