First Impressions: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

I hear the cries of a million L/R triggers

Smash 4 launch poster

Hey everyone, the Inverseman here with his first impressions on the long-awaited Super Smash Bros for 3DS. How does this first form of this generation’s Smash Bros feel at first blush? Find out!

Smash 4 4 way free for all

Right from starting a match, you feel a long-awaited speed up from Brawl. Characters don’t feel as sluggish as they did back then and it’s very welcome. Wishing for the Melee days would be a fool’s errand, but the control is tighter and I feel more nimble with my character. Also in the more technical side, it’s worth noting that recovery is a little more difficult in this game, especially compared to Brawl. I found myself working a couple of times to get back onto the stage, which encourages better recovery play. There are even nice visual cues, such as jolts of red lightning appearing whenever you’re hit with a possibly fatal move. However, with that said characters are now nearly impossible to kill. I found myself surviving with lighter characters well into the early 100s, so expect 3-stock matches instead of 5-stock most likely.

Smash 4 Toon Link in Smash Run

Remember how I mentioned last month that Sakurai essentially did not design Smash to be solely as a competitive fighter? Well, that’s where the oodles of customization options come in. In any other fighter, especially among 2D ones, being able to unlock items that alter damage and attack properties would be an unheard of mess. Even in Soul Calibur, you can dress your characters however you please, but seldom do you get to play game balancer as you please. I personally scoffed at the idea, preferring the more competitive default vs default matches, but tuning my own characters, ESPECIALLY my Mii Fighters turned out the be more enjoyable than I gave it credit for. While Custom Characters aren’t allowed in the “For Glory” competitive arenas, there’s still space to be explored among the fans. Maybe Custom Character tournaments might become a reality?

Smash 4 Nintendo vs AKB48

In fact, customization feels like a huge theme for this game. The Smash Run mode, which is basically City Trial from Kirby’s Air Ride fused with the remains of Subspace Emissary lets you tune your character on the fly in a really fun action-platformer experience. While I’m less apt to use Custom Characters in a normal match, in a Smash Run, I welcome the variance, which brings me to arguably the most fun part of the custom functions, the Mii Fighters. Okay okay fanboys. You wanted Naruto and Cloud Strife to be in Smash? Sakurai says, “HERE YOU GO”. Actually, I had a ball with this function. “Hm. Let’s make Saber from Fate/Stay Night.” Other games would only let you select a premade template of other characters and attacks, but here we have more liberties, namely the stats and balance of your characters.

“Hm. This attack is most like Excalibur and this one is most like using Avalon, so we have good attacks, but now for her stats. I doubt Saber would be a very fast character, more defensive, so let’s use these defensive items to increase that and it’s okay if she’s a little slower.”

So now I have a Mii Fighter that, to a slight degree, plays like how I’d imagine Saber would actually play if pigs could fly and she was an actual fighter. I honestly would not have expected this to be in a more traditional fighter and I’ll say I underestimated this feature. The drawback to this feature is that the method of unlocking extra moves for your characters is completely random, and at times you may find a duplicate of a move you already have, so it’s gonna be a grind.

Smash 4 checklist

Now of course while on the note of Smash not being a typical fighter, that does include a lot of going against traditional convention and wisdom. As always, we’re expected to unlock characters and stages in Smash Bros, criminal in other games, but actually satisfying in Smash. (Doesn’t make up for the lack of a story mode though). In addition to unlocking more of the roster and gaining goodies for your trophy hoard, there’s a checklist just like Kirby’s Air Ride and Kid Icarus: Uprising of achievements to do. Most of them are fun and some actually make you try other characters so you’re not married to your main all day. However some of them are excruciatingly painful, such as “gain 3 unique Mii outfits.” This would be fine if you could spend coins on them or be guaranteed to unlock one from Classic or Smash Run, but the reality is that it’s completely random.

Smash 4 classic slot machine


While challenging single player modes, you may or may not encounter an outfit, trophy, custom move, anything, and then you have a chance of earning that item, praying it’s not a duplicate. So in other words, you could run through Classic with every character and not unlock that elusive third outfit just because the slot machine before each fight gave you coins or trophies instead. I personally don’t mind having to randomly obtain Custom Equipment, and I already dislike having to randomly find the Custom Moves for my characters, but staying stuck on the first checklist because of RNG doesn’t feel like handing out a particular random prize is very annoying. Lucky for me, I saved my golden hammers just for these occasions, but I’d rather not have to be in such a situation in the first place.

Palutena's SHAFT angle

So those are my first impressions with the new Super Smash Bros for 3DS. Expect a full review soon after I finish unlocking more features and sharpen my skills. The only feature I haven’t touched this weekend was the online capabilities. Hopefully, I’ll get some first matches this week when I have a spare moment and that will also hopefully be when my ability to play Palutena stops sucking. Join me next time when I teach you how to perform the TORNADO UPPERCUT.

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The Inverseman is an evil overlord from an alternate dimension representing humanity's anti-existence who wound up becoming a modest civil servant.


The Inverseman is an evil overlord from an alternate dimension representing humanity's anti-existence who wound up becoming a modest civil servant.

One Comment:

  1. I’ll wait for the Wii-U version. I do not feel comfortable playing fighting games on handhelds, no matter how good they are.

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