On September 12th, “select” Club Nintendo Platinum Members got their hands on four codes each for the Super Smash Bros. demo on Nintendo 3DS. Why just select members for an intangible good with infinite quantity? Who knows!? My conspiracy theory of choice is that Nintendo didn’t want an abundance of traffic breaking the eShop, because the mustachioed video game company doesn’t think it can handle the business of its most loyal customers and their buddies at the same time.
Let’s not be too negative, though! It’s a Super Smash Bros. demo, and everyone will be able to download it on September 19th. Heck, everyone will be able to buy the full game on October 3rd! I wasn’t able to get codes emailed me, since I was too forgetful and lazy to redeem enough of my codes for Platinum Status last time around, but I was still able to able to snag two codes for me and my friend. We both loved the demo. It’s a nice little tease at what is sure to be a delightful time.
The demo is very bare-bones; players can only battle locally or against CPUs on the standard “Battlefield” stage in a two-minute points-based match, using Mario, Link, Pikachu, Villager and Mega Man. This does, however, allow for hours of solid fun that shows off a lot of new quirks that seasoned Smash Bros. players will salivate over.
There are welcome changes to both Link and Pikachu specifically. Whenever Link goes into a running standard attack, he lunges at his foe, just like in the actual Zelda games. This animation is so much cooler than the bland slash of his sword from past games. Something I’m a huge fan of with Pikachu is the big-time nerfing that has been done to his down special attack. In past Smash games, spamming of Pikachu’s lightning bolt from the sky was a constant annoyance, but now, it is less powerful and lasts for a shorter amount of time. No more will you have to worry about that one annoying friend of yours who only plays as Pikachu in the most irksome way possible. Mario seemed just about the same as he was in Brawl to me, but he still gets to take advantage of a change every character gets: whenever a devastating hit is landed on a foe, there is a flashy visual effect around the character, increasing the satisfaction in a simple way.
Capcom’s Mega Man and Animal Crossing’s Villager are both interesting characters that don’t quite feel like any other Smash combatant, especially the former. Mega Man’s standard attack, standard running attack, and side smash attack are all projectiles, which is an odd thing to get used to. Having a projectile-based smash attack offers a big one-up over your opponents, making fully-charged hits much easier to land. Not having a melee attack to use while on the ground, however, is pretty inconvenient. Mega Man is checked and balanced in a neat, fair way, making him a fun and unique character.
I was interested to get past the meme-laden hype and give Villager a shot, and he did not disappoint. I prefer playing as Villager, a more mechanically standard character that is aesthetically strange. Riding atop a rocketing gyroid into rivals is a blast. His down special, which is a four-button process that eventually sends a tree into opponents for huge damage, is a creative mechanic that works best in four-player battles. While not as cool as Mega Man’s, which calls forth every version of the blue bomber for a big cooperative laser blast, Villager’s final smash is a cute callback to the Animal Crossing games, featuring that dastardly Tom Nook building a seemingly explosive-filled house for Villager’s foes.
The new items included in this demo are all fantastic. Some of my favorites are the Ore Club, Bullet Bill, Galaga Boss, and Special Flag. The Ore Club, pulled from Kid Icarus: Uprising, allows for walloping hits that are follows by big tornadoes that push foes off of platforms. Allowing players to rocket off in the direction of their choosing and packing a solid punch is Super Mario Bros.’s Bullet Bill. The Galaga Boss lurks around in the area, scooping players up off the stage if they land in its abduction ray. Pulled from Rally-X, the Special Flag gives a player an extra point (or stock, once those kinds of matches are eventually available to the masses) if they hold in the standard attack button long enough; this is unlike any other item in Smash Bros. thus far.
The game looks and feels great. The graphics are about on-par with Brawl as is expected. The flat art for all of the characters in the menus are great-looking, taking advantage of a detailed and dynamic style. The 3D looks great, with multiple layers to it and occasional pop-out effects. It doesn’t control as well as it does on a GameCube controller, but it works about as well as it can on this system.
It’s the little things that made me most excited for this game to finally come out. It really says something about the popularity of game whenever slight variations in animation is enough to get fists pumping, and Smash Bros. is one of those games. October 3rd, dudes.
This piece was originally posted on “The Gaming Groove.”
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