It’s been a couple of months since the last Nintendo Direct, and most assumed that Nintendo was saving all of their big guns for E3 this year. Nintendo announced a surprise Nintendo Direct that focuses on the upcoming Super Smash Bros. title that is releasing this year, with one version on 3DS and another version on Wii U.
During the presentation, longtime Smash Bros. developer Sakurai revealed a lot of information, some minor, some major, in regards to what will be in store for this upcoming iteration of Smash Bros. Most of the focus was on the 3DS version of the game, which makes sense considering it is coming out first. Expect E3 this year to be the place for Wii U owners to learn a lot about what the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. will have in store.
Two Smashes in a pod
Like I said, the presentation mainly focused on the 3DS version of the game. We learned that while some of the content in the 3DS version will run at 30fps, all of the fighters will move at a beautiful 60fps. This is extremely impressive for the 3DS, and makes me super excited to see how the Wii U version will run. It was also confirmed that the entirety of the game will be viewable in 3D.
There are some differences between the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game, but there are also some similarities. The fighters are going to be the same no matter which version you play, though the 3DS version has a more cel-shaded visual style.
The stages are going to be exclusive to each version of the game. There will be some stages that are designed basically the same, with the same layout and geometry, though they will have distinct visual differences that will help the stage stand apart from the version of it on the other system.
A feature that was in Melee was that most of the stages featured two different songs. The 3DS version’s stages will also have most of the stages use two songs. The Wii U version will allow players to access almost all of the songs for stages that were featured in past Super Smash Bros. games as well.
There are a lot of differences between the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros., but there’s also a lot that makes the titles the same. There will be features and content that connect the two versions of the game, but Nintendo still has yet to reveal what that might entail.
Numerous stages were revealed or reiterated for both versions of the game. Here’s a complete list of 3DS stages in Super Smash Bros.:
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS Stages
3D Land (Super Mario 3D Land)
Arena Ferox (Fire Emblem: Awakening)
Balloon Fight (Balloon Fight)
Find Mii (Mii Plaza)
Gerudo Valley (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Jungle Japes (Donkey Kong Country)
Living Room (Nintendogs)
Prism Tower (Pokemon X & Y)
Rainbow Road (Mario Kart)
Reset Bomb Forest (Kid Icarus: Uprising)
Spirit Train (The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks)
Tortimer Island (Animal Crossing: New Leaf)
And now for a complete list of the Wii U version’s stages:
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Stages
Boxing Ring (Punch-Out!!)
Garden of Hope (Pikmin 3)
Mario Galaxy (Super Mario Galaxy)
Palutena’s Temple (Kid Icarus: Uprising)
Pilot Wings (Pilot Wings)
Pyrosphere (Metroid: Other M)
Skyloft (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
Town and City (Animal Crossing)
Wii Fit Studio (Wii Fit)
Wily Castle (Mega Man)
Windy Hill (Sonic the Hedgehog)
It was also confirmed that stages from past games will be returning. Expect all the series favorites to be making a comeback in this latest version of Super Smash Bros. In addition, Sakurai went into detail in regards to the Wily Castle stage, revealing a gimmick of the stage that sounds quite intriguing.
Wily Castle will feature the “Yellow Devil”. This character will be generated, coming from the castle in the background. The Yellow Devil will attack the fighters, but it can be destroyed by attacking its eyeball. The last player to hit the eye of the Yellow Devil will be immune to the explosion that follows, and it will also count as an attack for that player.
The Yellow Devil is being referred to as a “boss” character. Other boss characters will be featured in the other stages of the game. For the Pyrosphere stage from Metroid, Ridley’s shadow can clearly be seen on the ground.
Trophies, assist and otherwise
Trophies have been a part of the Super Smash Bros. DNA long before they were a part of the PlayStation DNA. The trophies in Super Smash Bros. come in the form of literal trophies, homages to Nintendo characters and properties of the past. Trophies are returning to Smash Bros. in two forms — the collectible trophies that can be added to your collection, and “Assist” trophies that can be used in battle.
Four new collectible trophies were confirmed during the Super Smash Bros. Direct presentation. They are as follows:
Super Smash Bros. Trophies
Fi (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
King Kihunter (Metroid)
Pseudo Palutena (Kid Icarus: Uprising)
Tiki (Fire Emblem)
A large list of Assist Trophies were confirmed as well.
Super Smash Bros. Assist Trophies
Andross (Star Fox)
Chain Chomp (Super Mario series)
Color TV-Game 15
Dark Samus (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
Devil (Devil World)
Dr. Wright (SimCity)
Elec Man (Mega Man)
Isabelle (Animal Crossing: New Leaf)
Knuckle Joe (Kirby)
Lyn (Fire Emblem: Awakening)
Midna (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
Mother Brain (Metroid)
Saki Amamiya (Sin & Punishment)
Skull Kid (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)
Waluigi (Mario spinoffs)
Gotta catch ‘em all!
Pokemon has been a major part of the Super Smash Bros. franchise since the very beginning. When the first Super Smash Bros. released on the Nintendo 64, Pokemon was at the height of its popularity, and as a major Pokemon fan, it was awesome throwing Pokeballs around and seeing what kind of Pokemon would pop out.
Pokemon will once again be a major factor in the newest Super Smash Bros., from the stages based on the series to the playable fighters also based on the series, the Pokeball item returns in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. In addition, there is also the Master Ball this time around, and the Master Ball contains the legendary and super rare Pokemon.
Confirmed Pokemon in Super Smash Bros.
Pokemon Trainer was a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and he had access to Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard. Pokemon Trainer is out, and in his place are two playable Pokemon. Charizard will once again be playable as well as Greninja. Lucario is also returning, plus Pikachu (obviously). No word yet on some of the other Pokemon that have been included as playable fighters in the past, such as Mewtwo and Jigglypuff.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl had an online component, but Nintendo is nearing the point that they’re going to shut down the online functionality for Wii and Nintendo DS games. I guess it’s a good thing that the new Smash is coming out soon, and that Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U will feature much better online capabilities than were ever even possible before.
Both versions of the game will feature online multiplayer. There will be offline + online multiplayer, meaning you can play with your friends on the couch as well as people over the Nintendo Network.
Two game modes have been announced for the online component of Smash. The first mode is For Fun. This mode has random stages, all the items are activated, Final Smash balls are included, and losses aren’t recorded, only victories. For Fun allows you to play with your friends. When playing with your friends online, it will be possible to customize the rules just like when you play the game in offline multiplayer.
For Glory is the more serious game mode. In this mode, you are paired against random people online. This game mode uses only the Final Destination stage, no items, and it is possible to have only 1 on 1 battles. Both wins and losses are recorded.
It might seem silly that only the Final Destination stage is playable in For Glory mode, but in actuality, most of the other stages have been reworked to have a Final Destination appearance for For Glory mode.
Various improvements and changes are coming to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Players will now have their Nintendo Network ID appear above their heads, for example, so that’s a step forward from the pure anonymity found in Brawl’s online mode.
Nintendo is aware that there may be online abuse, and they promise to take measures to punish those that abuse the online functionality, which could culminate in that person being banned from playing the online portion of Super Smash Bros. for a period of time.
There will also be online leaderboards and scoring competitions for solo game modes. There won’t be a traditional ranking system, though matchmaking will be based on recorded player skill.
Replacing a traditional ranking system is the Global Smash Power system. Instead of showing where exactly you rank in the world, it shows you how many people you’re ahead of. As in, you’re ahead of 200,000 people in this particular game mode. There has been some backlash about this feature, but I’m reserving judgment until experiencing it in action.
The new Super Smash Bros. games are also adding new items and bringing back returning items. Here’s the list of items announced during the Nintendo Direct:
Super Smash Bros. Items
Motion Sensor Bomb
Out of the items shown, I was most impressed by the Fire Bar. It is a sword that is made out of the fire bar hazards in the Super Mario Bros. games. It starts off being a long sword made of fire balls, and after each hit, one of the fire balls disappears. All of the new items looked like a lot of fun to use, and I can’t wait to get my hands on them in the new game.
An old challenger approaches!
A multitude of past characters are returning for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, and for good reason — they are some of the most iconic characters not only in the history of Nintendo, but in the history of the industry as a whole. There have been some new challengers added in this year’s entry as well, but first let’s go over the returning characters that are being tweaked in the new games.
Samus will no longer turn into Zero Suit Samus after using her Zero Laser Final Smash. In fact, no characters that previously changed form mid-match will change form anymore. Zero Suit Samus will now be considered her own, standalone character in the game. Because of this, it was necessary for the development team to make her more appealing to play as.
Zero Suit Samus has access to jet boots that allow her to have more powerful kicks and traverse the stages at a much quicker rate. The jet boots also improve her recovery ability.
The other Nintendo gal that used to have two forms is having her forms split into two distinct entities. Princess Zelda is having her move that turned her into her alter-ego of Sheik replaced with a new move called Phantom Slash. This move has her summon a Phantom (from the DS Zelda titles) to attack and defend her. Sheik’s moveset is mostly the same, with two additions: she has a new acrobatic melee attack called the Bouncing Fish, and she also throws a small bomb called the Burst Grenade.
Two characters from the Kirby universe are getting some changes as well. Kirby’s hammer attack can now be charged to deal more damage. His Final Smash has been changed to the Ultra Sword attack.
King Dedede is getting more emotion animations added to his character. He will now toss the spike Gordos characters at his enemies instead of the Waddle Dees that he used in Brawl.
Lucario’s damage has been increased for this game. His aura moves can now be charged just like Kirby’s hammer. And since Pokemon X & Y introduced the concept of Mega Evolutions, Lucario can even reach his Mega Evolution form in battle. So I guess transformations aren’t completely thrown out the window, though I assume his moveset will remain the same.
Captain Olimar is now called Pikmin & Olimar, defined by both the Captain and the little critters that accompany him. Olimar can now have three Pikmin at a time, and they rotate from color to color. Each color of Pikmin has its own strengths and weaknesses, and by having less Pikmin under his command, it adds more strategy to using Olimar as a character. This also makes it easier to see and manage the Pikmin.
Sakurai hopes that this will make for a more balanced Olimar. Plus, his recovery move now utilizes the winged Pikmin that were introduced in Pikmin 3. The more Pikmin Olimar has on him, the heavier he is, so that will have an effect on how useful his recovery move is at the time.
Pit’s gliding ability has been completely taken out of the game, but to make up for his more restricted maneuverability, his attack power has been increased. His Final Smash has been changed to the Three Sacred Treasures. Other fighters besides Lucario and Pit have also had their attack power increased in order to better balance the game.
Yoshi is one of the characters from older games that had yet to be officially confirmed for Smash, but it is now officially confirmed that Yoshi will be in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Yoshi will look a little different this time, now standing upright to better reflect his more recent designs in newer games.
New challengers approaching!
Nintendo released a ton of new information regarding some of the new characters that they have previously announced for the game as well (minus Charizard and Graninja). Rosalina & Luma work like a team. Rosalina can send Luma out to wander the battlefield and control him from afar, or she can keep Luma close.
Rosalina & Luma each have their own movesets. They will be able to use Star Bits (side attack), Launch Star (up attack), and Gravitational Pull (down attack). Their Final Smash is called the Power Star.
The new footage of Little Mac quickly made him my most anticipated character to play as when the games release. Little Mac just looks like pure fun to play as in the game. He is extremely strong on the ground, though he is very weak when in the air. His power on the ground is supposedly insane, and it makes it so he is actually impervious to some of the weaker attacks.
But yeah, the balance of Little Mac comes in the form of his weakness in the air and his terrible recovery ability. So while most characters might have problems taking out Little Mac simply by damage alone, knocking him off the stage seems to be the key to defeating him.
Little Mac’s attacks include the Jolt Haymaker (side attack), Rising Uppercut (up attack), and Slip Counter (down attack). His Final Smash turns him into Giga Mac, which makes him an unstoppable monster not unlike Giga Bowser. I for one can’t wait to see potential Giga Mac vs. Giga Bowser battles in the game.
Little Mac also has a feature that is unique to his character. Above his picture on the screen will be the Power Meter pulled straight from the Punch-Out!! games. Little Mac fills the Power Meter by landing hits and taking hits, and when it is full, he has one shot to land the KO Uppercut, which will take the enemy out in a single shot.
Fans of Punch-Out!! have even more to look forward to in regards to Little Mac being in Super Smash Bros. His appearance in the original Punch-Out!! arcade game, wire frame Mac, can be unlocked and equipped as an alternate costume for him in the game.
Villager from Animal Crossing has a “Pocket” special move, plus the Lloid Rocket (side attack), Balloon Trip (up attack), and Timber (down attack). His Final Smash is called Dream Home, in which Tom Nook and his devilish children build a house around the opponent and blow it up.
Mega Man’s moveset is absolutely insane, drawing inspiration from virtually every appearance he’s ever made in gaming, from his own series to even the Marvel vs. Capcom games. His Final Smash is absolutely incredible, using the combined blasts of his various incarnations throughout gaming history in an epic blast.
The final spotlight went to the Wii Fit Trainers. The male and female version are exactly the same. They have a “Deep Breathing” ability that increases their attack power, and a projectile attack called Sun Salutation.
For the first time in the history of the series, players will also have the ability to customize move sets for the fighters. This feature will not be available when playing online with strangers, for the sake of fairness.
Since the 3DS version is coming out months before the Wii U version, the bigger focus went to the 3DS version of the game in this Direct, and understandably so. We learned of a 3DS exclusive mode that is four player multiplayer, based on the City Trial mode from Kirby Air Ride.
This mode sounds really unique and fun. Four players start on a huge battlefield that is basically just a big dungeon. The dungeon is full of enemies from popular Nintendo franchises, instead of the original enemies that were in Brawl’s story mode. The enemies will be random each time.
Anyway, the goal of the game is to defeat the enemies and search the dungeon for power ups. These power ups will improve the stats of the fighter that you chose. You have five minutes to search the dungeon, and you can interact with or ignore your fellow players as much as you’d like. The stats you will be boosting are Speed, Jump, Attack, Special, Arms, and Defense.
The dungeons can be plagued by special “events”. A few exmaples were shown during the Direct, such as wind that can knock players off the stage and Bullet Bills that will stalk players and follow them throughout the entire dungeon. It is also possible to earn items in this mode that can be equipped to the fighters before starting.
Once the five minutes are up, the stats are tallied and then the fighters battle it out in a regular Smash Bros. game, albeit with the improved stats that came as a result of playing through the dungeon.
This is the full roster of fighters that will be included in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, based on the information that we currently have. Expect more fighters to be announced for the games in the coming months, especially at Nintendo’s E3 presentation this year.
Characters in italics are those that are new additions to the roster. I am including Charizard, Zero Suit Samus, and Sheik as new additions as this is the first time that they are playable completely by themselves.
Super Smash Bros. Roster
Bowser (Super Mario Bros.)
Diddy Kong (Donkey Kong Country)
Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong)
Fox (Star Fox)
Link (The Legend of Zelda)
Little Mac (Punch-Out!!)
Luigi (Super Mario Bros.)
Mario (Super Mario Bros.)
Marth (Fire Emblem)
Mega Man (Mega Man)
Peach (Super Mario Bros.)
Pikmin & Olimar (Pikmin)
Pit (Kid Icarus)
Rosalina & Luma (Super Mario Galaxy)
Sheik (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Toon Link (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)
Villager (Animal Crossing)
Wii Fit Trainers (Wii Fit)
Zelda (The Legend of Zelda)
Zero Suit Samus (Metroid)
* * *
Super Smash Bros. marks one of the last chances for Nintendo to redeem the Wii U. It will also be another stellar addition to the 3DS’s insanely good library of games. The 3DS version will be available at some point this summer. The Wii U version is set for winter of 2014. It will most likely release in November with all the other biggest games.