Super Smash Bros. For Wii U is unapologetically a Super Smash Bros. game, and more of it than ever before.
While it can be arguably termed as a fighting game, the Super Smash Bros. series could perhaps be better described as a competitive nostalgia trip. With a roster of 48 fighters taken from 24 different franchises, plus Mii support, the chances are good that your favourite Nintendo property has some representation – along with some all-time-classic third parties – in this latest instalment. Almost every character feels unique, and mastering a fighter’s timing and quirks is still incredibly satisfying. The stage and music selection is also at an all-time high, as are the game modes. There’s a lot to discuss, here.
The mode that is purely for fighting has now been simply labelled “Smash”. It can be as simplistic or as chaotic as you please, retaining the “Special” mode and the individual item switch that were bizarrely excised from the 3DS version. This one mode is flexible enough to appease players old and new – as long as there is more than one person playing. The thrill of winning a match against the (admittedly decent) AI never quite measures up to the real thing.
It’s a good thing, then, that the lone player has so much more to choose from: The new “Special Orders” joins returning modes such as Classic, All-Star and Stadium. It’s a challenging, varied and risky way to claim the game’s many collectibles, but it doesn’t feel like it brings anything special (ahem) to the table.
Then there’s “Event Match”, which IS a returning mode, yet feels more special than the last iteration. The player still finds themselves fighting in set scenarios with often inventive winning conditions, but additional, optional objectives give this mode the extra layer of depth and replayability that it sorely needed. Indeed, the same can be said of the many “Challenges” that provide extra objectives for the entire game. These range from easier than easy to obscenely, infuriatingly difficult, but they all work to make players try everything the game has to offer. Which, in case you haven’t been keeping track, is a LOT. That’s not all; a good deal of these modes (Classic, Event, Stadium) can also be played alongside a co-op partner.
I still haven’t mentioned everything; Amiibo support, “Smash Tour” mode, custom properties and special moves, even Online Smash. Look, I don’t have space. They work, which… is actually an improvement for the Online support. The biggest bombshell is this; the core Smash mode can be played with up to eight players. The results are as insane as you’d expect, and provided you can get the controllers together, there’s no beating it as a party piece. It needs to be experienced to be believed.
The Super Smash Bros. series is practically its own genre, and if you’ve not enjoyed the very specific kind of gameplay from the past iterations, you’re not going to find anything to change your mind here. HOWEVER. If you’ve liked Super Smash Bros. in the past, or if you’re unfamiliar but looking for a party game, this latest entry is well, well worth your investigation; When Smash Bros. for Wii U works well, it is simply the best there is.
Originally published under the heading, “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” in the Bangor University student newspaper, SEREN