After its success on the Nintendo 3DS, the classic action brawler returns to Nintendo’s home console in beautiful HD. Supremely designed with its exhilarating and lavish battles, along with a cast of more than 40 new and veteran characters, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a near perfect game. And its wealth of classic features, new modes and vast customisation choices means it’s a staple title every Nintendo fan should own – for fun and for glory.
Developed by Sora, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the fourth instalment of the popular Nintendo brawler. Packed with an enormous amount of modes and challenges, long-time fans and newcomers will be spoiled for choice during single, multiplayer and online play. The game, however, never feels bloated or misses the inclusion of a story mode akin to Brawl’s Subspace Emissary, rather the extra features are well-paced, polished and correctly balanced in terms of difficulty. And if you’re a new player, you’ll never truly feel out of your depth with excellent tutorial tips scattered across its loading screens.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U features 50 playable characters – the most in the franchise to date – and includes a wide range of movesets and fighting styles to suit many players. Newcomer fighters such as Little Mac, Villager, Mega Man and Pac-Man all feature in the cast and star alongside veterans, while other characters – Lucina, R.O.B and Mr Game & Watch to name a few – can be unlocked later in the game. Some characters, which required unlocking in the 3DS version such as Jigglypuff and Ganondorf, are unlocked from the beginning, plus there are up to 47 stages to explore – rivalling the 34 stages on the handheld.
In regular Smash mode, gameplay is smooth and wonderfully controlled with each fighter having distinct animations for attacks, taunting and dodging. Getting to grips with the basics and finding which character suits your play style is paramount here, particularly if players want to succeed in challenges. Of notable merit are new items such as the Bullet Bill and Gust Bellows – both items can be used to great effect and sometimes with dire consequences to both enemy and user, much like that pesky hammer!
While the fourth instalment cranks up the gameplay by several gears in regular mode, 8-player Smash is where madness truly ensues. Though I have yet to settle it in Smash with seven real-time friends, my two amiibo buddies and five CPU players have been ample substitutes. Given the close proximity to other players on smaller arenas, the action intensifies threefold and you’ll rack up damage quicker than Donkey Kong can say ‘bananas’. Forget about dodging here, this is fast and furious fun for all skill levels.
Though the smaller stages whip up a frenzy, the larger battle arenas such as The Great Cave Offensive can often skew your field of vision. Unfortunate camera zooms can make it tricky to keep track of where your character is, making hazard spots gravely dangerous and risky, plus your character can become minute in comparison to the stage. It’s a killer case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
Setting itself apart from its predecessors, Smash’s amiibo inclusion ticks all the boxes – both on Nintendo’s behalf and on-screen play. By training up your very own Figure Player and feeding it stat boosts collected throughout classic and all-star modes, you can customise your favourite characters to your liking. And with its self-learning AI, it’s the perfect partner to train against and verse other opponents with. Amiibo will constantly adapt their fighting techniques and level up quicker while versing other characters, but make yourself scarce or you could be on the receiving end of a hearty KO. Though we’re still largely in the dark when it comes to amiibo for other games, they are a superb and exciting addition to the brawler.
As Smash Run is home to the 3DS version of the brawler, so is Smash Tour to the Wii U version. Stylised after the Mario Party franchise, the board game comes in small, medium and large sizes with a minimum of 15 turns per player to a maximum of 25. To get the most from this feature, however, you’ll need to play with friends or family – adding in three CPUs sucks the fun and blows it in the wrong direction leaving a confusing, shambolic mess. But with friends, the unsettling feeling is squashed and an interesting mode unfolds.
Players will race around the board in order to pick up the most power-ups, stat boosts, gold and Smash characters. Mini-battles will then take place with various sets of rules, along with battles whenever one player collides with another. Those players with more Smash characters will be at a distinct advantage in the final battle, but it doesn’t necessarily equal a claim to victory. Though you can still leave your friendships at the door, Smash Tour is in need of a lick of polish before competing against the likes of Mario Party.
With Classic, Special Orders, Challenges, All-Star and Stadium modes there’s plenty of choice on offer for single players. But it’s the Masterpieces that are a wonderful nostalgic gem for older players and a genius addition for newcomers. Playing a demo of NES, SNES and Game Boy titles enriches the Super Smash Bros. experience beautifully. It’s a niche feature but one that’s memorable for its diversity.
Between Mii customisation, amiibo and stage builder, fans will be satiated with the level of customisation on offer. Though it’s limited in online matches, you’ll still be able to freely select rules and variations with friends in For Glory mode. While it has slight hiccups, Smash’s online play in both modes will provide players with an endless amount of joy and equal amounts of hilarious frustration.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, while not perfect, is the game that keeps on giving. Non-stop fun, hours upon hours of content, combined with well-known music gives it the perfect edge. And let’s not be coy here, it’s definitely a knockout.