Originally published on Pixelitis.net on June 17, 2014.
The star of Nintendo’s booth at E3 2014 was undoubtedly Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. And by its sheer presence, you could tell that Nintendo was ready to devote their time to have fans take part in all things Smash.
An enormous portion of the show floor was devoted to Super Smash Bros. with Wii U demo stations equipped with four Gamecube controllers. It was readily apparent that Nintendo pushed all they had into these stations. After all, this game is the sole reason we’re even getting our sweaty palms on a Gamecube controller adapter for the Wii U in the first place.
While there were a whole bunch of fantastically promising games that I delved into throughout the course of the expo, I found myself getting lured back to Super Smash Bros. for repeated attempts at trying to kick everyone’s asses with newcomers like Mega Man, Little Mac and Greninja.
While I’ll admit that the ass-kicking wasn’t always done by me (I seemed to excel more in that regard in the 3DS version), I’d like to think that I still left the booth with a ton of enjoyment.
Nintendo’s Wii U demo structure allowed groups of four to play two rounds of Time Attack mode for a total of four minutes. Round one was dubbed a “practice” round, with the winner of round two scoring a Super Smash Bros. t-shirt.
While the full roster of characters wasn’t available, players could choose among several classic returners like Mario, Link, Marth and Samus while also giving new fighters like the aforementioned Mega Man, Little Mac, Greninja as well as Rosalina, Villager and Wii Fit Trainer a spin.
Perhaps it’s due to the use of the Gamecube controller, but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U seems to handle much like Super Smash Bros. Brawl with just a tad increase in speed. While the game’s overall feel may be the same, it’s really more about the new characters, levels and the much-needed upgrade in visual fidelity that players will relish.
I had tons of fun with new levels from games like Pilotwings and Kid Icarus: Uprising, although I admittedly didn’t enjoy Dr. Wily’s Castle stage as much. I blame the infamous Yellow Devil boss from the original Mega Man, who occasionally forms on screen to completely get in your way and damage you. I imagine most players will want to play this level in “Final Destination” mode, with no meddling yellow blob figures to bother you and cause an unfair advantage for another player.
New fighters like Mega Man and Greninja will take some getting used to. Mega Man’s up+B special move, in which he springs off a Rush Coil, doesn’t seem to damage any opponents. This renders his triple jump to be just that, which differs from most other fighters whose up+B moves can at least dish out some form of pain on unsuspecting fighters. Nevertheless, Mega Man has a ton of cool moves that hearken back to past Mega Man titles, including the Leaf Shield from Mega Man 2 and the Flame Blast from Mega Man 6.
And his Final Smash attack? Yeah, it’s even more awesome to watch that when you’re the one dishing out that attack.
Little Mac is an absolute powerhouse on the ground. Like Director Masahiro Sakurai mentioned in an update about the game a few months back, Little Mac’s power on the ground is offset by his incredible vulnerability in the air. His one-hit KO charging punch, which is built up via an onscreen meter, will prove to be a significant game-changer in how matches are played where he is involved. I’d wager to say that for this very reason, he might need to be retooled a bit before the game ships.
The game doesn’t feel like a humongous change, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. At least there’s no ridiculous “tripping” mechanic.
What I truly just want out of this game at this point is a confirmation of Ness’ and Captain Falcon’s inclusion. The reveal of Pac-Man won’t soften the disappointment I will feel if those two have been removed.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U releases in Winter 2014, with the 3DS version coming a wee bit earlier on Oct. 3, 2014. For a write-up of the 3DS version, check out Karen Rivera’s impressions here.