You’re excited, right? Of course you’re excited!
So this is it, huh? Yes it is; it’s the triumphant return of Nintendo’s massive first-party fighting title to consoles. If it seems like I’m making a big deal of it, it’s only because it’s a big deal.
But I already have the 3DS version… So do I, and it’s a fine handheld iteration of our beloved brawler, but Smash Bros. is first and foremost a console game. This experience is, appropriately enough, bigger and (I dare say) better. Oh, and you can actually use that portable copy to turn you 3DS into yet another SSB Wii U controller.
Really? What other kinda controller options does it have? What isn’t a controller option?! You’ve got the Gamepad, obviously, as well as the aforementioned 3DS. There’s also Wii Remote Plus (held sideways), Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk, Wii Remote Plus and Classic Controller Pro and Wii U Pro Controller. Then you have the GameCube controller, which is a personal favorite, but also requires the GameCube Controller Adapter. Now this option can get pricey, especially when you already have Wii Remotes and whatnot lying around, but I found my classic GameCube controllers to be just as responsive as the new SSB-branded hotness; if you still have access to GameCube controllers, ponying up for the Adapter certainly makes sense. Bottom line: if you can, go for controllers with two proper analog sticks – it offers an additional level of finesse that makes the titular smashing feel that much more rewarding.
Alright, so I’ve got the controller thing under control; what about those amiibos? Do I need them? No, but they’re a pretty cool little add-on if you’re at all interested. In Super Smash Bros. the amiibo figures don’t unlock characters or content, instead they manifest in-game as computer-controlled characters that can fight alongside (or, if you prefer, against) you. Your amiibos can level up and learn new tactics, and you can customize their looks, names and abilities to your liking. You can even feed them extra equipment to supplement their Attack, Defense and Speed stats. Plus amiibos can be used outside of SSB – my Mario, for example, unlocked an additional Mii racing suit in Mario Kart 8.
So how does it look? Great! This is the first time we’ve ever experienced Smash Bros. in high-definition, and it doesn’t disappoint. On the larger stages, particularly when playing against multiple competitors, things can get a little hard to keep up with, but that particular brand of madness is part of what makes Smash Bros. Smash Bros.
What about gameplay modes? I cannot stress enough how much stuff there is to do in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. There’s all the standard Classic and Stadium content, not to mention the much-lauded 8-fighter multiplayer matches. For me, though, the most fun was had exploring Events, themed challenges that unlock even more challenges (arranged in a branching “skill-tree” formation) upon successful completion, and the Mario Party-esque Smash Tour, a hybrid dice/board game that tasks players with collecting power-ups and additional characters to use in its big game-ending brawl. And I haven’t even mentioned all the collectable Trophies, expanded music selections, unlockable art and the Stage Builder!
How’s the online? Currently unavailable, I’m sad to say. A patch drops tomorrow that’ll enable Online Smash, and I’ll be sure to update you if it fails to impress. That being said, between SSB for 3DS and Mario Kart 8, Nintendo’s proven it has a solid enough handle on online multiplayer – and given that Smash Bros. for Wii U also supports the For Fun/For Glory system established on the 3DS, it should be simple enough to connect with other gamers who share your play style.
Will I enjoy it? Yes. While Super Smash Bros. has a solid fanbase of hardcore fighting game aficionados, it’s also perfectly accessible to button-mashers. Hell, I don’t even like fighting games, but I love SSB. This new Wii U version is no exception.
What about the kids? Smash Bros. is sort of the magic bullet of family gaming. Parents love it because it harkens back to their youthful gaming heyday, older kids dig it because of its vibrant and competitive nature and youngsters enjoy seeing all their favorite first-party characters in a single title. Between all those great Nintendo fighters, customizable Miis, a dizzying array of stages and a myriad of modes, it’s rather hard not to love it.
But will this be the Wii U’s “system seller?” I certainly think so. In fact, if you don’t yet have a Wii U of your own – or if you’re eying it as a potential holiday gift for your family – I’d recommend picking one up, as well as copies of Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. Those two titles make excellent use of the hardware while also offering a staggering amount of content on both the single- and multiplayer ends.
Review materials provided by: Nintendo of America