They got a little RPG in our Smash Brothers.
Everyone's worst fears were confirmed early on Tuesday this week, as the rumored delay was made official on the Dojo blog. We'll just have to continue to rely on new bits of information to tide us over for the extra month.
New Feature: Challenges
Some of the many rewards in brawl, like trophies, stickers, and songs, are only obtained after a certain condition is met. These are called performance-based awards. Monday's Dojo update revealed a look into a special screen that can be referred to while keeping track of these rewards. It looks like a bunch of glass panels aligned in a grid-like pattern. When an award is achieved, a panel will shatter. The adjacent panels then become red, revealing the task that must be accomplished to shatter them. This will allow players to work towards unlocking everything the game has to offer in more efficient ways than just playing random modes and hoping. A fixed number of golden hammers will also allow players to unlock items without achieving the required task. This was put in to help get past "challenges you just can't overcome." Most hardcore fans will want to unlock everything without using a single hammer.
New Stage: Distant Planet
Tuesday's update brought the unveiling of the level from the Pikmin universe that everyone was waiting for after last week's announcement of Olimar as a playable character. The level captures the Pikmin aesthetic nicely with earthy tones and a garden-like feel. There are a couple of interesting twists and special features mentioned in the post. Numbered pellets will sometimes appear on the screen. They can be picked up like items and if they are thrown into one of the nearby onions, a real item pops out. Rain storms will also occasionally spring up. There's a hill on the left side of the screen that becomes a flowing stream of water during them and washes players off of the screen. A large bulborb will also occasionally appear on the right side of the screen. When his mouth is closed the fight can go on on top of him, but when his mouth his open he may eat players and items.
New Sub-Character: Sheik
After months and months of doubt, Zelda's primary game mechanic from Melee received return confirmation on Wednesday. The Princess's down special move will again transform her into Sheik. The character model has been updated to match the Twilight Princess style, supposedly being based off of a design that was drafted during the development of that game. Based on the titles alone, Sheik's moves appear to be identical to those seen in Melee. Standard is Needle Storm. Side is Chain. Up is Vanish. The title of Sheik and Zelda's final smash is identical, being called Light Arrow. This seems to point to them having the same final smash, though the results could be different.
New Final Smash: Pikmin & Olimar's End of Day
Continuing the onslaught of Pikmin based features, Pikmin & Olimar's final smash was revealed on Thursday. Called End of Day, it matches the story of the Pikmin games perfectly. After activating a smash ball, Olimar's ship will appear and he'll jump in and take off. Once he leaves the screen, it will become night time and enemies from the Pikmin universe will fill the area causing damage to any players involved. When the ship makes its return to the stage it will cause explosions that could damage players even more. As with most final smashes, the battle will continue during the entire onslaught.
New Feature: Sticker Power-ups
The stickers that were previously revealed aren't only for collecting. They also add an RPG aspect to the single player Subspace Emissary mode. Each sticker has a statistical bonus associated with it, and they can be placed on the bottom of character specific trophies. Therefore, if a player is stuck at a certain part of the adventure mode, they will be able to power up the characters involved to hopefully make things easier. As many stickers as possible can be applied to the bottom of any one trophy, but they cannot overlap each other. Also, once stuck, the stickers can be removed, but doing so will destroy them, forcing the player to re-find lost stickers if they are changing their layout a lot. These power-ups are only applied to the single player (or cooperative) mode of the game. Don't expect to secretly apply stickers to your favorite character in multiplayer brawls so you can dominate when your friends come over.
That's it for this week. There's still no sign of them closing the Dojo down, so expect the updates to continue on Monday. With Sheik and Olimar being added to the Smash lineup recently, our wallpaper making forum member, The Sailerman, has not only kept his great image updated, but has also added a variety of different backgrounds to the mix. Check it out in his thread.