Games / Game Reviews

Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS


By Sean Booker
October 29, 2014 - 10:51

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (Smash 3DS) is a great continuation of this party/fighting game formula with minor irritations due to hardware limitations. The usual chaotic, character focused gameplay returns with new and interesting fighters, stages and modes. Classic options are tweaked to bring out new life while an air of respect is shown toward dedicated fans. The system itself just feels too small to contain everything and properly control what this game fully has to offer. Smash 3DS is a good version of this franchise but will easily make you wishing that the next home console version was here instead.


There is a balance between fighting and chaotic party games that Smash Bros. has always walked most genuinely. The game is nicely able to combine a simple control scheme with a good deal of depth and variation to explore if interested. Smash 3DS plays the same as we have come to expect. The larger-than-ever roster’s characters will battle it out on colorful and exciting stages. There is a playable fighter for everyone as the scope of options covers a huge portion of Nintendo. Bonus characters from outside make appearances again and unlocking new challengers continues to make playing through the game a constant joy.

The stage selection is definitely exciting this time around. Not only will every character have a dedicated stage from their franchise but even more meta options exist. A stage dedicated to the Pictochat application from the original DS is a weird and welcomed addition. To counter this there is a real respect found in Nintendo’s choice to add in Omega stages. These look and sound just like the normal version of each stage but remove all the moving elements and platforms - flattening the level to one long plane. This caters to an audience that found themselves playing only Final Destination (previously the only flat, single plane stage) for a more competitive environment. Options such as these further show that Nintendo understood that the party/fighting nature of the series was important to uphold.


The biggest new feature is Smash Run and will only be found on this 3DS version of the game. In this mode you will find yourself on a massive arena filled with treasure and enemies. Fighting monsters and collecting secrets will reward you with power up items for use later. As the clock ticks down your goal is to collect as much as you can to use in the event directly afterwards. Following the hunting section you may find yourself fighting or even foot racing with the other players and the power ups you collected will enhance you. It’s a fun variation on the usual formula but the size of the map often causes players to be separated. Instead of fighting off your friends, everyone tends to stick to different sections of the map. It’s a long and difficult battle to meet up with others despite having a map found on the lower screen of the 3DS. This mode also only really works when playing with human opponents as you will find that computer controlled enemies are almost boring.


One of the major issues is that Smash 3DS’s party game-like nature makes it far less fun when playing alone. Unlike Brawl (the last entry in the series) there is no main, large single player component outside of your standard arcade ladder to climb. Smash Bros. is best when you’re playing with your friends and that rings true in this one. The game does support online play that works quite well but I ran into a good deal of lag any time I got a full four player game going. Local multiplayer didn’t have any noticeable issues and is clearly the best way to play. Without a wealth of people to routinely play with, my time with the game lasted shorter than expected since I was less and less interested in fighting computers the longer I played.

Though, for every mode centered around fighting there is easily another way to spend your time. There is a huge deal of different options to play with and a grid of challenges to reward you with trying out more and more of the game. Trophies return that allow for a great deal of collectables to unlock. A shop and trophy specific unlocking mode are now featured to help your collection grow faster than ever. There are even clothing and weapons to be found that can be placed onto your custom Mii fighter. You can change around how this character plays by choosing whether he is a swordsman, gunner or brawler. Smash 3DS allows you to not only customize this character but to every other fighter as well. You can change which abilities the full roster can use and make a character perfect for your playstyle. This helps alleviate the problem of picking a character who only has a few attacks you actually like. There is a lot to explore in Smash 3DS and a good deal of customization to go along with it.

The biggest issue is one of hardware limitations here. With the nature of the Nintendo 3DS you are stuck with the small handheld screen. I found myself constantly wanting to see more of the area, or have my characters a bit larger. When the game gets real chaotic it can be hard to tell what exactly is going on amongst all the explosions and light on the tiny display. As well, the 3DS’s circle pad just does not work well for this speed of play. For example, I was constantly using attacks inaccurately since the stick registered a horizontal input when I wanted a vertical one. This may be a muscle memory issue from playing Smash Bros. with a real controller but I did have these input errors frequently. Due to the hardware limitation Smash 3DS just really made me want to get my hands on the WiiU version of the game coming next month.

This is a good, handheld version of Smash Bros. from top to bottom. It contains a great deal of content and will easily satisfy fans. The Omega stage option is really welcomed as it caters to the most dedicated of players while still showing off the level of variety the game has. It’s a shame that the 3DS just doesn’t display or control the game as nicely as we would hope. This is a solid entry in the franchise and only hints at greater versions to come.

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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