Super Smash Bros. is one of Nintendo’s most-loved franchises. It’s had an interesting history despite only having four games released since its induction in 1999. Melee, the GameCube’s Smash title, was extremely well-received and is still played competitively to this day. However, its successor, Smash Bros. Brawl, departed greatly from Melee’s mechanics and is disliked by many Smash purists.
If you gave up hope for Super Smash Bros. after Brawl, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with the newest iteration in the series, Smash Bros. for 3DS. It’s not perfect, but it has lots of features that will help you forget about how Brawl wronged you. Even if you liked Brawl, Smash 3DS is a step forward. Let’s see why.
Better Online Play
Brawl was the first game in the franchise to allow for online play, using the Wii’s Internet features, but it was disappointing. Finding a match with a random player in the first place was difficult, and once you connected the matches were almost always unplayable due to lag. Further, you only had a few measly options for online matches. None of this is surprising, given Nintendo’s weak history with online gaming, but it was still a letdown.
Smash 3DS doesn’t fix this problem fully, but it does a much better job. The first improvement you’ll notice is that it doesn’t take five minutes to connect to the online service like it did in Brawl, which is a welcomed change.
After you connect, you’ll have to pick whether you want to play with friends, random players, or spectate a match. Playing with friends is made easier than before thanks to 3DS friend codes being system-based instead of the Wii’s game-based codes.
Jumping into With Anyone means you’ll be able to choose between two modes, For Fun and For Glory. In For Fun, items are enabled and you can play on any stage. There’s no statistics kept here, so it’s aptly named. For Glory beckons to serious players; here you won’t find any items, and each stage is transformed into its Omega form, which is flat like the Final Destination stage. You’ll be able to keep track of your records in this game type.
Either category lets you play free-for-all or in teams, and For Glory allows 1-on-1 fights. With this variety, Smashers of all types will find something to enjoy online. And of course, the zany local multiplayer is included as long as each player has their own system and copy of the game.
In my time with the game so far, online play has been better than expected. While playing with a friend in Alaska, I only experienced a split-second of lag once or twice a match. It was a bit more noticeable when matchmaking, but much improved over anything Brawl ever offered. Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai has explained that your connection is usually the issue, so if this is affecting you, check that your home Wi-Fi is optimized.
Fixed Mechanics And A New Technique
In Melee, advanced players took advantage of technical parts of the game that allowed them to maneuver their characters in all-new ways, like Wavedashing. By dodging in midair and steering into the ground, you could zip around at lightning speed.
Another trick in Melee was L-Canceling, which essentially allowed you to shorten the recovery time of your moves by pressing L just before you hit the ground. This, too, brought worlds more strategy into the game and made Melee a game that’s deeper than it first appears.
Both of these tactics were controversially removed from Brawl, and perhaps even worse was the element added in: tripping. It’s just what it sounds like, and it’s insanely annoying. Any time you perform certain attacks, you have a small chance of your character falling onto the ground, and you can’t turn it off. This became one of the rallying cries of Brawl haters. In the Sudden Death situation below, it even determined the winner; watch how Toon Link’s dodge turns into a in a trip at 2:19, resulting in his death.
Thankfully, tripping is no more on 3DS. Wavedashing doesn’t make a return, but there’s a new tactic pros will be excited about. It’s called the Turnaround Cancel, and it allows you to quickly change directions and launch into an attack. Why it’s such a big deal is too much to explain here, but redditor sylinmino has explained its implications perfectly.
Turnaround Canceling was first found in a demo build of Smash for Wii U, and I’m happy to report that it has made its way into the final version of Smash for 3DS too.
All of this adds up to make this version feel tighter and faster than Brawl. You likely won’t be zipping around at amazing speeds like the master in this video, but it’s a huge improvement!
Smash Brothers has always been known for its simplicity and approachable controls, even for those who despise traditional fighting games. Because of this, there hasn’t been a lot of room for customizing anything. Each character had a set of moves that were specific to them, and they couldn’t be changed.
Smash 3DS, however, changes that. First, you can create your own fighters using Miis. Three classes are available, and you can assign them different moves for their special attacks. As you play the game (especially the single-player modes) you’ll unlock new badges to equip on your characters.
One badge, for instance, might make your Mii fighter faster but weaker, or give them special abilities like a brief period of invincibility after eating food items. You can even give them hats and outfits to change their appearance!
This customizing extends to the full roster of characters. Want to make Link carry the regular boomerang instead of the Gale Boomerang? You can do that! Or, try assigning badges to make Bowser a lightweight; the possibilities are many. To ensure balanced gameplay, these customizations have to be explicitly enabled when playing a match, and can’t be used when playing online with anyone.
In addition, while the roster for this title was questioned by some, the characters are more varied this time around. Of course, a few of the fighters have similarities, but for the most part there’s a diverse cast. If you don’t like the way one plays, you can change it!
Some people may see this as a drawback, but after some time with mobile Smash, I feel that Nintendo has modeled the game to run on a handheld, not crippled it. This game has lots of little pieces that make it a worthy title to own aside from just waiting for the Wii U (which has some awesome games of its own) version.
For one, this version of Smash screams to be enjoyed in short bursts. You don’t have to wait for the system to boot up and tweak a bunch of settings. If you have a few minutes on your commute, before a class, or before bed, you can get your Smash in without much setup. More than this, though, are the modes in the games.
Gone is the tedious Subspace Emissary of Brawl, which served as the game’s Adventure mode and was required for unlocking most of the characters. Instead, the 3DS game features Smash Run, which has you running through a maze collecting power-up that radically change your character’s stats, then facing off in a final competition. It’s quirky and something we haven’t seen in Smash before.
Classic mode is better than ever, featuring a difficulty system that lets you wager coins to make battles more difficult. All-Star is back again, along with the usual multi-man battles and the Home Run Contest. You might be upset at the lack of one-system multiplayer that Smash has come to be known for, but the developers have gone to great lengths to ensure that solo Smash provides plenty of content. Trophies, an awesome soundtrack, and tons of unlockables are just as present as ever; nothing major was lost in the transition to the mobile 3DS.
If you like Smash Brothers at all, you simply must get the 3DS version. These reasons were meant to appeal to those who detested Brawl, but the 3DS’ changes are for the better of all players. If you don’t have a 3DS to play it on, consider the cheaper 2DS that doesn’t feature the 3D screen.
If you aren’t interested in 3DS Smash but still miss Melee, check out how to turn an existing copy of Brawl into Project M, a fan-created mod that feels much more like the GameCube favorite.
Will you be getting Smash 3DS? If you have it, what do you think so far? Leave a comment, and if you’d like to play a match online with me, let me know!