Feature: The Benefits of a Portable Super Smash Bros.
Posted by Martin Watts
Why being able to take the fight with you is a good thing
This year sees a number of landmark moments for the Super Smash Bros. series: it’s now 15 years old, two games are being released within mere months of each other and one of them will feature glorious high-definition graphics. However, even more significant than all of these notable achievements is that Super Smash Bros. is, at long last, coming to a handheld system.
It’s no wonder that it has taken so long for the series to finally make the jump to the portable scene; a fast-paced fighting game focused around four-person multiplayer would have been hard to pull off well on many of Nintendo's older handhelds. Nevertheless, the company now has a system with the appropriate tech inside it to deliver the sort of experience Super Smash Bros. fans have come to expect from the series.
With just over a month to go until its commercial release in North America and Europe, we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight the benefits that come with a portable version of Super Smash Bros.
Practice on the Go
Call us easily pleased, but we consider the prospect of finally being able to play a Super Smash Bros. game while out and about to be an exciting one. While the series has always been — and very likely always will be — renowned for delivering bundles of multiplayer fun with up to three human opponents, it’s not something that many people can organise and enjoy on a daily basis.
Of course, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS features various single-player modes, as well as the option to add CPU-controlled opponents to your multiplayer battles. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to make the most of those times during the day such as a commute to work on the train or a lunch break to slip in some extra practice so that you’re always prepared for your next encounter with friends and family.
Classic Mode, which is similar in structure to the single-player modes found in most fighting games, makes a welcome return in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. This comes with various difficulty settings and multiple routes to progress down, the latter of which should certainly help to keep things interesting. If you’re usually the first to be ejected from the stage in a multiplayer match, then the Multi-Man Smash mode will serve as the ultimate tool with which to test your endurance and master key defensive skills such as rolling and spot-dodging.
At some point next year, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS owners will be able to make use of Nintendo’s upcoming amiibo figures, which provide near field communication functionality — they also look pretty fantastic too! Players will be able to use a figure to train up a unique version of the character it represents, as well as customise its moveset. The figures have multiple uses, but when you’re out of the house, they’re arguably going to be most useful for training yourself, as they aren’t limited to the nine-level difficulty cap that standard CPU opponents are. Moreover, you can battle alongside them against other opponents, meaning it’s possible to practice team battles with a more competent ally than the standard CPU can offer.
Portable Music Player
Although it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever find yourself wanting to take a break from the action, there will nevertheless be times when you need some downtime from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS’s main modes; what better way to relax than to chill out to some tunes from the games?
Thankfully, Mr Sakurai and his team of 40 composers have stuffed the game full of nostalgic Nintendo tunes to serenade you into a calm state of bliss, or failing that, get the blood pumping again for more battle.
The music player has the added benefit of being usable while your 3DS is in sleep mode, with the system’s shoulder buttons acting as previous and next buttons for selecting tracks. The game features a wealth of new remixes and music from previous Super Smash Bros. titles, and with so many franchises involved there’s bound to be something for everyone.
As per the majority of first-party Nintendo 3DS titles, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will also take advantage of the system’s StreetPass feature. Exactly how the game will use it has yet to be confirmed, but a sneak peek at the Japanese packaging for the game suggests some sort of battle mode. We imagine this may involve players customising a fighter and duelling it against a stranger's character.
Of course, it’s possible that StreetPass will provide other fun crossover features, such as sharing records for the Home-Run Contest, Multi-Man Smash and Target Blast modes. Whatever the final product delivers, it at the very least offers something that previous Super Smash Bros. titles have not been able to.
A Smash Hit at StreetPass Community Events
There are numerous StreetPass communities across the world, and they continue to grow in size by the day. Many people are already enjoying the likes of Mario Kart 7, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Animal Crossing: New Leaf through such events, so it’d only make sense for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS to make an appearance too.
Of course, it’s not impossible for someone to simply bring a Wii U along to a StreetPass event once Super Smash Bros. for Wii U arrives, but needless to say it’s horribly impractical when you factor in all the cables and controllers you require. Furthermore, some StreetPass events can be restricted quite considerably by their venues; not everywhere has a TV or projector on-hand — especially not free of charge. The great thing about a StreetPass event is that everyone brings their own systems along, and can very easily play using their own preferred control setup and model of 3DS.
Not only that, but it presents you with the opportunity to play against people who you might otherwise not have had the chance to meet. Finding someone of a similar skill level isn't always possible within your current group of friends and family, and it’s also a good way to learn the game better by seeing how other people play it. The Super Smash Bros. series may revolve around combat, but it’s likely going to help strike up a lot of new friendships (and rivalries) come 3rd October.
Online Multiplayer Through Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Hotspot Service
In case you weren't aware, Nintendo has set up thousands of Nintendo 3DS-compatible hotspots across North America and Europe which provide free services such SpotPass, StreetPass Relay and access to the Nintendo Zone application. Moreover, it’s even possible to play 3DS games online at some locations. Connection to the service is automatic (meaning you don’t have to faff around in the system’s settings), and you’re likely to find most of these hotspots at places where you can comfortably sit down, such as coffee shops and eateries. To search for a hotspot in your area, simply visit the official Nintendo website for your respective country or region.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS can benefit tremendously from this; like its Wii U counterpart, it too features an online multiplayer mode in which you can do battle against friends or random opponents. It may not be something that’s necessarily worth making a special trip for by itself, but if you happen to frequently visit a hotspot for lunch or coffee then it’s at the very least an added bonus. After all, CPU opponents can only offer so much of a challenge after a while, and randomly stumbling across other ready and willing Super Smash Bros. players in public by chance is rather unlikely. Even if you don’t feel like playing, you can at least watch the game’s Spectator Mode and gamble some coins on a match while tucking into a bit of lunch or having a nice cuppa.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS will launch on 3rd October in both North America and Europe. It will feature the same character roster and gameplay as the upcoming Wii U version, but also has different modes and stages, as well as StreetPass functionality. Keep your eyes peeled for more related content on Nintendo Life in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, let us know whether you're excited about the portable entry, whether you plan to enjoy it on the road and any other thoughts ahead of release.