Nintendo has gone all out in their latest instalment of the Super Smash Bros. franchise with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This much-anticipated title has finally reached our shores and the good news is that the Brawl roster boasts a remarkable 35 playable characters, of which 14 have to be unlocked. New characters that fans would love to see squaring off against each other are Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Gear’s Solid Snake and Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong.

supersmashbros_1There are initially 29 stages available for play, with 12 more needing to be unlocked. The stages vary and may take place on floating islands, battleships and roofs. Playable stages are based on games like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros and Mario Kart DS, which gives the player a sense of familiarity. Players have to make sure they don’t fall off the platform during battle, which will result in a KO or loss of a life.

During combat, items will be made available on the field for the first player who picks them up. These include containers, battering & shooting items, and performance & recovery items. Familiar items can be found, like the fire flower, which allows you to spit fire, and the super mushroom, which makes your character bigger.

Sticking to one character has its advantages as you become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, while slowly building the character. This ultimately gives you an advantage if you play against your mates.

Fans will love the introduction of the ability to play online with friends, family or even strangers worldwide with up to four players via Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection.

Players are given the option to chat to each other and share screen shots or replays.

A Spectator mode is available and allows you to bet on an existing match using your coins earned from battle. The winner earns all coins wagered.

Once you’re familiar with the way the controls work, you are ready to play. The Wii remote is held horizontally, which may be confusing at first. Depending on your preference, the Nunchuck can also be used with the Wii remote. Playing extensively using the Wii remote (minus the Nunchuck) may result in very sore thumbs, which you will soon discover.

Who says gaming has to be anti-social? Invite your friends over for a competitive, action-packed, fun-filled evening of Nintendo goodness.

Written for Digital Life – Nov 2008