Written by DJ Chapman
If you have been within 10 feet of a Nintendo console over the past 15 years, you have likely played some iteration of Super Smash Bros. Let’s see how the most recent incarnation, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U , adds to the Smash legacy.
The Roster + Gameplay
The Wii U Smash roster offers the same 50 playable characters as the 3DS version. To go through every character would be exhaustive, but I will note, it’s great to play them in HD. The gameplay has not changed much from Super Smash Bros. Brawl and, of course, the pre-cursor 3DS game. Tripping has been eliminated, and now you have the ability to stool hop off of your opponents’ heads. The screen real estate of a television is awesome.
Between the 3DS release and this game, there have been a couple of patches, one of them offering character balances. The evolution of the game over time is an exciting prospect.
If there is one thing that Smash Bros. has done well over the years is ways you can play. The Wiimote (with or without the nunchuk), Pro Controller, Wii U Gamepad, and the Classic Controller are all available options. In addition, players can also use their Nintendo 3DS systems. Of course, the highly anticipated return of GameCube (GCN) controllers (with the help of a special adapter) are the spotlight way to play.
I sampled most of the controllers, save Wiimote variants (bad experiences with Super Smash Bros. Brawl informed this decision). The first choice when playing a Smash Bros. game is the GCN controller. When playing 8-player smash, it is hard to find eight GCN controllers, so one must look to other options. My favorite alternate controller is the Classic Controller. The button layout is similar to the 3DS – a layout I have gotten used to over the past two months playing Super Smash Bros. on that platform, and the right control stick is the GCN “C-stick” equivalent. (By the way did you know you can hold smash attacks on the right stick now? Well you can, and it is great!)
In terms of other controllers, I found myself struggling with the Wii U Gamepad. I have trouble with having my hands spread far apart. The Pro Controller does not have the compactness that the GCN or Classic Controllers have, but the ergonomics are fine.
While many stages were brought back and/or carried over from earlier Super Smash Bros. games and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, there are many new additions for the Wii U. Of note there are Palutena’s Temple, The Great Cave Offensive, and Jungle Hijinks. These large stages were added for the new 8-Player Mode (more on that later). Most of the stages are fine, but one of the stages, The Great Cave Offensive, is exactly that: offensive! The cave has lava traps placed throughout the level that will kill you if you are over 100% damage. Another new gimmick map is Jungle Hijinks: the map has two perspectives that you can switch via barrels, making for two planes of play. It’ll never be a competitive map, but it’s a lot of fun for the casual play sessions.
“8-Player Smash” is as crazy as it sounds. When the match starts it is a scramble to not get hit and deal as much possible. On the smaller stages it can be easy to lose your character among the chaos. Because 8-Player is so massive, the stage selection is smaller. The stages available are fine for the number of people playing; however, the only drawback is on the larger stages: the end of matches can become lengthy due to the amount of space. Despite this all of this, the mode is so much fun. All of the hype built up for 8-Player smash definitely lives up to expectations.
Smash Tour might be my new favorite addition to the series. It combines the fun of Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. which is as fantastic as it sounds. The premise is that you (as a Mii) go around a board, a la Mario Party, collecting power-ups and fighters to prepare for a final battle against your fellow competitors. The fun is that it makes the fights a little more random with the additions of items that buff your character while de-buffing your opponents. This mode allows for a lot of variation and keeps for interesting games that are great after tense rounds of battling in Smash. This mode replaces the Smash Run mode in the 3DS version.
There is so much more to talk about in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. From Master Orders to Crazy Orders, Events, and the Stadium, Smash Bros. offers so much gameplay. Classic and All-Star mode make a return, and while they are a lot of fun there is nothing really new there. I wish they had brought back Target Run. Its replacement, Target Blast, feels like an Angry Birds knock-off that isn’t very exciting.
Another big change that I am curious to see is evolution of amiibos. Amiibos are very interesting. Being to level up a favorite character and then having it beat you up is sort of fascinating. Training your amiibo to fit a certain play style seems like a lot of fun, and while the level cap is 50, it continues to “learn” past this the more you play with it.
Online play is an upgrade from Brawl, but the occasional lag does not promote any sort of solid online play. All of the available online modes (spectating and Coin bets, Global Smash Power, to name a few)from the 3DS version are also available in the Wii U version.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a welcome addition to the franchise. The game keeps the best aspects of the series while adding a massive amount of fun content. With the addition of Mewtwo as confirmed DLC, the game we know and love may evolve the longer it is out, which is an exciting prospect. Super Smash Bros. is a rousing success and definitely a reason to buy the Wii U if you are a fan of the franchise. If you already own a Wii U it is a must have.
Super Smash Bros for Wii U is currently available.