Trees won't be the only thing he chops down.
On June 11th of 2013, Nintendo opened the flood gates of speculation and intrigue when they announced new characters for the sequel(s) to their long-standing and popular Super Smash Bros. series. Since then, the beloved Japanese company has been continually trickling new information to their game, culminating to it's release in Japan on September 13th and the rest of the world on October 3rd. With the Japanese release being streamed daily, it's hard to think about anything other than this game, and with so many days before I get my hands on it, I felt now would be the best time to brush up on these new fighters we'll come to know and love. This is Smash 101!
By: Tim "Blunder" Redd
For a series where your most difficult obstacles include picking weeds and checking in with your neighbors, not many would have guessed that Animal Crossing would have a character representing it in the newest iteration of Smash. Nevertheless, the public has become mystefied by this dead-eyed rascal.
Aptly named Villager, he represents an every-character from Animal Crossing. In the games, you have just moved to a new town and begin your life as a debt-ridden member of NameYourOwnTown Town! You'll decorate your own home, play dress up, and make some of the weirdest virtual friends you'll ever know.
Animal Crossing has been a Nintendo franchise since 2001's Animal Crossing for the Gamecube. Since then, 2005's Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS and 2008's Animal Crossing: City Folk kept lovers of anthropomorphic simulator games busy until last year's Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS gave us towns that pop out at our faces on the go.
Being one the few characters in Smash who doesn't regularly save the day in his own game, Villager has been an oddity since his announcement. Nevertheless, the release of the Japanese demo for Smash has unveiled a ton of information regarding our blank-faced fighter. Armed to the teeth with basic homeowner's supplies, Villager poses a threat to even the deadliest of characters on the roster.
His moveset is comprised of regular tasks from the Animal Crossing series. You can run at someone and drop a pot on them, wack an enemy with your umbrella, and dig your opponents into an early grave with your shovel. Typical of such an odd moveset, don't expect to be as agile as Fox or as deadly as Ike; Villager plays a slower, more meticulous game as he attempts to whittle his enemies down until he can land a well-placed smash attack.
From what I've played of him, his more useful moves require a good amount of precision. His forward and back air have him using a slingshot to hit enemies at a distance, perfect for pushing enemies to their demise. On the ground, Villager's forward smash has him dropping a bowling ball on his foe for about 18% damage and lot of knockback. This move, however, comes with a bit of lag, and it will leave you vulnerable to a counterattack.
Villager's specials are where he shines. His neutral-B has him collecting any projectiles or items into his pockets. Anything collected can then be taken out an shot back at an enemy. This works wonders against opponents like Mega Man or Link who use a lot of projectiles. His down-B works in four parts, each time activated having it do something different: he plants a sapling, waters it to have it grow into a large tree, and then two swipes of his axe will have it chopped down. This can be used as an edgeguarding tactic as well as a standard attack, but the length of time it takes to pull this off makes it risky.
Villagers up-B and side-B are some of the best recovery moves in the demo. His up-B allows him to use balloons tied to his head to float him back up to the stage. I've seen this move used from the very bottom of the screen to recover back on top of the stage entirely with ease. The trick here is if someone shoots the two balloons, you'll go plummeting down, but that doesn't happen too often. His side-B lets him ride a gyroid back onto the stage horizontally, exploding once he hits a target or a wall. This can also be shot out on its own, leaving the Villager behind.
Before trying out this character in the Smash Bros. demo this Friday, Animal Crossing: New Leaf would be my reccomendation in order to get better acquainted with our suburban warrior. This game is a nice compliment to the intensity brought by Smash as you try to make your town as wonderful as possible. Though it isn't entirely necessary to enjoy his presence in Smash, it is really fun to experience the game for yourself and know why it's so hilarious that these attacks of his are so deadly. Be warned: you cannot bring in your own custom Animal Crossing character into the game, but you can always pretend that your own character got a haircut that made him/her into a manical brawler.
English teacher by day, blogger by night! Tim "Blunder" Redd can normally be seen stalking reddit, playing on his 3DS, or writing on his personal blog thedirtycasual. He is also the gaming editor on the start-up, collegiate online magazine, Shuffle!