Review: Super Smash Bros. Wii U
What if Mario could beat the snot out of Bowser for kidnapping Peach? What if Peach joined in and slapped Mario for being rude? What if you could play as Sonic and punch Donkey Kong in his guts? These are all very important questions if you have a sadistic mind. Nintendo are here to answer those questions and inject fan service like no other developer can.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U is a fighting game like no other. Think of it as some form of organised chaos, seeing that you get to grasp the concept. You see, the fighting mechanics, level design and just about everything about it is completely alien to a newcomer. You can pick the game up and play it within seconds and you’ll have absolutely no idea what is going on. Unlike other fighters your aim is to increase the percentage damage of other fighters. Your damage bar starts at 0%. When attacked at a low percentage your character will get damaged, but you maintain more mass to stay grounded. The higher the percentage gets the higher the chance that you will fly off the screen. Being punched off the screen is basically the aim of the game.
You can press the A button for basic attacks and the B button for special moves. Each character comes with its own set of moves. Press and hold the A button, along with holding the analogue left or right and you can build up a powerful move. Release it and the foes go flying, seeing that their percentage bars are high enough. It’s something that took me a good few years to get to grips with, but once you get the basics of it there is little else as rewarding. Newbies will button mash at first, but veterans will know that the battles are exceptionally strategic. You can use the shoulder buttons to shield yourself or sidestep from incoming attacks. Master this with a great plan of attack and you’ll more often than not control the fight. You’ll learn tricks by double jumping using the X button and following that by pressing ‘up’ and the B button to get yourself out of falling to death. It’s however not quite so simple. Even the best players in the world are prone to losing it.
Random items along with interactive stage design adds an element of surprise to each and every battle. No battle is ever the same. Nintendo has dug into their huge chest of classic titles to come up with items from various games that can win or lose the battle for any player. Pokemon Balls will summon creatures to assist you, X Bomb emits an X-shaped blast, Rocket Belt shoots you into the air and baseball bats send any enemy to a home-run glory parade. There are hundreds of items, but there is nothing quite as awesome as the Smash Ball. Once a Smash Ball floats about the level you need to attack it. Enough shots on it and the last person to activate the smash ball will be able to unleash their own smash. Tap B furiously and in seconds you’ll unleash your characters special move. Most moves are devastating and will make short work of any foe as you are untouchable in that form. It’s a format that made each and every Super Smash title leading up to this very popular around the world, but Super Smash Bros. Wii U has much more in store.
Your general Smash mode returns, along with an 8-Player smash that allows you to connect up to 8 controllers to your Wii U. If you have that many friends available you’re going to have some of the best fun anyone has had in 2014. Thankfully the Wii U supports the Gamepad, Pro Controller, Wii Remote and Nunchuck, Classic controller and the classic controller of them all – The GameCube controller, which requires an additional purchase of a GameCube adaptor for the Wii U. You can also connect your 3DS to use it as a controller and transfer some customised goodies back and forth. If you’re not happy with the setting for Smash you can change the rules to anything you want. Enter the Games and More tab and you’ll unlock a whole new world of modes. Here you can take part in classic, special orders, events, all-star and stadium battles. Each mode comes with something unique. Events will set up a special battle whereby you’re given a limited time to perform something unique, such as Mario going up against his classic foes Donkey Kong and Bowser. Beat them in that allocated time and you’ll unlock more events. Stadium sees the return of Home-Run test and Target Blast. As always these extra modes provides some much-needed diversion from all the pummelling that takes place in the Smash events and are as entertaining as it’s ever been. There is however a new mode that had me enjoying hours and hours of it.
Smash Tour is in essence a glorified board game, but as always it comes with a unique Nintendo flavour. Your aim is to collect enough fighters and stats (Speed, Jump, Attack, Special, Arms, Defence and All) to beat your competitors (human or CPU). Collect trophies as you move, using the count of the dice, and you’ll be granted with special abilities in mid-board battles that takes place. Lose the battle and you lose your fighter. It’s an highly entertaining mode. But why do all this? Other than beating the hell out of other fighters, what do you get for your efforts? Oh, this is where the fun really starts.
As with Super Smash titles before this you’ll unlock trophies, unlock new characters, unlock new stages and new songs. In the vault you can spend all the money you’ve earned on new trophies in the shop or take your chance at attaining more in a mini game of Trophy Rush. Each trophy details the origin of the character and item. It’s a history lesson in short. Oh, but there’s more in the vault. You can watch replays you saved, browse images you’ve taken in the album, movies you’ve unlocked, check out the stats and records (which are highly detailed and very interesting), tips for newbies, play some demos of classic Nintendo and Super Nintendo games and listen to the entire soundtrack. I must’ve spent over two hours just listening to the gorgeous soundtrack. Oh, but I’m still not done. There’s even more!
As you play the game you’ll unlock gear that you can use to kit out your own Mii. Here you can equip head gear, equipment, specials and spice up your Mii with its very own outfit. I thought the Steampunk outfit was rather cool. You can also customise the existing characters and save it to one of eight slots. Then there’s the stage builder that allows you to create your own stage using the stylus. Sadly you can’t download anyone’s stage design, so if you’re like me and spend little time creating anything you won’t visit that mode much. The really big addition to this game is the international introduction of amiibos.
I was sceptical about amiibos at first. I was not quite sure how you would use it in your advantage as you can’t actually play as the amiibos. When entering Smash mode you can scan in any amiibo using the NFC touchpoint on the Gamepad. It scans in instantly. You can either fight against the amiibo, along with two other friends or CPU opponents, or you can have the amiibo join your team. I found that to be a massive benefit, especially if you do not have another friend to help you in the harder modes. With every fight the amiibo levels up and becomes more powerful. Once done head to the amiibo section and feed your amiibo more equipment, that also gives it bonus effects or new special moves. It’s a concept that works exceptionally well.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U is just about a perfect game. Even the online net code works this time round with little to no lag affecting the chaotic fun. This is a must buy for Wii U owners and a console-selling title for those who are yet to buy the console.