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Smashing friends always a good time

Super Smash Bros a hit in some circles.

Super Smash Bros a hit in some circles.

By: Laura Olson

There really isn’t anything more fun than smacking your friends as hard as you possibly can then launching them off of the edge of the earth with a satisfying boom…at least, in terms of playing video games.

Super Smash Bros. is a series of games that started out on the Nintendo 64, released in 1999. They are a series of fighting games featuring famous Nintendo characters such as Mario from the Super Mario series, Link from the Legend of Zelda series, Pikachu from Pokémon, and Kirby from the Kirby series—among many others—duking it out in an epic battle to the death on various Nintendo-themed battlegrounds. The most recent iteration of the series, with the frustratingly long name of “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U”, released on the Wii U in Nov 2014.

I am a longtime fan of the series, having played each of the games since the original on the N64. Maybe I’m not the best player, but I’ve spent hours and hours battling against family and friends regardless of my mediocre skill. The games are undeniably, consistently, and wonderfully fun.

I can safely say the Wii U installment of the Super Smash Bros. series is definitely the best one so far. One thing the Smash Bros. series has consistently done well is how each game is always better than the last, even surpassing the dangerously powerful nostalgia players may feel for the first game in the series they’ve played, in my case, the original for the N64.

As always, the games are extremely fun to play with friends. If you have enough controllers (which can be a challenge, but there are many controller options Nintendo offers helping make this problem not quite so huge), you can get into a group of four people and jump right in to play, and many laughs and frustrated screams are sure to follow.

The numerous Nintendo characters feel as good to play as ever, with a simple control scheme even less skilled players can grasp (cough such as myself cough cough), but with many intricacies and strategies so advanced players can feel satisfied playing as well. This was always one of my favorite things about the series, there isn’t a need to memorize complicated and hard-to-execute combos seen in other fighting games, instead, you can hop in and play and feel satisfied playing even without a whole lot of skill.

Visually, the game looks absolutely fantastic. The Wii U’s HD capabilities help everything to look fantastic and plausible, even as you’re using a baseball bat to send a giant beast like Bowser flying off-screen. Each character’s movement and animations are unique and full of life, and the environments and stages look colorful and fantastic.

That’s not to say the game isn’t without its flaws, however. To be quite honest, I found many of the new stages to fight on to have frustrating problems and to just be not quite as fun as the newer stages introduced in older games in the series. Some stage hazards, such as the massive purple dragon Ridley in one of the Super Metroid stages, are extremely frustrating and led to many unsatisfying deaths, to the point where my friends and I didn’t feel as if we fought each other so much as we were avoiding the frustrating dragon. It felt like nobody won, like we were all just sort of trying not to die.

In addition, this game also suffers from the same problem it’s predecessors did for me—its simply not nearly as fun to play alone as it is with friends.

Nintendo tried its hardest adding in tons of content for single players to take advantage of. Many of those features are great, and even fun, but at the same time, I don’t have nearly as much fun as I do playing with my friends. I can play for hours with one or more friends, but by myself, I can only play for an hour or so before I get bored.

Also, some characters are simply better than others, another consistent problem with the series. The game tries to balance everything as best it can, but some characters are just better than others, which can be frustrating for players who really want to play as their favorite Nintendo character only to be beaten down by something they can’t control. They just had to downgrade Pikachu again, didn’t they? Sigh.

Another thing I find to be a touch frustrating, mostly to my wallet, is the numerous accessories for this game. A GameCube controller adapter (good luck finding one. They didn’t make enough so they sell for far higher than necessary online), GameCube-esque controllers dubbed “battle pads”, upcoming DLC, and collectable “Amiibo” figures. If you want to get everything you can for the game, expect it to cost you—a lot.

Ah, Amiibo figures. The collector in me cries with joy while my rational mind and my bank account cries with frustration.

Even with its flaws I find the game to be absolutely fantastic and it’s definitely worth buying in my eyes. The Wii U is a good system—don’t fight me on this, even if it is a bit late in terms of advancement in technology, it’s a well polished system with many good games and even more good games coming up. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a must-have game for the console.

Go, have fun beating up your friends playing as a red-clad plumber or a tiny electric mouse. Send them flying of the screen with a satisfying boom. It’s time to Smash.