Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is arguably Nintendo’s most ambiguous title for their beloved handheld to date. Nintendo set themselves the momentous challenge of translating the Smash experience – which – until this point has been predominately been a home console affair – on a petty handheld. With a number or restrictions dictated by the relative weak hardware of the Nintendo 3DS, has Sakurai and his determined team manage to deliver on the promise of an excellent Smash Bros game on the go. To find out, make the jump to our Super Smash Bros. For 3DS Review!
If this is your first outing with the Super Smash Bros. franchise, then let me fill you in with the basic premise of the game. Smash Bros is an interesting take on the fighting genre that incorporates the basic principles of the platforming genre into a brawler. The basic goal of Smash is to attack the opponent to increase their damage percentage. Once at a higher percentage, opponent are more susceptible to being launched out of the stage. There are other layers that add to the enjoyment such as the inclusion of items, the Smash Ball and various other modes. While Smash was originally envisioned as a party game, it has now evolved to a competitive eSport with a dedicated community.
Delving into the world of competitive Smash is where the series really comes into its own. In my opinion, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS strikes the right balance between accessibility and competitivity, if there is such a word. It is not slow and floaty like Smash Brawl and it doesn’t have the difficult technical wall of Melee. Newcomers will be able ease themselves into intermediate play while advance smashers will find enough depth and intricacies to make a competitive metagame.
After the somewhat disappointing fighter roster in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sakurai has made amends with Smash 4. Of course, I won’t spoil by divulging the secret characters, but I will say that the title features 49 of gaming’s most iconic mascots, ranging from the obscure to the known. We have the fab four: Mario, Sonic, Mega Man and Pac-Man. And I’m sure Nintendo fans will be happy to play as Shulk, Villager, Rosalina & Luma and Greninja. I particularly like this array of fighters, none feel out of place (ahem Snake) and almost all add value to Super Smash Bros. For 3DS.
As many fighting enthusiasts can attest to, smooth performance is pertinent to the enjoyment of players in a fighting games. Therefore maintaining a sleek 60 frames per second is critical to compliment the high pace action and to accommodate the competitive scene. In this regard, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS nails the brief. The game runs beautifully on the Nintendo 3DS, constantly and impressively maintaining the 60 FPS benchmark with relative ease. The animation and movement of the many characters are sleek and is very what is expected for Super Smash Bros. Well, I don’t think this will perturb many players, but a few compromises had to be made to achieve this impressive performance. Assist Trophies, Pokemon and moving stages all run at 30 fps. In all honesty, you won’t notice the difference, especially considering that your attention will be fixated on the fighters.
Following up from the impressive technical performance, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is quite a looker for a handheld game. Pre-launch screenshots and footage of the game do not do the game any justice and not indicative of the final product. Unlike its home console counterpart, Sakurai team has intelligently used a toon-like visual style to mask the limitations of the Nintendo 3DS. As a result the Super Smash Bros. For 3DS has a clean, bright and crisp look that will put most 3DS titles to date to shame.
Sadly Super Smash Bros. For 3DS does suffer in the control department. While the control in Super Smash Bros are usable, they are inadequate for a game that requires this level of precision. The control nub of the 3DS doesn’t provide the same level of accuracy that a normal joystick would. For example, attempting to perform a down smash attack would often result in a down-tilt. Furthermore, the flaws of the ergonomic design of the 3DS become apparent when playing Smash. The small face buttons, reaching for the shoulder button and the shape of the console takes a toll in you hands. Even in a modest play session, your hands will begin to strain regardless of what model handheld you own. I own two copies of Smash Bros. 3DS; one for my original launch 3DS and a second for my a brand-new LE 3DS XL. Even with the greatly more comfortable 3DS XL, I still found my hands strained after each session.
You can test out your Smash Bros skills in online play. Although far from perfect and is a bit lacking in the features and customization department, the online component in Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is a great improvement over its predecessors pathetic attempt. From a performance standpoint, for the most part online matches run smoothly with little to no lag. Of course, from time to time you might come across someone with a bad a connection and as a result matches can become a frustrating slideshow. However, from my experience these laggy matches are the exception and not the rule. I particularly like how Nintendo divided the online multiplayer into two sections: For Anyone (for casual play) and For Glory (for competitive players). As the name may have already suggested, “For Anyone” is a mode for players that play on a casual basis. Items, Assist Trophies, Final Smashes and stage select are all turned on. On the other hand, “For Glory” puts you against the competitive players, with rules set to two stocks, items off and all stages on Final Destination versions. Despite being a stark improvement over brawl, I would have loved a few more option in the “For Glory” mode. Perhaps an option to pick more stages, as playing on a singular platform can be a little boring. Or the option to create your own lobby, complete with your own rules. I can’t help but think that Nintendo missed an opportunity to flex a new found muscles in online multiplayer with Super Smash Bros. For 3DS.
Typical of a game from Masahiro Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is packed with content, which will surely consume all your precious time. Completionist’s will find pleasure in collecting all the trophies and earning all the in-game achievement. While those looking for variety will have a blast trying to earn high scores in break-the-target, Home-run contest and Target-blast. The most advertised new mode, Smash Run, disappoints greatly. The mode is reminiscent of the Aventure Mode in Melee, whereby you are thrown into a maze for five minutes, tasked to defeat enemies, collect power-ups, all in preparation for an anti-climatic battle that finishes as soon as it begins. Smash Run adds no worth value to the experience, there is nothing unique and fun about the mode, there is no reward and no purpose. I sense that Smash Run was the leftovers of scrapped Subspace Emissary like-adventure, reworked to serve as a distraction and a poor one at that.
Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is a landmark achievement for the Nintendo 3DS. Despite the technical limitations posed by the hardware, Sakurai and his team have done a wonderful job in translating the core Super Smash Bros. experience to a handheld. Beautiful presentation, solid online multiplayer, packed to the rafters with content and excellence technical performance – Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is a tasty appetizer to the main course. Even if you are not interested in its bigger brother, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is a worth standalone Smash game.