- Not to be confused with hitstun.
Freeze frames (also known as hitlag, officially known as impact stall) are a phenomenon that appears in all three games of the Super Smash Bros. series whereby a character will freeze for a period of time after connecting with an attack. If successful with most attacks, both the attacker and target are frozen in time for a number of frames. This causes the attack to get "stuck" out longer than it would if it had not hit anything, while the target has a short time to react before the knockback occurs. This is most easily noticed in multi-hit attacks such as Yoshi's down aerial; the attack takes less time to finish if it does not hit anything. Once the freeze frames have passed, both sides resume action.
The number of freeze frames (i.e. the length of the freeze) depends on the attack - weak, normal attacks such as Mario's neutral punch have minimal freeze frames, but the freeze frames of strong, electric, and/or sweetspotted attacks can last as long as half a second. Freeze frames are also exaggerated if two attacks clash, or the attack is perfect shielded. In the latter case, the attacker suffers from hitstun while the defender receives none. If either side is under a time-slowing status, their freeze frames will be affected, but the other side's will not, causing the two to unfreeze at different times.
Freeze frames only affect the object that deals the damage; all other game elements are uninterrupted. For example, Captain Falcon will be frozen for half a second upon a sweetspotted Knee Smash, while Samus' movement is not interrupted by a Charge Shot hitting something. Freeze frames affect the attacker as long as the attack connects, even if it deals no damage; as a result hitting opponents with invincibility will still produce freeze frames for the attacker.