With Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U being available for quite some time now, one can only imagine the efforts that the competitive scene's partakers will go through to become the very best at Nintendo's latest beat-em-up. It is well-documented that certain characters have received overdue buffs and nerfs — as well as overall changes to the game's physics engine — making the game a different monster to its Brawl and Melee predecessors. Some may describe it as the perfect blend between the two, but regardless, one must adapt to the game's new style and feel to become top of the food chain.
If you're not up to the laborious challenge and want a boost of advice, or simply interested in a pro's take on the game, Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma (one of the world's top five Super Smash Bros. Melee players) has sat down with Game Informer to discuss the newest instalment to the series.
The first noteworthy part of the interview describes how "Hbox" became so good at the game. He attributes a lot of his success to being so familiar with platformers such as Mario and Kirby, giving him the ability to use spacing effectively, and thus influencing his play style with his main, Jigglypuff. He then goes on to talk about how superior the latest entries are — in his view — to Brawl:
There’s a lot less cheese in the game. Brawl was a lot of cheese. You had Ice Climbers infinite grab, Meta Knight in general. You had characters that were way too crazy. This game, it seems like it’s generally balanced.
He also mentions how "awesome" it is that tripping has been removed, a random and potentially annoying mechanic in Brawl that could critically cost an unfortunate player a match. However, Hbox has his problems with Smash 4 too:
One thing I’m sort of not getting too used to is the edge mechanic where you can’t edge hog people anymore. For those who don’t know, edge hogging is when you grab the edge and the person Up Bs through you. When you grab the edge you have invincibility. In Melee and in Brawl the player in free fall falls down, you grab the edge and they fall to their death. In Smash 4, that’s just absent now. If you’re on the edge and a person is trying to Up B through you, they replace you on the edge, you get popped off with no damage. So that’s definitely Nintendo sort of appealing to casuals, but that takes away a huge aspect of trying to be strategic in that game.
One of the most interesting questions from the interview was when Game Informer asked Hbox who the top tier characters are in Smash 4. He didn't give a direct answer, but did give an insight of who could potentially reign supreme this time round.
In my opinion, early on I think there is no one that is overly broken. I think if one person can discover one very good strategy for a character it will happen, but currently it doesn’t seem to be that way. But if I had to make a prediction I think Duck Hunt Dog is really really good. I think the fact that he can remote control a projectile is incredible. He’s got an incredible amount of range, a really good recovery, just a really really solid character. Rosalina and Luma have the same amount of potential because of the ability of Rosalina and Luma to sort of tag team and do things similar to Ice Climbers, that’s always scary. It’s just way too early to tell apart from those.
While some may feel that Super Smash Bros. Melee will never be topped by any new Smash Bros., Hbox summarised Smash 4 pretty well by comparing two types of player.
For Brawlers it’s a dream, for Melee players it’s either a nightmare or something pretty cool if you give it a chance.
The interview came to a close when Game Informer brought up the subject of Reggie Fils-Aime telling Hbox that he was going to "come back next time and kick your ass" in the Super Smash Bros. 4 Invitational Tournament at E3 2014. Hbox replied by calling Reggie "a coward and a fraud" — in jest of course — and that he'd take him on at any time in any game. Take a look at the video below to see this humorous remark by Reggie, which takes place after the grand final where Hbox uses Kirby (he couldn't play as Jigglypuff due to the full roster not being unlocked).