“Smash Bros. to go!” I’ve honestly never thought of putting those words together. Ever since Nintendo announced a handheld version of the Smash Bros. franchise, I was both excited and nervous at the same time and for good reasons. Now, I can comfortably say that Smash Bros. for the 3DS is fun, but the real question was: “How does it compare to the rest of the series?”
For a portable game, the 3DS version of Smash Bros. is jam-packed with features. There’s a lot to do in the game. You have Smash where you get to fight up to 4 players or AI. Mini games like Home-run, a new rendition of Target Blast, Multi-man Smash and Trophy rush are present in the game, though, they’re more of a side novelty rather than something you’ll sink your time into. Modes that are worth mentioning is the brand new Classic mode, Online feature and the 3DS exclusive: Smash Run.
The new Classic mode isn’t like the ones in previous games, in the 3DS version, your character is put on a path that they must follow. Throughout the trail, there are paths that branch out to different enemies and different scenarios such as fighting a giant Yoshi or facing a Metal Mario. Before combat, you’re treated to a slot-machine-esc introduction where your reward is dictated on a press of a button and where you land the spinning wheel.
Online Mode is a welcomed addition amongst the modes in the game, though it is a very interesting one. The way online works is fairly simple. There are two modes in online play: For Fun and For Glory. For Fun, it has you playing against an opponent equipped with items, having stage hazard present, and it only records your wins. For Glory, on the other hand, has you facing opponents on a stage that incorporates the flat surface of Final Destination. For Glory tracks both your win and loss record and you won’t have access to your customized character. When you’re playing friends online, you can set up the rules and have customized characters available for play.
The 3DS version of Smash Bros. has an exclusive mode called Smash Run. Here players have 5 minutes to up their stats in a huge map by defeating iconic villains in past Nintendo games. There are also hidden stages within the map where you have a couple of seconds to complete the challenge for a reward as well as events that occur during the session that affects all the players in the game. Once the time is up, players are put into one final face-off in the end. This can range from a typical free-for-all or even a race.
Of course the biggest hype of almost any Smash Bros. game are the characters and the stages. Spanning several games in Nintendo’s franchise and a couple of special guests in the entry, you have a total of 49 characters in your arsenal plus Mewtwo (announced) once you have the copy of the Wii U version. Each and every character brings in their own strengths, weaknesses and even personalities in the game. In addition, you now have the ability to customize all the characters in the roster, changing up their equipment and special attacks to suit your play-style. The addition of Mii’s allow players to also create their own character by choosing one of 3 types of fighting styles: A close-rang fighter, mid-range swordsman and the long-range gunner. Your can add multiple templates of your edited characters in case you have a specially customized character for certain scenarios.
Stages on the 3DS version now have the ability to have an “Omega form”. Meaning all the 33 stages available on the 3DS have an alternate Final Destination look and feel. There are some stages on the 3DS that are shared between the handheld and the console, but the stages on the 3DS version have the themes of games that were release exclusively on the handheld version.
When I got my copy of the Japanese release of Smash Bros. I always got hit with the same question of how the game felt: Honestly, the game feels like Smash Bros., Particularly similar to Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii with slight changes in the engine and characters. The biggest doubt in everyone’s mind about the 3DS version of Smash Bros. was the controls and I’m extremely relieved to say that it isn’t THAT bad. You have the ability to customize the game’s controls to fit how you play, the biggest issue in the controls of course is on the 3DS joy-pad. It took some getting used to, though the main problem is that the 3DS can’t register some inputs correctly. A good example is the side-smash, tilt attack and dash attack. When you move a character to the side, the character will move there, now depending on the speed you input the direction of the pad, your character may start running. At the beginning, this did cost me a couple of matches, but it was rectified after a couple of minutes of playing the game.
Multiplayer is where my concerns start to develop. Now, it’s not completely bad par-se, but when it’s bad, IT’S FLIPPIN’ BAD. It doesn’t occur frequently, but it happens even in local wireless! For the most part, Playing online won’t present the issue as much especially in 1v1 matches, but when it comes to 4 players simultaneously, frame-rate starts to drop. The problem apparently lies in other wireless devices affecting the device or when one person lags online, other players experience the dropped frame-rate as well.
This is by far, one of the best collection of music and characters in one game. Nintendo spared no expense in recreating a lot of the famous themes of the many games represented in this game. Even the guest characters’ themes were given a make-over. Stages are a great rendition of past titles that would give almost any gamer a sense of nostalgia. Amongst these stages are a joust stage, Pacman stage, even a stage from Megaman. What’s amazing is that, characters in the game move and fight in 60 FPS, and you can clearly see almost all the movement of the characters. Now not all characters move at 60 FPS, trophies, assist characters and assist Pokemon move at the standard 30 FPS, even so, having 60 FPS on the 3DS is amazing.
At the core, Smash Bros. for the 3DS feels like previous versions of Smash Bros., which is a good thing. Aside from minor changes to the engine and character movements and attacks, the huge load of features bundled within the game is staggering. There are mini-games, over 50 characters, numerous stages, it just keeps on going. The only thing that the game has issues of is the random lag times in multiplayer. It’s not frequent, but it’s there enough to notice that it happens. Nintendo will surely patch this up in the future but for the meantime, this is what you get out of the box. There are still a ton of content in the game that can take up time for me to write out like online conquest, rewards, etc. but that’s something you’ll have to experience. As for me, I like Smash Bros. for the 3DS and can’t wait to see the Wii U version soon.
How do you feel about the 3DS version of Smash Bros.? Let us know, in the comment section below.