Super Smash Bros. review for Wii U

Platform: Wii U
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Medium: DVD-Rom
Players: 1-8
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

While I certainly enjoyed Super Smash Bros. on 3DS, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly anticipating its Wii U release. And having now spent a significant amount of time with the Wii U version, I’ll say this: If you have any affinity for Smash Bros., you’ll want to pick this up. It’s a fantastic looking game, with a stellar soundtrack, a number of great controller options, some import options from the 3DS version, incredibly detailed and interactive stages, and one of my favorite Smash Bros. rosters ever. Granted, a number of these things could be said for the 3DS version of the game, but with the added hardware power provided by the Wii U, everything feels as if it’s been cranked up to 11 here.

I’ll start with the roster,stages, and music. As is generally the case with the Smash Bros. series, the roster serves as a who’s who of multiple Nintendo franchises. Expected faces like Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Link, and Samus are present. But you also have lesser-known, fan favorites like the Duck Hunt dog, King Dedede, Shulk, and dozens more. Added to that are the stages, including Zelda, F-Zero, and StarFox themed platforms to battle it out across. There’s also a few additions to the Wii U version in regards to stages, which we won’t ruin here (but you can probably hunt down info if you’re really curious). And then there’s the soundtrack. It’s so good. Soooo good. Seriously, the music compiled for Super Smash Bros. might be my favorite aspect of the game. Even games not represented by stages or characters (Tetris, Culdcept) get a bit of love here.

super smash bros wii u 2As far as playable modes go, the options here are similar to what we had in the 3DS version of the game but with some twists and additions thrown in. There’s the standard Smash mode, which is essentially exhibition for 1 to 4 players. But there’s also a brand new 8 player Smash, which is just as chaotic and fun as you’d imagine. And the game doesn’t appear to suffer in the slightest when it comes to framerate or visual quality with 8 fighters on screen at once, which is certainly a plus.

Smash Tour is also present, but different in the Wii U version. This time Smash Tour takes the form of a board game with four players. You can select from three different board sizes, and pick the number of turns from the start. Each player will roll between 1 and 6, and move around the board collecting stats, characters, and other special items. When you run into an opposing player you’ll begin a fight, and once all turns have been completed in a game, you’ll have a final battle. The final battle will make use of the increased stats from the stat icons you’ve collected, and your lives are made up of the various characters collected while navigating the board. Smash Tour still serves as a significant way to unlock trophies, gear, and custom moves for your roster.

super smash bros wii uThe Challenge Board also returns, with 140 spaces per board to uncover, done so by completing different requirements throughout the game. The Vault contains all trophies unlocked, along with replays, music selection, movies, the photo album, and Masterpieces, which are Virtual Console demos for games like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and more. The demos are timed, but are replayable, and are all built into the game so they don’t require separate downloads.

The Solo and Group games contain Classic mode, which is also a bit different than the 3DS. Classic mode on Wii U is one big board, with collections of fighters represented by their trophies strewn about the board. You’ll approach these groups with your fighter, and clear the board of trophies as you complete matches. Ultimately, this is still the standard campaign experience, finishing in a fight against Master or Crazy hand, depending on the intensity level selected.

WiiU_SuperSmashBros_NewChar_Screen_01Special Orders are a new mode, split into Master and Crazy varieties. These offer up multiple choice options for different battle types and requirements, unlocked via tickets earned in other modes, or by spending gold to participate. They generally offer up various rewards, including custom moves and gear. The Events mode provides a number of unique battles to participate in, with multiple battle options unlocking across a grid as you complete fights. For example, an early unlocked event is to complete a match by using Pac-Man’s Final Smash, and earning a score of 7,650 points within a number of seconds. There’s three difficulty options per event, and bonus rewards to earn if you can meet additional restrictions or goals.

Finally, Stadium Events return from the 3DS version of the game, a mode which is virtually identical to the handheld version of Super Smash Bros. Stadium Events contain Target Blast, Multi-Man Smash, and Home-Run Contest mini-games to participate in, which record high scores to compare and compete against. All in all, there’s a hefty number of modes featured in the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., enough so that you’ll spend dozens if not hundreds of hours with the game. I was also happy to see that not only does the Wii U version differentiate itself visually from the 3DS, but it offers up enough notable changes in the modes to make this version feel unique and worth playing, despite how much time you may have already spent with the original release.

WiiU_SuperSmashBros_screen02Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the amiibo functionality, or the 3DS connection options. We were given a single amiibo with our review copy, and I can certainly see the appeal in using these figures. They look pretty great for display purposes, and I enjoyed leveling up my amiibo by competing against it and feeding it various pieces of equipment to enhance base stats. Scanning in the amiibo through the Wii U controller is quick and painless, and you can customize the name of your amiibo when it’s first connected. It can be a bit sensitive if you break connection while saving, which will almost guarantee a data corruption message if this occurs. But you can also reload save data from the most recent save point on the console, so it’s pretty difficult to truly lose data or progress if this happens.

If you own the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros., you can import custom character data between the Wii U and 3DS. System detection is quick, and transferring data is equally speedy. Secret character unlocks and challenge board progress does not carry over, so my use for this function was admittedly limited. But I do like the fact that you can sub in the 3DS as another controller option, in addition to the GamePad, Wii Remote, Remote and Nunchuck combo, Wii Classic Controller, and the soon to be released GameCube controllers with the adapter. While you may think you’ll need to pick some controllers up for 8 player Smash, you’ll probably have nearly 8 controllers on hand already once you group all the devices in your household together.

WiiU_SmashBros_scrn02I’m really impressed by Super Smash Bros., on Wii U, and I think you will be too. I’m not what I’d consider a hardcore fan of Smash Bros., but it was surprisingly easy to lose a number of hours to each session played. There’s enough modes to keep you entertained for a while, and the option of online play, along with local 8 player battles, is certainly enough to keep you coming back for more. This is easily the most robust, addicting, and fun Smash Bros. experience yet, and if you have any love for Nintendo’s iconic characters, I’d urge you to pick up Super Smash Bros. on Wii U come November 21st.

Grade: A

Super Smash Bros. – Nintendo Wii U (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Nintendo
ESRB Rating: 

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