Initial Impressions on Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

I managed to download the newly-released Super Smash Bros. demo. Here are my impressions.

Aesthetic

This looks like a very refined game. I think this is what Super Smash Bros. Brawl tried to be but couldn't due to the limited graphic capabilities of the Wii. For example, remember the pseudo-realistic character designs use in the promotional material? While it was kind of cool at the time, I think we can agree that it wasn't easy to see that translate properly with the designs in-game. As you probably know, that aesthetic's been scrapped on the current generation and now characters sport their classic designs, with minor changes to fit the nature of the game.

I think that it makes the game so much more vibrant, and it gives the characters more personality. I will say that it makes the game a little more cutesy than the last, but at the end of the day, it's still a Nintendo game (and I quite like it that way).

Music

There isn't much to hear other than the Menu and Battlefield (the only arena you can play in the demo) background music. Below, you can hear a snippet of the Menu background music I recorded on my phone.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't expect to hear that on any Nintendo game. Take that however you want, but to me, it just doesn't mesh as well as music from Brawl did with that game. That's not to say that it's bad, I suppose a lot of epic background tracks could fit this kind of game anyways.

Character set

The demo only let's you play a handful of characters, so I played a bit with Mega Man, Pikachu, and Villager (from Animal Crossing). From what I've seen in the revealed character set though, I'm quite overwhelmed at the amount of playable characters coming to the game, which is always good. Pacman, Sonic, Mega Man, Greninja from Pokemon, Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy, even the freaking female Wii Fit trainer, etc.

There's not much I can say given that I'm not familiar with many of the franchises represented in this character set, so I'll leave it at that.

Controls

This is the first time the Super Smash Bros. franchise has landed on a handheld console, so with that in mind, I must say, this is kind of a disappointing effort. (Disclaimer: This is from someone who plays Super Smash Bros. Brawl exclusively on a Wii Remote without a Nunchuk.)

The grab and dodge actions have been allocated to the shoulder buttons (I forget which is which), and the X and Y buttons are simply alternatives for the jump action already doable by moving up on the circle pad. Personally, it would be easier to have just made the X and Y buttons the ones for the grab and dodge actions. I've already made the mistake of using either the X or Y button to attempting grabbing or dodging, and finding out that it actually makes your character jump boggled (and still boggles) my mind.

Furthermore, as I mentioned, you can move up on the circle pad to jump, as well as mobilise your character in appropriate directions, but the same can't be said for the D-pad. It doesn't do anything. And I'd prefer to use that instead of the circle pad when doing actions like dashing or double-jumping, which requires double-execution. As you can imagine, this is difficult on a tension-based circle pad as it is on a button-based D-pad. To me, using the circle pad for these things is just tactically awkward and weird, if not difficult (which it is, for me at least).

Gameplay

As distraughtful as I made it sound, the control flaws are comparatively trivial to the fun brought by the gameplay.

It's more or less the same thing as Brawl, but cramped into a pocket-sized combat zone. I think Nintendo was able to it pull off with what they could do, given the dimension limitations. While less encompassing, arenas still feel fairly large and roomy, which makes for better fights, in my opinion.

What I don't know about are all the items/Pokemon/trophies available, but I've encountered Metagross and Pong, whose implementations in the game I really like, so I'm optimistic about those.

 

Compared to Brawl, it feels more fluid. I'm not sure if they adjusted frame rates or animated the characters differently, but all I can say is that it feels more fluid. I think it's a matter of preference: if you liked the classic, arcade-style brutality of Brawl, then alongside the cutesy (relatively speaking) aesthetic of the characters and environment, this could leave you a little disappointed. But like I said, bear in mind that this is a Nintendo game. Also, again, I've only been able to play on one arena, so whether or not this could be projected onto other environments and arenas, I'm not certain.

 

If you want to compare this to Brawl, then the game isn't as exceptional as you'd expect it to be. Still, to its own merits, Nintendo has done a great job improving the franchise and making it more accessible to all Nintendo players. It's built a lot of hype, and it seems to be living up to it. 👍