The most gripping game of Super Smash Bros. yet sets a model example of what it means to be at a quintessential point in a games series. Throughout the smash bros franchise the games have always sat at the height of the fighting genre, but in each game there were always subtle problems from smash 64’s frustrating controls, poor character balance in Melee and tripping in Brawl. Super Smash Bros. 4 irons out these faults and makes the series a more enjoyable game rising it to a new plateau.
What has always made smash bros standout from any other fighting game is its accessibility to all players. But, Smash Bros holds further distinction than usual fighting games instead of depleting your opponent’s health the goal is to add as much damage as possible increasing their knockback until it is with ease to hit them off stage. Depending on how a player prefers to play the game suits all; simple settings allow for item control giving the choice of playing competitively on selected stages or just having fun with items and allowing luck to become part of the experience. Controls are simple, intuitive and reflect past games with its basic movement and ease.
Although there is nothing comparable to Subspace Emissary, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS come bringing new game modes. These new modes come with additions such as Smash Run for 3DS which is focused on platforming, exploration and collection. Another mode that is exclusive to Wii U is Smash Tour, styled as a board game the objective is to collect power-ups and characters on the board until the final round where there is a faceoff between players. I found this mode much blander than the rest as it entailed simple boards making the only part enjoyable of the experience the final round. Alas I found myself appreciating but cutting out these new game modes and focusing primarily on what is the core gameplay Smash. Nothing beats the experience of grabbing three close friends and sitting down for a classic couch session of local multiplayer and Smash mode highlights this in perfection. But wait, there is one new mode that is worth high accolade, 8-Player Smash. This new adaption allows for up to eight players to join in creating a hectic, frantic, chaos controlled (Sonic pun intended) gameplay, and I love it. Through fighting to stay on stage, to attempting to manage all my friends on screen, to keeping track of myself in game; 8-Player Smash is an incredibly right amount of gooey chaos goodness.
Selections in characters, stages and items bring back classics and add new possibilities to keep gameplay fresh and allow for endless variations. Returning items such as the hammer bring familiarity and comfort to returning players while new items such as the Hocotate bomb (a small rocket ship that launches high into the air comes back down devastating any characters below after a few seconds) bring new forms of gameplay to those returning and allows new comers an option to be closer to veterans. Most characters return from brawl, but with a plethora of newly added Nintendo classics and special cameos such as Mega Man, Pacman and Cloud bring exciting new character selection to the franchise. Stages from 64 to brawl are added and still come across impressive, but with the addition of many new gorgeous and clever stages it leads for much to try, bringing hours of fun to test with your friends.
Each character feels distinctively unique with their own style of battle that is easy to learn, but difficult to master. For example, bulky characters like Ganondorf and Bowser will have slower movement and damage dealing hits, but characters like Sonic and Sheik rely on quick movement and small pokes that do less damage. Even more depth is added in game when you take account for the character customization and amiibo functionality. Character customization allows for you to add buffs to character’s power, speed and defense, but they usually bring the tradeoff of lowering another trait. To bring Ganon back for an example, I could create a version of him that could zip quickly across stage, but easily get knocked off stage by an opposing hit. You earn these buffs by playing through the unique game modes offered rewarding players for testing all the possibilities to play. Amiibos are a radically new feature in this entry, collectible figurines that can be trained and mimic play style off of how they are fought with. Level caps at 50 for them, as they level up their power, speed and defense also increase, but they still learn new playstyles and techniques as they are used. I found amiibo fun to train, but lost in value once it has reached its level cap; this is because of how difficult and powerful they get by the end making matches one sided and less enjoyable.
Vibrant, smooth and dynamic are words that come to mind when thinking of the rich visuals for Smash 4. Stages range throughout all forms of environment from the retro urban wrecking crew to the beautifully colorful jungles of Donkey Kong and even galactic intensity in Final Destination. Each stage comes with a full arrange of music that changes in each stage’s play through. Music comes from the stages’ series giving each stage more distinction and variety. I even find myself a humming the beautifully crafted theme song to smash bros after long play sessions.
Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS is incredibly fun; increased dynamic gameplay, beautiful animation, and incredible multiplayer revamps this smash high above its predecessors. Never before have I replayed a game so often; Super Smash Bros for Wii U has been my go to game for years. In a small yet quality dense library Smash 4 is the best addition to any Wii U owner’s library. This game shines offering hundreds of potential hours of gameplay. From the long local multiplayer couch sessions, to the intense one on one online battles, exploring all the game modes and unlockables, to just seeing how far I can push the game in competitive play. Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS offers a wonderful experience that is sure to make all players regardless of skill, age, or genre preference engaged and entertained.