By Josh Speer / April 12th, 2014
This was a truly Smashing week for fans of Smash Bros. This was due, in large part, to the incredible Smash Direct Sakurai posted on Tuesday. In case you missed it, we have you covered. Even if you did catch it, I will gloss over the highlights. Also, we have a great Character of the Week by our resident translator, Will Whitehurst!
That’s enough blabbing. Let’s get Smashing!
Monday started off with a bang. Granted, I expected the Metroid to make a comeback, but I was still excited. I thought that it being released right before the Direct heralded the coming of a certain Space Pirate as a playable character. Alas, the Direct annihilated my hopes and dreams of Ridley as Brawler, but made up for it with the return of Yoshi! I’d say that’s a fair trade. Plus, a segment of the Direct has me convinced another reptilian baddie might be coming to our roster. Pay attention to the Smash Run segment of the Direct to get a clue as to what I mean. But more on that in later installments…
Nothing says “excitement” like presents and Pikachu! I figured we would get three big reveals from the Direct, but it turns out Sakurai had MUCH more up his sleeve. We now know the 3DS version is heading to us this Summer, while the Wii U is coming later on this Winter. That’s perfectly fine with me, as I will probably buy both versions to experience the different levels. I was especially fond of new items such as the Fire Bar, Bombchu and Rocket Belt. Also, Smash Run looks beyond fun, and For Fun and For Glory modes look like a great way to accommodate fans of all stripes. Although there were no new screens posted for Wednesday, I’ll recap the newly revealed Brawlers, just for giggles.
So, yeah, I’ve gotta say I love Sakurai making Zero Suit Samus and Sheik separate from Samus and Zelda. It allows for even more variety and tweaked gameplay mechanics. Plus, Charizard was meant to be solo, and I love how powerful he looks. And I still can’t get over how cool Greninja looks in Smash! Though I can’t say for certain, I will do my best to make him one of my mains. As far as Yoshi, I couldn’t be happier. But I have no idea how walking upright is supposed to make him a better Brawler…
Thursday showed off Zero Suit Samus’ fancy new boots in action. Despite their unfortunate similarity to heels, I gotta say they fit her very well. It looks to make her much more of a competitive Brawler.
Finally, Friday’s pic just reiterated most of what we heard in the Direct about Smash Run. I do enjoy the idea of powering up your Brawler with various stat adjusters before going into battle. It should make for a lot of hectic fun. But that’s not all! You’ll be sad if you don’t stick around for Will’s Character of the Week!
Character of the Week
This Character of the Week has been a favorite of mine since I played the original Smash, and I’ve stood by him since he had great power in that game, got nerfed in Melee and got buffed in Brawl. I’m referring, of course, to the one and only Kirby.
According to the theme song of his eponymous anime, Kirby is, among other things, “the name you should know!” The pink cream puff with a giant appetite has become one of Nintendo’s stalwarts in the Smash franchise since the N64 era, and that’s because both were gestated from Sakurai’s wonderful mind. While the laid-back style of the Smash Bros. series, especially compared to other fighters, is tantamount to its enjoyment, fan service plays what might be an even larger role. And Kirby’s (in)famous copy abilities are a key example, with much care taken in adapting every other character’s looks and special moves to a round, fluffy, and adorable body. Speed and flight complement Kirby’s jack-of-all-trades nature rather well.
These traits and more make Kirby an excellent choice for beginners, but his light weight, slow dash and underpowered Final Smash may make him seem rather weak. Don’t be fooled. His aerial attacks are second to none, even his wildly overused (by beginners, anyway) down-B Stone move, and the “Fence of Pain” – that is, the use of his back-A during a jump in order to edgeguard – is pretty terrific in terms of defense.
On the other hand, Kirby is also a character that occasionally makes it easy for players to fall into what I’d like to call a predictability trap. One should make their moves and combos unpredictable anyway, but that especially holds true for Kirby. In matches, I tend to go aerial most of the time with my Smash Attacks and dodges, followed by a few on-ground attacks and the occasional well-placed throw or inhalation and exhalation. There’s also the wonderful (and wonderfully cheap) tactic dubbed “Kirbycide,” where, after inhaling an opponent on the edge of the stage, Kirby falls to his death, killing both of them.
Although I keep my use of copy abilities to a minimum, there are some that prove very useful. Captain Falcon’s infamous Falcon Punch is certainly the best of the bunch in terms of sheer power, and Kirby’s adorable pronunciation of that catchphrase is just a bonus. I also like characters that use a projectile as their B move (Fox, Mario, Wolf, Snake, and the Ice Climbers’ are my favorites), as well as Wario. Yes, I’m dead serious. One of Kirby’s major flaws as a character is his lack of a good aerial grab, and that is the only hindrance to my particular playstyle. Wario’s big mouth can certainly chomp down on everything from edges to opponents, so that copy ability is the perfect complement.
Kirby is not strictly for fanservice or novelty value, contrary to what some might believe. Rather, he’s a perfectly capable fighter with some fairly wicked moves at his disposal, some of which can be quite devastating. That is, unless you’re playing Melee, in which case, I suggest you use Jigglypuff instead. Because, really, who would make Kirby turn into a fireball with his aerial A move? Did they have any idea what that does to his usability? (End rant.) In any case, Kirby will, in the right hands, come right back at ya with his great qualities. And, according to this past Direct, he’s been buffed even more in the next Smash, with his Hammer attack now able to charge up into a fiery blast, similar to Roy’s Flare Blade, and a Final Smash that actually does massive damage. I’m excited to see what these additions will do, but from the looks of it, Sakurai and company have taken Kirby back to his glorious N64 Smash days. Maximum pink, indeed.
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