Su­per Smash Bros For Nin­tendo 3DS

EDGE - - GAMES - Pub­lisher Nin­tendo De­vel­oper Sora Ltd, Bandai Namco For­mat 3DS Re­lease Out now

3DS

Gen­eros­ity has long been Smash Bros’ by­word, and by that stan­dard its 3DS de­but is a tri­umph. The roster for the fourth ver­sion of this party brawler is so packed with char­ac­ters – 49 or 51, de­pend­ing on how you count the Mii Fight­ers – that there’s a main and alt here for ev­ery­one. Cus­tomis­able movesets and stats mean it’s hard to ex­haust even one character fully, while a flood of modes pours from colour­ful menus.

If only 3DS were more gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned. When the prin­ci­pals in Smash Bros’ deadly dance of rolls and dashes move apart and the cam­era pulls back, fights take on a tilt-shift qual­ity, your fac­ing and moves in­dis­tinct. Sakurai and co present the best pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to this in­tractable prob­lem, with a clear ef­fect in­di­cat­ing hits with the power to launch fight­ers off the screen, while op­tional inky out­lines im­prove read­abil­ity. Nei­ther is enough to pre­vent mo­men­tary con­fu­sion and a few un­forced ring-outs, but you can di­vide the like­li­hood for frus­tra­tion by your 3DS’s screen size.

When it works, and it over­whelm­ingly does, Smash 3DS feels lux­u­ri­ous and unim­peach­able. It’s a pacier, more breath­less bat­tle of wits than Brawl, though jumps are floaty enough to as­sist with the air game – help­ful on small screens. And the fram­er­ate sto­ically keeps up, Four­player brawls feel fran­tic in a good way, although you can cut down on dis­trac­tions by choos­ing the Omega form for each stage. Th­ese keep the lo­cal look, but ditch the haz­ards and re­struc­tures to test only fight­ing skill even with so much car­nage on­screen that the eye can dis­cern lit­tle other than at­tack ef­fects.

Less uni­form are the modes. The new Smash Run is a bite-sized chal­lenge for snatched min­utes, and a great way to fill your cus­tomi­sa­tion wardrobe. But since rounds mostly con­sist of whal­ing on dim en­e­mies for stat-boost­ing drops, then cul­mi­nate in all-too-brief proper brawls or plat­form­ing chal­lenges, it’s soon tempt­ing to cut out the mid­dle man. The zenith is Clas­sic, the stan­dard ar­cade run to­wards a bat­tle with Master Hand (in all its forms) en­livened by a slid­ing dif­fi­culty scale up front that en­ables you to bet coins to boost the chal­lenge, plus your choice of paths along the way, with bet­ter re­wards for fac­ing greater re­sis­tance.

On­line play is in­def­i­nitely en­ter­tain­ing as well, though not free of is­sues. Lag has been an in­fre­quent prob­lem for play­ers across the globe, but it does irk when you’re play­ing For Glory, where your re­sults are counted, as op­posed to knock­about For Fun bat­tles. It’s also baf­fling that stock matches are re­served for tus­sles among your friends list and com­pet­i­tive face-offs.

Ir­ri­ta­tions never last long in Smash 3DS, sand­blasted away by the win­ningly var­ied com­bat and the sheer tor­rent of ways to en­joy it. There’s plenty of head­room left for the Wii U ver­sion to sur­pass its cousin, then, but the first taste of Nin­tendo’s uni­fied ap­proach to its con­sole au­di­ences is very promis­ing in­deed.

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