Nintendo’s most popular fighting franchise has finally made its way onto the mobile platforms with great anticipation and fanfare. Super Smash Bros. 3DS has already sold 2.8 million copies worldwide since Oct. 3, primarily in North America, Europe and Australia. The Japanese version launched on Sept. 13 and reached 1 million sales during just the opening weekend. All this success comes in light of some initial glitches and bugs, and is only the beginning of the company’s plan for the series. The Wii U version and new amiibo action figures will follow soon.
Nintendo’s line of consoles has always been home to more family friendly games, often featuring cute characters in colorful settings. It is no surprise, then, that their take on a traditionally brutal and gory fighting genre would reflect these qualities as well. Super Smash Bros. first debuted on Nintendo 64 in 1999, bringing together a number of iconic Nintendo characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Pikachu or Samus on various arenas inspired by their games. Unlike traditional fighting titles where the objective is to decrease the opponent’s life bar, in Smash Bros. each punch increases a percentage score of a given character. The higher the score, the greater the knockback distance. Thus, after several well executed moves, the characters are sent flying from one end of the arena to the other with each new hit. The objective changes from killing the opponent to simply knocking them off the screen.
The game has been featured on all of Nintendo’s home platforms since the N64, but this is the first time it released on a handheld. The 2.8 million sales of Super Smash Bros. 3DS are definitely a big sign of the demand for miniaturized mayhem, undeterred by the launch issues. One bug could lead to characters being blown up to enormous sizes taking up the whole screen if swallowed up by Yoshi. While this was mostly funny and harmless, another glitch could result in temporary one-day ban when playing as princess Peach online. Some speculated the reasons had to do with Peach’s ability to pull turnips out of the ground and use them like traditional items. Doing so in game modes which disable items might have fooled the game into thinking the player was cheating, thus resulting in a ban.
Nintendo apologized for these glitches and has supposedly issued a fix already. Copies bought outside Japan required a day-one patch to unlock the multiplayer content as well as provide other adjustments. However, the patch was not applied automatically, requiring the gamers to go to the online eShop and download it manually. It also required the latest 3DS firmware version to run properly.
Despite these minor setbacks, Super Smash Bros. 3DS was met with a warm reception and enthusiasm. The success gives a lot of hope for the upcoming Wii U version, particularly for Nintendo who has been struggling with the console’s sales. It is scheduled to release on Nov. 21 in the U.S. and Dec. 5 in Europe, and supports Nintendo’s latest line of interactive figurines called the amiibo. The little toys can be hooked up to the console during gameplay, offering new features and abilities.
Super Smash Bros. has grown to be one of Nintendo’s strongest franchises, and selling 2.8 million copies since the start of the month further attests that. Combining an innovative and addictive fighting formula with a variety of characters and stages from numerous Nintendo’s titles simply could not fail. Several other fighting titles attempted similar crossovers, such as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, but few had the scope and charm of Super Smash Bros. With upcoming Wii U release and the amiibos, Nintendo definitely has a lot of plans for the series.
By Jakub Kasztalski