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Contrast Review: Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U/3DS

These games have been two of the most hyped games to be released last year, and for good reason. If you have been living under a rock for the past three years, Super Smash Bros for the 3DS and the Wii U are the fourth and fifth games in the critically acclaimed party brawler series from Kirby's Dreamland series creator Masahiro Sakurai, but I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that. As such, this review is going to be slightly different than what I normally do. Because of the varying contrast between the content of the two versions of the game, this time I'm gonna compare the two and tell you which version would better suit your gaming palette.

Character Select Screen

Now if you are worried about what characters are available in each version, you have no need to worry about that. Both versions of the game have the exact same cast of nearly fifty characters which include Mario, Link, Pikachu, Fox, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Kirby (just to name a few), but the number of unlockable characters is reduced in the Wii U version. While there are twelve characters to unlock in the 3DS version, the Wii U version has four of these characters already unlocked from the get go which reduces the amount of work needed.

Returning from Super Smash Bros Brawl are the challenges. Challenges are in both versions of the game, but they are split up into three separate pages on the 3DS version with a total of 105 relatively easy ones to complete whereas the Wii U version has 140 moderately more difficult ones all on one page. Completing a challenge will give you a reward and a special picture to view as a little bonus.

Classic Mode also makes a return in these games as it always has since the series' beginning, but this time it has gotten a drastic overhaul. On the 3DS, you go through branching paths of varying difficulty (Blue = Easy, Green = Normal, Red = Hard) and it feels very similar to how Classic Mode has been in past games, but in the Wii U version, Classic Mode is more based on your actual skill level as there are multiple groups of fighters each with a varying number of opponents and the occasional rival and surprise ambush.

All-Star Mode

All-Star Mode makes a return yet again from its introduction in Super Smash Bros Melee, but it feels a little bit different this time around. Like in Brawl, you face every character in the game in order of character's creation and release according to the real world (with the exception of the customizable Mii Fighters), but the direction of the order you face them in differs per version. In the 3DS version, you fight them in chronological order. In the Wii U version, you fight them in reverse chronological order. Also, unlike the previous games in the series, All-Star Mode is unlocked from the start with more available opponents to face every time a new one is unlocked.

Now for the mode everyone knows about, SMASH MODE. This is the game's basic free-for-all versus mode in which you choose your character and beat the crap out of your opponent on one of dozens of different stages inspired by a game in Nintendo's MASSIVE repertoire of franchises. The types of battles that can be done include Timed, Stock, and Coin battles and each can be played in teams. Smash mode can also be played online in modes called "For Fun" which has all items on and uses every stage except for Final Destination, and "For Glory" which all items are turned off and the only stage available is Final Destination or a visual variation of it.

Mario amiibo

Now new to these two games are character customization and amiibo support. With character customization, you can apply badges to a character that will boost one stat and hinder another and modify their special moves to better suit your tastes (I personally made a version of Mario that had completely fire based attacks). These customizations can also be applied to the amiibo that have been getting released these past few months. Amiibo fighters are completely AI controlled with no input by the player at all, but at their lower levels they can be trained to fight better by mimicking the player's fighting style. It should also be noted that amiibo support on the 3DS is limited to the "New" 3DS only.

Stadium mode also returns from the previous games, but with some slight alterations. Break the Targets has been completely removed and a new mode called Target Blast has taken its place. The 3DS version only has one stage while the Wii U version has three and if you want an idea of what Target Blast plays like, think Angry Birds but instead of a slingshot, you're launching a large bomb with a character's smash attack. 15-Minute smash mode in the Stadium has also been replaced with a new mode called Rival Smash in which you have to knock out more opponents than a CPU controlled rival character. The Fighting Alloy Team from Brawl in Stadium has also been replaced with the Fighting Mii Team. I find this to be pretty humorous as the Mii's faces are taken from the system's internal memory (I have some pretty low brow ones on my systems).

Now, here is what is exclusive to each version.

Returning from Brawl are the Event Matches, but these are exclusive to the Wii U version of the game. Event Matches are special battles with very specific win conditions. Some examples would include defeating a specific character before a computer controlled rival, or even preventing a hoard of slowly falling enemies from landing of the stage. Each event also has a secondary win condition that will reward you with a special prize should you succeed.

Also returning from Brawl and are exclusive to the Wii U are the Masterpieces. Masterpiece are demos of classic games that last anywhere between 1 to 5 minutes in length. If you happen to like the game's demo by the time the timer runs out, you are given the option to buy the game from the eShop which is a very nice convenience.

Stage Builder

The Stage Builder also returns to the Wii U version of the game, but it simultaneously got both an upgrade and a downgrade in terms of content. The upgrade is the ability to draw the stage you're building with the Wii U's Gamepad. The downgrade on the other hand is the lack of stage additions you can add to what you're creating compared to Brawl. While the free form drawing is very nice and extremely cool, I feel a bit let down by the removal of so many options from the last game. Overall though, what you are given gets the job done, but I was still hoping for more.

New to the game and exclusive to the Wii U version is Special Orders mode. Special orders gives you randomized rules and opponents to fight with a guaranteed prize should you succeed. In Master Orders you pay a small sum of coins to take one of three challenges and the options reset with each win or loss. In Crazy Orders however, you can either pay a fairly high sum of coins or pay with an Orders Pass which can be won from Event Matches or from the roulette in Classic Mode. In Crazy Orders, you go round after round with most damage kept after each round until you feel like you don't have the confidence to continue any further. Whatever damage you accrued from the previous rounds will be then calculated into health for the final battle with Crazy Hand and any minions he may have helping him.

Donkey Kong gets wrecked by a Polar Bear

Exclusive to the 3DS version is Smash Run mode which is a 5 minute trial in a MASSIVE map where you collect stat boosting items to help increase your chances of winning a special challenge after the time is up. To find stat boosters, you need to defeat enemies from many different Nintendo games and some from games made by Capcom, Namco and Sega. It is actually very similar to the City Trial mode in Kirby Air Ride. The Wii U version has something slightly similar to this mode, but it is a much more party based mode called Smash Tour. This mode is played on one of 3 different maps of varying sizes with your Miis to act as the game pieces, but the general concept is the same: collect stat boosting items to improve your chances in the final match. Honestly though, I personally think Smash Run is much better than Smash Tour.

The Main Eight in 8-Player Smash

And now the pi√ɬ®ce de réstistance, 8-PLAYER SMASH. This mode is exclusive to the Wii U version of the game and it is a damn fun mode to be had. You and up to seven other people can compete in these fantastically outrageous battles on a select few set of stages that can support the load of eight characters at once. But there is a catch. If you want to play with eight people, you will need to get at least one Game Cube controller adapter due to the fact that only four wireless controllers can linked to the console at any one time. In my opinion though, the Game Cube controller is the way to go anyway.

Now comes the verdict. The controls are tight and responsive, the music is fantastic, and everything else will keep you occupied for a very long time like collecting trophies and betting coins on the online spectator mode. If you're like me and enjoy playing games with other people in the same room, then get the Wii U version. Almost all the game modes in the Wii U version can be played in co-op mode with friend which is very nice. However, if you aren't the person who spends a lot of time playing TV games or if you travel a lot, then I would recommend the 3DS version as the game can be taken over to a friend's house for use as a controller for the Wii U version or you can play the 3DS exclusive Street Smash game mode when you encounter a random person with the game when out and about. I guess you could also get both if you have the money, but until then, I'll be seeing you.

3DS Score:

Wii U Score:


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