Video Games | Super Smash Bros. is handheld mayhem

Pikachu just electrocuted Zelda. She’s sent flying into the path of Pac-Man’s punch, which cannonballs her through the Mushroom Kingdom, into the villager from Animal Crossing which knocks your score up two points.

If you’ve played a Smash Bros. game before, that probably sounds familiar. If you haven’t, then know that that is what you’re missing out on. It is exactly as ridiculous and over-the-top as it sounds, and now that the series has made the jump to handheld, that ridiculousness is more accessible than ever.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is the fourth instalment in Nintendo’s all-star fighting game franchise, and the first to be released on handheld as well as console. The idea of the game remains as simple as ever – up to four classic Nintendo figures are thrown into an arena and attempt to launch each other from it. That’s it. Within a few minutes you’ll be beating up Mario and co. like a pro, learning how it all works. That’s the beauty of Smash, a concept so sublimely simplistic that button-masher and calculated combo-er alike will have crazy amounts of fun.

It caters for all with a wealth of modes, from the classic progression through randomised battles to a big-boss fight, to a platformer-style competitive race for power. You’ll never feel lost for something to do, and ten minutes can be put in as easily as a five-hour competitive binge. It’s perfect for those awkward breaks between lectures, or as yet another tool for procrastination.

Whatever mode you play, the core of Smash remains the same: beat shit up. This is Nintendo in their element, and they’ve built a bruiser that belongs in your pocket. Such a frenetic game might sound overwhelming on such a small screen, but Smash has been optimised with platform-appropriate stages and considerate controls – and it still looks spectacular.

Better yet, it feels spectacular. Punches pack exactly that, a punch, and there’s nothing more satisfying than landing a perfectly-timed smack, launching your opponent into the void just as your game looks like it’s about to go south. Though the 3DS circlepad can be fiddly, making it tricky to pull off specific moves, it’s a minor frustration that rarely affects the fun.

Characters remain the biggest draw, though, and with 49 to choose from – plus the new customization system – finding a favourite to turn into a personalised, smashing machine is harder and better than ever. Pick a familiar face from your childhood, someone new – or even yourself. The introduction of playable, fully-customizable Miis means you can arm yourself with a mega-blaster and live out your childhood fantasies of beating up Mario’s enemies. Well, my childhood fantasies.

Jack Bromley

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