Super Smash Bros is a rousing success on handhelds and it’s fighting its way onto consoles this holiday. Bigger, better, prettier, the series is eyeing a fight for your wallet this holiday. How big? That’s up to Smash, but fro our standing, it’s got no shortage of reasons to get you hyped for more action than your Wii U’s ever seen. Take a look at just how many reasons Nintendo’s rumble under the big top is shaping up to be one of this fall’s best.
• Starting Fighter Line-up — Though the roster is (at least right now) the same between both the Wii U and 3DS versions, the home console iteration will have 40 fighters available right from the start; that’s more than the 3DS entry. Others will still be unlocked, of course, while move-sets and controls will be the same in both games.
• Resolution — If Nintendo’s snarky narrator can be believed, the difference between 3DS (400×240) and Wii U (1920×1080) was highlighted. The latter means 1080p, of course; we would add that, if we’re going to be nitpicky and technical, Smash Bros. will likely (as per other major first-party Wii U games) be at a native 720p and upscaled to 1080p — that still looks lovely, of course, and we may be proven wrong. In any case, this section also introduced 5-Player Smash and 6-Player Smash, both making their first appearance.
• 8-Player Smash — Rumored beforehand, this was confirmed as an offline-only special mode. It looks suitably chaotic and will only support certain stages that are big enough to accommodate that many players. These eight players can connect with the following controllers:
Wii U GamePad (Max 1)
Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus (Max 7 — including Classic Controllers and Nunchuks)
Wii U Pro Controller (Max 7)
Nintendo GameCube controller (Max 8 — with two adapters)
Nintendo 3DS series system (Max 8 — each must be synced with a copy of the 3DS version)
• Bigger Stages — Tying into 8-Player Smash but also a general trend in other stages, arenas will be bigger than on 3DS to suit the home console environment — the probability of them appearing in online matches will be “lower than normal”, however.
• Danger Zones — A new stage showing this feature, which looks like the most sprawling of them all, is The Great Cave Offensive, which is based on the labyrinth from Kirby Super Star. These ‘Danger Zones’ cause damage, and if you hit one when over 100% it’s an instant KO.
• Dual-Plane Battling – Shown in a Jungle Hijinx stage, this Donkey Kong arena has fighters using barrels to jump from the background to the foreground and vice-versa. Doing this too quickly causes damage, however.
• Number of Stages — Put simply, there’ll be more stages in the Wii U version than on 3DS, namely the biggest and best we’ve yet to see in all their HD glory:
Mario Circuit (based on the Mario Kart 8 track)
Orbital Gate Assault
Town and City
Mario Circuilt (Brawl)
The Great Cave Offensive
75 m (based on Donkey Kong Arcade)
Wii Fit Studio
Port Town Aero Dive
Gamer (based on Game & Wario)
Bridge of Eldin
• Miiverse Stage – This won’t be ready at launch, but will use comments and posts from the social platform to decorate and cheer on fighters in the background as you battle.
• Palutena’s Guidance — Replacing the Snake Codex in Brawl, it’ll be available in Palutena’s Temple. Palutena and Viridi will talk through details of the game, which are prompted by selecting Pit and using his downward taunt. Another fun feature in this segment was confirmation that you can listen to the Star Fox team’s radio chatter in stages Lylat Cruise and Orbital Gate Assault.
• Metal Face — This character appears on Gaur Plain – but only at night – and will attack all-comers and destroy parts of the stage in an attempt to throw you from the battlefield. He’s not as nigh-on immortal as he was in Xenoblade Chronicles, however, and you can KO him in order to stop his reign of terror.
• Ridley — Behaves much more like a playable fighter than other bosses (in the Pyrosphere), and if you deal enough damage to him he’ll bow down to your authority and join you to take out the opponents. If a fighter manages to KO Ridley, they’ll gain a point for their final score, even if Ridley is fighting for you at the time. Furthermore, if Ridley is able to absorb some energy from a particular part of the stage, he will transform into Meta Ridley and become even more powerful. Other characters / items that can be used to help on this stage are FG II – Graham units, Joulions and Zero.
• Classic Mode — This is changing up from the 3DS equivalent. While you chose a path on the portable, this time around progress is determined by your performance; you can still adjust the intensity setting, but you need to rank highly in battles and “dominate” the final match. Rivals, challengers and random events kick in to shake things up further. A new feature is that you can now play Classic Mode co-operatively with two players.
• Coin Battles — Joining the standard time and stock Smash options, here you collect coins dropped by foes when they’re launched; it’s a “relatively casual” way to play.
• Stamina battles — Another option for Smash battles, in which you lose when your percentage drops to zero.
• Special Smash — These battles don’t affect your records, but allow you to heavily customise the rules; you can have “entirely absurd” matches.
• Item Frequency — An expansion of the on/off option on the 3DS, you can decide whether you want each item to appear frequently, rarely or not at all.
• My Music — You can set how often each track appears in battle using sliding scales, allowing you to heavily weight the track rotation towards your favorites.
• Loads of Music — A lot more than in the 3DS game, with the presentation saying the two libraries are “not even comparable”; all songs are from throughout Nintendo’s history, while almost all tracks from the portable entry are also included.
• Split-Screen — These are like their contemporaries on the 3DS, in which you meet criteria to unlock panels and goodies; in the Wii U version they’re all on one screen, rather than split into multiple grids.
• Clear Movies — There’ll be a movie for each fighter when you clear Classic or All-Star Mode.
• All Star Mode — Take on all the fighters in the game with limited items, but in reverse from the 3DS equivalent you start with the newer era fighters to battle your way to the old. The backdrop area is now a coliseum with trophies of those beaten, and this can also be played in two-player co-op.
• Event Mode — Here you take on set themed battles; as you clear stages the path opens up, and the challenges will set a variety of goals and themes. Separate two-player event battles are also included, on a completely different map.
• Smash Tour — Smash Tour is the Wii U version’s alternative to Smash Run. It functions as a board game — which was leaked by an Amazon listing recently — in which four players try and complete circuits as Miis. Landing on the same spot will prompt a battle, while the goal is to collect fighters and Smash Run-style power-ups; at the end there’s a final Stock match, but your stock will consist of fighters that you’ve collected.
• Target Blast — As per the 3DS version, but the second bomb launched is bigger and heavier, while there are three types of stages. As before results will contribute towards your Global Smash Power.
• Group Stadium — Stadium events can now be players with others. In Target Blast up to four players can take turns, Multi-Man Smash supports up to four players consecutively, while Home-Run Contest can be a co-op effort between two players or competitive with up to four taking turns.
• Special Orders — Special Orders is a section that includes Master Orders and Crazy Orders, featuring those famous hands that are found at the end of Classic mode. Master Orders give you tickets to take on, with rewards based on the difficulty of those you choose. Crazy Orders are more of a gamble — it costs gold to enter, and winning consecutive rounds builds big rewards ahead of a final battle with Crazy Hand. If you lose, however, all your rewards will be gone.
• Master Fortress — This will appear on the most intense difficulty settings at the close of Classic Mode. This is a new form of Master Core, which is basically a sprawling, dangerous stage.
• Play Your Way— The simple summary is that every sensible control scheme is possible. As for the list, here goes: GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Classic Controller, Wii Classic Controller Pro, Wii Remote, Wii Remote + Nunchuk, GameCube controller (with adapter) and 3DS (copy of Smash on 3DS needed to sync). You can also customise buttons and controls for each and every controller.
As advertised at E3, the Gamecube controller can be purchased separately or in some bundles, with support for Wavebirds included. There’ll also be a special Smash Bros. wired GameCube controller on sale or within some bundles. Add in two, TWO four-controller adapters per console, and that adds up to eight controllers. Party!
• Use Nintendo 3DS as a Controller — Also revealed earlier in the year, this requires a copy of the 3DS game to be running at the same time; you simply go to the 3DS menu on the Wii U game and vice-versa in the 3DS game, following on-screen instructions.
• Connecting to Nintendo 3DS — Bring your customised characters over from the 3DS version to the Wii U game, with all outfits, equipment and abilities in place.
• Loads of Trophies — More trophies than ever before, based on home console games, particularly. LOTS.
• Final Smash Trophies — Elaborate trophies for each character’s final smash; you earn these by completing All-Star mode with each character.
• Trophy Exhibits — These are display areas for your trophies, and you you can try to complete each exhibit as themed sets.
• Photo Studio — Create your own scenes with Trophies and a variety of backdrops; place your items and props. The customisation options also include resizing objects etc.
• Trophy Rush — Like on 3DS this is a mode to quickly get more trophies as they fall in crates from above. Another mode that can be tackled with two players in co-op or competitively — there are apparently 2,600 combinations for this mode; we’re not sure how.
• Masterpieces – Like its Wii predecessor, the Wii U entry includes short, cut-down and time-limited demos of classic games; some have pre-installed save data. There are plenty of options and an eShop link to tempt you into buying the full titles.
• Amiibo — As detailed previously, amiibo can accompany you in battle as figure players (FP), fight on your behalf or be used as sparring partners. They level up and learn from encounters — more so when ‘travelling’ and fighting other amiibo — can be boosted with equipment and will win special items.
• Friends & Tags — Two players on the same Wii U can play together in online matches, either in a team or separate within battles.
• Tourneys — To arrive after launch, Standard Tourneys are rather similar to their equivalents in Mario Kart 8; users can create up to two at a time, and various rules and customisations can be made. From the brief snippets shown you’ll be able to set timeframes, win requirements, stage types and number of participants, along with other options.
• Official Tourneys – Will arrive a “little while” after launch like Standard Tourneys, but these formal versions will be 64 player battles of survival as you try and advance through knockout rounds; it’ll be possible to watch replays of all matches.
• Paint — You can pause the game, adjust the angle and snap screenshots (like on 3DS), but then draw and mess around with the image further using the stylus and GamePad touch screen. A future update will allow these creations to be shared online.
• Stage Builder — Previously leaked and returning from Brawl, it seems the GamePad will help to take the stage builder to a new level. You can draw easily between two points for a line or go by freehand, while you can place Danger Zones, all sorts of items and choose from 5 themes, while using any unlocked music.
• Premium Sound Selection — Anyone who buys both games will get the soundtrack CDs (36 tracks on each disc) when registered through Club Nintendo.
• Mewtwo’s On The Way — There’s no word on how he’ll function yet, but he won’t be playable right away; this iconic monster is still in development. Mewtwo will be available to fans who own a copy of both Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, much in the same way as the previously announced soundtrack CD. The current estimated release date for Mewtwo is Spring 2015, and will be available as a free download for both versions of the game.
• All in the Koopa Family – Bowser Jr. joins forces with all his crazy Koopaling siblings fresh off the racetrack, all envisioned as gleaning trophies.
Tell us: Are you picking up Super Smash Bros. for Wii U? What’s on your radar: The gameplay, the graphics, the stages, or just snatching up every Amiibo you can find? These next two weeks are going to tell us big time whether Nintendo’s trained for a heavy-weight belt this fall and either way, it’s likely to be a blast.