Before we get to our hands on, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U’s 8-Player Smash mode can be played with eight Gamecube controllers.
One Gamecube adapter is plugged into the front two USB ports and the other adapter is connected to the back of the console. That means you won’t be able to hook up a USB hard drive, since all four ports will be taken up. That’s something to consider if you’re planning on getting Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on the Nintendo eShop.
Big Battlefield, a larger version of the classic Battlefield stage, was the first level I tried in 8-Player Smash. Super Smash Bros. fights are naturally frantic and 8-Player Smash makes battles even more chaotic. Each character gets three lives and the winner is the last character standing. With eight characters throwing fireballs and smash attacks at once, you want to avoid getting in the center of action.
I found it was easier to do hit and run attacks. I used Gannondorf’s slide kick to get close to a rival character and then a Smash Attack to try to knock someone out of the ring. Mega Man was great in eight player mode, too, since you can stay away from scuffles and snipe other players with charged Mega Buster shots. After the crowd thins, 8-Player Smash is basically regular Super Smash Bros. with defeated players watching the match.
I also fought on a stage based on classic Donkey Kong. This was a neat level with ladders that worked, moving hazards, and the original Donkey Kong pounding his chest. The retro Donkey Kong level had more vertical scale and when the camera zoomed out it was harder to keep track of where you are on screen. That made me wonder how 8-Player Smash will feel on a TV under 50 inches because the TVs running the demo were gigantic.
Other notes from playing different modes in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U:
- Masterpieces mode lets player sample parts of classic games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo added the NES version of Pac-Man and Mega Man 2 too. If you pick Mega Man 2, you’re thrown into the beginning of Wily’s Castle with only three minutes of playtime. Super Metroid was the “oldest” game in the unlocked Masterpieces list. A Nintendo representative explained to me that players will be able to unlock more Masterpieces.
- Crazy Hand mode is kind of like survivor mode mixed with Trophy Rush. It costs either 5,000 coins or one Crazy Hand ticket to try this game out. When you start, you’re given four battles to choose from. These vary from 3-on-1 fights to free for all battles. Win and you can pick your next fight, but most of the damage you took carries over. Players recover a little bit of life after clearing each stage, so it’s possible to heal if you’re good at evading. After the first battle, you can challenge Crazy Hand at anytime, but if you keep fighting in the other matches you earn more rewards like trophies and equipment. Since it’s expensive to play Crazy Hand mode you probably want to fight more battles to get the most out of your 5,000 coins.
- Speaking of trophies, the Trophy Shop looks like a store shelf in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
- Event Mode can be played solo or with a friend. The first event is Mario and Luigi vs. Bowser Jr. and Bowser. Teams are set so you have to use the Mario Bros. when fighting the two royal koopas. Each event has three difficulty settings and an extra challenge where you can earn more coins. Defeating Bowser Jr. under 15 seconds was the extra challenge for the first event. Clearing an event opens a new one up, but some events can unlock more than one event depending on what characters you have unlocked. The next event, a battle between Little Mac & Wii Fit Trainer vs. Kirby and Pac-Man, had different character builds, too. Little Mac and Wii Fit Trainer felt like they had a feather attached to them for the duration of the event while Kirby and Pac-Man were heavy.
- The tablet-like Wii U GamePad makes stage creation in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U really easy. Any shape you draw on the touch screen turns into a land mass. If you want to make something more angular, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has a grid mode to help with that. Players can also add hazards to the stage like cannons, springs, and magma. Magma is interesting since you “paint” it on top of other land you created. Magma consumes a lot of weight, a statistic that measures how many items you can have in a level. Moving platforms are easy to create too. All you need to do is drop a platform and then drag a line to show where you want the patrolling path to go.