Super Smash Bros. is, first and foremost, a console experience. From the N64 all the way to the Wii, the all-star Nintendo franchise has been exclusive to the console. This all changes with the next installment of the chaotic fighting series … well, installments, I should say, as the game is not only launching on the Nintendo Wii U, but the 3DS, as well.
This is the first time Smash will ever appear on a portable platform, yet my reaction was immediately sour. Sakurai’s revelation that resources will be split to create two games only sounded like trouble to me – any resources not being devoted to the console game seemed like a tragic misstep. Would the Wii U version suffer from the 3DS’s existence? That’s the question that dominated my train of thought.
At first, I felt like Smash for Wii U would end up being a lacking experience. Sakurai is known for commenting on how painful the development of Melee for the Gamecube was. Still, its sequel Brawl was jam-packed with much more content than its predecessor and even had a larger roster with almost forty different characters. None of these games had resources diverted to a portable game being made at the same time.
I came to the realization later that this seemed a bit silly – would Nintendo ever let Super Smash Bros., one of the company’s most popular and best-selling franchises, be a lackluster experience no matter what the circumstances? I couldn’t come to terms with that consideration.
Of course, the move itself is a smart one by Nintendo, having two versions of essentially the same game. Not only will they sell more copies with two versions over one, but the 3DS sales will likely skyrocket out of the gate, thanks to the power of the 3DS sales figures. It’s the best-selling, gaming-dedicated, portable video game device and will be exclusively the only system in the world to have Smash in its library. That’s an advantage Nintendo would never pass up.
I think Smash fundamentally being on a portable system for the first time is what finally allowed me to love Smash for 3DS. Just the feeling and experience of playing Smash on a handheld, on two screens no less, is extremely exciting to me. You’re able to grind all hours of the day at home with the console game, then you have the 3DS version ready at your fingertips whenever you’re away from the Wii U. It sounds like every Smasher’s dreams coming to life all at once.
While these two games are indeed platform counterparts, they also sport exclusive features, such as stages that only appear in a certain game depending on the version (stages based on console games will appear on the Wii U while stages based on portable games will appear on the 3DS). This could be one of the most underrated parts of the new installments in the series – I am interested in seeing what these differences are cooked up and the diversity of locales we explore in each version.
Smash for 3DS could likely be one of those games you really need to get your hands on before you understand. Sure, everyone gets the basic concept of Smash Bros. – Nintendo characters beat the crap out of each other – but jamming into a car, everyone sporting their 3DSes ready to play; finding people via local wireless in a city or park to battle with; challenging family members around the house to matches all the way from your bedroom; the list goes on. The Smash experience completely changes when you bring the portable platform into the mix!
Could tournaments even benefit from this? While it’s certain the console version of the next Smash game will be the tournament standard, we could see some interest in a similar tournament scene for the 3DS version. Or, at the very least, the 3DS version could be good practice whenever you lack the opportunity to practice at home with your console.
The opportunities and possibilities are endless, and for that, I’m thankful there’s a version for both of Nintendo’s major platforms (my wallet will be less than thankful, though). Popping that Smash card into the 3DS will be one of the most glorious moments of my life as a Smasher. Are you just as excited?