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Super Smash Bros.

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, WiiU
Genre: Action
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Oct. 3, 2014

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


3DS Preview - 'Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS'

by Brian Dumlao on Sept. 15, 2014 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

Super Smash Bros. is unlike regular fighting games, instead of winning by depleting an opponent's life bar, Smash Bros players seek to knock opposing characters off the stage.

One of the most anticipated games of the year is about to be released soon. While we still don't have a release date for the Wii U version, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will be released in the beginning of October. We were able to check out an early demo.

One of the concerns people had with the 3DS version was the controls. A circle pad can be a decent substitute for an analog stick, but the new controls may feel alien to those who are used to the GameCube or Wavebird controllers. After playing the game on a system that wasn't tethered to a kiosk, we can safely say that the controls are fine as far as the circle pad is concerned. Yes, it'll take some time to get used to sliding around the pad instead of jamming the stick to initiate a smash move, but you'll get it after a few tries.

What will take more adjustment is the button layout for the moves. It is technically correct, and those who played Brawl with the Control Pad attachment will be used to this, but those who are used to the GameCube/Wavebird will have to remember that the more traditional button layout means the regular attack is on the right side, and the special attack is at the bottom. Once you've established that, you should be good to go. For those who want to change the layout, you won't get the opportunity in the demo.

As for the presentation, it has been able to meet expectations thus far. The cel shaded style of the characters helps make them stand out on the screen and gives the game a stylistic flair that one wouldn't mind seeing in the Wii U version if given the chance. The characters look and move exactly like they did in Brawl and the same can be said for the environments. As for the sound, that also matches the Wii game perfectly so the score should sound exactly like you remember it.

The demo features standard versus play against up to three other CPU opponents or a mix between local players with their own copy of the demo and CPU players. Matches are two minutes in length, and all of them take place in the Battlefield stage. While you can't edit the time or the item percentage for the match, you can turn the Battlefield stage into a flat version that is more in line with Final Destination but without the presence of items.

There are five characters you can choose from, three of which are veterans. The good news is that Link, Mario and Pikachu play just like they have in the past, and there's nothing really new in their move repertoire. Every attack and combo you know by heart is still intact, so these characters are the perfect way to jump in and get familiar with the control scheme without learning how to play all over again. Those with more intimate knowledge of the series may find that some moves have been tweaked, but overall, the trio has retained a comfortable familiarity.

Villager is one of the new characters in the demo, and his move set is both goofy and effective. He's mostly a melee fighter, since his moves involve a quick jab combo with boxing gloves or stronger swipes with his umbrella. His smash moves involve everyday objects, like a fireworks blaster or a bowling ball. Equally as goofy is the Gyroid he brings out as a melee attack; it can be sent off as a missile, but it's also rideable until it hits a person. He's fun to use, though it takes some time before you can figure out how to use some of his strange moves.

Mega Man rounds out the demo roster, and the fan favorite's move set is as varied as the Villager, though it's less humorous. He uses his arm cannon as his basic attack, and he's the only character who has no melee moves of his own. Every other move he has is a callback to all of the powers he acquires in the old games, from Cutman's blade to his tornado spin to Wood Man's shield. It makes him an effective distance fighter, but his smash attacks still need you to be close to be effective. Unlike the Villager, he's a much easier character to pick up in terms of understanding how to make his moves effective in combat.

Even with the limited number of characters on hand, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS remains just as fun as before — mostly because there haven't been any significant changes to the mechanics. It's hard to gauge exactly which items appear in the demo, but it featured lots of favorites like the blaster, bumpers, pitfalls and the Super Scope. Even the glider that needs to be assembled is here and behaves the same. The assist trophies do, too, though we haven't seen that pop up too often. New items, like the Raccoon Leaf, debut here, as do items like the Galaga aliens and the blue shell, though it is much more likeable here than in any of the Mario Kart games. What makes these items acceptable is that they don't feel overpowered. In fact, they almost feel like they've been in the series for a long time thanks to the balanced feel they provide. Combined with the fact that the fighting feels the same as the prior three games, this means that the decision to let a third party handle the franchise was the right one.

From the addictive nature of the demo alone, it is safe to say that Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will be a game worth waiting for and worth playing. You'll be able to grab the demo on Sept. 18.

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