Super Smash Bros. review for 3DS

Platform: 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo / Bandai-Namco
Medium: Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

Super Smash Bros. returns with the release of the 4th installment of the fighting game series, hitting a Nintendo handheld for the first time. While there’s still a console version of the game waiting in the wings for release in November, you can still get your full Smash fix via the 3DS. Just like previous installments, this game feels like a love letter to all of Nintendo’s eclectic franchises, featuring a wide-array of characters in the playable roster, and tons of secondary references via the trophy system, along with a plethora of stages to check out with up to three other players online and off.

Super Smash Bros. is packed with a number of modes, including offline and online competitive multiplayer. While the MP is certainly the main draw of the series, I can appreciate a lot of the additional content being offered here. Modes like Smash Run, which take on a side-scrolling action game style of gameplay, offering a neat alternative to your standard 1 vs. 1, Team, and Smash multiplayer modes. There’s a decent training mode to hone your skills in, a challenge board that unlocks additional items, lots of customizable abilities and costumes, and whole lot more.

N3DS_SuperSmashBros_NewChar-071414_01But again, it’s the multiplayer that’ll keep you coming back for more. Super Smash Bros. features both online and offline play, for up to four users. If playing locally, everyone will need a copy of the game, but local play certainly offers the best experience here. You can compete in Team battles of 2 vs. 2, or square off in 1 vs. 1 battles as well. The traditional Smash experience, a 4-player free-for-all, is featured too. You can also put into play a number of options, with multiple items available to include or exclude, and alternate stage types for just about every stage present. There’s really a lot packed in here, and you’re sure to have a blast playing the game offline.

Online is a bit different. While the online version of Smash Bros. does feature some options, including ranked and unranked play, along with different modes, my experience with it wasn’t that great. And that’s primarily down to lag, which was a constant issue for me regardless of characters, stages, or modes selected. Obviously some of that is going to be due to my internet connection, but working through wi-fi on a number of other consoles with multiplayer modes, I rarely encounter lag as frequent and annoying as I seem to with Smash Bros. It’s really disappointing, as my options to play locally with three other players is quite limited. I was honestly expecting a bit more out of the game in this regard, and ultimately felt a bit let down by the online stability of Super Smash Bros. I certainly hope that the Wii U version of the game fares a bit better in this regard, but at least local play will be more viable on Wii U for me.

N3DS_SuperSmashBros_NewChar-071414_06I also struggled a little bit with the controls, primarily due to the slide pad. It’s really not a great replacement for an analog or c-stick on certain movements, and it’s easy to see how some players were able to outright damage the pad while playing Smash Bros. I’m not that aggressive with my handheld, but if you’re somebody that really hammers away at a controller, you’ll likely have some trouble here. I found myself adjusting over time, but I’m fairly positive the controls will also be superior in the console version of the game.

There’s finer nuances to the game that I can’t necessarily speak to, like character balancing, but I’m sure you’ll encounter endless resources in that regard. What I can say is that I’ve had a lot of fun with the game, and suspect you will too. I can appreciate the amount of single player content, the vast number of unlockables, and the distinct characters available to choose from. I love seeing so many of my favorite franchises represented, and enjoy the stellar work done on the remixes of familiar tunes for the soundtrack. I also think this is a solid looking game, both with and without the 3D effect. It may not hold a candle to what the Wii U version will look like visually, but it still manages to impress. But again, I really, really wish the online experience was better. As it is now, online play is virtually useless to me, which certainly negates a lot of the multiplayer fun on my side. Hopefully this will either improve, or be ironed out for the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros.

Grade: B

Super Smash Bros. – Nintendo 3DS (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Nintendo
ESRB Rating: 

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