Basic Brawl was a mode used in Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. After choosing the "Basic Brawl" mode, the player went to the character selection screen where they would have 45 seconds to choose a character; after that they would have 20 seconds to cast a vote for which stage they would like to play by paying one gold coin. However, choosing a random stage was free. Stage and item settings were chosen by lottery from among those voted on by the players. The match type was always a two-minute time match; this limitation was 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 were chosen, the player had to wait in the practice stage. When the room had less than four human players, the empty spaces in a match could be filled by CPU's, or the battle could play out with less than four players instead. Unlike With Friends mode, names would not be shown among players and it was not possible to send short taunt messages. If the player lost the connection to the opponent(s) in the middle of the match, the entire match would end and they would have to search again for new opponents. However, a player's character would automatically be replaced by a CPU if that player happened 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 criticized modes of Brawl; criticism was especially harsh because of the mode's inferiority to both local multiplayer and online modes of other popular games at the time (such as Mario Kart Wii). Many of the mode's problems are believed to arise from Masahiro Sakurai's wish to not have an online ranking system or allow players to be insulted through voice chat, reservations he mentioned in an interview with IGN.
The inability to customize the rules was the mode's biggest criticism, due to a lack of rulesets beyond a 2 minute time match and total lack of stage control, resulting in less popular stages frequently being picked. Temple, in particular, gained infamy for this reason. In addition, players had no control over who could enter matches, which prevented players from choosing to do one-on-one or three-way matches, whether with human players or CPUs.
The complete and mandatory anonymity of Basic Brawl was also criticised, for it prevented players from being able to try to contact others to play them again, be it in Basic Brawl or in a With Friends match, while also preventing players from avoiding griefers online. The latter points especially came to light with the increase in taunt matches and griefing, which made it near-impossible to find serious matches, let alone ones that were at least playable. This also had an effect on Spectator Mode for the same reason, with taunt matches infesting the available replays, diluting what would otherwise be an amazing feature to watch compelling gameplay.
Like the rest of the game's online, Basic Brawl was also very prone to lag problems, which sometimes led to unbearable slowdowns; some griefers were known to worsen lag by performing actions that would slow the game's performance down, such as spamming Pokémon Change or hacking the game to bring Final Smash forms like Giga Bowser.
Masahiro Sakurai himself acknowledged many of Basic Brawl's flaws in the Super Smash Bros. Direct, explaining that there were limitations to what could be done at the time using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The desire to improve the online experience was one of the factors behind the distinction between the For Fun and For Glory online modes in Super Smash Bros. 4. The removal of anonymity and the introduction of a reporting system were further steps taken in avoiding the failure of Basic Brawl.