Super Smash Bros 3DS Tips: Our Simple Starter Guide For Jumping Into Nintendo's New Handheld Brawler

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Oct 06, 2014 05:46 PM EDT

Super Smash Bros for 3DS finally launched last week, bringing the hugely popular fighting franchise to a handheld for the first time. The game is packed with features and game modes, and there's plenty to do and learn as you venture into its welcoming depths.

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Below are some basic tips to help get you started, particularly if this will be your first Super Smash Bros experience. It's hard to do anything wrong with the game, really, but there are ways to enhance both your enjoyment and skill level!

Experiment With All The Characters

You might have some preconceived notions about which fighters you'll prefer, but everyone is worth trying out and some may surprise you. A character you weren't particularly interested in could end up being a lot of fun to play, or even better, you could be very effective with him or her.

At least give everyone a try, even if you don't think you'll come back to them in the end. You might find a specific character 'type' works better for you than another: maybe you favor lighter, fast characters like Fox, or powerful but slower fighters like Shulk or Little Mac. Experiment, and see if one class of characters calls out to you.

Pick One Character To Main, But Be Proficient With A Few

I'm not suggesting you master 10 different characters, but it's helpful to have a variety of options. You'll likely have one main go-to, a fighter you're most confident with when trying to win, but having one or two other choices you're familiar with is helpful.

Sometimes you'll want to switch it up, other times you might be facing an unfavorable character matchup, and certain game modes work better for certain character types. Having a backup option, even if you're not quite as good with it as your main, should help you out--make a point to become effective with someone other than your favorite.

Change The Controls To Suit Your Preferences, And Customize The Rules

One of the first things I did after playing a couple matches was switch the functions of L and R, because the GameCube's right-sided Z button was much more familiar, and it's reversed on 3DS by default. You may have that same preference, or want a specific layout that works best. Removing jump from the control pad, mapping grab to a face button, and many other configurations are possible, and it's up to you to create the ideal combination. It will make a big difference if you're comfortable, so it's definitely worth experimenting with even if the default controls seem okay.

Additionally, the Rules menu will let you customize matches to your exact preference. You can change the items that will appear, alter the match length or stock amount, allow customized characters, and add handicaps. If a particular item bothers you, turn it off (or shut them all down by flipping one switch). If you prefer lives to timed matches, make that your default. This is your experience, so take charge and customize it as you see fit.

Characters Can Be Unlocked Just By Playing Smash Games

There are a number of ways to unlock characters through different game modes, but the easiest and most likely method is just to keep playing regular smash games. You'll be challenged by a new unlockable character every 10 matches up to 120, so the fighters should keep coming consistently. There are ways to game this system, such as playing one stock matches and jumping off or quickly killing the opponent, but you should also have plenty of reasons to rack up matches just by trying out the different characters and improving your game.

Don't Be Afraid To Play Against Others Online

If you're apprehensive about jumping in to online matches against fellow players, don't be. Most people are playing to enjoy themselves, and there's an unranked "For Fun" matchmaking option. You can play on a team, against one person, and in a free for all. Nobody will judge if you don't come away with a victory, and the experience of playing with others can be more rewarding than duking it out against the CPU.

If you're looking for the competitive component, it's certainly there to be found. The "For Glory" mode keeps track of your record and win percentage, and you'll usually fight other players more serious about the game. It can be disheartening to be bested when giving it your all, but the same applies for every game--learn from it, and use it to improve. Or, if you're the person beating everyone you face, well, kudos!

Explore The Whole Game

In a more general sense, just dive right in to everything Super Smash Bros has to offer. You can jump between whatever mode you'd like at will when you're tired of one, you'll unlock stages and challenges along the way by doing so. You might not understand every nuance of Smash Run at first, or know the best strategy for the Homerun Contest, but much of the fun is found in experimenting for yourself.

You can specifically aim for certain challenges (which may require you to play in an unorthodox or unusual way), attempt to complete All-Star mode, or improve your skills in Training mode at your own leisure. Playing regular Smash games is fun, but Nintendo really packed Super Smash Bros to the brim with features--get in there and enjoy it.

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