Super Smash Brothers for Wii U is Smashing

Super Smash Brothers for Wii U

Super Smash Brothers for Wii U

Nintendo released the latest installment of its popular fighting game, Super Smash Brothers for Wii U in late November. The series, conceived by developer Masahiro Sakurai in 1999, has gathered immense popularity due to its accessibility, content, and competitive community. On the surface, it may look like the average fighting game, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Fortunately, the game stands up to its series’ precedents and lives up to the hopes and hype set by its fans.

Super Smash Brothers’ mechanics deviate from the classical fighting game primarily in gameplay. The goal of the game is to knock the opponent outside of the screen’s boundaries rather than to deplete the opponent’s health bar. The higher the percentage of damage, the farther the opponent flies.

One of the most impressive aspects of the game is its design. Learning to play new characters is a smooth, fun experience. It allows players to focus on how to use moves effectively rather than how to use them at all. In addition, techniques such as edge guarding have been removed, making it more difficult to get kills and placing an emphasis on aerial combat. These new mechanics serve as an analog to keep the game accessible. Even the weakest players find themselves able to survive a bit longer, which improves the experience of more casual players. For more competitive players, keeping opponents off the stage is still possible; it simply requires skill and can be risky. Thankfully, the random tripping mechanic from Brawl has also been removed helping shift the focus to more skill based play. Overall, the new mechanics the game introduces manage to create an enjoyable experience for all players.

Although mechanics are important, the heart of Smash Brothers lies in duking it out with 49 of everyone’s favorite Nintendo characters. Unfortunately, some seasoned veterans are cut, including the Ice Climbers and Lucas. However, the game welcomes 15 newcomers to the franchise. Many of the new characters feature specialized play styles with a unique learning curve that helps to differentiate them from the returning veterans. The most impressive aspect is how well the characters’ personalities and traits are represented through their abilities. Everything from Captain Falcon’s high speed intensity to Kirby’s cute and laid back personality is ingeniously interwoven into the characters’ mechanics.

New to the game is the ability to create custom movesets. The idea is enticing, allowing players to customize their main characters to better suit their play style. The feature is well balanced, as it does not have an obvious best moveset for any one character because each customization comes with various strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, the ability to use custom movesets online is not allowed, so players interested in excelling at the game competitively may be put off from utilizing this feature.

The most prominent new feature is the ability to create “Mii Fighters.” The three types of Mii Fighters include Gunner, Swordsman, and Brawler and can be outfitted with equipment that alters abilities such as speed and power. They also feature custom moves similar to the other fighters. The concept is well-executed and allows players to express themselves in a new way. Some find that the feature adds an unnecessary layer of complexity, but luckily it is optional. The Mii Fighters are not playable online, which is unfortunate but understandable because the lack of character consistency would pose an unfair advantage.

The stages of the new version are visually dynamic and truly representative of their respective franchises. One of the best is the Donkey Kong Country Stage that includes barrels from which fighters can launch themselves, allowing characters to fight in both the background and foreground of the stage. An interesting choice regarding certain stages is the inclusion of large enemies that appear at random in both “Pyrosphere”(Metroid) and “Wily’s Castle”(MegaMan). The enemies get in the way more than they should and disrupt the pacing of the battle. It is a tad disappointing to see such an interesting concept executed so poorly.

Another feature new to Smash Brothers is the “Special Orders” events. Special orders come in two varieties, “Master Orders” and “Crazy Orders.” Master Orders ask players to pay an entrance fee of in game coins to participate in certain event matches for the opportunity to win rewards such as music, custom moves, and trophies. Crazy Orders are a little more, well…crazy.  After players pay an insanely high entrance fee, they attempt to complete as many challenges as possible within ten minutes. Before time runs out, the player must battle Crazy Hand with a limited amount of hit points.  If players are defeated, they lose everything. It is a risk that can be a crazy fun experience for those crazy enough to try it.

Smash Brothers for Wii U also features online functionality. Though it is not perfect, the feature has evolved drastically since its inception. The mode has been separated by “for fun” and “for glory” sorting the casual players from the competitive ones. Both modes feature team and regular matches, however, the “for glory” mode offers a “one on one” option. Online play features multiplayer functionality as well. When playing with friends online, voice chat and customizable rules are available. The online function is well done  and holds promise in the future with the coming of tournaments and other events.

It is hard to place a value on the countless hours spent laughing and cursing at friends that Super Smash Brothers for Wii U provides. The game’s content and addictive gameplay are enough to rope in any player, casual or competitive, young or old. The game certainly holds up to, and in many ways surpasses, its predecessors. For Nintendo fans, the game is a must buy, and for those interested, the game is most definitely worth a try.