Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is certainly living up to its ‘Everyone is here’ catchphrase, by adding another unique character to it Fighters Pass Vol. 2. The ramen-loving Min Min kicked things off five months ago bringing a very different style of play to the series. But now much to the dismay of Crash Bandicoot, Waluigi and Dante fans, Nintendo have included a character that no one could’ve imagined would be in a fighter at all.
The 77th SSBU invitation went to the blocky Steve and Alex from Minecraft. I have to say that this was a massive shock to the system and that’s not because I didn’t think Steve and Alex could be great characters, I just didn’t expect them at all.
If you somehow haven’t played or heard of the critically acclaimed Minecraft then you should really pick it up. Minecraft is a 3D sandbox game with infinite possibilities, there isn’t a specific goal to accomplish, players will have to craft items to survive, fight zombies and farm pigs, and that’s only scratching the surface.
Most DLC characters get an updated look to fit with the SSBU motif, however the first thing players will notice is that Steve and Alex’s animations are exactly the same as they would be in Minecraft. Keeping all of their physical characteristics, Steve and Alex will walk, tilt their heads and even have a limited jump like the original game. Keeping these traits instantly make the Minecraft duo amongst SSBU’s most unique characters.
For those who have played Minecraft you will know that crafting tools to survive is one of the main elements of the game. It’s no different here as Steve and Alex’s battle strategy will revolve around this too. Players will have access to three different tools, an axe, sword and pickaxe. The neutral attack will bring out the duo’s sword, which will keep attacking if you hold down the neutral button, players can charge forward or retreat while constantly attacking. It has a short reach but good to dish out some early damage from the get go.
The up tilt attack brings out the axe, and as with the sword if players hold the neutral button while holding up they can perform constant axe attacks, launching their opponents into the air and maybe even juggling them. Then the pickaxe is used for mining items but it’s also a dash attack which can be used for closing down enemies quickly. Each of these tools have a set durability and will break after a certain amount of use, leaving Steve and Alex to fight barehanded which deals next to no damage.
Players will be able to mine wood, stone, iron, gold and diamond Each mineral has its own properties, like gold speeds up your tools but the power is low, while iron is slower but has more power. Players will likely want to mine for diamonds which will dramatically increase your overall attack power.
Steve and Alex have a mineral gauge that will organise their gathered material by the amount they have. Each element has a set amount that can be gathered with less valuable resources having a much larger amount. If Steve and Alex mine more materials than they can carry, they will automatically be discarded. This just means players will have to be wary of what they use as the tools available will dictate the style of combat.
Thankfully each tool can be upgraded through crafting, as in their base wood form they don’t deal much damage. Players can only mine certain materials depending on what stage they are on. This rule does not apply for Omega and Battlefield forms, as the materials you can mine for will appear at a predetermined rate.
Players will have a crafting table spawn at that start of each match, which is where Steve and Alex craft new items and fix damaged ones. The crafting table can be destroyed but will instantly respawn. A handy tip is that players can teleport it to them by holding the shield and special buttons, mean ingyou won’t have to worry about crafting items if the table is not reachable.
Steve and Alex have yet more tools in their arsenal. These tools don’t just spawn from nothing, they will use certain amounts of the materials you have gathered, and once players run out they won’t be able to use them again until the materials have been replenished.
For example using the side special and creating the minecraft will use a lot of wood and Iron, or dropping an anvil on an opponent’s head will eat up players iron supply. This will also stop players from spamming some of the more powerful moves and save them for crucial moments.
Steve and Alex can also create blocks too, and each block will be made out of your cheapest material first. They also have a durability level that will depend on what material is used. Blocks can be used in so many different ways, including block enemies’ stage recovery, creating platforms to walk on or blocking projectile attacks. But what makes SSBU amazing is using your imagination to utilise attacks in different ways, so there will be endless possibilities with the block attack.
Steve and Alex’s down special is great and if used right can deal plenty of damage. When activated, it lays TNT that will blow up their enemies. But the great thing about this is that you can place a pressure plate which can be used in two ways. Players can set a trap for their opponents to step on by accident and if placed close to the TNT it will blow them up. Alternatively it can be placed in a position where Steve or Alex can push it himself. This is such a great move opening up the players strategy.
Not all attacks will use up materials so not to worry and these attacks pack quite the punch. These include the down tilt attack which ignites a flame with flint and steel. The flame can block projectiles and will fall on opponents stopping them from coming back to the stage. A magma block which can be used to block airborne attacks and lava which can be used to launch enemies off the stage, great against characters with poor recovery.
The duo will also be able to activate the wings of the Elytra to recover from falling off the stage. No Smash character will be complete without their Final Smash and the House of Boom is a force to be reckoned with, throwing opponents into a house filled with TNT Blocks, Zombies, and Creepers that explode.
Steve and Alex are amazing characters that have so much depth to them, I think they may prove hard to master for some people. They definitely aren’t pick up and play characters, with so much to think about during the fast paced combat. There will be a steep learning curve for players as the pair don’t excel in all areas as much as they do in others.
There are many strategies to find and execute, and if mastered right they may prove to be among the most intuitive and powerful characters in the game.
Steve and Alex are available to download from the Nintendo eShop for £5.39
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