Simply put, Super Smash Bros for Wii U is a fighting game tailor made for you. And you, and you over there at the back, and pretty much everyone with two thumbs and a passing interest in Nintendo. Sakurai and his team have made the most accessible, well packaged, and lovingly designed brawler I have ever seen. With 50+ fighters, a crap load of game modes, and so, so much to do, I really don’t know where to start. So, in true Smash Bros. fashion, I’m just gonna jump in and hope for the best…
Smash utilises a fiendishly simple control scheme that’s remarkably easy to pick up, by ultimately takes huge skill and timing to properly master. Take control of a Nintendo mascot that spans the cult NES days through to the casual Wii gamer era, (or even Pac Man, Sonic, or Megaman) and attack each other to fill up the percentage gauge of your foe. The higher that number is, the further hits will send your opponent. The idea is to knock your foe out of bounds of the stage, and claim victory.
The freeform nature of combat gives you so many more options than a fighting game like Tekken or Street Fighter could. If your opponent is on the attack, you don’t just have to block and wait for the chance to counter. You can double jump over them, you can roll past them, or if luck is on your side you can even stop them in their tracks with an assist from a Pokemon or a more obscure Nintendo character. The same character could have two wildly different playstyles depending on the person in control, and that’s one of the many things that constantly ensures Smash feels fresh and keeps matches from getting stale.
Smash Wii U offers more ways to play than ever before. With around five different types of controllers being compatible with the game (including the Gamecube pad, and the 3DS itself) and detailed controller customization options, it’s hugely unlikely there isn’t a setup out there to suit everybody.
But of course, not every Smash player is a fan of the slightly random and chaotic nature of the standard four player battles. Well what Smash Wii U has done has made sure that there’s a game mode out there for pretty much anyone to enjoy. Like board games, and fancy a slightly sped up version of Mario Party? Try Smash Tour, a frenetic Nintendo themed board game with a few mental Smash Bros touches. Players advance around a board picking up random stat boosts and collecting fighters, for a kind of Survival battle at the end where they fight with each of the fighters they acquired in the game. It wasn’t really for me, but the person I was playing with loved it, so that’s just one small example of how diverse Smash Wii U is.
Prefer the intense, pro style 1V1s? Every stage has a Final Destination mode that ensures variety in music and backgrounds, but keeps the layout of the stage perfect for a death match without items. More of a lone Wolf? There are more solo modes than ever before, with All Star, Classic, and stadium modes offering more challenge than ever before, and if you’d rather, you can take it all on with a friend. Event matches also make a welcome return, putting you in unique scenarios with set characters. It’s a ploy that sneakily you encourages you to try out characters you wouldn’t usually be inclined to try, and it’s always rewarding when you come away realising you have a new favourite character.
Then there are Master Orders and Crazy Orders, which basically encourage you to play around with the many types of variations that multiplayer mode offers. For example, you may be thrown into a stamina battle (where you can die from health going down as opposed to being knocked out of the ring), or a battle where everyone is giant, or super fast (seriously guys, there are so many ways to enjoy this game, okay?). These modes, along with pretty much every other mode offers up massive amounts of rewards that could be anything from one of the many lovingly designed trophies that offers a slice of Nintendo history, or a custom move or piece of equipment to further gear your Smash experience exactly the way you want it.
Like Mario, but don’t care much for his pointless FLUDD down move? Well, you can swap it to a Scalding FLUDD that burns enemies instead. You want a fast Bowser? Go for it. Every character has 12 custom moves to choose from, and plenty of items to change up strength, speed, and defence. Custom move drops can be particularly elusive however, and pretty much the one and only thing that pisses me off about Smash Wii U is that you can pick up custom moves you already have. That just feels like needless padding to me, in a game where there is already so much to collect and see.
I haven’t even mentioned eight player Smash yet. When this was announced, I was worried. I have a hard enough time keeping up with four player Smash. Thankfully, I can happily report that eight player Smash is very possibly the most genuinely fun experience I have ever had on a videogame. Sure, it’s chaos. Sure, occasionally you lose where you are in the heat of a massive eight man scrum, but my God, it feels so satisfying to be the last man standing in a brawl of such epic proportions, and if you are first out you can just spend the fight plotting your revenge. Alliances rise up as quickly as they are smashed to pieces, and Smash Balls (little floating gems that allow a character to use their massive super attack) become more coveted than a Gamecube controller adapter.
Impressively, the game never once breaks its silky 60FPS, and Nintendo’s mascots and worlds have never looked better in this gorgeous HD collection. For anyone who ever wanted to see the likes of Mario Galaxy or Metroid: Other M in HD, this may be the closest you get (but it’s good enough). Each stage is lovingly detailed with plenty of nice touches and background animations, and it’ll be a long time before you get bored of them. It’s just another example of Nintendo showing us the beautiful kinds of games you can get on Wii U, if you just put the work in.
Nintendo’s worlds have never sounded better either, with an obscene number of songs from Nintendo history. Let’s be honest, we all know that Nintendo games have some of the best music in the medium – be it a fully orchestrated version of The Legend of Zelda main theme, or a club remix of the Pac Man theme (yes really), there is, once again, something for everyone.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a robust, lovingly packaged game that manages to offer something to anyone and everyone. With such a huge game, filled with content, I’ve been struggling to to come up with just one word to sum it up. Then it hit me: Super Smash Bros is what Nintendo has always been about, regardless of what their detractors may say, even in their 125th year. Simply put, Super Smash Bros for Wii U is fun.