Super Smash Bros. not a typical street fighter game but more of a juggling act

Super Smash Bros.  not a typical street fighter game but more of a juggling act

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Super Smash Bros. is not a Street Fighter game with Mario and Pickachu. It’s not about memorizing every special move or countering every attack. It’s about juggling enemies, bouncing around the screen, evading laser beams, and running after ridiculous, game-changing items. It’s about biffing your opponents to raise their damage meter which causes them to fly off screen- and get knocked out- when struck with a powerful smash attack. And it’s about tripping your rival up on a banana skin.

Some characters move fight with swords or fists, but others battle in a truly absurd fashion. Olimar plucks Pikmin out of the ground to fight alongside him and Diddy Kong shoots peanuts out of wooden pistols.

Everything moves at a fast, frantic pace, and the 3DS feels closer to the lightning quick Super Smash Bros. Melee than the notoriously sluggish predecessor Brawl. However, I’m a casual Smash Bros. player, so I cant go into the details of what’s changed for this fourth game, but it feels as fun and energetic as ever. And being on a portable system does not hamper it.  It’s surprisingly easy to keep track of everything on that screen (both the 3DS XL and the original model), it runs on a slick 60 frames per second, and the circle pad runs wonderfully.

So what mode do you choose to show off your new skills in? Well, when you first start your Smash Bros. experience, the choice can be utterly overwhelming. Do you start with a simple brawl, or Smash Run mode with its five minute warm up. Classic mode with its branching paths and 91 different difficulty settings, one of the 6 different multi-man modes,  or one of the 3 mini-games.

That Classic mode, by the way, is a bit rubbish. It’s short and pretty unexciting, with none of the exploration of cut scenes from the previous games. It feels like an after thought though, and is a little unsatisfying for those who like to play Smash solo.When you finally decide on which mode to choose, there’s an enormous roster of 37 (with even more to unlock). And each plays differently, with their own style and set of moves.

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Of course, this game is supposed to be played in multiplayer. It’s a blast to play with friends, and many modes-including Smash, Smash Run, All-Star, and Multi-Man Smash- can be played with others on wireless. And there’s online play too, with friends and strangers. It works well and is friction free to get online, but the insane speed of the game means that you’re at the mercy of Wi-Fi connections and lag.

The Smash Bros. games have always been about nostalgic fan service, and glorifying the history of Nintendo characters (with a few third party characters like Sonic, Pac-Man, and Megaman) It’s no different here. Each fighter’s moves and taunts are based on games, so Mario uses his cape from Super Mario World and Animal Crossing’s Villager plants and chops down a tree, and Pac-Man drops a fire hydrant from Pac-Land.

Also, keen pocket gamers will notice that the stages and trophies have a distinct handheld flavor, down to playing inside a green-and-green Game Boy for one of Kirby’s levels or collecting a trophy based on a Game and Watch.

Super Smash Bros. simply has an unbelievable amount of content. I’ve been playing for over 13 hours and I still haven’t played as every character. So there are loads to keep you going, as long as you enjoy the bouncy, hectic, messy fighting system. You’ll have more fun with friends than on your own, thanks to an unstructured solo offering, but even those who prefer to play alone will find a generous helping of modes, characters, trophies, and special unlocks.

Super Smash Bros. is simply a fast, frenetic, and wonderfully satisfying game on a handheld.