Written by Harry Jackson
As we approach the October release date for Super Smash Bros. 3DS, many Nintendo fans hoped to get a demo of the highly-anticipated game to hold them over until release. In a surprise move, Nintendo announced and released a free demo of the mascot brawler to gamers that had achieved “Platinum” status by redeeming online codes from Nintendo products in the last year. The demo will release to the general public on September 19.
Featuring playable veterans Mario, Link, and Pikachu along with newcomers Mega Man and the Villager from Animal Crossing, the demo allows players to try out both old and new characters in a two-minute timed match – solo or in local multi-player. The only playable stage is the Battlefield, which is available in two variations: classic with full items and “final-destination” style with no platforms or items to interrupt game play.
The game itself feels great, with tight controls that reminded me of the Nintendo Gamecube controller which is the preferred way to play Smash Bros. for many gamers. The pace is faster than Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the annoying tripping mechanic is thankfully gone. Without getting overly technical, one minor tweak is that character throws are now mapped to the L button only and the shield is exclusive to the R button. Another small but noticeable change is the addition of a spark/lightning animation when dealing a “death blow.” Where in previous Smash games, a player could get knocked from a stage and hope to make a recovery back to a ledge – here, the moment you see that spark/lightning, you know that you are done. It is gratifying if you are the attacker and devastating if you are the attacked.
The veteran fighters look and play just like their console counterparts, while the Villager and Mega Man bring unique fighting styles to the table that still fit within the realm of smash. One of my favorite moves with the Villager is the Tree attack which varies each time it is used. The first time a player presses “Down-B,” Villager plants a seedling, then waters the seedling to grow a tree, then chops down the tree for major damage if it hits an opposing player. Mega Man has a great range of projectile weapons to wreck havoc across the entire stage, while also showing off his leaf shield and metal blade. It took me a few tries to get accustomed to his projectile attacks as they are assigned to the B button, instead of the A button like most characters. The character select screen shows 36 playable characters from the start for the full retail release, and I cannot wait to try them all.
The demo opens to the full menu for the retail version of Smash Bros. 3DS, however options like “online,” “challenge,” and the new “Smash Run” mode are greyed out and unavailable. The menu also features “Streetpass” and “Wii U” – the 3DS version of Smash Bros. is confirmed to link to the Wii U version of the game to exchange customized fighters and the 3DS itself can be used as a controller for the Wii U counterpart. The only other menu option available in the demo are random gameplay tips found under “Vault” in “Games and More.”
Super Smash Bros. 3DS has been released in Japan, and many are watching online livestreams to get a feel for the game. Whether you received an early download code through Club Nintendo or you are waiting to download the demo on the 19th, I highly recommend checking it out and experiencing Super Smash Bros. firsthand. Hopefully this will help pass the time as we wait for the full release later this fall!