The demo for Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS was released to the general public yesterday and I dived in the moment it went live. As the next installment in the critically acclaimed fighting franchise, Super Smash Bros. has a lot of buzz around it’s two-part release: the 3DS version goes to retail on October 3rd while the Wii U version is still slated for sometime Winter 2014. It seems Nintendo is pulling out all the stops on this latest title. Back to this recent demo release, it includes a few basic components of the final product: singleplayer and mutliplayer Brawl with five characters — Mario, Link, Pikachu, Mega Man and the Villager — and a number of the game’s items. It might not seem like much, but it’s just the morsel we need to really get our appetites ready for the October 3rd launch.
First off, the graphics of Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS. Along the game’s development time, we’ve seen a slew of screenshots and gameplay videos that initially had me worried. The thick outlining of the characters and the stages were a bit off-putting and the resolution showed in actual video seemed to be a bit disappointing in terms of sharpness. However, after playing the demo for several hours, the game looks and runs extremely smoothly. I was honestly surprised by the fidelity of the game’s picture, the clarity of not only the characters but of every little detail tucked away in the game’s backgrounds. The 3D in the game is spectacular as well, though it can get a bit disorienting at times. Also, the demo does suffer from the usual processing limitations associated with the 3DS which causes the framerate to drop slightly occasionally. These drops were rare though and hardly persisted for more than a second.
Now for the meat and potatoes of the series: the gameplay. Super Smash Bros. has, in the past, been developed by second-party developer HAL Laboratory (whom also created the Kirby and Mother series). However, for this upcoming title, Sora Ltd. (headed by former director Masahiro Sakurai of HAL Laboratory) is working in collaboration with Bandai Namco Games and it really shows through in the gameplay. Unlike previous titles, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U has a heightened sense of fluidity in both combos and movement. Characters seem to link into other moves more gracefully and generate this sense of flow in the game’s matches. Another aspect of the game I enjoyed was the weight associated with the gameplay. It seems Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U has found a nice balance between the floaty combat of Brawl and the concrete-like characters in Melee. The sense of polish that this demo showcases is something that bodes well for the game’s retail release.
I remember being in awe as a kid when the first Super Smash Bros. came out on the Nintendo 64; the game was entertaining, competitive and an excellent way to create this medley of Nintendo franchises. Seeing that experience come to a handheld with such precision and excellence in execution is immensely impressive and I’d wager fans of the series would agree. Some might argue that the game is too simplistic but that’s part of the charm of Super Smash Bros. — it is an incredibly accessible game while also being capable of competition level mastery. The 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. (based on the short demo) reveals that even though the game’s platform is a handheld system, it will still deliver the same extraordinary Super Smash Bros. experience that has garnered millions of fans over its lifetime.
Written and Edited by Tim Atwood