Rob-GFHello all. I’m taking a brief break from Destiny to play the demo for another big fall game. This evening I got the single biggest perk I’ve ever been offered as a loyal Club Nintendo member, when the Big N sent me a download code for a demo version of the upcoming Super Smash Bros for 3DS.

The demo itself is fairly limited. The roster of available characters is limited to Mario, Link, Pikachu, the Villager and Mega Man. The other 31 characters as well as all but one stage and most of the game modes have been greyed out, including the much-touted new Smash Run mode. That leaves just the straight-up classic Smash matches… on Battlefield… with items on.

The game looks great. The much-discussed black outlines around the character models add a nice stylistic touch that sets this version apart from the look of the console versions. The 3D is subtle, but noticeable. I think the screen zooming way out will be a problem for people. On a smaller screen like this, it’s way too easy to lose track of your character (particularly since this demo insists on choosing the same character you’re using as one of the CPU players.) It should go without saying, but the music is fantastic. Headphones will be a must when playing this version.

I have to say, I’m not thrilled with the controls. Even on my 3DS XL I’ve always felt like my hands just don’t fit the controls, something that’s always noticeable on games that require a lot of quick movement. I’ve never been a fan of the Up-to-Jump control setup. Usually I can muddle through okay on the console versions, but something just feels off to me about trying to jump with the slide pad on this version. Hopefully I’ll get used to using X and Y instead.

That said, it’s perfectly playable. We’ve talked on the show before about the concern that there would only be one control stick on this version. It’s not really a drawback. The only thing the right stick was used for in previous versions was as a shortcut for smash attacks. Now you’re forced to play the game the way it was originally intended: In order to unleash your most powerful attacks, you need to nail the timing; simultaneously smashing the stick and pressing a button to inflict massive damage. There’s no easy way out. That’s not a bad thing. Inexplicably though, the game still devotes the entire d-pad to taunts.

Well that’s it, then. This demo is not a very deep slice of the final game. For that matter, if all of the greyed-out options are indicative of what will be in the final build of the game, it’s not likely to be a very deep final game either. But, it is definitively Smash Bros, in a light, portable form. I find this encouraging. When Nintendo announced that they were putting Smash on both platforms I was worried about getting the same game twice. Now I see that I’ll be able to have Smash on-the-go in a somewhat pared-down version, but the definitive, feature-rich, instant-party-in-a-game-case version will be coming to my Wii U on [Date still not announced].

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