Super Smash Bros for 3DS is out today.
And as the first Smash game on a handheld, it could very well be your first entry into the world of Mario beating the snot out of Kirby.
If that's so, we wanted to put together a handy explainer article that explains the ins and outs of this complicated game. And also offered some handy info for Smash super fans who just want to know what's new in this instalment.
And if you haven't played Smash Bros at all, you might want to come back at 12 noon today for a special competition…
What is Super Smash Bros.?
It's a bonkers, manic, frantic fighting game that celebrates the entire history of Nintendo characters by pitting them against one another in a brutal fist fights.
So it's like Street Fighter?
No, not really. You can run and jump around, the arenas are bigger and more complex, you get items and weapons, you can have four fighters on screen at once, and most characters fight with swords and plasma cannons and fireballs.
Plus, it's not about depleting your enemy's health bar. Instead, you duff up your foe to raise their damage meter and make them fly farther when hit. Then, when they're really hurting you hit them with a smash attack and knock them off screen.
What's a smash attack?
Well, Smash Bros has a pretty weird control scheme that might take some time to get used to. Your basic attacks - which are delivered with the A button - can be performed in a number of different ways.
If you press A you'll do one type of attack, but if you hold a direction and then press A you'll do another. But if you jab the circle pad in one direction and press A at the same time you'll do a smash attack.
These are slightly harder to pull off and leave you slightly exposed, but they launch enemies into the air and are the best way to send an enemy off stage (which knocks them out).
You can also charge these smash attacks by holding the A button, but you'll be really exposed.
What other attacks can I do?
While A delivers your most basic attacks, the B button is used for your four specials. You get one by tapping the button, and the other three by pressing B while holding a direction (left and right do the same special).
Link, for example, fires an arrow with B, does a spinning sword attack with up and B, pulls a bomb out of his pocket with down and B, and throws a boomerang with left (or right) and B.
While every hero is different, you'll generally find that B on its own offers a ranged attack, down and B is often defensive, and up and B gives you some lift. You'll want to use that to get back on the stage.
If you get knocked off the stage, you're not necessarily knocked out. You may see your character in a little magnifying glass, showing that you're alive but off screen.
It's vital that you get back on the stage or you'll fall down and get KO'd. So aim towards the stage and jump twice. Then use your up and B attack for a little more lift.
Can I block? Or dodge?
Yes. The right shoulder button activates a defensive bubble that repels most attacks and projectiles. But it slowly deflates as you use it, and shrinks faster when you're attacked. If it pops you'll be dizzy, defenceless, and open to attack.
You can also dodge by moving the circle pad while inside the defensive bubble. It's a great way to get behind enemies. Some characters have their own defensive moves, too.
You can also grab enemies with the left shoulder button and then attack (with a button) or throw (with the circle pad) them.
What about tripping? I've heard about tripping. Is tripping a thing?
No. Brawl had a silly feature where characters would randomly stumble over their own stupid feet and face-plant mid battle. This is thankfully not a thing in the latest game.
A weird black ball just appeared mid-battle. Help, what I do?
This is a smash ball. If you are the one to break it apart your character will glow and you will then do a super powerful attack when you press the B button.
It's different for every fighter, and most are clever references to each character's heritage. Robin does a double team attack with Chrom, Villager traps his or her enemy in a house, and Charizard mega evolves.
How many characters are in this game?
You get 37 at the start, with heroes from franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Fire Emblem. They all control with the same basic skill set but have massively different attacks, specials, stats, and speeds.
You can unlock a further 12 to bring the total roster up to a whopping 49 - ten more than Brawl on the Wii.
How do I unlock those extra fighters?
There are a number of ways to get them. All can be unlocked by playing the basic Smash mode a certain number of times. You'll get the first character after 10 matches, then the next after 20 - all the way up to your 120th match.
Or you can do certain challenges. Try beating the Classic mode on Intensity 7.0 (more on that in a second) with different characters. And try the different modes and mini-games.
Wait, what's Classic mode?
So Smash has a bunch of different modes. There's Smash, which is the basic single and multiplayer mode where you set all the rules, and choose the stage and fighters.
There's also Smash Run where characters explore a giant labyrinth for five minutes, beating up classic Nintendo foes to earn stat boosts. You all bring those stat boosts to one final battle at the end.
Classic mode features five fights and a boss battle, and All Star mode pits you against all the characters in the order they were introduced to the world.
There are also six types of Multi-Man Smash where you fight loads of weak enemies that are easily launched, Target Blast where you launch a bomb at targets, and Home-Run Contest where you try to hit a sandbag as far as possible.
Ooh, tell me about All-Star mode
This one's pretty cool. You start off by fighting early 80s heroes like Donkey Kong, Little Mac, and Pac-Man. And then you fight mid-80 characters like Link and Princess Peach. Repeat, until you're biffing characters introduced in 2013.
There's a nasty surprise, though. Your damage meter doesn't restore between battles so you'll have to avoid attacks as much as possible.
There are some healing items between battles but you can only use them once. The maxim tomato repairs 50 damage, the fairy can take off 100 but only if your damage meter is 100 or more. And the heart container fully restores you.
You'll unlock the true All-Star mode with all 49 enemies when you unlock all the hidden characters.
Now tell me more about Classic mode
To play classic mode you first choose a fighter. Then, you choose an intensity from a 90 point scale. It costs more gold to set a higher intensity, and you'll face harder opponents, but you'll earn more prizes.
You then get to pick a route you take from three coloured lines. Blue battles are easiest, green are medium, and red are hardest. As before, you'll get more loot by choosing the hard road.
If you defeat all the enemies you'll face Master Hand - the classic boss from Smash Bros. And if you're on a certain intensity you can elect to fight Master Hand and Crazy Hand for a more difficult boss battle. Again, you'll get more loot for this.
Defeat the boss of your choice and you'll get a trophy that looks like your hero.
Want more? Check out part two for even more questions.