Should I Buy? – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

After the last three reviews on this site being only for specific handheld formats, I thought I’d go out of my way to talk about a game for that machine near enough everybody seems to have, the Nintendo Wii. I own a Wii, though I haven’t gotten a lot of use out of it in over a year now. I imagine many other people are the same way. Well here’s a game that can fix that, if it’s not done it for you already.

The original Smash Bros. game for the N64 was a surprise hit, and so sequels were inevitable. The latest iteration, Brawl, is the biggest yet with more stages and characters than before. It’s a 2.5D (that is, 3D models and backgrounds with 2D controls) fighting game from Nintendo that mixes characters from their most popular franchises together. So Mario can go toe-to-toe with Samus Aran, Link can try to sword-fight Meta Knight and so on and so forth. In total, there are over 30 different characters to unlock and fight as.

Now, I’m going to use the phrase “fanservice” here, but I may not be talking about what you think I am. I imagine many of you know the term as meaning deliberately sexual characters or situations in order to titillate the audience. Well I mean the other kind. This is when you pander to a sense of nostalgia, which is very easy to do with nerds. And that form of fanservice is very strong here.

Not only can you fight as all these characters (including obscure nerd favourite Pit from Kid Icarus) but their stages, their music, all the trophies etc. pay homage to decades of Nintendo games.

The fighting itself can be fast and frantic for newcomers, but once you get a hold of it you’ll soon be having great fun. And that’s what this game is about, fun. Sure, there are saddos out there who insist that some characters have unfair advantages because their ‘side air-smash’ has a priority that stops projectiles; or items unbalance the game, or that stage has a hazard so it’s not fair etc. Ignore these people. They are terrible people.

Unfortunately you’ll have to play through the game’s story mode to unlock most of the characters in this. The story mode itself is a 2.5D platformer where you take control of different characters in a strange plot to stop some weird blue guy from stealing the world. This does let you get used to how a particular character plays before you go up against your friends, but if they haven’t had that same experience things can get unbalanced. Likewise, some of the stages have quite obtuse unlocking conditions.

Once you are playing with friends though, there’ll be much laughter as you use laser guns, pokeballs and a plethora of other items to duke it out across many colourful environments. This is a fun game that you can play with a bunch of friends for laughs. Saying that, it can be just as enthralling as a single player experience, especially if you enjoy “fighting for the sake of fighting” and unlocking collectibles.

Price: £12 (CEX)


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