Given the fanfare with which it was greeted, you’d think more game companies would be developing their own version of Nintendo’s cartoonish brawler Super Smash Bros. Brawl. We just didn’t expect the first one to star those heroes on a half-shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But while it seems like Smash-Up, which is slated for release by Ubisoft this September on the Wii, won’t be as deep as Super Smash Bros., from what we saw and played at a recent Ubisoft event in Los Angeles, this brawler does look like it’ll be fun for fans of these young adult-aged, genetically-altered, martial arts-trained amphibians.
Like Super Smash Bros., Smash-Up is an arcade-style 2D fighter. Accommodating up to four players, fights can be 1-on-1, 2-on-2, or even 3-on-1 if you’re feeling especially brave. You can even battle 1-on-1-on-1 or 1-on-1-on-1-on-1. All the expected characters will be playable, be they one of the turtles or such ancillary characters as April, Splinter, or Shredder, while the arenas are fitting settings like your dojo, the sewers, or atop the skyline of Manhattan.
Battle arenas also multi-layered and multi-leveled, though rather than just let you jump from one to another, you’re sometimes forced to move by, for example, a sudden blast of water that shoots you from one area of the sewer to another.
There are even some environmental hazards to be found here, such as a rather large alligator who, mistaking you for the little kid that flushed him down the toilet when he stopped being so cute, jumps up and knocks you down.
Befitting such an arcadey game, there are the usual requisite power-ups to be grabbed, including some that will give you the ability to breathe fire or shoot electrical bolts, though you can actually turn these off before you start a bout if you like. Other variables are changeable before each match, so you can customize each fight to your advantage when your opponent isn’t looking. Which may not be fair since your opponent will probably be your own son, but he should’ve thought of that before he kicked your ass at this game eight matches in a row.
Admittedly, this doesn’t look as accomplished or as deep as Super Smash Bros., at least not yet. But for anyone who prefers Michelangelo to Mario, Donatello to Donkey Kong, or Splinter to Samus, Smash-Up might be the brawl to end it all... amphibiously-speaking.