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Smash Bros. on 3DS a true knockout

Oct 20, 2014

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Super Smash Bros.Confession time: when Nintendo first announced that it would be releasing a new game in its wildly popular Super Smash Bros. beat-em-'up series for the handheld 3DS, I was convinced it would be a mere husk of its predecessors. I'm happy to say that I couldn't be more wrong - in fact, this is arguably the best Smash Bros. game ever made.

The idea behind the Smash Bros. series is both simple and brilliant at the same time. Simply put, it's a fighting game featuring dozens of characters from Nintendo franchises as well as a few third-party brawlers.

Up to four combatants duke it out in a fast and frenzied battle where every time a character gets hit, his or her (or its) damage percentage increases. The higher your damage, the easier it is to be knocked off the screen, which results in a KO. The winner is the player who gets the most KO's in a timed battle, or who survives the longest in a stock battle.

Super Smash Bros.While the battles themselves are consistently fun, Nintendo always manages to cram a mind-blowing amount of content into the average Smash Bros. game (and that's officially the only time I'll use the word "average" in the same sentence as "Smash Bros.").

The 3DS version is no different. Returning modes include the home run competition, which has you smacking a punching bag as far as possible with a baseball bat, and classic, where you take on different opponents in several battles, culminating in a fight against the evil Master Hand.

While some have lamented the loss of the Subspace Emissary, which was a single player campaign of sorts introduced in the last Smash Bros. game on Wii, I'm happy with the additions to the 3DS versions. Smash Run, for instance, tasks you with running around a level alone for five minutes as you defeat enemies and collect powerups. When the five minutes are up, the player then has to hope he earned enough powerups to defeat AI characters in one of several objectives. I only wish the five minute time limit could be decreased if so desired. It's also a shame that this mode can't be played against human players.

Super Smash Bros.There are plenty of goodies to earn while you play, from gold, to trophies, to special outfits and powerups that can be used to customize characters and Miis - something that's also new to the series.

Heck, if you've had enough brawling for the day, you can even just sit back and watch online matches at your leisure, and bet on them if you're jonesing to make a bit of extra gold.

Speaking of which, online returns in the 3DS version of Smash Bros. after being introduced - to disastrous results - in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii.

The online portion is far from perfect, but besides a few annoying matches that slowed down to the point of nearly freezing completely, I had many more good experiences than bad on the 3DS.

Most of the slowdown issues stemmed from having the maximum four players participating; two- or three-player battles were virtually never an issue.

Those problems aside, there's a lot to like about the multiplayer side of things. Players can choose between two modes depending on how casual or serious they like to take things, and I'm a big fan of being able to practice before each match while assets are being loaded and players are choosing their characters.

Super Smash Bros.There's of course local play, and although I never linked up to three other players, the matches I did have that included two humans and two AI opponents resulted in zero slowdown.

Some long-time Brawl players have expressed worry over being able clearly see everything on the admittedly small 3DS screen, but the vast majority of the time, I had zero issues in this respect. It is possible to mix up similar-looking characters when the screen is completely stretched while opponents fight on opposite sides of the map, but with the ability to change your character's colour, it's rarely an issue.

I'm convinced that where the game really shines is in the sheer size and scope of its character and map lineup.

While the basic move set for each character is essentially the same, virtually every one of the 49 characters all has their own strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies that set them all apart.

Sonic zips around faster than the average player can control, while King Dedede huffs along at a snail's pace as he wields his giant wooden mallet. Pit, meanwhile, uses his wings to fly around levels with ease as he shoots arrows, while newcomer Little Mac can barely make it into the air as he lets out never-ending flurries of punches.

Super Smash Bros.The maps are sometimes even more interesting than the characters themselves. Paper Mario's stage looks just as unique as the games it's based on, and even fold and unfold into three different transformations as you battle it out. Wily's Castle is pure nostalgia for any Mega Man fan that grew up playing as the blue bomber on the first few NES games.

And so it goes with this game - there's far too much quality content to go over here, but rest assured there's bound to be something for everyone, and a lot for many.

Not to sound too cliché, but Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is miniature in size only. If we're talking about content and fun, it can only be described as massive.


Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Bandai Namco Games, Sora Ltd.
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone 10+
Official Site:

Rating: 9.5 / 10

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