TRANSLATING Smash Bros to a handheld console is a daunting prospect, but Nintendo have pulled it off.
Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS
Score: 9 /10
THE Smash Bros series has long been the subject of scorn by a minority of fighting game purists who dismiss its breakneck action and limited moves when in fact, the games boast a complexity and dexterity that puts many of the genre’s examples to shame. While the premise is uncomplicated - the goal is to knock your foes out of the on-screen stage - it follows in the tradition of titles like Mario Kart where the core mechanics appeal to novices and experts alike.
The transition of the series to handheld brings the risk of overcrowded action, particularly when all manner of powers and special abilities are being deployed simultaneously. The scaled down presentation, however, has been judged well and on a 3DS XL certainly, our fears were allayed, although those playing on the smaller screen of the standard device may beg to differ, especially when there are four fighters flailing around a level.
The 3DS version enjoys the most expansive roster of any Smash Bros game yet
At least until the release of the Wii U version next month, the title benefits from the most expansive roster of characters of any Smash Bros iteration, with 49 in all to choose from, not including the option to use your Mii in-game. Old favourites such as Luigi and Link have undergone tweaks that require some readjustment, while newcomers like Mega Man, Pac Man and Villager - from Animal Crossing fame - add variety and personality to the classic Nintendo family. Impressively, a degree of customisation means that each brawler can have scores of possible combinations to their attacks, meaning that each feels distinct.
The most noticeable and welcome change to the franchise is the speed. Fights now play out at a blistering rate and the controls of the 3DS stand up well to the frantic action. The 3D effect, at least initially, complements the breathless action without distracting from it. In truth, though, it adds no real purpose or aesthetic flourish to the game. After a half hour or so experimenting with the feature, we felt the best option was setting the slider to minimum.
Some may not be able to warm to the 3DS version but it is an exciting addition
Tradition dictates that many fans of the series will not be able to reconcile themselves with a handheld version. For them, Smash Bros is the epitome of local multiplayer gaming, best played out in a busy living room with roars of victory and disapproval ringing out. That may well be true and rallying round a group of friends, each with their 3DS and a copy of the game, is not the easiest of propositions. But the restraints imposed by the format ought not to diminish the achievements of its 3DS debut. It stands alone as an exciting addition that will cheer those parted from their Wii U for any length of time.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
1) Aside from the D-pad’s functionality, the default controls can be customised so tinker around with the settings an arrangement that suits.
2) Don’t neglect grabs. They may not have the impact of strong and special attacks but they are a crucial way of building up momentum in a fight.
3) Experiment with different characters to find one with a special attack that suits your play style. Some are long range whereas others will only work up close.