VG Tribune

Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

October 10, 2014 / 8:24 PM

By: Zack O'Neill

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is the first part of the fourth entry in the critically acclaimed series. Announced back in 2011, the game has been hyped up for more than three years, with Masahiro Sakurai posting screenshots from the game on Miiverse, only adding to the collective hype felt by Nintendo fans worldwide. Now that the game has been available for a month or so in Japan, and only a week in the rest of the world, it’s time we take an analytical  look at the game that we’ve been waiting so long for.



The gameplay feels more balanced than Brawl did, though there are certain characters who feel like they’re at a massive disadvantage whenever they’re being used. Specifically characters like Mega Man and Palutena. While Mega Man does control extremely similarly to the original NES games, it doesn’t perfectly translate to the Smash format; and most of his moves (almost all are ranged) are underpowered, so you won’t be doing much damage to your opponents. At the same time, some characters like Little Mac are extremely powerful, but have a tradeoff that ends up being very significant. Little Mac hits hard, really hard, and a lot of Smash fans have been angry over just how powerful he is, especially with his K.O. punch that builds up just like it did in Punch Out. The downside to using Little Mac is that he can barely recover from falling. When Sakurai told us that Little Mac would be powerful on the ground but weak in the air, he wasn’t kidding. You have to act fast if you need him to recover, or else you’re absolutely doomed. Most of the characters besides these feel fine though, everyone takes some getting used to because of the new control scheme.

The new controls featured on the 3DS may be a bit more familiar to those of us who played Brawl using the classic controller, but most Smash players have been using a gamecube controller for more than 10 years. The controls are easy enough to get used to though, so it’s not really a problem. We’re all pretty used to using an actual control stick rather than the 3DS’ circle pad as well, so as a result, many players have been a bit too rough with the circle pad, causing it to break off of the 3DS. This is a massive problem that’s more on the fanbase than Nintendo itself. The vast majority of Smash players have kept their 3DS intact, the destruction caused by intense Smash playing is the result of not being careful enough with the new hardware.

There are multiple game modes, as there have been in every game in the series thus far. The game modes include Smash, Classic, All-Star, Online, Multi-Man Smash, Home Run Contest, Target Blast, Streetsmash, Smash Run, and Trophy Rush.  Smash is just the regular matches were you can play as a character of your choice against any other character in a battle with rules of your own choice. This should be familiar to any Smash Bros. fan, as it’s the main attraction to any game in the series. Classic is the single player campaign that has been available since the first game, this time with a new twist: You choose the difficulty level at the start, which allows you to get more or less prizes from each battle, and you choose your own path. Each path is color coded by how hard the next battle will be, and it goes through the typical battle types that have always been present: a few regular characters, a metal character, a giant character, a team battle, a free-for-all, a battle against a group of the same character, and the final Master Hand battle. There is a new boss at the end if you go down the path leading to Master Hand and Crazy Hand though, so it can get even more difficult.

Out of the new modes, the one that is strangely the most fun is Trophy Rush. Boxes fall from the sky and you have to break them and build up the “fever” bar. You can be thrown off the edge by explosions from bomb blocks or fire blocks; if you fall off, then you lose time. Time is important because you have to pay to get more time from the start, with a maximum of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Once you manage to fill up the fever bar, coin blocks, trophy blocks, and custom blocks will be all that falls from the sky for a short time. Break as many of these as you can and you get more money to spend on Trophy Rush or the trophy shop, as well as trophies and custom moves/items.

Smash Run has been shown off nonstop through more Miiverse Pic of the Days than I can count, and honestly it’s a massive letdown. It’s inspired by City Trial from Kirby Air-Ride, where you would ride around a city, collecting power-ups in preparation for a final battle against other players. In Smash’s case, you choose your character and run around a huge map killing enemies from various Nintendo games (mostly Kid Icarus though), and getting power-ups from each one you kill. They helps you in the final battle, which can be anything from a free-for-all match to jumping to the top of a tower before anyone else. During the main Smash Run game, you have five minutes to collect your power-ups, as it alerts you that bosses have showed up for you to defeat, but you probably won’t be able to. All the boss enemies are highly overpowered and only appear for a short time, not anywhere near enough time to actually beat them, so why even bother? Just go find a bunch of smaller enemies you can kill to get more power-ups.

Streetsmash is also disappointing, but I understand that there’s not much that could really be done with streetpass in Smash Bros. In streetsmash, you have a coin with a picture of a character of your choosing, and you have to hold on the A button to charge up an attack to hit other coins off of a small platform. It’s really strange and not worth your time, but if you want to complete all of the game’s challenges, you’re going to have to play it.

Lastly for the gameplay portion is the online mode. You can play with friends or with anyone, and if you go with anyone, then you have two choices for the game type: For Fun and For Glory. For Fun is any stage you want with all items on. For Glory is the typical competitive definition of a Smash game: all items off, Final Destination only. Luckily, with the addition of Omega Mode in Smash 4, you can pick any stage and have it be equal to Final Destination, meaning no stage hazards and one flat platform to battle on. In addition, conquest mode was added, where you go into For Glory and choose one of two characters to contribute to the the worldwide conquest with that character. The more points you score as that character, the higher that character’s worldwide score goes up, and you get prizes once the character you chose wins. The problem with online is the same issue that we’ve been deal with in any Nintendo game since the beginning of their online functionality: it is ridiculously laggy. It can actually go two ways, so much lag that it’s absolutely unplayable, or completely perfect. There doesn’t seem to be any in-between. Strangely enough it’s the same if you’re playing locally with friends; even if you’re just feet from eachother, the game can lag, freeze, and die for no discernible reason, or it can play perfectly with no problem.


The Smash soundtrack is absolutely astounding, as can be expected from the series. With more than 30 successful game composers working on the soundtrack, it’s guaranteed to be good, but it passes all expectations. Most of the music seems to be remixes of classic tracks from all the games represented in Smash Bros., and every one sounds wonderful. As an example, take this remix of the Gerudo Valley theme from Ocarina of Time.

Better yet, the sound test mode allows you to plug in headphones, close your 3DS, and use it as an mp3 player to listen to the soundtrack whenever you like. If I was rating this game purely on the music (which I’m not), I’d give it a perfect 10. It’s great to know that this is just a small fraction of the music that will be available on Smash Wii U.



This game looks beautiful for a 3DS game. Probably the best graphics you’re going to find on the 3DS. While it may still have a lot of aliasing, this has been a consistent issue with Nintendo and  comes as no surprise, especially on a handheld. It has been shown that higher-poly models are used when you pause the game, and that makes sense, because you can take screenshots when paused, and you want them looking good. The lower-poly models used during gameplay don’t seem any different when in motion, as it’s on a small screen, and having those lower-poly models allow the game to run at a faster speed. This is a very good choice on Nintendo’s part; it makes the game run smoothly, and look fantastic at the same time.



Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is an insanely fun game, despite it’s shortcomings. Lots of fun can be had playing it with friends and by yourself when you’re not able to play a home version of Smash. While it certainly won’t be used in the tournament scene due to its controls and lag problems, it can be used to have fun playing smash on the go, just like we’ve always wanted. It only builds up even more hype knowing that we’ve still got the Wii U version coming out on the 21 of November.

VGTribune gives Super Smash Bros for 3DS an 8 out of 10

This review was based off of a self purchased copy of the title.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS


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About the author /

Zack started working at VGTribune at 15 years old and has been gaming since the the age of 2. He is currently in college studying film and technology with plans to continue in the game industry. He’s also really good at Counter Strike.

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