There's less than a week to go before the UK's biggest and best gaming expo, EGX London, kicks off, offering consumers the opportunity to go hands-on with a wide selection of upcoming games due out this holiday season or at some point next year. As you may already know, Nintendo Life will be there in full force to host the grand finale of the Mario Kart 8 Championship 2014 in association with Nintendo UK. It's arguably the most important reason for you all to attend, and of course we're in no way being biased when we say that. Ahem.
If you are popping along to the show at some point, we do understand that you may — however unlikely — get bored of seeing our ugly mugs the entire time. Therefore, it makes good sense to experience everything that the show has to offer. Nintendo UK's stand will be serving up a veritable smorgasbord of gaming goodness, providing attendees with the opportunity to try out upcoming titles such as Splatoon, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Yoshi's Woolly World.
Those titles are all coming out next year though, meaning that many eyes are set firmly on the Super Smash Bros. series, which has two releases arriving over the next few months. With the 3DS iteration due in less than a fortnight, Nintendo UK will have a new demo at the show, featuring an expanded playable roster than what has previously been available at consumer events. Attendees also have the chance to try out some of the single-player modes.
These modes are entertaining in their own ways, but it'd be downright silly to opt for these over the series' renowned multiplayer mode when you're standing in a hall filled with thousands of gamers. It's your chance to show everyone else that you know your tilt attacks from your smashes, and that you have impeccable rolling and spot-dodging skills. Super Smash Bros. is always fun to play, but it's just that little bit better when you win too.
We've already had a considerable amount of hands-on time with the game. Therefore, we thought it'd be a nice idea to share our hints and tips based on what we've played so far, so that you're fully prepped to do battle at EGX London. If the advice below leads you to victory on the day, be sure to stop by our show floor area and let us know your appreciation; we'll happily accept gifts of gratitude in the form of food, cash and most Nintendo-related goodies.
Anyway, let's get on with the strategy!
Forget combos and running into battle like a headless chicken in the hope of stealing a KO. Super Smash Bros. is not a button-bashing affair, nor is it highly technical in terms of control input. The key to success in most instances is positioning.
What this boils down to is being aware of how your character moves and attacks — something that may be a tad tricky if you're planning to use a newcomer to the series. Regardless, it should become quickly apparent when playing whether your character performs better at range or up close in an opponent's face, and this is something you should exploit.
Otherwise, consider the hitboxes of your attacks. For example, Donkey Kong has a decent forward tilt attack where he essentially backhands opponents. It's not one that'll necessarily get KOs, but it does have pretty impressive reach. With this in mind, it makes no sense to get as close as possible to an opponent; it's much better in many instances to be the furthest distance away from your opponent in which your attack is still able to hit.
The benefit of doing something like this is that it enables you to potentially outreach your opponent, while remaining at a relatively safe distance (whereas standing right next to them makes you very vulnerable to being immediately grabbed if they shield your attack). The same applies when performing aerial attacks — don't push the Circle Pad in the direction of the attack too much or else you'll likely land in grab range. Instead, perform the attack and push in the opposite direction to counter your momentum, thus giving you room to escape grabs and some attacks.
Control the stage
By their very nature, stages in Super Smash Bros. games sport a variety of layouts and are often filled with hazards. Where possible, use these things to your advantage.
Moreover, always focus on grabbing certain items. PokéBalls and Assist Trophies can turn the tide of any battle and result in easy KOs. The same applies to Smash Balls. With regard to the latter, try to use ranged attacks where possible to steal the Smash Ball from someone else's grasp; it'll save you getting caught up in the mad dash for it, and you'll probably be better placed to use it too.
Play to your character's strengths
This tip somewhat crosses over with the one above about positioning. How you use your character plays a considerable role in determining your success in the arena.
As is standard, all characters in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS use the same control setup. Therefore, all characters have aerial moves, tap, tilt and smash attacks that work in a fairly similar way. Just because this commonality exists though doesn't mean you should use every single type of move.
For example, Little Mac throws really hefty punches while on the ground and moves at a considerable pace; in the air, he's much less effective as a result of his terrible jumping abilities. Therefore, it makes good sense to keep him rooted to the ground where possible.
Knowing each character's strengths is easier said than done when there are a fair few new additions to the line-up. Nevertheless, see what works best and try to stick to it.
Rolling (pushing a direction and the shield button) is a key technique in Super Smash Bros, allowing you to avoid nasty incoming attacks and projectiles. It's also a great way to get behind an opponent and get an attack in before they can react. However, it can become all too easy to become overly dependent on the mechanic.
One thing to keep at the forefront of your mind is to not roll towards your opponent when attacking. It may seem safer than simply walking or running, but it's also very easy for your opponent to read and potentially counter. You always roll a set distance and, therefore, could very easily end up being the victim of a perfectly timed smash attack. Use rolling defensively, and consider moving normally or through the air when going in for an attack.
Get the demo
Reading advice online can be worthwhile, but the best way to train up in preparation for EGX London is to actually play the game. In case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Nintendo released a playable demo on the 3DS eShop last Friday in which you can try out five different characters. It's the simplest way to get to grips with the game's mechanics, not to mention that it's also very fun. The demo comes with local multiplayer functionality, meaning you can play against other 3DS owners at EGX (provided they have the demo too).
So there you have it. The points above are far from definitive strategies, but they should at least be relevant enough given that the game isn't out yet and hasn't been dissected by its hardcore community.
Above all though, just have fun and enjoy the opportunity to play against other people you otherwise may not have had the chance to meet.
Will you be attending EGX London? If so, let us know in the comments section below what you're hoping to play and see while you're there. We look forward to meeting some of you there!