The discussion of whether Smash Bros can be considered a fighting game is best left by the wayside, what it is however is the pinnacle of party entertainment. This latest entry even has a Mario Party style board game, only a lot better. In the new mode called Smash Tour, players select a Mii and then move their way around the board, powering up and collecting characters. Traditional smash fights scattered throughout, winning gets you that player’s character. It all culminates in one last fight as, hopefully, you will have amassed a decent roster in a winner takes all fight. It’s a nice new addition that will hopefully be built on in future instalments.
Over the years Smash really has grown exponentially in regards to content. The original N64 game was a fairly bare bones affair and now there’s so much stuff it can be quite overwhelming. There’s a regular single player, a bunch of challenges, trophies to discover, new characters to unlock and mini-games to play. Oh, and there’s also an online mode.
It could just be bad luck, but so far every online game of Smash played does suffer from a little bit of lag. And with a game as frantic as this, a little bit of lag could mean life or death. You could say it’s hardly surprising, Mario Kart 8 is perfect online for instance, but then that is a more slow paced affair, Smash is absolutely mental. And this insanity is really what appeals the most about the game.
More often than not rounds end with people asking “what the hell happened?” If turned on, items come thick and fast with everything from Pokeballs to the ship from Galaga. It makes Smash Bros such a unique beast, because usually this sort of randomness has us cursing the screen, and yet, that never really happened, particularly when playing with people on the same couch.
It became joyous just watching the various moves each character performs, even when your character is on the receiving end of them. This is particularly evident with the Final Smash moves. Smash the floating icon and you get this ultimate attack that perfectly captures the feel of each character. Seeing Pac-Man turn into a giant version of his 2D incarnation, chomping through enemies is a sight to behold. There’s Mega Man who calls upon all the different versions of himself to destroy everything, Captain Falcon who runs over people in his F-Zero machine and Dr Mario who just throws giant pills at everyone, because of course he does. They are all encompassed with a barrage of colour making the game wonderful to look at. Who says the Wii U is underpowered?
Fan service also comes in the form of the music. The musical library is just astounding, with themes from every Nintendo game you can think of (and some third party ones). Fighting outside Dr Wily’s Castle with a Mega Man 2 remix playing will bring a smile to any retro fans face. All songs are locked away in the vault, and we won’t lie, we occasionally put the game in just to listen to them.
Probably the main criticism you can level at Smash Bros is that playing by yourself is quite a lonely experience. Yes, there’s a ton of single player content, more than you might expect, but playing with friends in the same room is the games main selling point. It would be nice if the online compared to something like Mario Kart, but sadly all the games we’ve encountered so far have had bouts of crippling lag that was never encountered with Mario Kart.
Smash Bros shows that despite the Wii U’s constant struggle to gain mainstream acceptance, Nintendo are still ploughing ahead, producing the most fun content you can find. Gather some friends together and there really is nothing better.