I don’t know how you’re supposed to “review” Super Smash Brothers for the 3DS. It may be impossible. Or unnecessary. I don’t know which. We made a comic about the genuinely bizarre ecosystem they’ve rendered here, a brutal place where sentients are reduced to mere calories.
It isn’t like reviewing a specific dish, let’s say. It’s like reviewing a specific taste which is so unlike other tastes that it could not be confused for them, and for which there exists a trained hunger on the part of a defined constituency. There are people who can go into this with a lot of specificity, perhaps, but my suspicion is that most people play Super Smash Brothers similar to how I do. I primarily interact with this franchise by losing over and over again to Gabriel. But I don’t mind, somehow? Nobody likes to be exiled so hard they become a jet of superheated plasma. But the slapstick interactions and the zany sets make it hard for me to get too angry. The way I deal with my frustration and unrecognized talent is to play another round.
The form factor must represent some novelty, perhaps; it used to be that the “portable edition” could reliably be understood as the “deprecated, thoroughly avoidable edition” with some confidence. Except it’s not, and this is a very strange business. I find the store on that handheld to be somewhat “hm.” It doesn’t seem to know what to do with the screen; it is like a multidimensional being trying to squeeze itself into our universe. But you should brave it and grab the demo, so that you can see what’s up. It’s very much a pass/fail sort of thing. You want a GMO mutant platformer shooter fighting game or you don’t. And if you did, what else could you possibly buy? Actually, don’t answer that. There’s a couple options, now; Indies have begun to retool the brawler toward their own dark purpose. I’ll cover that later. But they’re too young to have this kind of legacy.
There is so much shit in here I “can’t even.” After innumerable games of regular old Super Smash, maybe you’ll want to fight the AI with your friends? Maybe you’ll choose to trawl through novel single player challenges. Maybe you’ll enter a labyrinth and earn powerups for five minutes before doing battle with your customized characters? I don’t know. How many games can you buy at once?
It’s also got this StreetSmash thing, what you might call “Combat Shuffleboard,” that is this game’s obligatory “For The Love of God, Use Streetpass” thing. I like Streetpass; I may even love Streetpass. It’s spontaneous fermentation. But there’s always gotta be something, and Combat Shuffleboard offers up a kind of electronic Andes Mint.
If we must criticize this love-him-or-hate-him Weird Uncle, there is an easy in: it’s the weird lag you sometimes get in multiplayer. It’s not super clear to me what starts it or stops it, and sometimes you don’t see it, but you can be playing an online game against two CPUs and lag which is a weird one. You can also lag against somebody in the same room? Again, sometimes. Science is probably required. I would love it if I didn’t need this paragraph in the future.