THE Wii U debut of Smash Bros is the best game available in the series so far
Super Smash Bros for Wii U
Platform: Wii U
LONGTIME fans of Nintendo’s brawling celebration of its canon will know it relies upon a delicate formula. Disarmingly simple to pick up and play, its hectic, multicolour action nonetheless belies a game of considerable depth. With its debut on Wii U introducing an eight player mode and amiibos - Skylander style character figurines which translate to the on-screen action - the series has undergone some tinkering. At its core, however, it remains true to the fast, invigorating gameplay of the 15 year old series and this, its fifth iteration, is comfortably the pre-eminent version.
Although the recent 3DS release was a triumph, Super Smash Bros for Wii U is a winning reminder that the title is best suited to the living room with a group of friends. There is not much in the way of tutorials, but the presumption is that players are already accustomed to the franchise, and it is clear that anyone with fond memories of long bouts on the GameCube will find much to cheer here. It is a party game first and foremost, and its embrace of local multiplayer play - a mode that is sadly no longer in vogue due to the advent of online gaming - is to be widely welcomed. The tempo of the game is that little bit faster and the extensive roster - featuring fighters with distinct powers and abilities - ensures the fighting will not take place as early as the character select screen.
The action pops out of the screen thank to crisp HD visuals
Rules and basics can be tinkered with, but the best mode to play Smash Bros remains with four players in a simple, unrelenting free for all battle, where the aim is to grind your opponents down and hit them off the stage. Judging when to use basic attacks and more complex moves, while also countering your opponents, is a challenge but a thrilling one, and the action pops out from the screen thanks to crisp HD visuals, smooth animations and stages that are detailed and dynamic without ever feeling cluttered. Similarly, eight player fights - which make use of a reduced range of stages - are thrilling and contrary to our expectations, are easy to follow and still allow for strategy.
The use of amiibos is entertaining, especially the way in which you can train a character up before sending them into battle against other computer-controlled fighters. Should they prevail, it is hard not to feel a sense of pride. The process of training your amiibo meanwhile, also improves your own skills; they soon become aware of and exploit repetitions or weaknesses in your tactics, forcing you to change your approach. It is an unexpectedly useful aspect of the amiibos, which we presumed would be little more than diverting props.
The Wii U GamePad works excellently, with a range of customisable controls available
While many players attest to the benefits of using a GameCube controller with the game - adaptors have recently been released allowing you to repurpose the peripherals for the new console - we found the Wii U GamePad worked excellently. Along with customisation options for your character, which allow you to amend their equipment and special attacks, the control scheme can be honed and switched, so there is bound to be one that suits that vast majority of players. Indeed, every element of Smash Bros on the Wii U is carefully designed with fans in mind. It is an outstanding version of the game and another A grade title for Nintendo’s console.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Fighting against your amiibo is a great way of improving your own play, but pitting them against other amiibos is the best way to have them level up quickly
As with the 3DS game, it is worth going through various characters to find one that suits your fighting style. For beginners, Mario and Bowser are good choices
Use the environmental props in stages to your advantage. The ropes in the boxing ring stage, for example, allow you to extend your jump