Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS has been out for a few weeks now, so we've all had chance to blast through Smash Run, collect plenty of trophies and face off against human opponents both locally and online. Here at Nintendo Life Towers we felt that now was the perfect time to look back at the game and discuss what we like, what we don't like and what we hope to see in the future.
What are you thoughts on Smash now you've had chance to play it?
Liam Doolan: I’ve spent 40 hours with this game now and somehow the experience just keeps getting better and better. I love the ongoing stream of unlocks and milestones, and there appears to be no sign of a supply shortage any time soon. This doesn’t even touch on all the modes, content and characters packed in to this latest entry. I’ve barely had a chance to test all the characters just yet, that’s just how big it is – it’s crazy! I think this portable version of Smash is definitely as good as the previous entries in the series.
Jowi Meli: As it has with every prior release, Super Smash Bros. totally captured the majority of my gaming attention with its release on 3rd October and hasn't let go since. The hugely expanded roster, bevy of snack-size modes to accommodate portability, and nostalgia-triggering good vibes all blend into one hell of a package. If the portable entry managed to be this gripping despite memory limitations, I can only imagine what its console counterpart is going to bring to the table.
Martin Watts: I've already put over 100 hours into the game and I'm still really enjoying it. There's so much you can say about the game, but I think what really stands out the most for me is just how well it runs on the 3DS hardware: it's silky smooth and looks fantastic. Before the game released, I was concerned about the controls, but after so much time with the game they feel very natural — although the Circle Pad has slipped from my thumb during some of the more intense, sweaty palm-inducing moments!
Dave Letcavage: I’m very satisfied with Smash 3DS, actually. I expected to be a bit underwhelmed considering it’s just a more compact version of something I’ve played in three games prior, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself. It’s a very good game.
Alex Olney: I’m frankly amazed that they managed to make such a polished, smooth and consistent Smash Bros. experience on the 3DS hardware, it’s truly a marvel of coding. Despite others complaining about the button layout and the circle pad I don’t have any real issues with the control scheme and plan to migrate to the Wii U Pro controller rather than use my old Wavebird.
Conor McMahon: There's an obvious direction towards catering to shorter playtimes, so it may not be the meaty experience everyone wants in longer bursts. That being said, there's no doubting it's a huge achievement, and there's simply so much content that I can't call it anything but a triumph!
Tim Latshaw: You can tell they pushed the 3DS to its limits. Literally.
Ron DelVillano: Having Smash Bros. downloaded directly on a portable console is so convenient. Two weeks in and I'm still playing nearly every day, even if it's just a round of Smash or two.
Lewis Childs: For me it’s certainly my favourite entry in the series so far due to the amount of modes and unlockables. Saying that, I'm not addicted to it by any means, which might be down to my hands seizing up every 20 minutes!
Which character do you find yourself gravitating towards?
Martin Watts: As a longtime veteran of the series, I've always had Ness as my main; he's got a really interesting and versatile moveset, and he's unusual enough to throw some players. However, more recently (since Brawl), I've picked up Donkey Kong, mainly because he's my favourite Nintendo character and is another character I think players underestimate due to his size.
Liam Doolan: I’ve fallen back on Toon Link. I love his move set and his speed, and in my opinion, he’s a more dynamic character than the classic model. I’m also a pretty big fan of Zero Suit Samus. Yet again, it’s something to do with her speed and reach – courtesy of her electric whip and convincing grapple ability. Villager has also been a surprisingly big hit with me. I don’t normally go for slower paced heavy hitting kind of characters, but being such a big fan of the Animal Crossing series, I found it hard to resist the cheeky nature of Villager. If you can plant the tree in the right spot, the Villager’s axe can deliver a devastating blow. The final Smash is pretty neat as well incorporating Nook and co.
Jowi Meli: Experimenting with this new roster has been the most rewarding and fun by a landslide, but old habits die hard — ever since picking up Melee back in 2001, I've been unable to shake my natural inclination toward a smaller, faster Link. Needless to say I was pretty happy to see my old buddy Toon Link back for a return engagement in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
Dave Letcavage: For the first time in a Smash game, I’m not playing exclusively as Link. Shulk, Zero Suit Samus, and Little Mac have been receiving majority of my attention, and my Mii Figher has also been in heavy rotation.
Alex Olney: I have a soft spot for Shulk although I’m pants when fighting with him, King Dedede is a reliable heavyweight choice and a personal favourite from Brawl, Sonic takes the biscuit as a speedy choice, and if I’m not quite sure who to go for I’ll pick Diddy Kong; his balance of speed, power and his spectacular side special make him a good, reliable choice for most encounters.
Conor McMahon: Right now, my mains are probably Bowser Jr., Greninja and Dedede. Sometimes I whip out a heavy hitter for fun, but mostly I'm just loving the versatility of that clown car's move set.
Tim Latshaw: King Dedede is my main. His fighting style is hilarious, and he seems easier to use than he was in Brawl.
Ron DelVillano: I think I just love the silly annoying characters who it's annoying to lose to. Beating someone online as Jigglypuff or Duck Hunt Dog always gives me a good laugh.
Smash Run is one of the big exclusive modes in the 3DS version - do you feel it is a success?
Jowi Meli: Out of all the new features to debut in this new generation of Smash, I have to say I think this one came up a little flat. I was very excited to try it upon seeing it debut in the Smash Bros. Direct back in April — after all, it brings to mind City Trial, far and away my favourite part of Kirby Air Ride — but after repeated play-throughs in pursuit of completing the game's challenges, I think it lacks the kind of replayability marked by the most addictive Smash modes. I can't pin down exactly why, but I found myself more exasperated by the mode than excited to play it, and that's not a good sign.
Lewis Childs: The final match is usually entertaining but the actual Smash Run itself feels a little tacked on to me. It’s novel the first few times around, but it’s definitely one of my least played modes.
Conor McMahon: There was a lot of hype around this one; you could tell Nintendo were really pushing it. Overall it's a fun game mode, no doubt about it, but I think that there are just too many missed opportunities to call it a total success. The lack of online is a major strike against it, as playing with computer characters can feel a little sterile sometimes. The map gets a bit repetitive as well, though challenges and events do mix it up a bit. Not to be totally negative though, it's a really fun mode that could just be made even better through a few tweaks.
Dave Letcavage: I think that depends on how you look at it. If you consider it a supplement for the adventure modes of Melee and Brawl, then I think it largely disappoints. However, if you view it as just one of the many alternate modes, then I think it’s a nice inclusion. I don’t play it all that often, but my wife really digs it.
Martin Watts: It doesn't replace the core multiplayer mode by any means, but it's a good alternative to dip into now and again. The game's customisation features work best here, especially the Smash Run Powers which really help out when battling the larger, tougher enemies. The battles at the end are really varied too — the inclusion of racing sub-modes is a really nice addition!
Ron DelVillano: Honestly, I don't think I understand it. I've played through through it a few times, but I have yet to grasp what I'm actually doing beyond running through and beating baddies. It's far from my favourite feature.
Which character do you wish Nintendo had put in the game, and why?
Liam Doolan: I think it’s disappointing that the Ice Climbers were removed. Other than that, I’d probably have to go with Mallo from Pullblox / Pushmo. After his fantastic 3DS eShop debut, followed up by a solid-sequel and his larger than life outing on the Wii U, I think he’s made an incredible impact on the Nintendo digital scene, paving the way for many other eShop experiences. That’s why he would be a worthy addition to the Smash cast!
Jowi Meli: My vote's always been for Ghirahim, so I'm glad to at least see him on the battlefield as an Assist Trophy. This guy pulls off a spectacular stunt in that he's both one of the funniest baddies the Zelda universe has ever seen as well as one of the most threatening. He'd also make a great speedy foil to Ganondorf's slow-and-powerful villainy in the Smash world.
Martin Watts: I'm generally pretty happy with the roster. The only addition I can think of is another third-party character such as Goemon or Bomberman.
Dave Letcavage: Mike Jones from StarTropics, because StarTropics. Captain N and Professor Layton as well.
Tim Latshaw: Yes! Professor Layton, hands down. The thought of attacking opponents with puzzle elements appeals to me, and yes, he also knows how to fence (not that we need more swordfighters).
Lewis Childs: I also felt Professor Layton was missing, but I'm not sure he’d of actually been a good ‘brawler’. Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes would have made a nice addition though.
Alex Olney: I’m going to try and squeeze into the Ridley bandwagon for a number of reason, namely the Metroid series needs more representation, and Ridley is just a huge badass. Can you imagine the crazy move set he’d have? Obviously he’d be very aerial-focused I’m sure, so perhaps he’d be the anti-Little Mac; outstanding in the are but vulnerable on the ground. Having said that that idea does sound ludicrously difficult to implement. Forget I said anything except ‘Ridley’.
Conor McMahon: Personally, I really don't understand what Nintendo were thinking by excluding Wonder Red as a playable character for this one. It makes too much sense, and I can practically see the move set in my head right now. On top of that, it'd be a nice bit of promotion for one of their most vastly under-rated exclusives. Disappointing for me to say the least.
Ron DelVillano: I'd secretly love to play as the guy from Altered Beast. He could transform into his different different beasts for a limited time and have a different move set associated with each. But I'm just dreaming. It's would also be funny to play as a Tetris block. Oh boy!
Which of the game's modes is your personal favourite?
Liam Doolan: Depends what I’m in the mood for. Sometimes I’ll hop on and play the Home-Run Contest mode for hours on end, and other times I’ll end up gambling to my heart’s content with the online spectator mode.
Martin Watts: It has to be the local Smash mode. It's flawless in terms of connectivity, and I've always Super Smash Bros. games when played with friends in the same room. Not to mention there are plenty of stages, characters, Pokémon, assist trophies and items to help make it a chaotically brilliant experience.
Dave Letcavage: This might be the boring choice, but I’d have to say that Classic Mode has been my primary focus. I like the sense of progression, the gambling, and winning trophies from the slot machine.
Alex Olney: I can’t get enough of the For Glory 1v1 mode, but not because I’m a super-competitive chap. I enjoy it so much because it simply runs the most reliably, which is such an important aspect in Smash, and whilst the other modes are perfectly playable, they don’t have the lightning response that the 1v1 mode has.
Conor McMahon: I still like challenging myself with Classic mode on higher intensities, which is especially fun with characters I'm not too familiar with. Trophy rush was a fun distraction too, but I can't say I'm a fan of the new Target Practice. The core smash gameplay is always what I'm after when I pick the game up, to be honest.
Ron DelVillano: I like Classic mode. I think it's fun running through the "campaign" over and over again. I also like getting those high scores in Home Run Contest.
Lewis Childs: Another vote for Classic mode here. It’s not too long and offers slightly varied challenges as you progress, which for me translates especially well to the handheld.
Tim Latshaw: This may sound weird, but I love the Trophy Shop. I check that thing constantly and love reading through trophy descriptions.
How has your online experience been?
Ron DelVillano: I can't complain too much about it. Admittedly I've spent most of my time playing offline, but I haven't had any real horror stories involving the online. Maybe a little lag, but I try to work around that and not let it bother me.
Martin Watts: Playing with friends who are geographically close to me has actually been almost as smooth as playing in local mode in many instances. However, I've also had my fair share of lag-tastic matches, and when it's bad, it's awful!
Conor McMahon: There have been matches where I've had a lot of fun and everything ran smoothly, and then others where it's nigh-on unplayable due to the severe lag. I'd say the ratio is 60:40, leaning towards fun rather than frustrating, but it's definitely something I hope they take a serious look at in the future.
Liam Doolan: Maybe it’s just my net speed here in Australia, or however the game has been capped, but overall it just doesn’t have the same allure as the local multiplayer or solo play. I often find myself making a lot of rookie errors online that I wouldn’t normally do by myself or with a group of mates, so yeah – I’ll blame it on my trashy internet connection for now.
Jowi Meli: Many of my matches have had next to no lag, but many of them have been basically unplayable due to poor connections. There's nothing worse than seeing the Smash "loading" logo in the middle of a match, and it's really a toss-up whether or not you're going to have a good time.
Which do you play more - online or solo?
Ron DelVillano: I play mostly Han style... Solo.
Liam Doolan: I figure I’ll work my way through the solo offerings first (occasionally touching the online from time to time), and then properly sink my teeth into the online offerings. I expect the online play is what will keep me coming back over the long term, along with local play amongst friends and family.
Jowi Meli: Online connection problems can be a real frustration, but I really just chalk it up to being satisfied with going after challenges and battling the CPU.
Martin Watts: I've invested a lot of time into the single-player, more than I have with previous Super Smash. Bros games. With that said though, I've played far more online with friends (and local multiplayer, too) — it's just much more fun with more people!
Alex Olney: I find that the CPUs whilst certainly more intelligent than in previous entries can still be a tad predictable. Playing real people is an entirely different experience altogether, and it really makes you have to stay on the ball in order to do well (not that I’m any good myself).
Conor McMahon: I'm still slightly too rubbish to take my game online just yet.
Lewis Childs: Solo right now as I'm trying (and failing) to hone my skills with various characters, before facing off against those who seem to be effortlessly great whoever they pick.
Are there any elements you would change, or any features missing that you'd like to have seen?
Jowi Meli: I definitely think the online experience could have a better interface at this point. I know Nintendo's all about keeping things simple and family-friendly, but their online multiplayer has always seemed second-rate to me without a way to communicate with other players. I'm not saying they need to go full-on voice chat with anyone (that would be a disaster), but the option to talk to your registered friends through text or voice would certainly make the experience feel less alien. That, and where's my Special Smash?! Not gonna lie, seeing that one missing makes sense — the 3DS might not be able to handle it — but it still stung a bit.
Martin Watts: I think I would have liked it to have been more difficult to unlock things. Within a couple of evenings I had unlocked all the stages and characters. That's not a major issue though, as there are plenty of other challenges to complete which I'm still working my way through 100 hours later. Otherwise, I would have liked for you to be able to be able to go into the For Fun/For Glory team modes with a friend and play against randoms.
Dave Letcavage: Some sort of story/adventure mode would’ve been appreciated. I wasn’t a fan of Subspace Emissary in Brawl, but I did really like Adventure Mode in Melee.
Alex Olney: I do miss the Event Matches from Melee and Brawl, they really managed to mix up the gameplay and in some cases provide an almost cruel challenge (The Yoshi Team of 50 still haunts me), which is something that can be really lacking from many of the offline modes in the 3DS version, with obvious exceptions, of course, such as All-Star Mode.
Lewis Childs: The controls seem a little off to me, so I wish they were a bit tighter. I've seen and read about people damaging their circle pads, which to me initially seemed like players being overly aggressive with the controls. However, I'm now very conscious about damaging my 3DS as I find myself getting frustrated with the dashing not always being registered, and as a result I tend to over compensate.
Tim Latshaw: Customization is a lot of fun, but I wish there was a way to see at a glance all the options you've found for each character so far. Having to dig in through menus to find this stuff out is tedious.
Do you think your interest and expectation of the Wii U version has been impacted by the fact that you've played the 3DS offering, or are you just as excited for it?
Martin Watts: I've been fortunate enough to already play the Wii U version, and from a gameplay / visual perspective, it's fantastic. I suppose the 3DS version, which has a staggering amount of content, has got me excited about how much the Wii U version could have — hopefully much more! We'll have to wait and see on that one though!
Alex Olney: Honestly I was originally planning to only get the Wii U version, so in my mind the 3DS version is just an incredible stopgap until Ninty break out the big guns.
Liam Doolan: I think Nintendo will be able to build hype for the Wii U iteration of Smash over the coming months. Although it’s not far off now, I expect the Wii U version won’t hold back with optimal performance – as opposed to some of the more obvious limitations present within the 3DS version. All up, I think I really just expect even more from the console version now that I’ve got my hands on the portable version.
Jowi Meli: If anything, I'm more excited for the Wii U version. Knowing that Nintendo managed to stuff so much content into a single 3DS cartridge makes me wonder what's on the horizon for their little-console-that-could.
Conor McMahon: Me too. If anything, playing Smash Bros. for 3DS has gotten me more excited for the Wii U version. I'm counting the days until I can play with friends on the couch, and although all of the character surprises will have been deflated, there's still so much to look forward to with these mysterious new modes and HD graphics. I'm confident that it'll be a totally worthwhile release in its own right.
Tim Latshaw: I'm just as excited for the Wii U version, really. I can't wait to see some of the new characters in HD, and Smash Wii U offers the biggest payout in the feature I hold most dear: the soundtrack.
Ron DelVillano: I'm probably less excited for the Wii U version now that I've got my fix. But who are we kidding? I'm going to buy that game on day one and play it way too much.
Lewis Childs: I'm not convinced that Smash Bros. is all that successful on the 3DS due to the controls, loading times and not being able to see what’s happening in some stages. I honestly can’t see me revisiting the 3DS version that often once Smash Bros. for Wii U gets released.
DLC is hitting Mario Kart 8 in a big way - do you think we could see something similar for Smash? What kind of ideas would you like to see?
Martin Watts: I certainly wouldn't say no to more stages or characters — provided the latter aren't clones of existing characters. More items could be fun, too — whatever happened to the series stalwart that was the shield-breaking fan?
Jowi Meli: Nintendo's implementation of DLC in Mario Kart 8 hit all the right notes: huge amount of content, developed post-launch, extremely reasonable price point. I'd love to see more characters and stages brought on via DLC, but I wouldn't say no to alternate costumes and perhaps some extra game modes if they were offered.
Liam Doolan: I’d like to think Smash will remain as it is now that it has been released. Maybe some additional trophies to unlock, new levels, or even new milestones would be nice, but I think it would be a huge risk adding in new characters, items or power-ups to the existing roster. I imagine much of the development time goes into finely balancing characters and making sure they all work seamlessly with one another, so introducing even one additional character to the roster could be a nightmare in the making. And considering how passionate the Smash community is, it wouldn’t take long to expose any flaws or glitches with this DLC content if Nintendo didn’t do their homework prior to release.
Dave Letcavage: Not that more choices are needed, but I’d like to see some obscure characters from Nintendo’s rich history brought to Smash in the form of DLC. New stages also wouldn’t hurt.
Alex Olney: In my eyes the roster can never be too large, but I’d also like to see more modes that mix up the gameplay – Conquest is a great example of something so simple that really adds a different spin on an already established mode of play.
Conor McMahon: Judging by Nintendo's recent track record, I think it's very likely if not inevitable that Smash will eventually be bolstered with some DLC. While game modes are likely out of the question, I wouldn't be surprised if we see additional playable characters, skins, and stages as downloadable content in the coming months. The difficulty is making this work online with players who might not have downloaded that content. I can't see it being released as free DLC, so they'll somehow have to cater to players who haven't opted for additional characters or whatever it may be.
How do you feel amiibo will impact the game? Is it something you're particularly bothered about?
Liam Doolan: Coming off Disney Infinity and Activision’s tremendously popular Skylanders, I can’t say I’m particularly eager about the amiibo concept, even if it does involve a quality cast of Nintendo figurines. I don’t mind the idea of being able to carry around your own personalised character with you, but honestly, with the way the house of Mario has implemented certain other devices in the past (I’m looking at you Wii Zapper), whether it’ll be worthwhile or not, only time will tell. If it does follow the success of Skylanders though, it’ll be a guaranteed cash-cow for the Big N.
Jowi Meli: I'm actually not that interested in Nintendo's implementation of amiibo for this game, but I can see the enjoyment others will get out of it. I guess I'm just more interested in controlling characters during the fight as opposed to growing a custom CPU fighter.
Martin Watts: I don't think amiibo will have a huge impact on the series as it's not integrated into the game in a really core way. I do think that being able to fight against a Figure Player which gets stronger and more skilled as you battle is an interesting concept and, if done well, could make for a good alternative for when you can't play against other human players.
Dave Letcavage: Well I’m totally on-board with amiibos. I’ve been dreaming of the day that I could have meticulously-crafted figures of Captain Falcon, Samus, Link, and Fox McCloud all spending time together on my TV stand. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo handles the DLC and amiibo support in the future, though. Will buying a new figure unlock that character in the game? If so, can those characters also be purchased without investing in a $12 toy? I would imagine that would be the case, but who knows how it’ll be executed. We know how Nintendo likes to do things their own special way.
Alex Olney: The idea of training up a CPU and then forcing them into battle with other people’s reminds me a lot of the Chao Garden races from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, so if they can recreate that type of experience I can see myself making the most of the system.
Conor McMahon: While I'm a big fan of the amiibo concept, and the figurines look fantastic, I can't say that I'm at all excited for their functionality - at least when it comes to Smash Bros. anyway. It's something I don't see myself using at all, so I'm waiting to hear back from others once they've released to gauge whether or not it's worth getting into. The amiibo range will only expand though, which I'm definitely looking forward to. The moment a Captain Toad one releases I'm tossing money at it regardless of what it actually does in-game. Actually...he might make a good fighter too!
Tim Latshaw: Just give me a Dedede amiibo and nobody gets hurt.
Lewis Childs: I want all of the amiibos, but I can’t say right now that I actually need any amiibos. So far, what I’ve seen of amiibo integration in Smash has sadly been a bit lacklustre. I'm not really bothered about training up a character that I can’t play as. I’m sure amiibo will do well as a novelty item though and I'm curious to see how it’ll be integrated into future games, but I doubt the feature within Smash Bros. will add much to the game itself.
Do you agree — or disagree — with anything the Nintendo Life team has said here? Let us know your own opinion by posting a comment below.