One of the most exciting games coming from this E3, and one I’ve been personally looking forward to for a couple of years now, is the new Super Smash Bros
. game. Or rather, games-
One for Wii U and one for 3DS. While you can debate the merits of even having two such games when they lack proper cross play till the cows come home, the prospect of finally having a portable Smash game excites me. However, that’s not
what I wanted to write about.
A new Smash Bros.
game brings new characters to work with. And to a guy like me, who has nothing better than watching and rewatching these trailers over and over again, it means I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think about how these characters will play. We won’t completely know how the characters and their tools will work until we have the games in our hands, but there’s plenty out there that we can study. To start with, I’m going to take a look at the first revealed character: The Villager from Animal Crossing.
Since a character’s special moves often best represent the identity of the character, along with the fact they tend to be the easiest to pick out, I’ll begin with those. For most characters, their neutral special represents their signature attack; save for a few special cases where their signature moves fit a different slot, such as Sonic’s Spin Dash. In the case of the Villager, I feel this quote from Sakurai speaks for itself:
“Since the game he’s from is about collecting, he uses many things…And, just like in his game, he’s prone to pick up anything.”
The Villager was shown to have the ability to grab items and projectiles and keep them in his pocket for later use. I feel this, being the Villagers “signature” move, will be implemented as his neutral special. As far as how the mechanics of the attack actually work, it’s easy to assume that he will only be able to store one item at a time, with a second tap of the B button tossing out whatever he’s holding. My main question is whether or not he will be able to use it while holding an item. It is hard to say. In the case of Brawl
, characters that spawned items to use either couldn’t use the attack while holding an item, like Link or Peach, or will drop the item to use their move, like Snake. However, it appears that the Villager isn’t actually hanging onto the item he stores after taking it out of his pocket, but rather is immediately tossing it. This makes it more likely that it acts equivalently to something more along the lines of ROB’s gyro, allowing the Villager the ability to throw stored items at the same time as holding an item. If he doesn’t have an item stored yet, it’s possible the Villager will store the item he’s currently holding – although that may get in the way of using it as a defensive maneuver against Samus’s charge shot.
His recovery move, or up special, seems to be the Balloon Fighter hat. In the trailer, he was briefly shown slowly floating, flapping his arms. It looks like the attack might work similarly to Peach’s parasol, in that it will lift him up quickly, and then allow him to slowly drift down to the ground. My guess is that unlike Peach, he won’t have as much control in his descent. Alternatively, it may act like a jump, forcing the player to continue to tap the B button to float up, while eventually reaching a point where you stop gaining height and instead only slowing the descent. Either way, the recovery looks like it will be slower in comparison to other characters, which combined with his probably light weight means recovery will most likely be the Villager’s weak point.
The most difficult special move to figure out is the side special. I see three possible candidates: the axe, the net, and the bowling ball. With the axe, it could end up working alongside the down special (which I’ll get to later), but I feel it fits the mold of a smash attack better. Between the net and bowling ball, I’m leaning towards the bowling ball, because of certain qualities the net has…which is again something I’ll touch on later.
Concerning the bowling ball, the main reason I’m guessing it is a special and not some other type of attack is that, save for Snake and Mega Man, smash attacks have a limited amount of range away from the user. The bowling ball has been shown to be dropped from ledges and falling a great deal. This detail makes it much more likely that it is the side special over the axe and net. For the attack mechanics, there isn’t much else to work with beyond that long drop, but it’s easy to guess it might roll along the stage if not used off a ledge. It’s possible it might even become a heavy item to pick up and throw, along the lines of Bonsly from Brawl
. Assuming that’s the case, the Villager will probably only spawn one bowling ball at a time.
I saved the best – or at least my favorite – for last. His down special definitely appears to be planting a tree, if only because he has to kneel down in order to do so. It looks like it’ll take a few seconds to set up, but once you plant the seed and water it the tree will most likely stick around until you chop it down. I’m assuming that, like with the bowling ball, only one tree will be allowed on the stage at a time, especially because of how much it affects stage layout. I think the tree will act like a wall, with the very top being a platform. If that’s true, this could unintentionally lead to infinite chain grabs on any stage, a problem certain Brawl
characters had on stages with walls.
After planting the tree, what happens to his down special? My two main theories is that it either transform into the axe swing, or that he simply isn’t able to use it until the tree is gone. Characters have shown both types of special moves before, with attacks changing based on certain conditions, but as I said above, I feel the axe is more likely to be a smash attack than it is a conditional special move. This leaves the Villager without a move slot as long as the tree stands, leading me to…
A character’s normals represent the majority of their moveset, including tilts, smashes, and aerial attacks. The much mentioned axe I believe to be one such attack. It’d be his side smash, letting him charge up the attack for stronger swings. While the tree was felled with two swings in the trailer, a fully charged smash might take out the tree in one hit. This may open up the possibility of other characters being able to chop at the tree, like Link, but I wouldn’t count on it.
The Villager’s up and down smashes are most likely his fireworks and shovel, respectively. It makes sense to me that him “charging” his fireworks would be loading up more rockets to ignite, shooting upwards or even moving at different angles in a manner similar to Snake’s mortar. This does sort of clash with my reasoning for not making the bowling ball a smash attack, but I feel in this case the fireworks do not fit anywhere else. As for the shovel, the Villager appears to quickly swing it in two directions on the ground, just like several other smash attacks in the series. Its effect of grounding opponents into the ground has only been shared by DK’s side special, meaning it’d make sense as a special move, but due to the existence of the tree I felt this was instead a smash attack. It’s possible the amount of time you charge the shovel affects the length of time a foe stays stuck in the ground.
His basic neutral attack is most likely him punching with boxing gloves on, as seen in one image with him fighting Bowser. I believe it’ll be a one-two punch, similar to a number of characters already in the game. One of his moves is him swinging an umbrella, which could either be his up or side tilts, or maybe even both. Then, one of his moves is pulling up a weed, which would most definitely be his down tilt, as it’s a quick downwards attack. Unlike his other moves, I don’t believe anything interesting will be happening with these attacks mechanically, except that the weed pull might end up having a large range for a down tilt.
The dash attack is incredibly easy to pick out, as he has a move where he trips over and drops a sapling. The potted plant hangs around for a few moments before disappearing, so it leaves me wondering if he might be able to pick it up to throw if the player is fast enough. As for his other normal attack shown, the slingshot, it appears that it is also his only aerial move shown off. Judging from the way he twists his body backwards to make the shot, it’s very likely the slingshot is his backwards aerial move, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he also used it for his forward aerial attack.
To finish things off, I saved one of the more difficult moves to judge: his butterfly net. Both of the times he’s been shown carrying the net, it was not
in actual gameplay. The first instance was in the trailer, where it cuts away from gameplay footage to show a CG scene of Mario being caught in the net. The other instance is in a piece of promotional art, showing him swinging after a smash ball in the air. So if it ain’t a special move or a smash attack, just what the heck do I think he uses it for? Well…how about as his grab? He’s very clearly shown trapping Mario with it in the trailer, after all.
The only caveat with this would be its use in the art noted earlier. Either the art doesn’t represent actual gameplay, or he would be able to use the net in the air. I’m leaning towards the latter, as the other characters that also use some sort of item to grab opponents can use them in the air. However, the difference between Link’s hook shot and Samus’s grapple beam when compared to a butterfly net is that the former two are used as tether grabs in the air, as well as damaging attacks. This leads me to think that the butterfly net would represent one of two extremes. In Brawl,
Lucas’s rope snake couldn’t hurt people, only act as a tether grab in the air. The Villager will have the opposite effect, being unable to recover using the net while having the ability to smack people around with it in the air.
Whew! That got longer than I expected. Until we see more from the Villager, I’m done with him for now. I’m really looking forward to giving him a spin, just from what we’ve seen from him so far. Then again, I could say the same about the famous Blue Bomber as well… read