The wait is finally over, and after six years, the next installment of the Super Smash Brothers series has hit a home console with Super Smash Brothers for Wii U.

While the 3DS version of the game is a worthwhile title of its own accord, it feels like a demo or a beta in comparison with its big brother. Everything that makes the portable version of the game great is here as well—save Smash Run—and is brighter and bolder in HD. Not only has the look of the game improved, but it’s all much better constructed as well, featuring noticeably more content for both single player and multiplayer game modes. New features include 8-player smash, a Mario Party-like board game called Smash Tour, and Special Orders, where you complete special challenges to unlock prizes. All of the modes are enjoyable, and playing the characters I got used to on my 3DS on a proper screen with a proper controller feels liberating.


The new 8-player smash is a fun, crazy and chaotic way to entertain a larger number of people, though it suffers from a few (admittedly unavoidable) logistic issues. The stage list is much smaller, reducing the available stages to only the largest ones with a couple of smaller ones thrown in for chaotic variety. With so much going on at once, it’s often difficult to keep track of it all, or even to locate your character in the fray on some of the smaller stages. In addition, the amount of time it takes for the first person to lose all of their lives in stock mode compared to the time it takes the match to end can be significantly different, sometimes leading to the players who fall out early to get bored while waiting. This is easily fixed by playing time mode, however, even if most groups find that to be less desirable. On the whole I’m glad to have the option to play with such a large group, so long as you can find enough controllers for everyone.

If I had a major complaint about the game, it would be the lack of any sort of “Adventure Mode”. Even putting aside the many enjoyable cutscenes and story in Brawl’s Subspace Emissary mode, it was fun to take the mechanics of this platform fighting series and put them into an actual platformer. Not only was it a unique way to enjoy the game compared to other modes, but it was definitely the best option for couch co-op. Even Melee had the Adventure Mode which featured some stages that were laid out in this style. Subspace was one of my favorite things about Brawl, and I’m sad to see this idea disappear entirely in this installment.


In addition, as someone who’s played games in the series competitively in the past, the game could be better optimized for that kind of environment. Putting personal preferences about mechanics aside, obtaining the customs moves the game offers to replace various character’s B moves is a long and largely randomized process. The difficulty in obtaining all the options for various characters makes having set-ups with everything unlocked extremely difficult this early in the game’s lifespan, when they could be a great boon to the variety of playstyles to be found in the competitive scene. In addition, while the online “For Glory” mode is a nice start, I think very few competitive players want to be stuck on Final Destination for every single battle, which is how things are currently set up. Still, Nintendo has already released a balance patch for the 3DS version and even hosted their own tournaments, which is a step in the right direction for this sort of thing. They might just need time to learn about what fans expect from a game with a competitive scene.

There’s no question that Super Smash Brothers for Wii U is an excellent addition to the series and a must-have title for any Wii U owner. The huge variety of content means there’s plenty to do no matter who you are, and even if I have a few minor gripes, I expect to find myself still playing it regularly years down the line when the next installment in the series arrives.

SCORE: 9.5/10

-Edward (Left Knee of A7)

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