Basic Brawl is a mode used in Wi-Fi connection of Super Smash Bros Brawl. After choosing the "Basic Brawl" mode, the player goes to the character selection screen where they have 45 seconds to choose a character; after that they have 20 seconds to cast a vote for which stage they would like to play by paying one coin. However, choosing a random stage is free. A stage and item settings are chosen by lottery from among those voted on by the players. The match type is always a two-minute time match; this limitation is presumably to stop players from enforcing matches of inordinate length on others through long time limits or by stalling in stock mode. After the character and stage are chosen, the player has to wait in the practice stage. When the room has less than four human players, the empty spaces in a match may be filled by CPU's, or the battle could play out with less than four players instead. Unlike With Friends mode, names will not be shown amongst players and it's not possible to send short taunt messages. If the player loses the connection to the opponent(s) in the middle of the match, the entire match will end and they will have to search again for new opponents. However, a player's character will automatically be replaced by a CPU if that player happens to disconnect in the middle of a match.
While Basic Brawl received positive attention when first announced, as well as significant interest and hype, it later became one of the most criticised modes of Brawl; criticism was especially harsh because of the mode's inferiority to both local multiplayer and other popular games at the time (such as Mario Kart Wii).
Because of the limitations in Basic Brawl, players can never play the more popular stock matches, play coin matches, or time matches that last longer or shorter than two minutes. Players additionally have no control over who can enter matches, which prevents players from choosing to do one-on-one or three-way matches, whether that be with human players or CPUs.
Conversely, criticism has also come from how few restrictions there can be in the mode. Due to a lack of ability to select specific matches with specific rules, players are barred from playing with no items nor only the items they want every time the rules lottery does not decide in their favour, and the lack of stage control allows for less-altruistic players to force matches on stages less accommodating to gameplay.Temple, in particular, has gained infamy in Brawl for being an overly common stage on Basic Brawl for this reason.
The complete and mandatory anonymity of Basic Brawl is also criticised, as it prevents players from being able to try contacting others they play on Basic Brawl, and add them to their friend rosters to play them again; similarly, it prevents the player from avoiding future matches with them. The latter points especially came to light with the increase in taunt matches and griefing, which can make it near impossible for players to find serious matches, or, at least, matches where the player can have fun.
Like other online modes in the game, Basic Brawl has also come under criticism for lag problems in games, which can sometimes lead to unbearable slowdowns in some games; some griefers are also known to force lag to become more and more significant, such as by constantly using moves such as Pokémon Change.
- During an IGN interview with Sakurai, he stated that he didn't plan any online ranking systems, and didn't want new players to be insulted by other experienced players via microphone chatting, explaining part of why Basic Brawl has so many limitations.