Posted on November 22, 2014, Mitchell Saltzman Super Smash Brothers for the Wii-U Review – The King of Smash
Super Smash Brothers is a series that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me, the N64 version was the game of my childhood. It was the game that I’d invite my friends over to play and spend hours in front of a small and boxy TV as my parents yelled at us to go to sleep. Probably because I would claim the helipad building of Saffron City as my own and let out a primal shout whenever I spiked someone in between the gaps of the buildings. You no mess with Donkey Kong’s helipad.
I make no exaggerations when I say that Smash Brothers Melee was the thing that got me through my first year of college. It was the catalyst that allowed me to make friends in an unfamiliar environment, the common bond that allowed me to fit in to a niche, the escape that gave me a break from the stress of not knowing what the hell I wanted to do with my life. It was also the first game that I considered myself to be exceptionally good at, placing second or third at most local tournaments that I entered.
The point I’m trying to make is that there is no video game series that I hold closer to my heart than Super Smash Brothers. Which is why the release of Super Smash Brothers for the Wii-U comes with a mountain of expectation and anticipation from me. Fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint. Super Smash Brothers for the Wii-U is that damn good.
Super Smash Brothers for the Wii-U
Developer: Sora LTD. and Bandai Namco
Release Date: Nov. 21, 2014
Nintendo took a risk in their decision to release two versions of the new Smash Brothers and have them come out a few months apart from each other. By releasing the 3DS version before the more fully featured Wii-U version, they made a bet that Smash fans would find value in owning both versions, and not simply be content with just owning the cheaper handheld version. Time will tell whether that bet was a fortuitous one, but at the very least I can say that Nintendo and Sora LTD. definitely pulled out all the stops for the Wii-U version to ensure that people who did double dip in Smash Brothers got their money’s worth.
With the exception of the underwhelming Smash Run mode, a couple of stages and a few songs, everything from the 3DS version of Smash is packed into the Wii-U version. At it’s core, it’s still the same fantastic four player party fighter that is the epitome of the “Easy to learn, hard to master” design philosophy. It’s all the extra stuff that’s added on top that makes the Wii-U version the definitive edition of Smash 4.
For starters, the Event Mode is back with 55 new solo events and 21 coop events. For those unfamiliar with the mode from the previous two Smash Brothers installments, Event Mode tasks players with completing specific objectives usually themed around some sort of mini story set in one of the Nintendo universes. For example, one event has players playing as Mario — who was the referee in the original Punch-Out — with the goal of defeating a out of control Little Mac who is relentlessly targeting another Little Mac who puts up no resistance. Basically you’re playing as the referee trying to put a stop to a fight that’s already over.
There are a plethora of really clever events like that. In another event, players play on the Duck Hunt stage and must take out ducks flying in the background before they fly away, just like you would in Duck Hunt. Only you also have to deal with another angry bird, Falco, who’s trying to stop you from picking on his kind.
Each event also has a special win condition that will unlock a unique reward upon completion. Usually it’s a rare badge to equip onto a Mii or other custom character. Personally, I’m not too interested in customizing my characters, but I was still motivated to try and complete these challenges anyway because they provided just the right amount of challenge in each of the events. Most of the time the win conditions involve beating the event under a certain time limit, but others may force you to play them on harder difficulty levels.
Many events in the coop mode are similar to those found in the single player events, just with more enemies and stricter win conditions to compensate for the extra player. Still, they’re great fun, and many require a good amount of teamwork if you’re going to unlock the special reward for each challenge.
And unlocking stuff is really what Super Smash Brothers for the Wii-U is all about, at least from a single player perspective. Just like in Brawl, there is a wall of challenges that basically serves as an achievement list. By completing a challenge, you unlock that specific block’s prize and also learn about the challenges in the adjacent blocks. These challenges range from being as simple as beating the first event in event mode, to as difficult as beating the Crazy Orders mode after 20 or more turns as Mario.
Crazy Orders is a new mode in which players must first buy their way in by either spending a hefty sum of gold — earned as a reward in basically every mode in the game — or using a rare and hard to obtain Crazy Ticket. In this mode, you choose one of three special types of battles to play, each with their own specific reward. Upon completion of the battle, your reward will go to a stash, and you’ll have an option to choose between another three battles and potentially gain more rewards, or go straight to the final fight against Crazy Hand. If you win the fight against Crazy Hand, you’re guaranteed all of your stashed rewards plus whatever you earn during the Crazy Hand fight. Lose though, and there’s a good chance you’ll lose about a third of your stash. Oh, and did I mention that your health carries from from battle to battle? You get a small bit healed after each win, but it’s hardly anything substantial.