Introduction

Our ultimate data compilation has been written by Max Krchmar, who has been working on this detailed analysis for 6 weeks already. 7 Nintendo Enthusiast staff members had 3 days of hands-on time with Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS during E3 at Nintendo’s private press area. Three of them, Max Krchmar, Dakota Lasky, and Joe Cribari, are well-recognized members in the competitive Smash Bros community. Dakota had a few hours to practice with the game before competing in Nintendo’s Top 16 Smash Bros Invitational at E3. During E3, they were able to play competitively and thoroughly put the game through the lens of intense scrutiny. You probably will not find a more detailed breakdown of the game online to this point.  We hope you enjoy.

How this write-up came to be

After my first day of testing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, I wrote an article detailing my thoughts on the game and its overall engine.  Now that I’ve had some more time to play each character, I’ll break them down and also explain the universal changes.  I actually got to sit down and test movesets extensively against Sandbag in the waiting room for the 3DS version, so I decided to optimize my time and go straight for the newcomers.  I got to record what each of their move animations are and how much damage they do, as well as a rough idea for their speed and knockback.  (Unfortunately, I was unable to test throws because you cannot grab Sandbag.)

Please remember, though, that this information represents a game in development and many of these statistics are likely to change!  The animations/input mapping, however, probably will remain the same.  Try not to judge the balance of the characters too much based on this preliminary data, because we still haven’t seen some of the cast and most custom moves yet! (Also, remember that in when the games come out, the characters will be exactly the same in the 3DS and Wii U versions. I believe the builds at E3 were identical across systems, as well.)

The lovable Sandbag was invaluable to my data collection, just like he is to Little Mac’s training for the new Smash game.


SYSTEM CHANGES/MECHANICS/CONTROLS

Returning

Teching: You can tech (press the shield button while flying after being hit to catch a surface and stand up/roll) the floor, walls, and ceilings just the same as in Melee and Brawl–including walljump techs.

Directional influence (DI): You’re still able to aim your character’s trajectory after being knocked back from hits for increased survival, to escape from combos, or for other tactical reasons.  Smash DI, the ability to jolt your character’s body while they’re stuck in freezeframes from being hit, also returns, but its impact is much less significant than in previous installments of the Smash series.

Reverse aerial rush: Just like in Brawl, if you tap the control stick in the opposite direction that you’re moving in during a dash and then jump immediately after, your character will jump with their back turned with no delay.  This allows you to do aerials facing in whichever direction you desire while still maintaining full momentum from your dash.

Pivot grabbing: The ability to turn around and grab during a dash has returned, and like in Brawl, you can do it out of a full stride instead of just your initial dash.

Dashing up smash: Pressing up on the C-stick while dashing will initiate an up smash, another feature restored from Brawl.

Jump out of shield, jump cancels: You can still jump directly out of your shield without dropping it (even Yoshi can too, now!), and you can still cancel your jump with up smash or up B.

Air dodging: The new air dodge is somewhat like Melee and Brawl’s air dodges put together, but it’s also its own unique iteration.  Air dodging does not move your character or put you into freefall, just like how it works in Brawl, but it also has lag frames upon landing if you do it too close to the ground–though even more than in Melee.  Recovery time from air dodges in midair seems to be comparable to Brawl.

Footstool/Stepping stone jump: Just like in Brawl, pressing jump while above an opponent’s head will cause you to spring off of them and push them down.  The mechanic was renamed to “stepping stone jump,” but I have a feeling “footstool” will probably stick around.

New

Freeze frames: This isn’t really a gameplay mechanic, but you can really feel when attacks connect because the game has lots of freeze frames on hit.  It’s one of the most satisfying parts about playing the new game–the player experiences a “gotcha!” kind of feeling that keeps you coming back for more.

Hitstun: The time that you’re stunned after being hit by most moves is a good bit more than in Brawl, and a little less than in Melee. Every character has combos that are at least two or three hits, and more elaborate setups are certainly possible.  In addition, they’ve introduced…

Launchers: Once you’ve built up a bit of percent on your opponent, lots of moves gain a launching effect when you land them.  When a move launches a target, it has an exaggerated blast trail effect and puts them in hitstun for a very long time.  This is a very obvious cue to follow up with a finisher or continue extending the combo.

Finishers: Every jab combo that includes a rapid attack option at the end now features a finishing blow that knocks opponents away.  Because multi-hit moves have been so drastically improved, these finishers are very useful.  Holding A instead of tapping it will repeat the multi-hit attacks automatically, and the finisher comes out when you release the A button.  An amazing change and a severe departure from the overall weakness of rapid attacks in the other entries of the series!

Pivot cancels: While dashing, you can press the opposite direction on the control stick plus the A button, C-stick, or Z, which will make your character instantly turn around and do their forward tilt/forward smash attack or a grab in the direction you most recently pressed.  This is really effective for doing attacks or grabs while retreating, passing through opponents and then attacking their backs, and much more. You can do a special pivot grab with this technique that allows you to slide a bit by dashing in one direction, pressing Z, then tapping the opposite direction on your control stick.  (Shoutouts to this video from Italian Smash Bros. players for showing the special pivot grab. This was something I did not notice at E3 and found out through videos afterward.)

Edge mechanics: Characters can grab the edge with their backs turned to it like in Brawl.  Grabbing the edge locks characters to it for a short period of time before they’re able to act–again, just like in Brawl, whereas in Melee you can act immediately upon grabbing it.  However, this is done with a clear purpose in mind.  Holding the edge no longer makes the other character fall past it–instead, you will fall off of the edge and be left unable to act for a brief period of time, comparable to or equal to the amount of time a character is stuck on the edge for upon grabbing it. Characters do automatically snap to the ledge while ascending during most recovery moves like in Brawl, but there are exceptions like there were in Brawl as well–most notably, Sonic and Mega Man do not autosnap to the edge on the way up. There may be more who don’t (Zelda?), but I didn’t notice them explicitly.   The amount of invincibility frames you receive upon grabbing the edge is influenced by percent, air time, and possibly other factors such as how far your character is recovering from.  Regrabbing the edge does not restore invincibility–you only get it once before you have to land back on the stage to get it back!  Also, as showcased by Sakurai in a daily update from a few months back, two characters can simultaneously tether the edge, but who grabs it upon reeling in will be determined by these new air time/percentage factors.

C-stick charged smashes: Holding the C-stick in the direction in which you perform a smash attack will cause the move to charge.  While this is a nice little feature, it could be dangerous or inconvenient.  It is unknown whether or not there’s a minimum requirement on how long you have to hold it before it starts charging, but this is something important for players to learn about upon the game’s release–many people use the C-stick to avoid accidentally charging their smashes a little bit too long to land precise hits with the A button.


CHARACTERS

main-wiiu-logo

Part of the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U cast lined up for battle in beautiful high resolution.


GRENINJA

Greatest strengths: Range, speed, recovery, mobility

Greatest weaknesses: KO power


Greninja seems like a really solid character. He’s quick and has great recovery, but doesn’t really knock foes out at low percents. This is fine, because he’d probably be unbalanced otherwise—all of his moves have impressive range as well, due to his long limbs. He’s very slick and frog-ninja-esque, meaning they really nailed his design.  He’s got combos, speed, and can still score KOs–usually off the top of the screen.  Lots of his moves feature him spawning water swords that aren’t attached to his body–he feels like a mixture of Marth and Sheik, to some degree.

Side note, after learning his name origin, I want to play him a lot more. “Gren” comes from “grenouille,” which is French for “frog” (the Kalos region where Pokémon X and Y take place is based heavily on France), and he’s obviously a ninja.  In Japanese, his name is Gekkouga, which is “geko,” the Japanese onomatopoeia for croaking, plus “koga,” from the Koga-ryu school of ninjutsu (think Koga from Fuschia Gym/the Elite Four).  In French, he’s named Amphinobi, like “amphibian/amphibie” + “shinobi.”  Super clever, GameFreak.  I see you guys.  Props to Bulbapedia for listing and explaining the name origins.


Jab – slap, slap, splash (3 hits) – 2, 2, 4

Greninja slaps the opponent and finishes the jab combo with a quick burst of water that’s disjointed from his body/hurtbox. Comes out and finishes pretty quickly.

Forward tilt – kick – 7

Standard forward kick, you can aim it up or down.

Down tilt – foot – 7

Somewhat similar to Mario and Luigi’s down tilt, Greninja pokes his foot out a bit and pops the opponent up in front of him.

Up tilt – tongue – 5

Greninja swings his tongue over his head in an arc. Covers a lot of his body, but doesn’t have as much vertical range as it looks. May not be disjointed. Starts combos, covers landings.

Dash attack – sweep – 7

Greninja slides into the ground and sweeps his foot. Seems kind of slow, reduces his forward momentum when the move comes out. One of his least useful moves, in my opinion.

Forward smash – sword chop – 14-­20

Starts a bit slow, but has a good disjoint. Not particularly powerful, but will send opponents off the stage and set up for edgeguards.

Down smash – hand sweep – 11­-16

Greninja sweeps his hands around both sides of him. Fairly weak, doesn’t seem safe to go for most of the time.

Up smash – sword cross – 13-­19

Two swords come out of Greninja’s hands while he raises his arms up. The swords aren’t part of his body, and the range is pretty solid. This move most likely has the most knockback of his entire moveset, and it can also be used directly out of a dash, so it’s probably going to be one of his most reliable KO moves.

Neutral air – focus – 11

Greninja puts his hands together in a ninja focusing pose and a small burst of water comes out of his torso. It seems kind of hard to land, but also has fairly strong knockback.

Forward air – sword chop – 14

Similar to his forward smash, but in the air. Good range, but I believe it has landing lag from a short hop no matter what. Not particularly high knockback but definitely a useful move.

Back air – triple kick – 3, 3, 4

One of Greninja’s best moves—he kicks behind him three times very quickly with the third hit sending you away. It doesn’t KO, but since multi­hit moves have been so heavily buffed and Greninja’s limbs are long, it’s really good.

Down air – dive kick – 8

Greninja dives down into the ground at a high speed and plants his foot. Very slow recovery if you miss it, but on hit, it spikes aerial opponents and pops grounded opponents up for a followup.

Up air – drill – 10 (multi­ple hits, final hit is the strongest and sends you away, but it was too difficult to calculate each individual hit’s damage)

Similar to Samus and Sheik’s up airs, except Greninja goes completely vertical and upside down. The first few hits are weak, then the final one sends you away. One of his best moves—fast and powerful.

Neutral B – Water Shuriken – 4-­13

Greninja throws a ninja star, with its size depending on charge. Charge is not cancelable or storable–it releases automatically when you release the B button.  The charged projectile has multiple hits and carries the opponent as they take damage, allowing Greninja to chase the thrown Shuriken and follow up from it.

Side B – Shadow Sneak – 10

While you hold the B button, a shadow is cast over the ground in front of you, and it goes further the longer you hold B.  Greninja can move and jump while the shadow moves.  Upon release/full distance, you teleport completely horizontally to the spot where the shadow is cast–this means Greninja can choose how high he is in the air (if at all) when doing this move.  Does not cause freefall, so you can act afterward!

Up B – Waterfall – 2, 2

Very similar to Pikachu’s Quick Attack–Greninja gets two angled bursts of movement with a trail of water.  Pretty fast, covers a good amount of distance, but doesn’t hit hard.

Down B – Substitute — ?

This move is a counter.  Greninja disappears and spawns a Poké Doll Substitute just like in the games, and when it gets hit, he’ll pop out and hit you.  I didn’t get a lot of time to mess with this move, but it seemed a bit unreliable–kind of like how you can escape Lucario’s Double Team in Brawl if you activate it with a move that ends quickly enough.


VILLAGER

Greatest strengths: KO power, recovery, projectile countering

Greatest weaknesses: mobility


Villager was a really fun and unique character to play.  A lot of his moves are really unorthodox, but he seems like he will be powerful when he’s completely figured out.  His up and down tilts have very high knockback, whereas his up and down smash aren’t used directly for KOs.  Two of his aerials are projectiles, and his down B is an interesting stage trap.  Although Villager doesn’t have much range with his limbs, he has some interesting ways to compensate–fitting for a character with such deep pockets.


Jabs – 3 each

Villager puts on boxing gloves and swings a quick punch.  Repeated presses of the A button will yield consecutive hits until you decide to stop.  Definitely a very solid move, his fists/mitts are pretty big.

Forward tilt – umbrella – 9

Villager pulls out a yellow (at least, it’s yellow in the default costume) parasol and jabs it forward.  Solid range, low knockback.  Looks to be an effective spacing tool on the ground, especially since you can pivot ftilt directly out of your dash!

Up tilt – stick (2 hits) – 6, 5

Villager takes a stick out of his infinite pockets and twirls it in the air twice.  The second hit has very high knockback and appears to be a KO move. Not much range, though, since the stick is kinda short.

Down tilt – pluck – 13

Villager pulls some weeds and dirt out of the ground.  Also has very high knockback and appears to be a KO move.

Dash attack – flowerpot – 10

While running, Villager pulls out a flowerpot, only to trip and send it flying in front of him.

Forward smash – bowling ball – 15-­21

Villager whips out a bowling ball and gracelessly drops it while wobbling on one leg.  Very slow to start and small range, but strong knockback.  The ball continues falling if you drop it off the edge of a platform or stage.  Probably a bit impractical in 1v1s without proper setup, but his down smash might provide just that! Scroll down a bit to check it out.

Up smash – fireworks – 11-­16

Villager takes out some strange cannon-esque apparatus and shoots a few blasts of fireworks from it.  They reach a bit over his head.  This move is slightly reminiscent of Snake’s up smash from Brawl, the mortar launcher.

Down smash – shovel – 7­-9   Using one of the staple items from the Animal Crossing series, Villager stabs the ground on either side of him with a shovel.  Although this move does very low damage, it actually pitfalls the opponent as if they walked into a hole in Animal Crossing (or stepped on the Pitfall item in Smash, or got hit with Donkey Kong’s Headbutt into the ground).  This allows Villager (or any other characters on the screen) ample time to follow up with another move of choice, kind of like Zero Suit Samus’s down smash.

Neutral air – flip – 9 strong, 5 weak   Villager does a flimsy cartwheel in the air.  The move is strongest when it first comes out, then becomes a bit weaker.   Forward air – slingshot – 7 close, 4 far   This move (as well as back air) really impressed me–Villager uses a slingshot to shoot a pebble a short distance in front of him in a straight line before it disappears.  This move is one of the few normal moves that’s actually a projectile in the Super Smash Bros. series.  The pebble is stronger if you’re closer to your opponent.   Back air – slingshot – 9 close, 5 far   Villager’s back air is nearly identical to his forward air, except it goes in the opposite direction and deals a little bit more damage.

Up air – turnips – 4-­10

Villager pulls out anywhere between one and three turnips (completely random) and points them upwards, somehow producing an attack.  More turnips equals more damage and knockback.

Down air – turnips – 8­-13

Similar to up air, except the turnips come out below his body and it does a bit more damage.

Neutral B – Pocket

Villager catches oncoming projectiles/items and stores them in his hammerspace pocket.  Pressing B again causes him to throw back whatever he caught.

Side B – Lloid Rocket – 7 (projectile), 17 (riding)

Villager spawns a gyroid character named Lloid from Animal Crossing and can either send it away as a projectile or ride it as a mount.  Riding it does more damage and can be used as a recovery move, but you lose the advantage of keeping Villager safely far away from opponents.

Up B – Balloon Trip – 0

Villager spawns two balloons and floats through the skies with them on his back.  Hitting them makes them pop, and he’ll go into freefall either when they’re both popped or he’s ridden out the maximum distance.

Down B – Timber – 25 – axe – 14 – item – 3

This is a four part move that requires quite a bit of time to set up.  The first press of down B makes Villager plant the sapling in the ground.  Next, if you press down B over the sapling, he’ll water it and it grows.  Once the tree has grown, down B makes Villager swing an axe, regardless of where he is in relation to the tree.  The tree requires two chops to go down, and once it does, it hurts.  The tree bounces around a little bit off of everything it makes contact with, eventually breaking into little bits that can be picked up as items.  Definitely a move that requires special circumstances to make contact with, but a very cool one regardless.  The axe and items may be more practical than the tree itself.


LITTLE MAC

Greatest strengths: Close combat, ground combat, ground speed, KO power

Greatest weaknesses: Long range combat, air combat, air speed, recovery


They really weren’t exaggerating when they told us Little Mac was amazing on the ground, but simply terrible in the air.  Almost all of his ground moves can KO you easily, and all of his smash attacks have super armor–that is, for a certain period of time while he’s initiating them, he’ll sustain hits without taking knockback. He runs and strikes with great speed, as well.  His rolls are even super fast.  However, once you get this guy in the air, it’s a wrap.  His aerials are pathetic–even the animations make them look like joke moves, akin to Dan in Street Fighter.  If he’s knocked even a little far off the stage, it’s almost guaranteed that he’s not making it back, especially against an opponent who hits him out of his double jump.  Little Mac was a thrill to play, and in my opinion, was definitely one of the better characters.


Jab – 2, 3, 8 (3 hits), 16 damage total rapid

Little Mac does a super quick right jab, which can be followed up with a left straight and then either a right hook or a series of rapid punches that ends in a right hook when you decide to stop holding/tapping A (I’m not actually sure which hands he uses, but I think this is correct).  The final hit has pretty strong knockback for a jab.  Very solid move no matter how many hits you decide to go for.

Forward tilt – one-two punch – 4, 8

Mac swings a nasty one-two.  Seems to have enough knockback to be a KO move.

Up tilt – overhead sweep – 9

Little Mac swings his fist over his head in an arc.  This covers the entire area around his body, which is very useful, especially because this move sets up for combos.  If your opponent has taken too much damage to follow up with a ground attack afterward, you can chase them with up B.

Down tilt – low punch – 9

Little Mac sweeps the ground in front of him with his fist, popping the opponent up in front of him.  This move can definitely be followed up, and like all of Mac’s ground moves, it’s quick.

Dash attack – overhead punch – 10

Mac runs forward and swings an arm over his head, nearly falling over while doing so.  He really puts his heart into this move.  Pops opponents up for a follow-up, very good and fast.

Forward smash – straight – 19­-27

Mac fires off a straight punch, which can be aimed up or down.  Like all of his smash attacks, this move has huge power and super armor on startup.

Up smash – uppercut – 20­-28

This move is a standard uppercut with massive damage/knockback and super armor on startup.

Down smash – double sweep punch – 12­-17

Little Mac sweeps in front of him, then behind him with a low punch.  It has super armor on startup, but is noticeably lower in knockback than his up and forward smashes.

Neutral air – rapid punch – 3?

Little Mac punches downward roughly at a 45 degree angle.  This is probably his most useful aerial, although they’re all terribly weak and short-ranged.  This one comes out fast and can be repeated quickly with continued presses of the A button, and it doesn’t seem to have much landing lag. I actually forgot to test how much damage all of his aerials did, but none of them do more than 5-6%.

Forward air – forward swing – 4?

Mac takes a weak swing in front of him, clearly looking like he’s struggling.  Very low knockback, has some landing lag.   Back air – backward punch – 5?   Mac sticks out a punch behind him, again looking rather helpless.  Same story as all the other aerials–weak and not particularly useful.

Up air – upward swing – 5?

Same as the previous moves, just above him.

Down air – downward swing – 5?

See above, except he swings his fist down.

Neutral B – Straight Lunge – 14­-25

Before the KO meter is charged, Little Mac’s neutral B is a charging punch move.  The longer you hold B, the further he’ll slide when you release and the more powerful the punch will be. He has super armor the entire time he’s charging, which turns this otherwise slow and telegraphed move into something pretty dangerous, especially in doubles or free-for-alls.  If you charge for too long, he’ll get stuck in place and taunt, so be careful.

Neutral B – One Hit KO Punch – 35

After Mac has dealt or sustained a solid number of hits, his KO meter will flash indicating that it’s full, and his neutral B changes to the one hit KO punch.  Despite the name, the OHKO will not actually take you out 100% of the time–in the E3 invitational tournament, we saw Liquid`KDJ survive TheRapture’s punch with Rosalina at 0% on the PilotWings stage.  However, without phenomenal directional influence and a heavy character or a large stage, getting hit by this move will seal your fate.  It’s unlikely that any opponent will be able to survive this move any higher than 10%.  While the punch is very quick and sneaky (and not unblockable, thanks to juice.Ksizzle for the tip), it can be very easily stuffed by attacks.  If Mac has one of these charged up, don’t get scared and sit in your shield–disobey your intuition and challenge him! He’ll be meterless and robbed of a KO opportunity.  Also, if you don’t use this move within roughly 10 seconds, it’ll go away automatically.  Thanks to TheRapture from NE for the find!

Side B – Jolt Haymaker – 14

This is a really unique and interesting move.  Mac does a jumping punch that goes pretty far across the ground.  Using Jolt Haymaker against a vulnerable opponent will cause Mac to strike them, but if they put up their shields, he’ll quickly fade right through them and end up on the other side without much recovery time.  This move also gives him a bit of lift in the air (and also the same horizontal movement as on the ground), so you can use it as an alternate recovery to his up B.  I’ve also heard that this move may be projectile invincible, meaning Little Mac players can use this to cut through an opponent trying to shoot ranged attacks at them and exploit his weakness from far away.

Up B – Rising Uppercut – multi-hit, 10 total

Mac jumps and does a spinning uppercut.  The vertical distance this move gets is absolutely horrible, so don’t expect great things as far as recovery goes, but it’s a good follow-up to combo starters that leave opponents too high to reach with ground moves.

Down B – Slip Counter

This is a standard counter move much like Marth’s, Roy’s, Ike’s, or Lucario’s from previous iterations of Smash.  I was unable to test its damage output because I was playing versus Sandbag, who can’t hit you!


ROSALINA & LUMA (AVAILABLE ONLY IN Wii U DEMO)

Greatest strengths: Recovery, long range combat, stage control

Greatest weaknesses: Close combat, mobility, difficult learning curve


Unfortunately, Rosalina was unavailable for selection in the 3DS demo at E3, so I didn’t get to extensively test her moves to record data.  From what I got to play and see of her, she seemed like one of the most difficult characters to learn–definitely not someone you can pick up and play successfully without lots of time to figure out how she works.  Luma acts like a deployable turret that mimics Rosalina’s moves, kind of like Nana from the Ice Climbers.  However, he can also be destroyed by attacks, like Olimar’s Pikmin.  There are a few different colored Lumas that she can spawn, but I’m not sure if they actually have individual attributes.  When Luma is destroyed or falls off the stage, you can’t summon another one for a few seconds.  When they’re separated, Rosalina’s attacks are weaker, but she gains the advantage of having Luma on the stage.  Luma can interrupt opponents’ attacks and grabs on Rosalina and sometimes absorbs projectiles (maybe all kinds of hits?) directed at her when they’re running, which is extremely useful, and they can also volley opponents back and forth or set up for each other’s hits, creating amazing combos.  She’s very tall and pretty heavy, but also very floaty.


Known moves:

Forward smash – Rosalina thrusts her arms in front of her with her palms extended and a burst of energy comes from them.  Very similar to Zelda’s forward smash.

Down smash – Rosalina does a sweep kick that hits in front of her, then behind her.

Neutral air – Rosalina does a flipping kick that has multiple hitboxes.

Back air – Rosalina kicks behind her, producing a burst of galactic energy.

Up air – Rosalina waves her wand and a white ring appears above her head, pushing opponents up.  Definitely comboable into more up airs.

Down air – Rosalina waves her wand and a white ring appears a good distance below her feet. The edges will hit opponents sideways, whereas the center will hit them downward.

Neutral B – Luma Shot – Rosalina deploys Luma, who does a tackle attack as he comes out.  The tackle seemed to have pretty high knockback.  Once Luma is out, he will mimic Rosalina’s input commands.  You can charge the deployment by holding B, and more charge equals more knockback.  When Luma is far away from you, this will call him back to you.

Side B – Star Bits – Rosalina waves her wand and Luma fires a stream of star bits from wherever he’s currently deployed.

Up B – Launch Star – Rosalina hops into a Launch Star from the Super Mario Galaxy franchise and soars in an upward arc.  This move travels quite a far distance, making it a solid recovery.

Down B – Gravitational Pull – I don’t know too much about how this move works, other than that it attracts projectiles and items around Rosalina’s body and protects her from them.


MEGA MAN

Greatest strengths: Long range combat, KO power, range

Greatest weaknesses: Close combat, mobility


For any fans of the Mega Man series, you’ll probably be pleased to know that the Blue Bomber feels exactly how you’d expect him to in Smash.  His jumping and shooting movement is very well-imported, and the Robot Master powers represented in his moveset are really cool. Lots of his attacks are projectiles or have disjointed hitboxes (the part of the attack that deals damage isn’t connected to his body), which makes him interesting and somewhat comparable to a character like Link.  However, he certainly plays like his own brand of beast.  He’s powerful and can fight from a distance, but he’s not too fast at moving around nor adept at fighting up close.  Thanks to SSBWiki for the names of the Robot Master powers!


Jab/Forward tilt/Neutral air – Mega Buster – 3 cannon (jab/forward tilt), 4 cannon (neutral air), 2 bullet   Mega Man’s jab, forward tilt, and neutral air are merged into one move, which is exactly like what walking/jumping and shooting are in his native series.  The bullets travel a pretty short distance and inflict minimal damage/knockback/hitstun, but he can fire three at a time in quick succession.  Not having a traditional jab or forward tilt makes it difficult for Mega Man to get opponents off of him at a close distance, but he can use these moves to supplement his keepaway game.

Up tilt – Mega Upper – 17 close, 12 mid, 8 far

Mega Man does his Mega Upper from the Marvel vs. Capcom games.  This move is REALLY powerful, especially for a tilt, and he jumps pretty high.  The later in his jump that the move connects, the less powerful it is, but that also means it has active hitboxes for a long time.

Down tilt – slide – 9 strong, 5 weak

Mega Man crouches low and slides a bit forward.  One of his few close-up tools.

Dash attack – Top Spin – 10 (mulit-hit)

Mega Man spins and catches opponents in his whirl, hitting them multiple times and then sending them away.

Forward smash – Charge Shot – 12-­20

Mega Man fires a huge Buster shot that varies in size, travel distance, and power depending on charge time.  This is definitely going to be highly useful since it’s a projectile and a KO move.

Up smash – Spark Shock – 18-­26

Mega Man turns his arms into spark plugs and raises them above his head, creating a strong current.  Lots of damage, lots of power, good range.

Down smash – Flame Blast– 17-­24

Two fire pillars come out of the ground from Mega Man’s arms.  This move is significantly less powerful than people initially estimated from the early Mega Man footage where it did over 40%…just goes to show what can change while a game is still in development! ;) That said, it still seems potent because it covers both sides of him simultaneously and has solid reach.

Forward air – Flame Sword – 8

A fire sword comes out of Mega Man’s arm and he slashes the air in front of him.  Not particularly powerful, but definitely a good and quick move.

Back air – Slash Claw – 3, 4, 5

Mega Man slices behind him three times, each with slightly increasing damage.  Quick with good range and damage, adding to his already dangerous aerial repertoire.

Up air – Air Shooter – 6 (3 hits)

Slightly akin to Mr. Game & Watch’s up air from Brawl, Mega Man shoots a tornado above his head that travels quite far upward at a slight angle and carries opponents with it.  This can be chained repeatedly to carry foes off the top of the screen.

Down air – Hard Knuckle – 14 close, 12 far

Mega Man blasts a mechanical fist below him.  The projectile is a meteor smash, and it’s a little stronger if you’re closer to Mega Man.  This will likely be a staple in Mega Man’s edgeguarding game, and it will also make him more difficult to juggle.

Neutral B – Metal Blades – 3, 3

The famous Metal Blades are Mega Man’s neutral B, but they’re not as wildly powerful as they were in Mega Man 2.  They actually do pretty low damage, but they strike twice when he initially shoots them.  The Metal Blades are an item projectile, meaning that they can be caught, picked up, and thrown.

Side B – Crash Bomber – 4

Another iconic power, Mega Man can stick these to his opponents like Snake’s C4 in Brawl or the Gooey Bomb item.  They detonate after a few seconds and inflict minor damage, but they’ll definitely be a very important part of his arsenal because opponents will have to watch their backs as long as there’s a bomb on them.

Up B – Rush Coil – 0

Mega Man calls in his buddy Rush and bounces off a spring on his back.  This attack deals no damage, but it also doesn’t put Mega Man in the helpless state, so he can act after springing.  He gets a decent boost, so his recovery is pretty good.

Down B – Leaf Shield – 2 per hit rotating, 4 projectile

Pressing down B summons the Leaf Shield, which will eat up a few projectiles and whisk nearby opponents for a little bit of damage.  Another press of down B will send the shield flying at opponents, which isn’t particularly strong, but it’s a big projectile nonetheless.


WII FIT TRAINER

Greatest strengths: speed, recovery, range

Greatest weakness: KO power


People had their doubts about the Wii Fit Trainer’s potency, but rest assured, she’s deadly.  Her long and skinny limbs make her range something to fear, while also making her tricky to hit despite her tall frame.  She moves quickly and her attacks come out quickly, but she’s a bit floaty when it comes to fall speed.  This sporadic stat spread makes her somewhat comparable to Samus, but they play nothing alike.  Her strange yoga pose moves are a lot easier to get used to than you’d think, and she actually ends up feeling like one of the most intuitive characters to control after a few games.


Jab – hand slice, knee, lunge – 3, 2, 3

This three piece combo starts quickly and ends with a nasty surprise.  If you get hit by her foot on the third hit of her jab, you’ll get planted in the ground as if you stepped over a Pitfall or got hit by Donkey Kong’s headbutt.  Although it doesn’t stun opponents for too long, you can definitely follow up from this into combos, or even KO moves when your opponents are at higher percents.  You’ll definitely be seeing a lot of this move from Wii Fit Trainer hopefuls.

Forward tilt – reach/leg lift – 9

Wii Fit Trainer gracefully stretches her arm forward and lifts her leg behind her, hitting on both sides.  This move covers her body excellently and can pop opponents up for combos with the back hit.

Up tilt – arm in air – 10

Wii Fit Trainer stretches her arm above her.  Another great combo starter.

Down tilt – knee swing – 12

Wii Fit Trainer holds herself up by her hands and swings her knees forward.  This move does a lot of damage, but I recall it being kinda slow.

Dash attack – triangle – 6

While dashing, Wii Fit Trainer slides on the ground and stretches her arms and legs to make the shape of a triangle with her body, plus one arm behind her.  A quick move that propels her forward and also shrinks her frame to make her more difficult to hit while simultaneously covering most of her body.

Forward smash – stomp/stretch – 16-­22

WFT stomps her foot forward and stretches her arms out on both sides of her, hitting from in front and behind.  Decently strong and can be used to KO at higher percents.

Up smash – can opener – 16­-21

Striking a pose with one bent up and her hands above her head, this move can be used for juggles and possibly KOs once you’ve racked up enough damage.

Down smash – arm/leg outstretch – 10-­14

The Wii Fit Trainer gets down on one knee and stretches out one arm and one leg.  Hits both sides and comes out fairly quickly, but it isn’t very strong.

Neutral air – toe touch – 5, 9

WFT reaches for her toes and curls her lower body upward, producing two hits.  Very quick and covers her whole body.

Forward air – up forward chop – 6 hand, 10 foot

Stretching one arm up forward as well as one leg behind her, this move hits on either limb.  Interestingly enough, even though it’s her forward air, her foot that comes out behind her has more damage and knockback.

Back air – dropkick – 14

This move is comparable to the standard dropkick back airs of Mario, Kirby, and the like, though I’m sure it’s actually a yoga pose that I’ve never heard of.  I’m sure this character’s section would have been a bit easier to write if I knew anything about yoga…nonetheless, this move hits behind WFT and is quite fast and strong.

Up air – wave – 10

Raising her arms above her head, the Wii Fit Trainer waves them horizontally a bit.  This move is an amazing combo starter and extender, granting her ample opportunity to jump up and smack opponents away with a follow-up.

Down air – stomp – 13

Wii Fit Trainer stomps her feet in the air in some vaguely yogic action.  This move is a meteor smash, so it sends opponents downard.

Neutral B – Sun Salutation – 5-­18

WFT stretches upwards and backwards while charging, then leans forward to shoot a charged ball of energy.  This functions like Samus’s Charge Shot in that it gets bigger and stronger as it charges, and you can press a shield button to cancel and store the charge.  The full projectile doesn’t seem to be particularly powerful, but it’s certainly good and does solid damage.

Side B – Soccer Ball – 10 (may do as much as 15 if you press B again)   WFT pulls out a soccer ball and headbutts it forward with a slightly downward arc.  It functions very similarly to the Soccer Ball item, so it can be hit around by other characters once it’s on the stage.   Up B – Hula Hoop ­- 5   Hula hoops spawn around WFT’s body and she rises upwards while dancing inside of them with her hands above her head.  Repeated presses of B will make her travel further, and you can aim her trajectory with the control stick.  This move goes quite a long distance when maxed out, making her recovery rather formidable.

Down B – Deep Breathing   A filled red circle and a thin white outline of a circle spawn around Wii Fit Trainer, with the red circle attached to her torso and the white one a varying distance around her.  The white outline gradually shrinks and converges into the red circle, and you must press down B again when the two meet.  If you properly execute this, Wii Fit Trainer receives roughly 5-7 seconds of power buffs to her moves.  Sometimes the white circle is really small, other times it’s slightly bigger or really big–the size seemingly varies randomly, but it influences the timing for a successful Deep Breath.


Well, that’s it for the newcomers.  However, some of the veterans received some pretty important changes, so I’ll run you guys through them a bit.  I won’t go into excruciating detail over the ones who have remained relatively similar, but I will definitely shed some light on their basic gameplay.  I will only list moves under “Changed moves” that have been changed in a very significant or fundamental fashion.


MARIO

Mario is largely unchanged from previous versions of Smash.  He retains his Brawl down air (Tornado) and down B (FLUDD), and should feel right at home to returning fans.  Like pretty much every character, he felt very smooth.  He’s got a bit more KO power than he has in the past, too.  His combos are awesome–check out PewPewU’s Mario in this video by EvenMatchupGaming, among others.


LUIGI (AVAILABLE ONLY IN 3DS DEMO)

Just like his brother, not much has changed about Luigi.  His jumping animation now reflects his paddling through the air from the new Mario console games, though his moves aren’t any different–however, his down throw seems to have set knockback or close to it (props to VGBootcamp for this one, I didn’t catch it in my playing), meaning it will always leave opponents near him regardless of their percents, easily setting up for follow-ups.  He was only available to play on the 3DS, so I didn’t get as much hands-on play time with him since I tried to focus on the newcomers in that version.


BOWSER

Bowser was given a pretty large overhaul, and he is outlandishly powerful this time around. He’s very quick and still retains the attributes he’s famous for—weight, power, and range–but now he has good posture and stands upright. I very strongly feel like he may be one of the best characters in the entire game now, or the balance of the game is just so good that he could step it to anyone in the right hands.  I used Bowser the most out of any character when I played matches on the Wii U, and I loved him.  His grab is also faster and has better range than ever before–it used to be very slow and short, but now it fits his size and speed.

Changed moves:

Dash attack: Bowser does a running slide like Mega Man or a baseball player instead of a headbutt. This move is quick and can start combos.

Forward smash: This move is now a dropkick on the ground instead of a headbutt.  First, Bowser pops up a bit on his side in the air, then he drops down and kicks forward.  This move is SUPER powerful–I was getting KOs around 60-70% on opponents near the edge–and it isn’t even that slow.  Super scary, as is the king’s nature!

Neutral air: Bowser now does a cartwheel-­esque motion in the air. It has multiple hitboxes, average landing lag, low knockback, and good speed. This is definitely a good move for platform pressure, getting down from the air, and retreating safely.

Back air: Bowser does a dropkick akin to Kirby and Mario’s back airs. It has no landing lag if you do it early during a short hop, but if you do it too close to the ground, there’s a lot of recovery time. This move is really strong and has a lot of range, KOing around 90­-100%—it’s a vast improvement over his old back air, which was very laggy.

Down air: The animation is the same, but it now spikes and makes Bowser fall really quickly.  Instead of a bunch of little hits, it’s one solid one now.  I don’t like this move and didn’t use it much, but I’m sure some good use will be found for it.  One of the best parts about the Smash series is that even years after the games come out, players are still finding new ways to utilize their characters and their respective movesets, even if something may appear weak at first.


YOSHI (AVAILABLE ONLY IN 3DS DEMO)

Wow, what an improvement!  Just like Bowser, Yoshi now walks upright.  He’s been granted the ability to jump out of his shield after three games in a row where he was the only character who couldn’t, and that’s huge.  All of Yoshi’s moves felt great, and he’s still very similar to how he was before, but there are a few functionality tweaks.  (Also, they added a purely aesthetic rainbow trail to the eggs he throws with up B, and it looks great.)

Changed moves:

Dash attack: Yoshi now does a running forward kick, similar to Fox.  Easily sets up for combos into up tilt, up air, neutral air, Egg Toss, and much more.

Up smash: Again, in a very Fox-esque fashion, Yoshi does a flip kick for his up smash now.  This probably means it’s going to be a stronger KO move than it has before, too.


DONKEY KONG

Donkey Kong is strong, fast, and heavy like always.  His moveset remains relatively unchanged, except for maybe a few subtle speed or power tweaks that I didn’t play enough to notice.  However, his down B finally does something in the air!  He slaps his hands down just like on the ground, and repeated presses get him to continue doing so.  Other than that, Donkey Kong is pretty much the same giant ape you know and love.  As an added bonus, his down air comes out MUCH faster than before.

Changed moves:

Dash attack: Now a rolling attack like in Donkey Kong Country.

Up B: The grounded variant of Spinning Kong now has DK lean forward when he does it, angling the hits from his arms.

Down B: Now actually does something in the air–basically the same animation as on the ground, except there’s no shockwave, so only DK’s hands will connect.  This will lightly spike aerial opponents.


LINK

I don’t know if it’s just my flawed perception or an actual change in the game, but the Master Sword seems a lot bigger in this game than in the original SmashMelee, or Brawl–and rightfully so.  Link has traditionally been one of the weakest characters in the series, but it seems like they went to great lengths to try to improve him.  In addition to what feels like bigger range, he also has quite a few launchers to start combos with, as well as slightly improved recovery.

Changed moves:

Dash attack: This move is now a jumping overhead swing like in the Legend of Zelda games.  It seems to start slow, but it’s powerful and covers a lot of space above and in front of Link.

Down air: The tip of this move is now a meteor smash.  Also, if you land it on a grounded opponent, it will pop them up as a launcher instead of sending them flying like the KO move it once was.

Zair (grab or shield+attack in the air): Comes out much faster and hits more solidly.  Can be used to start combos.


ZELDA

No real major departures from her Melee and Brawl moveset, except for the obvious–she can no longer transform into Sheik!  She seemed a bit quicker and more powerful than she has been before, but nothing extreme.  Zelda has also been historically disadvantaged in the Smash games, so hopefully the slight adjustments they made to her are significant enough to bolster her potential.  The global improvement to multi-hit moves strongly favors her, making her forward and up smashes, neutral air, and neutral B much more reliable.

Changed moves:

Up B: Zelda’s reappearance after this move is now absolutely LETHAL.  I just watched Bill Trinen from Nintendo KO a Fox at 45% near the center of Coliseum with this move at San Diego ComicCon, and wow…that’s absurdly powerful.

Down B: Instead of transforming into Sheik, Zelda calls forth a Phantom Armor who slashes opponents before disappearing.  The longer you hold B, the further away the Phantom spawns.  This was a tricky move to utilize, so I couldn’t decipher much about it, but based on the size of the Phantom, it could be very strong.


SHEIK (AVAILABLE ONLY IN 3DS DEMO)

Sheik was one of the best feeling characters, which is particularly notable because she was only playable on the 3DS, which many players feared would have crippled handling.  Aside from not being able to transform into Zelda, Sheik feels a lot like she did in Melee with a twinge of her Brawl self, plus some new toys.  Overall, the landing lag on her aerials felt like the least out of everyone’s.  Her movement was very fluid and her combos were plentiful–definitely a favorite of mine.

Changed moves:

Forward air: This is one of the least significant changes that I’m bothering to list, but the strong forward air is back!  Kind of.  The move comes out INSTANTLY, faster than ever before, and the front tip has a strong hitbox.  It’s not as powerful as it is in Melee, but it’s no joke.  Other parts of the move are much weaker, but it has little landing lag and can be used in combos very effectively.

Up air: This move is no longer one strong kick upwards–it’s a spinning kick like Samus’s and Greninja’s, with a strong kick that sends opponents flying at the end.

Neutral B: Shooting needles from the air no longer has lag upon landing, just like in Melee.  This is one of the most significant improvements/restorations Sheik could have possibly received!  Now Needle Storm is a much more potent move–you can use it while falling to lock your opponents in their shield, then follow up with a grab or another attack.

Side B: Sheik’s chain now has Burst Grenades attached to the end.  Releasing B makes Sheik pull the pin, causing the grenade to explode.  There’s a suction effect that drags opponents in, making them easier to hit.  Again, a vast improvement over her old lackluster chain, and looking like a really good move.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to test whether this move would tether the edge like it does Brawl or not.

Down B: Rather than transforming, Sheik now leaps through the air like Zero Suit Samus with her new down B, the Bouncing Fish.  Making contact with this move causes her to jump again, away from her target.  This vastly improves Sheik’s ability to get back to the stage once knocked off.


TOON LINK (AVAILABLE ONLY IN 3DS DEMO)

Toon Link felt literally identical to his Brawl incarnation–he’s quick and he’s got a great projectile game, as well as impressive recovery.

Changed moves:

Zair (grab or shield+attack in the air): Just like Link, his zair feels much more solid to connect with and it can start combos, but his moves are otherwise the same.


SAMUS

Before the invitational tournament at E3, Sakurai said that he was surprised and disappointed that she wasn’t picked by any of the sixteen featured players because his early monitor testers came to the consensus that she was the best character in the game.  Since I had only played the game minimally at that point, I didn’t agree, but that gave me motivation to go back and test her.  Turns out Sakurai’s assistants were certainly on the right track–Samus is very strong now.

Changed moves:

Forward tilt: As Sakurai showcased early on in the new game’s footage, Samus’s forward tilt comes out much faster than it has previously.

Forward smash: Just like forward tilt, it was shown early that this move became much faster, and the demo held true on that.  Samus also releases a burst of fire from her cannon when she performs this move now, and it does indeed hit opponents.

Neutral air: Instead of sticking her leg out straight and holding it there, Samus now quickly kicks in front of her and then behind her.  Not particularly strong knockback, but it’s fast and covers her well.

Zair (grab or shield+attack in the air): This move now has two hits, and it’s still fantastic for combos.

Side B: Unfortunately, Samus’s Missiles no longer cancel when you land, so her projectile game has been toned down significantly.

Up B: Screw Attack is largely the same…except it’s now a KO move!  At least, the grounded variant is.  This shocked everyone who experienced it with me at E3, as this move has always had low knockback.  This is perhaps Samus’s most significant improvement.

Grab: Samus’s grab comes out way faster than ever before.  The ending lag isn’t too bad, either.


ZERO SUIT SAMUS

Anybody who watched the Super Smash Bros. invitational tournament at E3 already knows that Zero Suit Samus is amazing…or just that the player CT ZeRo from Chile is amazing, or both!  Of course, CT ZeRo’s Zero Suit Samus was the champion of the invitational, and he showed some of this character’s amazing potential.  Her moveset is one of the most overhauled of all the veterans, receiving different animations/functions on a lot of her attacks.  She’s very quick and strong, with amazing range and a great recovery.  She’s unquestionably one of the best characters in the build we played, and she was super fun.

Changed moves:

Dash attack: This move is now a flying knee instead of a flying kick.  It lost a little bit of range, but its basic functionality remains and it’s still a potent move.

Forward smash: Instead of a forward whip attack, this is now a double kick forward with her jet boots.  Much better than the old move, and pretty strong.

Zair: Zero Suit Samus now has a zair!  It can tether the edge, just like everyone else’s zair (thank you NickRiddle for the tip!).  It’s got very good range and speed with no landing lag, and it’s definitely one of her most efficient spacing tools.  Unfortunately, CT ZeRo didn’t make much use of it during the invitational tournament, so most people don’t even know she has this move!

Up B: This is now a rocketing kick that propels Zero Suit Samus upward instead of producing her Plasma Wire.  Not only is this a much better recovery move, it also will KO opponents fairly early off the top of the screen.  Watch out for this one.


FOX

Fox felt…rather weak at first, to be frank.  All of his aerials, including his aerial Blaster, had landing lag, his up smash and up air were not as powerful as they have been historically, and he cannot jump out of his Reflector like he can in Melee.  However, he did get an important improvement to his recovery (see below) and the addition of finishers really helps his jab–these buffs could end up balancing out the negative changes.  He also has plenty of combo setups from his dash attack and up tilt, which can lead into aerials or more up tilts.  I don’t want to jump the gun (no pun intended, at all) and assume that Fox will be a bad character based on a non-finalized build of the game that didn’t even include custom moves or most of the cast–there’s still a plenty good chance that he’ll end up being great, but he is very different than his previous incarnations and players will have to adapt to his new form.

Changed moves:

Forward air:  Largely the same move, but it no longer gives the hover/floating effect it did in Brawl, which allowed Fox to ascend and attack simultaneously with his jumps.  This change hurts his recovery and overall mobility, but the actual hits of the move are more reliable when it comes to linking into each other.

Down air: The final hit pops opponents upward, so you’ll have to jump to continue combos after this move instead of doing grounded moves. (Thanks to DarkDragoon!)  At low percents, you can easily follow this up with an up tilt as well.

Neutral B:  The aerial Blaster animation no longer cancels upon touching the ground, as it has in every other Smash game.  This move has seen a drastic decrease in usefulness as a result, and this change may bother many returning Fox mains.

Side B: Fox Illusion no longer puts you into freefall!  This means he can use this move to recover much more effectively, and it may even grant him some scary edgeguarding capabilities if he can reliably use it to chase opponents off the stage.


MARTH

Just like Fox, Marth appeared to suffer in the new game when myself and others tried to play him like a Melee or Brawl character.  While none of his moves have changed animations, they have slightly different properties.  First and foremost, his sword seems even shorter than it is in Brawl, which already reduced its length from Melee. The most heartbreaking change was that his beloved forward air, a move that was always used to get Marth close to his opponents and begin pressuring them or help him back off to safety, now carries a significant amount of landing lag.  This change makes it a lot less safe of a move, heavily crippling its usefulness.

Despite this, his back air seems to swing faster, his down throw pops opponents up at what looks like a distance that can be followed up from, his up throw and up air reportedly kill (thanks to EMG Toronto Joe for the tip on up air), his up tilt and aerials still combo really well, and it’s much harder to fall out of the multiple hits of Dancing Blade.   For those who were initially disappointed with Marth, I’m right there with you.  He’s certainly not how he used to be–but perhaps that’s the point.  Again, I advise readers and players to reserve judgment on the strength of every character based on this demo, because it is just that–a demonstration, not the finished or complete product.


PIKACHU

Everything about this character just felt so right.  His up tilt and up air are fantastic for combos, his up smash is pretty strong, and he’s fast with a solid projectile and throw game.  Pikachu was undoubtedly one of the best characters available in the demo, in my opinion, and I used him more than anyone except possibly Bowser.  Aside from the cloud that spawns during Thunder now being a meteor smash, not much has changed about Pikachu–he also lost the ability to jump out of Quick Attacks aimed at the ground like he could in Brawl, but he is largely the same character in terms of raw design.  The new mechanics seem to greatly favor him.   If you want to see some of Pikachu’s potency in action, I’d love to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug a sweet combo I pulled off with him while demoing the game at E3.


PIT

Although Pit didn’t see much play in the invitational, I think he received some solid improvements.  His moveset was aesthetically tweaked up a bit and three of his special moves are vastly different than they were in Brawl.  He also can no longer glide. The most notable change to Pit was that he has a clearly established sweetspot at the tip of his swords, whereas the center hits a good bit softer, much like Marth.  His tippers are really powerful and his swords will flash to indicate a successful one.

Changed moves:

Forward air: Pit now rotates his sword around for a multi-hit move, like a horizontal version of his up air.  Very solid move due to the universal improvement to multi-hit attacks.

Neutral B: Pit’s arrows can now be aimed a bit more precisely, but they’ll disappear after a somewhat short travel distance.

Side B: This move is now the Upperdash Arm instead of Angel Ring, which features Pit rushing opponents with a red weapon from Kid Icarus: Uprising, similar to Captain Falcon’s Raptor Boost.  This move grants Pit some form of super armor, allowing him to absorb hits without taking knockback.

Up B: Rather than free form flight, Pit’s up B now makes him jump up and forward and allows him to aim the trajectory he soars at for a brief period of time.  Still a solid recovery move, but it doesn’t cover the immense distances that the Wings of Icarus did in Brawl.

Down B:  Two shields are better than one–and I’m assuming that’s Pit’s logic for bringing the Guardian Orbitars to the battlefield this time.  He produces a shield on either side of him that pushes opponents away and deflects projectiles–and possibly more, as his Mirror Shield worked on everything.


KIRBY

Nothing about Kirby felt starkly different from his previous self.  Crs.Hungrybox made it all the way to second place in the E3 invitational tournament with Kirby, showing that his up throw has become a much stronger KO move and that his combo game was deadly.  Definitely a great character who can be appreciated by veterans and newcomers to the series alike.

Changed moves:

Side B: Kirby can now walk around while charging his hammer, increasing its power upon impact.


PIKMIN & OLIMAR

These last two characters have never been among my favorites to play, so when budgeting my time with the game, I didn’t give Olimar or Sonic very much attention.  I heard other players remarking on one of his ground moves being changed (one of his tilts or his dash attack), I noticed that his up smash was slower, and of course, his biggest change–he can only have three Pikmin following him at once, and they follow a set order of plucking (red, yellow, blue, white, purple, red, etc.).  Also, thrown Pikimin will retrieve items from the ground and bring them to Olimar.

Changed moves:

Up B: Instead of a chain of Pikmin, Winged Pikmin will grab Olimar and fly him through the air.  The more Pikmin he has following him, the harder he is to carry, so you’ll need to throw your Pikmin away in order to maximize your recovery distance.  I didn’t test this thoroughly enough to confirm, but I did notice what looked like super armor on this move.  If it turns out to be true, this is a fantastic improvement over his previously lackluster recovery.

Down B: The whistle no longer grants Olimar a brief period of super armor, but this may be made up for by his new up B.


SONIC

As I mentioned in Olimar’s section, I’ve never enjoyed playing this character, so I didn’t really play with him.  He’s got a lot of tricks unique to him, much like he did in Brawl, so I couldn’t test him in an optimal fashion anyway.  From what I could tell, though, his combo game felt very complete.  All the things you wanted to do in Brawl with his Spin Dash now look like they actually work, and he’s able to use his great speed to pick up lots of follow-ups.

Changed moves:

Dash attack: Now ends with a kick after his roll.

Down smash: Rather than spinning back and forth, Sonic now does a split kick like Fox.

Down air: Now a meteor smash!  This allows Sonic to pop opponents up in the air, then drag them back down and continue hitting them.


Whew…now that that’s all out of the way, I hope you enjoyed reading the information I collected!  Super Smash Bros. will be out soon for the 3DS, and then for the Wii U before we know it, so reading this could help you get a leg up on the competition or just enhance your overall understanding of the new game.  Again, remember that everything in here is subject to change as it represents a game still in development–and also remember that I’m a human capable of error, so I may have missed some things or perhaps interpreted some things improperly, but I’m intimately familiar with the Smash games and I tried my best to be as accurate and thorough as possible.

Until next time, Smash fanatics!

Image sources: smashbros.com

Written by TSymon

TSymon

Max “juice.Doom” Krchmar, also known as Max Ketchum, has been competing in, commentating, and organizing Super Smash Bros. tournaments for the last six years. You can find him at various tournaments across the world on weekends, hosting and streaming locally at a gaming center called Hitbox Arena in New Jersey, or at home petting his cats.