“Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” is the first version of the fighting-game franchise to appear on a portable game console. A version for the Nintendo Wii U will debut in December. Credit: Nintendo
“Super Smash Bros.” is one of Nintendo’s most interesting, if confounding, franchises.
The original “Super Smash Bros.” was introduced in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, but it was “Super Smash Bros. Melee” two years later for Nintendo’s GameCube that really blew the franchise up, becoming the best-selling game for that console. It also spawned a huge underground competitive scene — which isn’t what Nintendo had in mind, but it thrived nonetheless.
Now with "Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS" (and later this year for the Wii U game console), Nintendo looks like it's finally trying to embrace the competitive culture around the game.
“Super Smash Bros. 3DS” is dramatically different from traditional fighting games. You don’t win by depleting your opponent’s life meter; instead you try to knock them off platforms. Legend has it that Nintendo originally planned it as a casual party game, but its unique mechanics proved irresistible to a certain hardcore segment.
The latest installment feels like an updated version of the classic Smash experience — lots of mayhem, throwing people across the screen, flashy weapons and big hits. There are a ton of references to old-school Nintendo games, too, plus some fun unlockable characters. If you grew up playing Nintendo, this game is one extended shoutout.
And the depth of the game is incredible. There are almost 50 playable characters from all walks of Nintendo life. There are an insane amount of ways to customize your character. You can even turn your Mii into a playable fighter. There are also a bevy of fighting modes.
As for the gameplay itself, I’m no “Smash” expert by any means, but it feels a little sluggish compared to “Melee.” But what do I know? The bottom line is that it’s fun. And there’s online play, which clearly means Nintendo is trying to get the competitive ball rolling again.
Is “Super Smash Bros. 3DS” the best in the series? I have no idea. But it’s fun, easy to pick up and makes me want to battle other people. And I’m pretty sure that’s what the franchise is all about.
"Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS"
$40, for Nintendo 3DS
Rated E-10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
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