Super Smash Bros. for Wii U’s counterpart, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, has garnered positive critical and audience reception and the console version of the game does no less. Many features are shared between the two games and therefore, this review will only focus on what is unique to the Wii U version (e.g. a different Classic mode, Master Orders mode) and the technical changes made in the platform jump. If you want to get my full critique on the game overall, check out our 3DS version review here, but in summary, this generation of Super Smash Bros. is the best iteration of the series so far. The Wii U version builds upon that initial success by introducing new game modes, new stages and a few tweaks to the designs, but still keeps that core gameplay strong and balanced.
Aesthetics (Story, Graphics, Sound)
This is the first time Super Smash Bros. has been displayed in 1080p and it looks gorgeous. Crisp, bright characters accentuated by detailed, vivid backgrounds makes each round shimmer with a certain graphical gleam. Whether it’s the retro look of the Kongo Jungle 64 stage or the futuristic, space battles of the Lylat System, each stage is beautifully rendered at 60 frames per second with little input lag or any kind of lag for that matter. A few other aesthetics have been tweaked as well, such as a new trophy shop layout meant to resemble a Japanese, figurine toy store (which I prefer over the simplistic 3DS style) and the new customization menus. Nintendo has really stressed the game’s visual capabilities and it pays off in the end, showing that the Wii U has the juice to pull of some amazing graphics.
Gameplay (Combat, Systems, Mechanics)
Replacing the 3DS exclusive Smash Run mode is the Wii U exclusive Smash Tour mode, a Mario Party-esque mini-game that culminates into one final showdown. As you move along the board, you collect fighters and upgrades that will determine who you fight with at the match’s end. It’s an enjoyable little mini-game that works well with friends over, but it unfortunately does not cater to the online community. Also, while not as directly competitive as Smash Run, it does boast a sense of lightheartedness that definitely results in a better battle than the 3DS’s random round generator at the end of Smash Run.
The same weightiness is carried over from the 3DS version and it feels just as great on the living room television set. Finding that balance in the physics of the battles was key to transforming Super Smash Bros. into the brawler it had the potential to be. Along those lines of potential, the Wii U’s boasts a chaotic but enjoyable eight player expansion in battles. If you thought four players was fast-paced, eight players can cause a serious commotion flying off the stage. It’s an exciting new take on an already established formula that mainly shines through in the new Classic mode, which is itself more fast-paced.
Following that same potential thought from the previous paragraph, The Wii U’s faster processor really helps eliminate latency lag in online modes as the 3DS would sometimes struggle with the technical limitations. The For Glory and For Fun mode are there for players to peruse, although there are some unreasonable restrictions in For Fun mode, such as what constitutes as player harassment and the grey are that creates. Overall, the improvements to the online mode and the eight player expansion are hugely welcome and allow the Wii U to become a serious, competitive fighting game contender.
Some might believe that owning two copies of a game is redundant and that very few reasons justify this type of purchase. Nintendo, however, answers that reluctance with a Wii U version unique yet similar to the 3DS starter. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is and stand-alone title that stands out and provides the enjoyable Smash Tour mode as well as improved graphical and online performance. Super Smash Bros. started out as a console game and was designed specifically for that kind of “couch community” ecosystem; the game finds its way back home comfortably. I’d recommend this to anyone who already owns a Wii U. And to those who don’t own one but love the franchise, I’d say that this game is console seller and is a must have for those who love Super Smash Bros.
Final Score: 9 / 10
Written and Edited by Tim Atwood