Man, it's been a long time since I've reviewed any 3DS games. Why? Well... I just don't buy many games for it. Since getting my Nintendo 3DS with 3D Land for Christmas 2011, I've just gotten Mario Kart 7, Pokemon Silver and Pokemon White (Yes, I know they are DS games), and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. While I've gotten some good playtime out of my 3DS, I've never been one to play handheld games hours on end -- alright, I'm trailing off. Henceforth with the review!
I've seen a lot of reviews describing the gameplay of Super Smash Bros., but if you're here, you know what the game is about. What makes this game different? Well, there are a few new modes in there that I think most people, honestly, don't care much about. Smash Run is the thing people have talked most about, and basically, you pick your fighter and run through a randomly generated stage collecting random power-ups and ultimately facing a random boss. Is it fun? It's not AWFUL, but the sheer amount of -- you guessed it -- randomness makes it a game mode that could use some work. Maybe a patch could make Smash Run better, I don't know, but as it stands now, it's nothing all that special.
Another new thing that's kind of interesting (if it's your bag) is the ability to customize your fighter -- change his/her clothes, the character's strength, speed, and defense, and even the certain attacks. It's a pretty nifty addition to the game, but it feels like something only a niche of players would use. It just seems that if you're playing with "serious" SSB players, customizing your character's abilities is just something that would be a "no-no." Regardless, this is an interesting addition that'll no doubt make a fair number of players happy.
Solo mode is back and is better than ever. Instead of fighting a predetermined line of fighters, you can choose who you want to fight, how many coins you want to "bet" that you'll beat the mode (more coins equals higher difficulty), and so on. It doesn't change the mode dramatically, but there was nothing that needed fixing -- these few improvements have only made an already solid mode more fun.
The real things that matter in Super Smash Bros. though are the fighters and stages, let's be honest... and in SSB 3DS, there's a pretty great variety in here. Starting off, there are over thirty characters to choose from, with a good number more to unlock as you simply play the game. There are also a lot of challenges that you can complete. Some of them are just for fun, but to get certain trophies and unlock certain stages you need to (to my understanding) finish some of the challenges. These challenges aren't generally super difficult at first, but they become ridiculous as you play on.
SSB 3DS has some of the best graphics of any Nintendo 3DS game out there. Not only do characters and stages "pop", but it moves at an almost perfectly consistent 60 FPS to boot, despite what's going on on-screen. Ah... the screen... speaking of the screen, whether you're on a 3DS XL or, worse, a regular ol' 3DS, you'll have some trouble seeing what's going on when playing with four fighters who are spread out all over a stage. It's often hard enough seeing what's going on on a TV screen, but on a tiny 3DS screen, it can be just about impossible to tell what item is on the ground, or even where your character is at certain times.
The controls for SSB 3DS are actually pretty good. I was worried about my hands cramping while using my regular 3DS, but I haven't had that problem -- but luckily (...or not-so-luckily...), I have pretty small hands and don't death grip my 3DS while I play. While I and most any person would prefer to play SSB 3DS on a GameCube controller, the buttons are all quite responsive, and the analog stick is usually fine, although I have found that sometimes my fighter doesn't know whether to run or walk. Someone with big hands will likely find quite a few things to dislike about this mobile version of SSB, but I'm generally fine with it all.
The list of characters and stages in SSB 3DS are many and varied. As usual, all fighters have the same button combinations for attacks, but the attacks they do are often quite different. This is great for veterans and new players alike because it takes a skilled player to master the timing of certain attacks, but any newbie can hop right in and have fun with the game... which leads me to the stages, and even items. Some of the new items in this game are nothing but annoying insta-kill weapons. Thankfully, items can be toggled on or off at will. While the majority of stages are great fun, some have "events" on them that are likely to peeve most people. Again though, these stages can be played with these "hazards" off.
There's plenty more to talk about with SSB 3DS, but I'd like to try keeping this from becoming a novel. All that you need to know is that this is probably the best SSB yet. The only reason I say "probably" is because it's actually a bit frustrating that this can't be played on a bigger screen with a proper controller. Despite that, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a very good game with a huge cast of fighters, a wide variety of mostly super fun stages, and a lot of fun to be had. It's a bummer that even local fights with friends can be laggy (good luck finding a lag-free match on WiFi), but if you don't mind playing against AI (which is quite decent, actually), there are hours upon hours of playtime to be had in SSB 3DS.
+: Loaded with content, great frame rate, hours of fun to be had, a "Smash"ing good time... eh? Eh!?
-: Too frequently laggy local or online multiplayer, stage hazards, "noob" items, small screen, cramped controls.
?: Will we get DLC?