Platforms Wii U
Publisher Nintendo Developer Bandai Namco Games and Sora, Ltd.
Since Super Smash Bros. Wii U has both many similarities and differences to its 3DS counterpart, I decided to not talk about certain things in this review for the sake of repeating. For the full scoop on Super Smash Bros., read our 3DS review as well.
One of the kings of local couch gaming has triumphantly returned in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (SSB Wii U), the – technically – fifth title in the series.
The Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (SB 3DS) iteration is fantastic, especially for its first jab to portable platforms, and it’s something everyone who has the system should own. It still astounds me at how much content is packed into one cartridge. However, SSB Wii U is both the definitive version of the game and a perfect reason for any gamer to own the system.
Following franchise traditions, the central point of SSB Wii U is getting together with friends to fight one another using Nintendo’s most revered mascots spanning the past three-plus decades.
While the 3DS version has several of the same modes and features, SSB Wii U includes alterations or additions. The following is a list of some of the differences in the Wii U version:
- Players now have access to Jigglypuff, Ganondorf, Ness and Bowser Jr. from the start, totaling the beginning roster to 41 characters.
- While only a few stages are in both versions, SSB Wii U contains stages designed after games from Nintendo’s home consoles. Past stages have also received a facelift.
- A completely different set of 140 challenges to fulfill, some of which require much skill.
- Not only are there more trophies to collect, but, like the stages, they mostly tailor to Nintendo’s home consoles. Trophies are also shown in a museum-like displays by series.
- Unlike the Classic mode in SB 3DS where players weren’t always fully sure who they were facing, SSB Wii U has players picking and choosing their battles. There is also a rival system where the longer you hold off fighting a randomly chosen character, the stronger they get, but the greater the rewards are in return.
- The final boss in Classic mode has an additional form on higher difficulties called Master Fortress.
- Classic, Target Blast and Home-Run Contest can be played either cooperatively or competitively, though Classic is solely co-op. Target Blast also has two new stages.
- All-Star now has players facing opponents in reverse chronological order.
- Multiplayer has special modes similar to past games.
- More music tracks, some of which must be unlocked in various ways.
SB 3DS was already packed with plenty of content, but the mix of slight to significant changes in SSB Wii U further expands upon what was already a fantastic party and fighting game experience.
SSB Wii U also offers several fantastic and exclusive facets.
Replacing the dreadful Smash Run mode from SB 3DS is the Mario Party-like Smash Tour. Four players and their Miis are put on one of three game boards – small, medium or large – to acquire as many fighters as possible within a set number of turns and use them in a final battle. By using trophies, players can either use them to benefit themselves or hinder an opponent.
Like a Japanese game show, I had no clue what I was watching while playing my first round of Smash Tour. It may take a couple of rounds to fully understand everything going on during a game, but once you get it down, it’s a surprising breath of fresh air. It has the friendship-ruining factors from Mario Party mixed with some Smash rounds and Stadium events, making it worth an occasional playthrough with friends.
Events, one of my favorite parts in the series since Super Smash Bros. Melee’s debut, make a triumphant return in SSB Wii U. Events are a series of challenges using each character in the game. One event had me playing as Little Mac pitted against three other Little Macs while I started out with 100 percent damage, whereas another event had me face against the fighters originally introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
With 85 total events, 55 from solo and 30 from two-player co-op, there is not only plenty to accomplish, but much challenge and fun to indulge in. Adding further challenge is the newly implemented reward system. If, for example, I complete an event on a certain difficulty within a time limit, I am given one of several different rewards.
Series bosses Master Hand and Crazy Hand now run their own modes as well: Master Orders and Crazy Orders respectively. Both, which are placed under Special Orders, involve risk by potentially spending big money for even bigger rewards.
Master Orders has players picking one scenario at a time with a specified difficulty to earn a prize. This mode is great for those wanting both a quick challenge and reward without the high risk factor.
On the other hand – pun intended – Crazy Orders is truly something to watch out for when taking a literal gamble. By spending either 5000 coins, which is quite a lot, or a ticket acquired through various methods, players are given 10 minutes to complete as many challenges as possible with little healing between rounds. Once a player feels they have reached their limit, Crazy Hand awaits you in one final battle for all of the rewards.
Going through Crazy Orders is quite intense, and losing a round after any progress you make considering the admission price alone truly is devastating. If you can make it out of Crazy Orders in one piece after going through several rounds or more though, the rewards are fulfilling and satisfying.
The multiplayer is, of course, as fun as ever with friends on the big screen, but Nintendo has included something I never thought possible: Eight-player Smash. Separated into its own mode, eight-player Smash is amazingly chaotic and finally gives people who have sat idle for rounds at a time doing nothing the opportunity to jump in the game immediately. It’s sometimes a bit difficult finding where your character is, but it doesn’t detract any fun from the experience.
The sole hindrance to the eight-player Smash experience is the exclusion of numerous stages. While I would understand if small stages were left out altogether due to the chaotic nature of having eight players on one screen, not all of them are. Why can I play on Onett, perhaps the smallest stage in the entire series, but not Final Destination – not only a staple stage in the franchise, but the most basic non-Omega stage? It simply doesn’t make sense.
At least if you do have eight people playing, the game is not running dry on controller options. With seven choices, nearly every controller from the Gamecube era – if you were lucky enough to snag an adapter when they launched – is at the player’s disposal. Anyone playing SSB Wii U will find their comfort zone thanks to these options.
Even the various 3DS systems are an option as wireless controllers – though you are required to have a copy of SB 3DS to use it. It’s not only surprisingly comfortable taking the portable console to the big screen, but it has fantastic response time as well. While it’s not my first choice as a controller, I certainly wouldn’t grumble if I was forced to use it.
Though this part of the game is minute since players are given a wealth of stage options, the most disappointing part of SSB Wii U is the wasted potential found in the stage creator. Using the GamePad, players can draw out their own levels and add elements such as shooting barrels or lava if they wish to, but that’s almost where the options end. There are even less choices here than with Brawl’s stage creator. With the power of an HD console, there was a greatly missed opportunity to include more stage elements here.
I would also get random messages in the middle of building saying I couldn’t make more ground because there wasn’t enough of it. I clearly wasn’t finished with what I was trying to do, and this message frustratingly popped up multiple times when I attempted to faithfully recreate the original Smash Bros’. Sector Z stage.
Though the online component contains the same modes from SB 3DS, connecting to a game is incredibly fast on the console version. However, I experienced slight lag in all of my matches. It certainly doesn’t ruin the experience like Brawl’s online, and it’s a lot of fun to play, but players looking for the best experience should probably buy a Wii Ethernet adapter.
No matter what you choose to do with the wealth of options to play with, you can still bask in the gorgeous eye candy that is SSB Wii U. Seeing Smash in HD for the first time is astonishing. Every detail from character costumes to particle effects and stage environments is shown with absolute vibrancy no matter how much is going on in battles.
I could easily spend hours viewing the smallest spectacles of detail packed into the game’s hundreds of trophies as well. You can tell many of them took serious man hours to create, something the developers should be commended for.
SSB Wii U is simultaneously the title everyone should desire and the definitive game when compared to the 3DS version – even if you already own the latter. It contains astronomical content and fine-tuned details from visuals to fighting mechanics that can be enjoyed by anyone of any experience. With eight players now being able to partake in one battle, anyone will be hard-pressed finding a better game to play with multiple people. SSB Wii U alone is a fantastic reason to own the Wii U.
- Classic multiplayer with friends
- Adds further content compared to 3DS version
- Smash Tour much better than Smash Run
- Eight-player battles
- Wii U exclusive aspects
- Gorgeous visuals
- Dull and sometimes frustrating stage creator
- Nonsensical limitation in stage choices for eight-player mode
- Slight online lag
The Score: 9.3
Robbie Key is the Nintendo editor for Analog Addiction, editor-in-chief for the Pine Log at Stephen F. Austin State University and blogger for IGN. Follow his completely relevant Twitter updates, watch his awesometacular YouTube videos, and view his LinkedIn profile.