'Super Smash Bros. 3DS' Review Roundup: A Successful Handheld Adaptation

It's no secret that Nintendo has fallen upon hard times as of late financially, what with the under-performing Wii U, a lack of third party support, and other struggles. Still, most of the company's flagship franchises continue to do well, both critically and commercially, and the new Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is no exception.

Much like Mario Kart 8 from earlier this year, Super Smash Bros. is being praised in early reviews for keeping all of the classic franchise gameplay elements in place, while also introducing a few new elements into the mix. Unlike Mario Kart 8, though, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS really is taking its franchise into new territory.

This is the first time that Nintendo's classic fighting game has ever made its way to a handheld system. Some early reviews indicate that the 3DS screen is a bit too small to encompass all the action of Super Smash Bros., especially during four-player death matches. Still, from fresh modes of play to new characters, there seems to be plenty on display in this version of Smash that will encourage franchise's console-loving fans to give the 3DS a shot.

Of course, a Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. is on the way for 2014's fourth quarter. But if you've been thinking about checking out the 3DS version and were just wondering how a handheld take on Super Smash Bros. would work, the review excerpts below will likely sway you toward picking up the game when it officially hits shelves next Friday.

Game Rant (Riley Little)

"Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is a must-have for Nintendo 3DS owners. It’s an immeasurable nod to gaming’s past, and its vast array of playable characters and enjoyable gameplay makes for a great gaming experience. The hardware may impede on the game every so often, but overall this iteration of Smash can stand proudly amongst its console predecessors."

Score: 4/5


IGN (Jose Otero)

"Smash 3DS is impressive and, for the most part, feels right at home on 3DS. The multitude of ways to play and awesome customization gave me many reasons to keep fighting - and I’ve been at it for more than 45 hours already."

Score: 8.8/10


Super Smash Bros 3DS Screenshots

Joystiq (Earnest Cavalli)

"While there are definite areas where Nintendo could improve on Super Smash Bros. in an inevitable sequel, this is the most feature-complete, compelling Super Smash Bros. entry to date. It stands right alongside Fire Emblem: Awakening and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds as a game that every 3DS owner should play."

Score: 4.5/5


Gamespot (Daniel Starkey)

"The 3DS game lacks some widely panned mechanics from Brawl, particularly the random tripping that would cause characters to simply fall over face first as well as the general feeling of a low-gravity floatiness. In their stead are a bevy of subtle new additions aimed at both casual players and the core crowd. The result feels more honest and broadly appealing than any previous iteration."

Score: 8/10


Polygon (Griffin McElroy)

"Super Smash Bros. 3DS hasn't been compressed as much as it has been tailored. And as unlikely as it may be, it fits like a glove."

Score: 9/10


Gaming Trend (Griffin Dunn)

"The first handheld version of the game in the franchise, Smash Bros. on the 3DS is surprisingly crisp and detailed, running at a clean 60 frames per second. The character roster is superb, boasting a grand selection of Nintendo’s mascots, heroes, sidekicks, villains, and oddballs, accompanied by the aforementioned guests."

Score: 9.5/10


Super Smash Bros 3DS Starting Roster
This is just the starting roster!

GamesRadar (Lucas Sullivan)

"Super Smash Bros. for 3DS opts to improve the familiar gameplay rather than reinvent it, with a focus on well-balanced bouts and technical depth. But in a game from a series that's so well-known for its enjoyable multiplayer, it's utterly heartbreaking to see the local wireless fail to provide that same level of smooth, uninhibited fun."

Score: 3/5


Escapist (Jim Sterling)

"The good news is that, despite the 3DS' control limitations, Smash 3DS really is everything you'd expect from aSmash Bros. game in a smaller package. It's as addictive, competitive, and amusingly frustrating as it's always been, with familiar characters and new faces joining the battle to create one of the most essential 3DS games you could hope to find."

Score: 9/10


Game Informer (Jeff Cork)

"Nintendo’s decision to put Smash Bros. on the 3DS struck me as an exceptionally weird move, even for a company that pressed its beloved characters into mortal combat in the first place. Smash is, after all, an over-the-top social game that’s almost as enjoyable to watch as it is to play. Where’s the fun in hunching over a pair of tiny screens, flicking away at that weird analog stub with aching hands? Well, I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong. Super Smash Bros. has KO’d my assumptions and renewed my enthusiasm for the series."

Score: 9.3/10


Are the reviews about what you were expecting to see for a new installment in a beloved franchise? Or were you, like Game Informer's Jeff Cork, highly skeptical that Nintendo could translate the rambunctious fun of Super Smash Bros. over to a handheld platform? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will be officially available in North America next Friday, October 3. A Wii U version is expected to release in November.

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