By Josh Speer / October 23rd, 2014
Today, Sakurai unveiled a brand-spanking new Nintendo Direct to cover all things Smash, exclusively for the upcoming Wii U version. What sort of goodies did he have in store? Well, it actually had more than 50 reveals, but I’m going to focus on the newer, more relevant stuff, and lump similar stuff together. First off, I’ll discuss what is returning. We still have the same fighters, but now there are more available from the get-go — more than 40 in fact. You can still unlock some, though, for those of you that enjoy that. We knew that the game would also have better resolution and graphics, as well as more stages. We also knew, with some degree of certainty, that we would probably get All-Star and Classic Mode to return. However, there’s a hell of a lot of stuff that is completely new and exciting.
First off, now you can play with more than four people! The Wii U version will have some giant exclusive stages that will allow up to eight people to battle at once, along with special win conditions. One such giant stage is The Great Cave Offensive from Kirby Super Star, which allows you to ride minecarts and avoid hazardous portions of the level that can insta-kill players with 100% or more damage, vaporizing them. Another thing to note is that online play will not be available for every giant Wii U stage, no doubt to keep the server from melting.
Another example of a new type of stage is the Donkey Kong stage, Jungle Hijinx, which introduces dual-plane battling. This feature allows you to hop back and forth between foreground and background via barrels, though these will explode if used too often. Another cool thing is that stages that are on both versions will still get HD redesigns, allowing for much more detail and madness to happen. Oh, and if that wasn’t exciting enough, we are eventually getting an exclusive Miiverse stage that will allow for posts from Wii U owners to float across the screen.
For silly news, there is a new stage called Palutena’s Temple, which is one of the new giant stages. In this stage, while playing as Pit, doing the down taunt will allow Palutena, Viridi and others to chat about what’s happening in battle. Similar dialogue will show up in the Orbital Gate Assault stage, letting Slippy and other Star Fox veterans hassle fighters. And though we had the Gaur Plain stage in the 3DS version, in the Wii U version, Metal Face shows up to harass fighters, as well. You can also fight him, if that’s your cup of tea.
More exciting? In the Wii U stage Pyrosphere, Ridley is a stage hazard! But, not content with being a mere stage hazard, you can defeat him and then have him fight your foes alongside you! He can even transform into Meta Ridley by ingesting certain things in the level! Not as great as a playable Ridely, but definitely the next best thing. For those of you who aren’t fans of him, you can always KO the Space Pirate for extra points.
Some of you complained about the lack of modes in Smash Bros. for 3DS. Complain no longer, as many modes that were present in Brawl return for the Wii U version of Smash. Coin Battles are back, as are Special Smash battles (though they won’t affect your records). Stamina matches return, where you have to decrease your foes’ HP to zero. For those of you who are super nitpicky, you can adjust item frequency and toggle certain items to not show up at all in battles. You can even adjust music frequency, and even change the menu music that plays as decide how to smash.
Speaking of music, there is an enormous amount of songs in the Wii U version — totally eclipsing the amount available in the 3DS version. As stated a little earlier, the songs in this version will mostly conform to console games, while the 3DS focused on portable games. We also have more composers at work for the Wii U version, meaning songs will be even more varied and beautiful. More exciting to me is that CDs make a return as well, allowing you to unlock songs as you play and by completing challenges. Challenges are also more rewarding and difficult, according to Sakurai’s narrator, and also show up all on one screen.
I said that Classic Mode was in both versions, but the mode here is a bit different from the 3DS version. First off, whereas you could choose your own path in the 3DS version, now it is skill-based, and ranks you according to how you compete. You also have a rival competing with you as you play through the mode, and can even play it with another player! All-Star Mode also returns, but with one main difference — instead of playing from oldest to newest games, it goes from newest to oldest. So, you have to fight to get to those retro brawlers like Mario and Pac-Man. There is also an Event Mode — not unlike that found in Melee — where you face off against foes in themed battles. This mode also supports two-player battles, but with varied maps from single player.
Another new mode is Smash Tour. This is basically a mash-up of Smash Bros. and Mario Party. You play as Miis and move around a game board, collecting fighters and using items to progress. It actually looks quite fun, since you can fight other Miis and can steal fighters from them. You can even use power ups, and, at the end, fight a final showdown stock battle, using all of the fighters you have collected.
Also coming is Special Orders, a mode that was teased earlier this week. You take order tickets from either Master Hand or Crazy Hand, and get rewards based on the difficulty. Crazy Order requires a pass or gold to play, and becomes progressively harder the longer you survive, culminating in a battle against the gloved menace.
I’m less excited about the new features in Target Blast and Home-Run Contest. Target Blast changes things up by using a bigger, more explosive bomb on the second attempt and also has three types of stages, while Home-Run Contest allows for mutliplayer integration. We also know that the Wii U version will allow tons of controller options, including the Wii U GamePad, all types of nunchuks and the 3DS. And don’t forget that there will be an exclusive Smash Bros. GameCube controller coming out, so start saving up pennies now.
For those of you who thought that the Swarm was tough in the 3DS version, alternating between Shadow, Beast, Giant and more forms, now there is another – Master Fortress. This sinister form is gigantic, and has you running around inside it smashing foes. It looks downright sinister to me, and makes me wish there was a plot to the game. On the plus side, the Wii U version will have clear movies for every character in both Classic and All-Star Mode, giving proceedings a bit more dynamic flavor.
If you’re feeling neglected by all the awesome stuff in the Wii U version, you’ll be happy to know that you can carry over all your custom fighters from your 3DS version to the Wii U version, including all the stuff they have equipped. More fan service is that there is a vault of trophies to unlock as you play, mostly from console games, and they look utterly gorgeous in HD. There are even cool Final Smash trophies you have to survive All-Star to unlock, as well as Trophy boxes that match certain themes, for the obsessive collector in all of us.
For the artistic, Photo Studio looks really fun, allowing you to make dioramas of trophies and pose them. You can also use the GamePad to decorate photos. This will no doubt be more exciting once an update comes out to allow photo sharing, which was promised at a later time. Oh, and did I mention the Stage Builder is also back?
I’m super excited to take advantage of that, especially since you have even more ways to design levels than before. Speaking of returning, Trophy Rush is also back, but now with two-player competitive or cooperative features.
One very exciting and devious mode returning from Brawl is Masterpieces, where you can play classic games featuring characters in Smash. This is a time trial of sorts, where you play as fast as you can to race the clock. If the games appeal to you, you have a go to eShop option to purchase the whole game. Speaking of diabolical, Amiibos are coming, and can even be fed extra equipment to boost their stats. They also fight harder when they visit other people’s consoles, making them very dynamic.
For online, they still recommend the LAN Adaptor, which is understandable since we want multiplayer Smash to be silky-smooth. Automatic notifications also pop up. What is really exciting is that Tournament Mode will eventually be implemented, allowing us to host our own games and join those of others. Up to 64 players can play, making the shelf life for Smash utterly endless. I really missed that mode in the 3DS version, and look forward to it on Wii U. Another way community building will happen is via voice chat before and after matches on the GamePad, much like Mario Kart 8. Photo sharing will also happen eventually, along with replays and Mii Fighters.
But there were a couple new things in store. First, they showed off this lovely trailer officially announcing Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings! Granted, owners of the 3DS version already know about him, but it still looks glorious.
We knew about the CD Soundtrack deal, for those who buy both versions, but now they also get a special download-only Brawler — Mewtwo! Yes, the psychic menace is returning… once Sakurai is done redesigning him! The estimate is Mewtwo will be available sometime in spring of 2015. I know some of you are intensely excited for this, as you should be. Especially since that opens the door to other characters popping up later on as DLC… I cannot wait til Smash Bros. hits the Wii U in November!
Thanks to Louis Polite and Brandon S. Rose for the awesome screens!
Nintendo DirectSmash BrosSuper Smash Bros. for Wii UWii U