In the past, Smash Bros had the tendency of being desired as an handheld game; fans of the series had developed their hopes into reality by making fan-made versions such as Super Smash Land (a GameBoy styled game on PC) or an actual rom which is playable on the DS such as Super Smash Bros Clash. Therefore, it’s understandable as to why there’s general excitement for the upcoming (and official) Smash Bros on the 3DS! The ability to play matches, quickly Brawl a CPU, nearby friends or even versing online – all on the go, is an amazing selling point to hardcore Smash fans! But is the 3DS one worth buying over the Wii U one?
The most prominent feature that differentiates the two can be seen visually. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that with the Wii U being a more powerful console than the 3DS, the Wii U version will look remarkably cleaner and pleasant. Just look at the featured headline image above, Link has a beautifuly shaped model, with striking & vivid colours which makes him comparable to his WindWaker HD counterpart; whilst the 3DS Link is more bland in texture design, his colours are darker and less clear, with a (adjustable) black stroke outline around the model to make his model noticeable when playing on the smaller screen.
Please head my warning, NEVER buy a game based just on graphical appeal. Yes it is a slight selling point, but what matters most is the other features such as gameplay.
The Winner? – Wii U.
A character roster in a fighting game is an important feature. Players usually will become accustomed with just one fighter and use them in almost all their battles, but many players want diversity and choice. As of the date I’m writing this article (20th July 2014) there are 36 characters (excluding the 3 separate Mii fighters) whom are:
All these characters listed so far, have been confirmed to be present in both the Wii U and the 3DS versions, with no exclusive characters or without any apparent exclusive character set moves. What you get from one character in the game is identical to what you’ll get from the opposite version. Sakurai had previously announced that the rosters between the two platforms will be the same, so don’t expect any exclusive characters.
However, if you were to forget about the differentiation between the two platforms, buying both versions would then result in you unlocking a free playable Mewtwo character (which would be available to download around Spring 2015).
The Winner? – It’s a Tie.
So if the characters are identical in both games, that means the stages are too – right? Actually no, but that’s a good thing! If the stage selection was identical, then there wouldn’t be much differentiation in purchasing the two separate versions; this way Nintendo can compel you to buy both the 3DS and Wii U version in order to play the full Smash Bros experience. Also, had the stages been identical, that would mean that the Wii U version would have to hold back its power in order for the 3DS stage to match the Wii U version.
Think about it, you wouldn’t really want a Find Mii stage on the Wii U would you? You’ve played Find Mii on your 3DS, so you’d want that stage to be exclusive on the platform you’ve played it on.
The Wii U has a ‘Find Mii’ counterpart, yet this time it’s a Miiverse stage. In this stage, players will have Miiverse messages appearing in the background of the stage, whilst the foreground obviously focuses on the fighting frenzy. This stage will not be unlocked at launch, but will arrive at a later date.
From what it seems, there’s an equal amount of static maps and on-the-trail maps, allowing a mixture of gameplay experiences when playing on both versions. Both versions seem to have an exciting line up of stages, the actual “winner” here is dependent on your preference in the Nintendo IP’s. Each stage is based in a certain world from a Nintendo game, and it depends how much you prefer Skyward Sword to Tomodachi for example; people have different opinions on games and therefore will have different opinions on the stage selection which each platform offers. For a quick anlaysis of all the stages revealed so far in the game for both platforms, check out this IGN guide.
The Winner? – It depends on which games you’re into. Personally – 3DS.
What’s exclusive to each one?
The Wii U:
At the E3 Nintendo Direct, we were introduced to Amiibo – the NFC figurines which Nintendo hopes will increase demand for the Wii U. Within Smash bros, you’ll place the Amiibo figure on your gamepad, which Nintendo describes as “You’ll then be able to fight against your amiibo, team up with it in battle or watch it battle other in-game character”. These figures will save data of character statistics so you can transfer your Amiibo character into another Wii U and let it help fight alongside you, with its strength dependent on how much you’ve “levelled up”. Remaining alike to it’s home-console release, the 3DS will allow a peripheral device which will allow Amiibo’s to connect to the 3DS; if you’d consider a peripheral too clunky to add to your portable device, I’ve updated the article to mention the new announcement of the latest models of the 3DS which will be NFC compatible, distinguishing the need of a peripheral. The use of the Amiibo figures would presumably be more convenient on your Wii U devices as you can easily access them at your home and then take them to your friends house if you want to transfer your character data onto your friends Wii U – however 3DS gamers (particularly with the new models) can just as easily make use of the Amiibo figures whilst travelling, keeping the figures in your bag whilst you’re travelling around.
Then there’s also the “Yellow Devil”, originating from Mega Man yet who was originally assumed to be arriving to just the Wii U Smash Bros, however was later clarified to be featuring in both versions, making the Wii U Smash Bros less exclusive.
The Yellow Devil is a stage hazard, tactical players could manipulate opponents to become distracted by the hazard and then allow it to damage the opponent, or alternatively players could team up to defeat the Yellow Devil in order to make the match easier to play.
The information for the Wii U below has been added on the 27th October 2014 in response to the new information announced in the Nintendo Direct.
The Wii U Smash Bros is obviously more suited to a social gathering (if indoors that is) as players will share the viewing experience on their television screen and spectate and participate in battles; previous Smash Bros games were limited to just four players, which caused bigger groups to seclude a few people from the battle experience. Now Nintendo have advanced their player-limit, introducing a new five player, six player and even eight player Smash Bros! For those who want to have up to eight players in one screen, they’ll be limited to specially designed maps which are increased in size so that each character is able to fit in the map.
Coin battle was unable to appear in the 3DS version of Smash Bros due to console limitations, luckily the Wii U was able to bring the return of coin battles, for those who enjoy different battle modes than the standard Smash Bros rules. New features such as ‘Smash Tour’ offers an alternative playing experience, similar to what ‘Smash Run’ does on the 3DS. Essentially, it’s ‘Mario Party’ meets ‘Smash Bros’ and seems like a lot of fun and a fresh idea for the brawler series.
Nintendo have also introduced a few tweaks here and there in order to be more than just a fighting game. Photography is a major implementation as players can pause their game and doodle designs onto their freeze-frame, allowing them to share it on Miiverse. Alternatively, players can also use a photo studio in the game which allows them to position Smash Bros character models to their own suiting. Other than photography, another artistic form is enforced in the game, this time being music. The Nintendo Direct confirmed that the Wii U version will have a significantly higher amount of soundtracks compared to the 3DS version, with latest screen grabs of the game allegedly proving there’s at least 437 different tracks.
Smash Run, is brand new multiplayer mode introduced by Nintendo where 2-4 players are given a 5 minute countdown in order to collect as many power-ups as they can whilst avoiding/defeating various enemies. After this is completed, players will verse each other with the power-ups they picked up in Smash Run.
The Smash Run seems to be an exciting mini-game which just adds more depth to the standard Smash bros formula, however it can be limited. Smash Bros is most fun when playing with 4 controllers, all in one screen where you can scream and shout together as you battle each other. Playing against each other separately on 4 separate handhelds is less engaging and seems to take the fun away from the idea of Smash Run.
Another 3DS feature utilises the Streetpass integration, so that in ‘StreetSmash’ you verse people you’ve met on Streetpass and control a token where the camera faces a birds-eye view on tokens in which players must aim to knock out opposing tokens from the map.
In comparison to the Wii U which seems to be in the majority of interesting features, the 3DS seems to be lacking in that department. Common sense tells us that a console which is more capable of processing extra features is bound to have better features integrated in the game, opposed to the 3DS version.
The Winner? – Wii U.
Need I actually explain this? The 3DS is a great handheld, it’s fun to play, comfortable to hold – yet one thing is that it’s control scheme doesn’t really compare to what the Wii U could offer. Sure, there’s the circle pad pro which adds more grip to the handheld, but it’s still not the same as holding actual joysticks, with clunkier buttons which are easier to fight.
The Wii U has so much choice in terms of control. You could pick the standard Gamepad or Pro Controller. You could also pick the Wii controls of a Wii remote, Wii + Nunchuck, Wii + Classic controller. Then there’s the big and most exciting control choice, you can use at least 4 GameCube/WaveBird controllers on your Wii U! Therefore unlike the 3DS one, you can choose what suits you. With unofficial mods, you can make the Gamecube controller function on your 3DS, but the likelihood is that the majority of users wouldn’t enjoy going through extra hassle for just one feature.
Both the 3DS and Wii U versions will have button mapping so you can make the actions suit your desires.
Remember, the Wii U will allow you to play up to eight players too!
The Winner? – Wii U.
Both platforms will feature online. Presumably, the Wii U version will work better due to the console being more powerful. Hopefully it can adapt some much needed improvements from Mario Kart 8.
The 3DS has had some very functional online games too such as Kid Icarus or Mario Kart 7. However it’s difficult to judge as of now on whether a certain platform will have better online features.
Get used to seeing fluid animations when fighting as both platforms will run in 60fps, even the 3DS will when in stereotypic 3D!
Then there’s the release. The 3DS one will most likely have more of a crowd if inpatient gamers want the game immediately, as the game is released at 03/10/2014, whilst the Wii U game is released at a later date of November 21st in the US or December 5th in Europe. Hopefully the earlier release of the 3DS doesn’t prevent people from purchasing the Wii U version – which is the game that’s most probable to boost Wii U sales.
The Winner? – 3DS.
So there you are, a quick analysis of the difference between the games! After reading, has your mind changed on which platform you’d prefer?
The Wii U wins at a technicality with more valid points than the 3DS in this article, however it’s worth noting that people may judge and have different opinions on the pros and cons stated, they’re both worth buying, but certain aspects may provide a stronger influence than others.