Super Smash Bros 3DS: Smash Run Observations and Hands on Experience | Fanboys Anonymous

Super Smash Bros 3DS: Smash Run Observations and Hands on Experience

Posted by Kym Pressley Friday, August 1, 2014
title screen Super Smash Bros font
Prepare for the brutal, colorful, over the top and often comical carnage that is Super Smash Bros! With only 2 months left until the scheduled release (October 3rd, 2014) of Super Smash Bros 3DS, I thought it proper to compile some information on its exclusive Smash Run mode and share some hands-on  experience I had with it.

First off, Nintendo has been doing a really good job building the hype. Between character reveals, screen shots, tournaments, and video events, they've almost become omnipresent; they're showing up everywhere! The game currently totes 36 individual characters, and it's almost certain this isn't all of them. This is panning out to be the largest roster yet. In a sense, it already surpasses Brawl's 35 (since Zelda/Sheik, Samus/Zero Suit, and Pokemon Trainer/Squirtle/Bulbasaur/Charizard each act as a single entity). Let's be real; within the 36 are a few characters with highly similar move sets: Link/Young Link, Marth/Lucina. Each brand new character is featured in a short introduction video. Some of these are really freaking creative. They're what initially got me riding the hype train!

Super Smash Bros 4 Power Ups
Power-up types - Image from
The new Super Smash Bros. introduces features we've never seen before. I'm going to focus on Smash Run, a mode is exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS version. The basic idea of Smash Run is that you blaze through a huge labyrinth-like area, completely decimating everything in your path, to rip power ups from your enemies' corpses in a 5-minute period. This culminates into a single free-for-all match against opponents who have been powering up as well.

Super smash bros 4 Bowser 3DS
Smash Run Item Helpers - Image from
When you begin, you start in a random area of the huge map. Your opponents are on the same map but a large distance away. There is no set path to take, all you have to worry about is taking out as many grunts as you can, as fast as you can. Keep in mind that you still have your percentage bar. Hits from grunts will send you flying and ricocheting off walls, eating up your precious time. Don't be too discouraged, though; while in the 5-minute phase, there are certain helper items to help you out (accessed on the touch screen). These can reduce your percentage, make you invincible, and shoot lasers to damage enemies.

Smash Run 3DS Pikachu Fox Kirby Donkey Kong Fight
Amped Up Event Begins - Image from
Within the 5 minutes there will also be mini events that impact the entire map. We were able to witness this during San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). During a game play, there was a mini-event where there was an influx of a certain type of enemy. While it's good that there are more grunts to take out, it's also dangerous because they'll raise your percentage faster and you'll go flying easier. This is no Dynasty Warriors–type beat 'em up where you meet minor resistance from grunts. Be forewarned.

That's not all though, there are also special doors where challenges lurk. For example, in the SDCC game play, there was a room that was filled with huge crystals. Breaking them all within a short time limit would give a slew of large bonuses. There are also bosses behind these doors with the same concept.

I first played Smash Run while in line at the Best Buy E3 event. I was shocked and relieved it was there, because the line for the Wii-U version was wrapped around the store (and I arrived 40 minutes early!). I will admit, I was skeptical about the idea of Smash on 3DS. It's a smaller screen, a less powerful system, and a different controller. I suspected that playing would take getting used to, there wouldn't be enough detail to keep me immersed, and the game would slow when there was too much action on screen.

Pokemon X Y Greninja Super Smash Bros 3ds
Greninja Posin' - Image from
It was much different when I actually played. I chose to play as Greninja (because being a ninja frog is sick). The outlining of the character, although odd to me at first, added a nice touch to the graphic style. It made it feel like a blend between a 3D game and a comic book. The detail of the textures was done very well. There were visible anti-aliasing issues, but it didn't bother me. Overall, I enjoyed the aesthetic (keep in mind I was on a 3DS XL).

I was more surprised at how responsive it was. Smash Run is an extremely intense 5 minutes. There is no rest; there are no calm areas; it is complete and utter chaos. Death and destruction is everywhere. Throughout all of this, the system did not slow down. As I progressed, it became quite obvious how these power-ups were impacting me. Greninja is already a fast character, but with all the speed-ups I grabbed, he was dramatically faster, to the point of being difficult to control. Paired with the special attack bonuses I grabbed, it started to remind me of a Dragon Ball Z episode.

Pikachu Pokemon Smash Run 3DS
Pikachu in the Fray - Image from
When the final match began, I was tense. There's a screen that shows the power-ups your opponents nabbed, and everyone was powerful. Two seconds into the match and it was down to 3 of us. I didn't even notice how the NPC was taken out. It soon became a ballet of dodges and attempted smash attacks. Before the time hit 12 seconds, the match was done, and I was victorious.

This was still an early beta, so I'm really excited to see how the game will turn out. Although I really like Smash Run, it doesn't feel like a complete replacement for a story/campaign mode. Considering it's the handheld version, I guess I could cope with it. Without a campaign, I'd see the 3DS version more for nonstop battle while away from your console system.

What do you think? Is Smash Run enough to replace a full campaign? Also, if you saw the 3DS tournament from SDCC, what did you think of the game?

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