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Super Smash Bros. Wii U Review

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Smack my Peach up

★★★★★

Mario. Mega Man. Sonic The Hedgehog. Pac Man. It’s the brawl to settle all ‘90s playground disputes dragged into existence courtesy of Nintendo’s premier fighter, Super Smash Bros. Yet, despite its cartoonish visuals and cast of the company’s most recognisable mascots (and a few new guest stars) this is anything but child’s play.

What started out as a satisfying if simplistic brawler on N64 arrives three sequels later on Wii U as a robust genre offering that balances the high demand of hardcore gamers with the obligatory accessibility targeted for Nintendo’s core audience. It’s a tricky balance that, astoundingly, Smash Bros. on Wii U excels at executing.

But while Smash Bros. doesn’t aim to match the technical prowess of Street Fighter or Tekken (swapping sweeping combos for select power and special moves mapped to two buttons), its tremendous gait and flurry of explosive action invites possesses just as much gratification. Inverting the typical depleting health bar for a percentage health gauge – smack your opponents towards a high percentage and they’ll be easier to KO out of the arena – it’s typically easy-to-grasp but difficult-to-master stuff.

The key to it is scaleability: allowing new and seasoned players (not to mention all ages) to find an appropriate difficulty level without compromise.

The Wii U comes hot on the heels of the 3DS version that felt like a diluted version of classic Smash Bros., and there’s no such complaint to be made here. This is the full experience, complete with a series of single-player and multiplayer modes, matched with an endless vault of collectable items.

That’s alongside the swathe of fresh items, new dynamic stages, 8-player fights and the addition of more fleet-footed and burly opponents that push the gameplay to newfound heights.

The result makes for one of Nintendo’s most satisfying and compulsive multiplayer offerings in years. Whether tackling the various challenges or diving into multiplayer to go a few rounds with friends or online, there’s something for everyone. Even those that just want to settle a few 25-year-old arguments.

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