Super Smash Bros. Demo Impressions

Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Logo

I recently had an opportunity to play the new Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and two separate demos of the 3DS version, and until we have a review ready for the retail release, here are my first impressions for the highly-anticipated brawler in the mean time.

Playing the Wii U version on the Wii U Pro Controller made me realize how much I missed the GameCube’s. Despite the controls making sense on paper, the button layout just didn’t in actual practice, which I believe is because the GameCube controller’s ergonomic layout has A as the central button. Players get a whole lot of mileage out of just this one button–normal attacks, smash attacks, picking up items, the A button is about as integral as it gets. With the new SNES button layout, however, A is tucked away on the far right corner of the controller and not necessarily placed where fingers typically rest–same goes for the 3DS version too. For example, even though I got pretty good at using Mega Man, wins never felt satisfying because I wasn’t executing attacks when and where I wanted to.

Thankfully, the Wii U version supports GameCube controllers and both versions of the game will feature customizable layouts, which is definitely appreciated. For those who don’t want to mess with custom layouts, the good news here is that you can get used to the default setup after about three+ rounds of play–not ideal, but whatever.

Smash Bros. 4 Robin Wii U and 3DS

There’s also the new Smash Run mode exclusive to the 3DS version. I enjoyed how the whole five minutes of collecting power-ups functions and what not effectively functions as five minutes of prep or training. Mega Man’s moves finally started to make sense after a few runs through this mode whereas duking it out with three other human players wasn’t really helping me figure out the Blue Bomber’s nuances. Smash Run provides just enough of solo time to learn a character’s general play-style with some time left over to test out their trickier techniques. For instance, Stalfos reflected Mega Man’s missiles which meant my run-and-gun tactics weren’t going to cut it, so I simply changed my approached towards these enemies. Also, I don’t know if the power-ups I netted really altered or enhanced my play, but it definitely didn’t seem like it. I’m looking forward to the final release to see if these initial observations have been tweaked at all–hopefully it’s improved a bit.

Now that the eShop demo has been released to the public, I had to opportunity to play local multiplayer with some of my friends, and most of these matches went smoothly. However, then I picked it up again later to play with someone else and I occasionally ran into some bad lag despite only being a yard away. Seeing this in person raises some concerns regarding Smash‘s online play, though I never had much of a problem with Sakurai’s other online title Kid Icarus Uprising, so it’s probably going to be fine despite my reservations.

Smash Bros. For Fun for Glory

There’s also a wealth of new mechanics and tweaks worth mentioning in this new SSB installment. Yes, tripping has gone the way of the dinosaur, but one of the bigger adjustments is edge-stealing where players can’t camp out and hog ledges anymore, which should have a huge effect on the Smash meta-game. There’s also some genuinely fun new items and, of course, new characters that ratchet up the game’s freshness for long-time fans. Speaking of which, I know a lot of people that feel like the Axe Murde–er, I mean the “Villager” is currently overpowered, but there’s still a long ways to go until the tier lists fully rattle out. Here’s a Villager Pro-Tip for you, though: pocketing a rival Villager’s tree is a wonderfully evil way of sucker punching opponents for a quick sudden death.

One last thing that bothered me when I played these demos was the presence of what I’m going to call Lightning attacks. I don’t know what they’re officially called, but I noticed that as a character takes damage, their attacks will become super-charged and deal massive damage–sort of like Lucario’s Aura mechanic from Brawl, but now I guess it applies to everyone. Regardless, implementing this sort of a mechanic could be a game changer and it’ll be interesting to see how this changes Smash Bros. going forward because it definitely will in some capacity.

These demos definitely convinced me to pick up both versions, but how about you? Either way, hope to see you guys in some matches.

Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponDigg this

About The Author

Feature Writer/Game Reviewer

Blogger in the IGN community and no longer for Always Nintendo. You can find him still blogging in the IGN community as FalconRise