Super Smash Bros Brawl is a beat 'em up for the Wii that brings together a roster of Nintendo's most popular characters, and pits them against each other in a hugely entertaining battle. With a wide range of characters on offer, from Mario, Peach, Bowser, and even Sonic, to loveable pink blob Kirby, F-Zero's Captain Falcon, and even a cameo from Metal Gear Solid's Solid Snake, there's a huge selection of styles and characters to choose from here, and everyone will find their favourite. Here, it's mostly split between Kirby, Luigi, Pikachu, Snake and Ike.
Facing off against three other Nintendo characters in a range of four person brawls, the main objective here is to dish out as much damage as you can to your opponents, in order to knock them off the stage and score a point. The more damaged they get, the further they'll fly when they get knocked off the stage, and the harder they'll find it to get back. Best played in multiplayer over the frantic two minute brawls, up to four people can join in on the fun, with computer controlled characters optionally filling in any remaining slots.
As accessible as you'd expect a Nintendo game to be, Smash Bros sports an incredibly easy to pick up and play control scheme that lets you play along using only a Wii Remote. Here, the +Control Pad moves your character around, while 2 handles punches and kicks, and 1 handles special moves. Press a direction on the +Control Pad along with 1, and you'll access one of four character specific special moves, from Peach's flying bum attack, to Kirby's giant mallet.
Although it's best enjoyed with a group of family and friends, there's plenty for a single player to do in Smash Bros too. With several different modes on offer, each of which are playable in either single or multiplayer, including a two player co-op story mode that mixes Smash Bros' combat with New Super Mario Bros style platforming, not to mention the hundreds of stickers to collect, characters to unlock, trophies to win, and challenges to complete, this is a game that'll keep you and your family occupied for months on end. With little in the way of writing, perhaps the only true barrier between your child and this game will be whether they can get their head around the control scheme. As it does require some pretty precise timing when it comes to button pressing to play well (albeit orders of magnitude less than most fighting games), this may be a bit too tricky for the youngest of players - but if they can handle their own on New Super Mario Bros, they can probably have a good go at this.
Although Super Smash Bros Brawl is a beat 'em up, there's not too much here for parents to be concerned about. While there's a wide range of weapons on offer to beat each other up with, from the somewhat believable (baseball bats) to the frankly insane (a giant Donkey Kong mallet that flings anyone it touches practically off the screen), none of the weapons ever have a realistic impact. Although you'll be punching, kicking, and whacking your enemies with all sorts of things, the brawling never really feels all that violent, with large, colourful graphics almost in the style of Batman's "WHACK"s covering the impacts, while the characters don't become visibly beaten up as the game goes on. As you'd probably expect from a Nintendo game, everything's been very carefully handled, with the end result being that Smash Bros is arguably less violent than the Tom and Jerry cartoons.