SMASH BROS. really is something special. It’s one of those games that has so much variety within a single mode that you can easily never touch the rest of the content and still feel entirely fulfilled. Many people have very fond memories of SMASH BROS. from their childhoods. It was something they would play late into the night trying to finally perfect their Pikachu game so they could show their friends just how good they were the next day. I can confirm that SUPER SMASH BROS. for the 3DS is an absolute blast to play and lives up to past games in the series in nearly every way.
SUPER SMASH BROS. on 3DS does away with the super cool story mode of SUPER SMASH BROS. BRAWL which is actually quite disappointing for me because I thought that was a great addition. So we don’t really get much reason for why these fighters are all together other than, well, for glory! In the place of that story mode we have something similar to MELEE where the fighters go through random fights until you face off against the Master Hand at the end. This is a serviceable enough way to unlock characters but is also the one real complaint I have against the new game.
The gameplay is even tighter than ever before in SMASH BROS on 3DS. You have your smashes, your dodges, your guards, and a variety of characters that are almost all on equal ground. Some characters take a lot of getting used to such as Little Mac or Mega Man but once you get the hang of a character you’ll feel on equal footing with the Link’s and Marth’s of the game.
The main battle mode on 3DS has dozens of stages to fight on based mainly on handheld Nintendo titles such as NINTENDOGS or POKEMON X and Y but also classics such as Battlefield or Brinstar. There is the regular amount of variety within the stages, making it really difficult to become bored while playing. A new favorite of mine is the Pictochat stage which is constantly changing, making it really difficult and hilarious to try getting a handle on the situation at hand.
The character roster is absolutely huge, with nearly 50 characters to choose from. The vast majority of this roster is unique, while some are variants of others characters. Lucina is a variant of Marth and Dark Pitt is a variant of, well, Pitt. This irks some people but it’s a treat for me as Lucina is my favorite Fire Emblem character. Even if you dislike these variants there are so many other characters to choose from that it’s hard to judge Nintendo too harshly for throwing in these fan service characters.
The other modes in the game are a real blast and bring back a lot of fun mechanics from past games. You have Smash Run where you run through a labyrinth and collect power ups to prepare for a final battle, All-Star mode where you face off against characters throughout history from the earliest created to the most recent, and Stadium returns where you can face off against waves of enemies, try to hit a punching bag as far as possible, and try to hit targets. They all add interesting challenges to the game and are fun to try with each different character.
The online mode for SUPER SMASH BROS. works much better than it did in BRAWL. Games connect quickly and, while latency issues are a bit too common, when things work smoothly it’s a lot of fun. You can choose to fight “For Glory” or “For Fun.” For Glory mode ranks you and allows no items for hardcore players. For Fun is, well, for fun, and allows all items and doesn’t take your data from these matches into consideration for your ranking. It really makes the game more fun if you don’t have any friends that own SMASH BROS. to play with.
The soundtrack for SUPER SMASH BROS. is as amazing as always. There are classic tracks from old games to get hyped on while doing battle as well as some tracks you may not have heard before that will whet your ear’s whistle.
SUPER SMASH BROS. for the 3DS is a blast to play and, despite a few flaws, is probably the most balanced and entertaining SMASH BROS. package yet. All in all, I cannot recommend SUPER SMASH BROS. on 3DS enough. Tons of characters to choose from, dozens of stages to check out, and modes galore will keep you and your friends busy for months to come.
Final Score: 9.5 out of 10