Played on 3DS

Nintendo surprised us all by allowing a limited number of people to download a demo yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be in that batch.A staple for Nintendo since the Nintendo 64 original, Super Smash Bros. is a beloved series that we’ve all been eagerly awaiting to come to the Wii U. When it was finally announced, Nintendo revealed that not only would SSB come to the Wii U, but also to their fantastic handheld system, the 3DS. And now with the launch of the 3DS version less than a month away, and the Wii U edition still without a release date, Nintendo made the announcement that demo codes would be going out to certain Club Nintendo Platinum members. Being a Platinum member, I was lucky enough to receive a code, as well as 3 additional codes to pass around to friends.

Downloading the demo and booting it up, the first thing to know is that this is truly a demo. This isn’t like the lengthy beta of Destiny, or the full-blown game demos you get from EA as an Access subscriber. The SSB demo contains only five characters, one level, and one mode of play. All the rest of the features, including settings, are disabled, with the exception of being able to see some gameplay tips. There are a few revelations to be seen, such as a dimmed out button that seems to imply the 3DS will be able to be used as a controller for the Wii U version once released. Games are only a couple of minutes, giving you a taste of the game in quick bursts. The demo will be public for everyone at the end of next week, but that demo has a limit of 30 matches – this demo is unlimited.

The veteran characters in the demo are Mario, Link, and Pikachu. Each plays very similarly to how they have in previous games, so I was able to jump in with each of them and be instantly familiar with their battle styles. Pikachu has always been my main character, so I was really excited to see him available in this demo. Also playable are two newcomers – Mega Man and Villager. I’ve been itching to play Mega Man, and found him to be a more technical version of Samus, given that they both feature arm cannons. I was pleasantly surprised by the Villager, of Animal Crossing fame, as his attacks were powerful, and used clever elements from the AC series, such as a Gyroid being used as a projectile.

The single level available was simple, featuring a long base with 3 floating platforms, and, of course, edges to fall off of. I fell off a lot.

I’ll say right now that the gameplay is fantastic. I was skeptical at first, but the game plays wonderfully on the 3DS. It’s fast, fluid, and I didn’t experience a single moment of slowdown. I wasn’t able to play any online or local multiplayer, so hopefully that stability translates to those arenas as well. The visuals are a delightfully toned down version of the Wii U offering, taking a more Borderlands, comic book look rather than detailed character models. It works well, and allows for fast gameplay. I often find myself limiting the amount of 3D I actually enable on 3DS games, but here it didn’t cause any lag in the game, and really adds to the feel of the arena and battles. The only issue I had with the game was that, since settings are disabled, I wasn’t able to adjust the control scheme, and inadvertently killed myself a lot until I grew used to the controls.

There’s really not much else to say about this demo. It’s true a demo and only gives you a taste of what’s to come. That didn’t stop me from playing close to a dozen matches with each character, which alone should speak to how great the gameplay is. I’m hoping to play some more in the coming days, and try out the local multiplayer next week. October 3rd can’t come soon enough. Now give us a Wii U release date.