Super Smash Bros. has always been a game that revolved around the living room. It has been a series that I have countless memories of that all feature myself and close friends battling it out while sharing laughs and pizza. This won’t be the case for when the series makes its debut on a portable system for the first time on October 3rd.
Portable games have always been a much more personal experience for myself. Rarely do I embrace the multiplayer side of portable games. This is due to the nature of portable games itself since I usually play them while on the go or in short bursts that are not friendly to multiplayer matches. As the release date nears, I find myself wondering more and more about the 3DS game and how my first primarily single player Smash Bros. experience will go.
Will local multiplayer still have a place in the game? Definitely. I can see it becoming a popular diversion during lunch breaks at schools and workplaces. However, I doubt many people will be inviting their friends over to their house with each of them bringing their own 3DS systems and copies of the game for a four player brawl. The ease of local multiplayer is gone.
Thankfully, online multiplayer will be returning to the series so players will be able to battle friends and random adversaries anytime they are near a WiFi signal. While the online will most likely be a blast, any fighting game player will tell you that the experience is not ideal and any lag can screw you up. However since Super Smash Bros. is a more casual experience this shouldn’t sadden anyone but the most serious of players.
The game itself plays similar to the previous games and I had a good time playing it. My only complaints were relegated to the system itself as the control pad makes it awkward to dash (although this should be remedied by an alternate control scheme in the full game) and the small screen makes it easy to lose yourself in all of the frantic action. Its obvious that Nintendo has recognized the latter problem since they allow you to toggle outlines on the characters on and off to make them more visible.
While Nintendo has tried to squeeze a console-made experience onto the 3DS for the main gameplay they have also made use of the system in a few ways. One recent example is the Pac-Man stage which takes advantage of each player having their own system and thus unique screen to view the action. It also displays in beautiful stereoscopic 3D which makes the characters and stages really stand out. Hopefully there are more of these unique experiences to be revealed. The game would be helped by modes that are enhanced by the fact that it is on a portable rather than hindered by it.
The best portable games have always been the ones that took advantage of the system it was on. Games such as WarioWare or Kirby: Canvas Curse have shown this to be true over the years. While Super Smash Bros. does not fit this criteria it is taking advantage of a few aspects of the 3DS which makes it worth checking out. However, I just can’t shake the feeling that it loses some of its appeal in making the transition from console to handheld. Thankfully for players like me, the more traditional Super Smash Bros. for Wii U releases later this year and the 3DS outing should be a great appetizer until then.
I’m interested in reading what version you are more excited for in the comments!