Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U) Review

Big Mac attack.

Nintendo is killing it. There is no other way to put it. Every game that drops for the Wii U seems to just get better, and the latest Smash Bros. title is certainly no exception. While the name for the latest chapter leaves a lot to be desired, the package contained therein does not. Containing one of the biggest rosters, tons of trophies and unlockables, and for the first time in the series, 8-player Smash, the Wii U version of Nintendo’s all-star brawler is the best the series has been in years.

The latest Smash Bros. continues the tradition of packing so much Nintendo nostalgia into one package, it is almost overwhelming. There are 49 fighters on the roster. This includes third-party heroes such as Sonic and Mega Man, alongside the countless characters from within the Nintendo family. Still no Waluigi though, or Birdo for that matter.

The battle of the century.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Multiplayer: 8-player local, 4-player online

Every fighter uses the same button combinations to perform unique attacks, and the object is to beat down opponents until their meter is so full, they go flying off the stage. It is essentially a character-driven game of King of the Hill. It is frantic, and one of the best party games ever conceived. Throw in the inclusion of 8-player Smash this time around, and things really get crazy.

Smash Bros. has always been the type of game that appeals to two different audiences. There is one set that simply enjoys Smashing with friends; the chaos of matches delivers a casual environment that almost anyone can enjoy. The simple controls and familiar movesets for every character make picking up and playing a breeze. The Wii U version caters to this crowd with its insane amount of controller options. Players can use a Wii remote, the gamepad, the Pro Controller, the Wii classic controller, a 3DS and even Gamecube controllers with a separate adapter. This makes getting an 8-player Smash match even simpler.

There is also a dedicated crowd that plays the game with a fighting game tournament mindset. This is the reason Nintendo went out of their way to create the adapter to allow Gamecube controllers. I will say that playing the game with the classic Nintendo device just feels natural. That controller was made for Smash, and those that have the means should definitely pick it up.

There is a lot to see and do in Smash on Wii U, but it comes at the price of some really confusing menus. It takes several layers to find the standard single player mode, and it isn’t exactly labeled properly. It is almost overwhelming how much there is to see and do. Tons of side modes, the new board game feature and the sheer amount of customization that can be done is intense. I spent hours customizing my soundtracks for stages, while simple functions like switching my control scheme felt like a chore. Also, not being able to have a default controller option is a real bummer. Having to switch every time I pick a character is annoying.

What it lacks in functionality Smash more than makes up for with pure substance. As I mentioned, the 49 character roster is ridiculous. R.O.B. the Robot combined with Duck Hunt, down to characters plucked from Xenoblade Chronicles and an almost unhealthy amount of Fire Emblem faces. Combine those with the classic Nintendo roster and there is something here for everyone.

Stages are also equally impressive. The Duck Hunt stage is dripping with 8-bit nostalgia, while the Mega Man stage showcases familiar bosses from Wily’s Castle. It was impossible for me to play the game without a huge grin on my face. Not to mention the game is gorgeous. Running at a blistering 60 frames per second at 1080p simply brings these characters to life. Nintendo continues to impress with their ability to make games for this hardware perform.

Sonic will learn.

Online mode is once again included, and outside of the omission of 8-player battles, it holds up pretty well. With so many games launching with online woes these days, it is weird to see the company that seems to be lagging behind in that department with one of the better experiences this holiday. There is a good selection of modes, including tournament rules and being able to remove items. Getting in matches with friends requires more coordination than it should, but once it gets going, it is a smooth ride.

Smash Bros. on Wii U is also one of the first titles to take advantage of Nintendo’s toys-to-life line called amiibos. The implementation leaves a little to be desired. Characters can be scanned into the game, and then customized and leveled up. Unfortunately that they serve only as AI fighters, instead of players being able to use those characters. It seems like a backwards integration. I would much rather use these characters, as opposed to fighting against them. I hope they expand on the idea down the line, as right now I feel like I paid $12.99 for just another opponent to fight.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is yet another stellar entry for the Wii U lineup. Nintendo is firing on all cylinders right now, and with one more release to go before 2014 ends, they look to have the must-own exclusive lineup out of all three current consoles. Smash is yet another reason to own Nintendo’s machine, and anyone looking for a fun romp would be wise to pick it up, along with some Gamecube controllers for maximum enjoyment.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • That amazing roster
  • Packed with Nintendo love
  • 8-player smash
  • Looks amazing
  • Disappointing amiibo support
  • Confusing menus
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.