Feature: Introducing The New Challengers in Super Smash Bros.
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Adding diversity and a little weirdness to the franchise
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS will be the biggest entries in the franchise in a number of ways, with a daunting range of stages, trophies and extras promised. One area that looks all set to be more sizeable than ever before is the roster, with recent leaks suggesting that the recent reveal of Shulk won't be the last.
The 3DS version of the title is just 10 days away in Japan, before smashing into North America and Europe on 3rd October. You can expect a lot of coverage up to those releases here on Nintendo Life, and today we're going to look at the characters entering the series for the first time. We're missing at least one — probably — as we're sticking to official reveals, and we're also focusing on those that are "Newcomers", excluding variations and spin-offs such as Zero Suit Samus and Sheik.
With that out of the way, let's get to it.
When announced shortly after Nintendo's Direct presentation at E3 2013, the initial reaction in Nintendo Life HQ was that it was an elaborate hoax. Yet the Wii Fit Trainer is very real, and will be playable in both the male and female representations. The history for this character is extremely simple — it's appeared in Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Fit U.
This character — in either form — could be a dark horse in the roster, as despite the peculiar moves used it can (like any character) be used effectively with practice. Some may consider it gimmicky, but in the right hands this brawler could cause some trouble.
The reveal of Capcom's underused mascot was a wow moment of E3 2013, continuing the idea of incorporating much-loved third-party characters into the Smash Bros. series. With weapons that reflect Robot Masters and one of the most exciting Final Smash moves, we suspect the Blue Bomber will be a favourite of many.
The history of the character is vast, sadly highlighting the current dearth of new games in the series. There's an outstanding heritage with the character on Nintendo hardware, whether considering the first six 'classic' NES games, the X games on Super NES, the many spin-offs that delved into strategy and RPG genres or the various remakes and remasters; let's not forget some gems on Game Boy, too. Recent weeks and months have seen plenty of these games arrive on the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console platforms.
Another shock announcement, in a sense, more for the intriguing moves shown off and the memes generated by the dead-eyed, worrying representation of the character in its reveal. Masahiro Sakurai has recently confirmed that there'll be eight different designs available, which makes sense considering that "Villager" is really an avatar from a lifestyle-sim experience. It needs little introduction to current Nintendo gamers who've invested dozens of hours in Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS, the latest in the series that's graced Wii, DS, GameCube and the Nintendo 64 — the latter was Japan-only.
In terms of how the Villager will play, speed won't necessarily be a strength, while the elaborate build-a-tree-and-chop-it-down move will surely be notoriously difficult to connect. There are some interesting attacks, including one that's a flying move, but will no doubt need plenty of mastering.
Rosalina has become a bit of a fan-favourite, it seems, so this inclusion was entirely unsurprising. First introduced in Super Mario Galaxy she also appeared — unsurprisingly — in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Such is her role in the world of Mario that she's appeared in three mainline Mario Kart games and is an unlockable in SPOILER. For those that haven't reached a particular stage in that other game, we'll keep quiet on the last one.
Though her final smash is arguably one of the least exciting showing so far, Rosalina has some decent range in her attacks. This is primarily due to Luma, who can be controlled semi-independently for attacks.
A reveal that had some giddily jumping up and down while making lots of noise, we're perhaps left to wonder why Little Mac hasn't appeared before. His cause has been helped a great deal by the excellent Punch-Out!! on Wii — from Next Level Games — which brought the plucky underdog back to prominence. The boxer is primarily famous for Punch-Out!! on NES and the 16-bit Super Punch-Out!!.
Little Mac will be an interesting inclusion as, despite obvious weaknesses in the air and with general mobility, he will be a powerful attacker. Whether he'll be best suited to particular stages — those that are scrolling or require plenty of jumping could be tricky — or a strong all-rounder focused on close-range melee attacks will be interesting to see. He'll likely be popular simply due to the various boxing shorts designs that'll no doubt be included.
The new entries in the franchise will have select Pokémon as standalone characters, and naturally fans of Pocket Monsters had varied expectations on who the playable 'mon should be. Greninja was somewhat surprising — the Water/Dark type first appeared in the most recent 3DS entries in the franchise — Pokémon X & Y.
As the name alone suggests, we can expect Greninja to be particularly quick around the arena, while throwing stars will surely be prominent in order to match up to its main-series approach.
As Masahiro Sakurai saw countless requests for certain celebrities and iconic Nintendo figureheads to appear in the new games — such as Reggie Fils-Aime — he opted for the fairest, most democratic option. The Mii avatar first appeared on Wii, and allows Nintendo gamers to create cheery or strange versions of themselves, while the creation tools naturally make friends, family and celebrities fair game. The Mii has been prominent in many games across Wii, 3DS and Wii U, with Super Smash Bros. the latest Nintendo franchise to see them added as playable characters.
In terms of move-sets, the Mii will come in three variations — Brawler, Swordfighter and Gunner. Each of these move-sets will — like other characters in the game — be customisable, so choosing a class and moveset that best represents you in the new games is sure to be a fun diversion.
With Masahiro Sakurai in charge this was always on the agenda, and 3DS owners will perhaps know her as Lady Palutena, an integral part of Kid Icarus: Uprising. As a character she was present in the few previous original — read: older — Kid Icarus titles, and did also make a non-playable appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
A powerful figure in Uprising — she is a Goddess after all — we can expect Palutena to more than hold her own. Her staff and god-like abilities will include Heavenly Light, a rocket jump, a dash move and a variety of melee attacks; she'll give Pit and all-comers a run for their money.
Bandai Namco has been an integral development partner for the new Super Smash Bros. entries, absolutely vital in making the games a reality. As such it's not hugely surprising that the company's number one mascot is appearing in the game — iconic since the glory days of arcades and with more games released than pellets eaten, most recognise Pac-Man.
Those with a love of pixel-art should adore Pac-Mans special moves, as he utilises various classic Bandai Namco characters and items within battle. The Pac-Man themed stage should also be particularly interesting.
Over a million of us have already played as Robin, in a manner of speaking, as he / she is the embodiment of our avatars in the brilliant 3DS title Fire Emblem: Awakening; the character can be male or female and utilise magic from a Tome.
Magic will, of course, be prominent in Robin's moveset, recreating a number of spells from Awakening; they'll be limited use, however, so the character will revert to swordplay once the magic allocation is all gone.
Lucina's another character that was introduced to the Fire Emblem series in awakening. She is... well, we won't post that spoiler here. Her reveal was somewhat overshadowed by Robin, and she doesn't even have her own dedicated 'Newcomer' spot on the official website.
Lucina is essentially a clone of Marth, though due to her smaller frame she'll be a little quicker and have power balanced throughout her blade.
At last we come to the most recent reveal, Shulk. This dashing figure — who seems to have a pair of Speedos as an alternative outfit — was the hero in the brilliant Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles, and will appear again in the New Nintendo 3DS port that's been confirmed for release in Japan.
Shulk could be a particularly powerful character as he wields the Monado, a weapon typically used for saving the world when not slashing away at Mario. There'll be multiple statuses and special moves characterised by attractive symbols, and Shulk could be one of the most varied fighters in the game — there's also a rather attractive Xenoblade Chronicles stage in both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game.
There you have it. Let us know which of the newcomers your most keen to try out — ignoring that other one that was apparently leaked and will be added at a later date — and vote for your favourite so far in the poll below.
Which is your favourite Super Smash Bros. for Wii U / Nintendo 3DS New Challenger? (593 votes)
Wii Fit Trainer
Rosalina & Luma
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