Whilst at Nintendo UK’s headquarters, we were lucky enough to get a go on the brand new mode exclusive to the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros.: Smash Tour. Going in we didn't really know too much about the mode beyond that it was a Mario Party-esque affair with a Smash Bros. flavour. After a short debriefing we managed to get our hands on it and there’s certainly a lot to take in. Much like Mario Party, you stop a roulette of numbers to determine how many spaces you’ll be moving that round, and once everyone’s ‘rolled’ a number, you’re given free reign to move wherever you please, one adjacent space at a time.
There are a number of different spaces you can land on, and they all serve a different purpose, but be wary of those around you as if you cross paths with one of them, it’s a fight to the death. The two of you who crossed paths and everyone else who is playing at the time is forced into battle with random rules, random items, and random effects. It sounds chaotic, but they’re never so extreme that they make the game unfair in any way. As soon as the first battle we entered happened we could tell that this mode was much more about fun and pure enjoyment than extreme displays of skill.
There are many pick-ups to gather, some of them are the same as the ones in Smash Run and are naturally used to raise the stats of your fighters. You also pick up your roster of fighters from the board as pick-ups, and as you might expect, the more fighters you have the better your odds of winning. Other pick-ups include trophies with differently coloured bases, and these are used either just before rolling or just before a battle. Trophies that can be used before rolling give a number of useful benefits, such as slowing the speed of the roulette wheel so you can better pick your number, randomly switching players’ positions with one another, increasing the potency of nearby pick-ups, or teleporting you to an unvisited checkpoint to pick up a new fighter. These are just a few of the many pick-ups we encountered, and we're sure there were many that we didn’t have the chance to see.
Trophies that can be used before a battle are a very important element when it comes to tipping the balance in your favour. Some of them are fairly simple, such as allowing you to spawn with a particular item in hand, but others are absolutely crippling to the other players, but these are of course much rarer. One of the trophies we used allowed us to pick a player that would then start the match shrunk down as though they had been affected by a poison mushroom, which of course had to be our very own Martin Watts. This status effect didn’t seem to pass either, and after less than thirty seconds Martin was flying off into the distance and was out of the battle. This is where the influence from Mario Party starts to show itself for what it truly is – cruel and unkind. We love it.
After a minimum of fifteen rounds, all of your stat boosts and fighters are tallied and you’re thrust into a final battle to decide an ultimate winner. You’ll be using all of the fighters you acquired across the board, so of course the more you’ve been able to hold onto the more lives you’ll have to battle with. This isn’t the be all and end all though, as all your KOs are accounted for throughout the game, so if you performed exceptionally well in previous fights but were unable to do as well as you’d planned in the final, you’re still in with a chance of winning. If two players have the same number of KOs once the final has concluded, they enter a round of, you guessed it, sudden death. After such a long build up, sudden death becomes quite easily one of the most tense experiences you can have on a Smash Bros. game.
Once you get your head around it, Smash Tour is a tremendously enjoyable experience, and it manages to breathe some new life into the Smash Bros. formula in a much more significant way than Smash Run could managed on the 3DS. If you’d told us a year ago that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U would contain the best Mario Party game of recent years – possibly ever – we’d probably have laughed in your face and told you to get off our property, but here we are. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what the delightful Martin Watts had to say about the mode:
Second Opinion: Martin Watts
Super Smash Bros. meets Mario Party is definitely the impression you get when playing Smash Tour for the first time, although everything moves along at a much faster pace — which makes sense given the nature of the game. Much like Smash Run on the 3DS, this isn't going to replace the core multiplayer offering for most players, but it's a nice additional mode to jump into every now and again.
What makes Smash Tour a successful and worthwhile inclusion is that it doesn't get bogged down with individual turns — everyone moves at the same time — and there's a lot of variety when it comes to the player battles. With regard to the latter, it has a similar vibe to the Final Battle scenarios that crop up in the 3DS game's Smash Run mode. Rolling to move and usable power-ups throw chance into the mix, making it a mode that's certainly more inclusive of players of all skills.
If you guys have any questions about Smash Tour, we'll do our absolute best to answer them as we've only scratched the surface of what this splendid mode has to offer. Ask away!