A month or so ago, we reviewed the new Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. This time around, we have the Wii U version of the game, which has a lot of features above the 3DS version, including high definition graphics and massive arenas. Oh, and Amiibo support. I try my Master hand at all of these, and fought the good fight to bring you this review.
I know this is lazy writing, but since the core of the game is identical to the 3DS version, I’m just going to copypasta from that review. Super Smash Bros. is a one to eight player local and online brawler game where the object of the game is to launch opponents off the screen (a nice difference from the “drain the life bar” style of most brawler games). Any player unable to get back to the play field after being dealt a launching blow (“Smash”), is deemed knocked out. There are no insane combos to learn, because all the moves use the same button combos, allowing you get jump right in with your favourite character and start swinging fists/swords/guns/whathaveyou. The trick, then, is all in the timing, since all the moves take varying amounts of time to charge or take effect. Each character has a life bar (of sorts, represented as a percentage) which determines just how far they will fly and what their odds are of coming back. And boy, is it fun to watch your friends (or enemies) fly off the screen! There’s something inherently satisfying about watching your opponent being launched off into the ether, moreso than, say, finishing a battle with a fatality of some variety.
The Wii U version of the game has a number of features different from the 3DS version, including a stage creator and a bizarre board game (instead of the Smash Run mode on the 3DS) where you spend time collecting characters and power up, in addition the the regular local and online Smash modes, extra games, and so forth. The Stage creator is fairly simple to use: just draw your platforms on the Wii U GamePad, and voila. I didn’t see any way to publish the created stages anywhere, which would have been the first thing I’d have expected in a game like this. The fandom possibilities are endless, and I could see a Little Big Planet-esque repository of stages to play on. On top of those, there are still the parts of the game that are the same, including Trophy Rush, Home Run Smash, and so forth. The biggest difference is the the change from Smash Run to Smash Tour, and the addition of Event Mode, which is a series of battles with very specific objectives.
Let me touch on local multiplayer for a bit, because I had a grand time battling against some friends (and my sons, who seemed to have acquired a natural talent for defeating their old man). The game allows you to use any number of controllers, including the GamePad, Wii Remote, Wii Remote with Nunchuck, Wii Remote with Classic Controller, Pro Controller, GameCube controller (if you have an adaptor), and a 3DS loaded with Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. We tried nearly all of them. Understandably, only certain stages are 8-player brawl compatible, but the action is intense. It can also get really difficult to make out which player is you in the chaos. So while the Wii U version of the game doesn’t suffer the same “big game, small screen” issue that the 3DS version suffers from, it can still get crazy. The biggest issue I found around controls was that there was no quick way to get a reference on what your buttons were for a specific controller. So if we were hotseating, the person being handed a controller had to just figure it out on the fly. Not cool. Furthermore, changing button profiles was an absolute pain, and completely counter-intuitive if you’d set your own button config on the 3DS version. It took me a while to figure out how to get my button config to work, and by then, I’d just learned to use the default control scheme.
Online multiplayer was similar to the 3DS version, and the same mechanics were at play, allowing you to join matches “For Fun” or “For Glory”. You can also bet on matches you spectate, and as of version 1.0.1, there’s also a global team statistic that you can contribute towards by winning matches with specific characters. I had no trouble finding matches, and once the battles had begun, even with my wonky internet connection, it played out fairly smoothly.
The game is the first to include full Amiibo support, and if you’ve not seen or heard much about these Nintendo-themed “toys to life”, let me explain how it works. The Amiibos are brought to life by tapping them against the Wii U GamePad’s NFC icon beneath the left stick. The Amiibo stores play data, allowing it to level up. So it’s not quite the same as Skylanders or Disney Infinity in its nature; you don’t play as the Amiibo: it has a life of its own, and plays as an AI character that learns. You can also feed the Amiibos any of the stat boosters that get dropped in the various game modes. Unlike using the boosters for your Mii Fighters, any stats fed to Amiibos are permanently applied to them, and are removed from your inventory.
The thing about Super Smash Bros. is that it’s the perfect bonding game to play with friends. If they don’t have Wii U machines of their own, you can always invite them over for a few rounds, possibly with a few drinks involved. Matches can get very heated, but that’s the fun of it. Sadly, South Africans aren’t huge Wii U gamers, but perhaps it’s time for some enlightenment here: Super Smash Bros., I can confidently say, destroys just about everything that the PS4 or Xbox One have to offer in terms of sheer manic fun. And the fact that you don’t need to pay anything extra to play online is a huge plus. The sheer number of collectables, the crazy number of game modes, the huge roster of fighters, all of it makes for a completely brilliant experience that you won’t soon be forgetting. There’s a very good reason that Super Smash Bros. has been critically acclaimed: pure, solid, unadulterated fun.
Final Score: 9.5 Smashing Prawns out of 10
Distributor: Nintendo South Africa
Platform: Nintendo Wii U
Age Rating: 12+ (cartoon violence)
RRP: R699 (standalone), R899 (with Amiibo), R999 (with Gamecube Controller Adaptor)