Exciting times for Smashing Saturdays! First off, this week made up for the last, with a new item, 2 new stages and other goodies to whet our collective whistles before E3 next week. I anticipate some mind blowing reveals during E3, possibly new or returning characters as well as unveiling the Wii U exclusive features and, the holy grail, a firm release date for one or both versions! Until then, I’m here as usual to share the weekly pictures, postulations and an all new Character of the Week! Are you excited? I am!
Let’s get Smashing!
Monday started off right with a brand spanking new stage – Mushroom Kingdom U! Though it initially looks pretty basic (though I love how it hearkens back to a previous retro stage), it comes with a nice twist – “When Kamek casts a spell, the stage transforms drastically! That said, this is not what you would call a moving stage… …By the way, this stage will be playable in the demo version of the game for E3, a game expo that starts on June 10 in Los Angeles.” And thus it turns completely different below!
Nice. I love the contrast between the two pics. Though it isn’t a “moving stage” it looks really fun. Perhaps a good enough incentive to buy the Wii U version, perhaps not. All I know is I am even more jealous of those lucky dogs Jonathan Higgins and Richard Ross who will be able to play this stage before me. Moving on.
Tuesday was less exciting for me, showing off how Tortimer Island, as well as other stages, will be shrunk down to trophies. I honestly can’t recall if this happened in previous installments, nor do I much care. Trophies are fun window dressing, but they aren’t what excited me about Smash Bros. Though I do appreciate Sakurai’s attention to detail, as always.
Wednesday picked up the pace again with this great new item reveal – the Boomerang (or Blumerang, as I have taken to calling it). Though I’m not 100% sure, I think they took this item from the latest Mario Kart game. But for all I know it is from another game. Either way, Sakurai makes it sound fun – “As you’d guess, it’ll fly back into your hands after you throw it, and if you keep catching it, its attack power grows with each throw! However, opponents can nab the boomerang out of the air, so it might be an easier item to use in Smash Run.” Consecutive power increases sound fun to me, though I do wonder whether or not blocking it will reset that effect.
Every few weeks Sakurai seems to reach critical mass and have one of his WTF moments, as is the case with today’s screen. I have no words, so I’ll let him talk – “Brewster brings The Roost back to Smash Bros. Nothing beats watching a battle of famous fighters with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Smashville in Brawl, but I don’t feel Brewster merited his own update. That said, I’m sure you Animal Crossing fanatics out there feel differently. Feel free to chip in the Comments section.
Friday’s initial screen no doubt made many a Fire Emblem fan happy, while making me snicker at how effeminate Marth looks compared to Ike. Luckily, Friday had more for us than this shot. See the background? It’s a brand new stage – the Coliseum!
According to Sakurai, this new Wii U stage will be rife machinery that activates platforms. I have a feeling it will also be rife with traps, given the nature of the Coliseum in Fire Emblem games, where it was a constant and fierce fight to the death! I’ll bet this is a stage many of you wish was on the 3DS! But don’t leave yet, cause we have a new Character of the Week by yours truly!
Character of the Week
Oh, Olimar. You’re such a strange Brawler, and one I have such an interesting history with! I must admit, as of this article, I have yet to play ANY Pikmin game (even the copy of Pikmin 3 sitting lonely on my shelf). Not because they looked horrible, I just didn’t quite see the appeal. Then I tried Olimar one day while playing Smash, and my opinion started to rapidly change!
While Pikmin may not excite me like some series, Olimar was an inspired choice for a Brawler. Why, you ask? Because he is incredibly, even ridiculously, unique. The fact that his entire moveset is styled around his Pikmin minions is fantastic, albeit dangerous. Just playing as him requires entirely new tactics, and for that I love the bulbous-nosed little astronaut! In case it wasn’t already crazily apparent, I love novel, underdog characters in games. And I don’t think you can get much more novel than Olimar (well, maybe Game & Watch…)
Whenever I played as Olimar, the first thing I would do is rapidly Pikmin Pluck after fleeing from other Brawlers. Thus armed, I would leap into the fray, and instantly look to start annoying my friends. One huge benefit Olimar has is his itty bitty stature. Case in point – I once played as Olimar for 10 minutes without getting hit by anything or anyone! Granted, this requires a lot of rolling and evasion, but I have lots of experience with evasion. Plus, when added to his small hitbox, this makes Olimar a great specialty character.
While I didn’t generally make much use of Pikmin Throw, since it usually resulted in me being defenseless and subsequently mauled, I made plenty of use of Pikmin Chain! In my case, it was equal parts Chain and Spear, since I liked to use it to stab foes from a distance. I also quickly learned to use the temporary invincibility of Pikmin Order to protect Olimar from game ending attacks. But what really set the little astronaut apart from anyone else was his fantastic, bordering on broken Final Smash – End of Day!
I just can’t express enough how much I love this Smash. It is practically unavoidable, and does huge damage to everything on the screen! Even though it doesn’t always Smash foes off the level, it is super fun to use. I’m not sure what they are going to replace it with, but I am confident Olimar has a new one since this Smash was turned into a new item, the Hocotate Bomb! It really comes as no surprise to me that Olimar is making a return in the next games, and I hope he’s just as tricky and brutal as before with his new tweaks. Maybe in the meantime, I can fire up Pikmin 3…