Mario (マリオ, Mario) appears as a starter character in Super Smash Bros. He is considered an "all-around" character (like in most games) due to none of his attributes being higher than the other, a trait that has carried on with him in subsequent games. Like in his appearances before the game, he is voiced by Charles Martinet.
Mario ranks 7th on the tier list, in the B tier. As an all-rounder character, Mario generally has a great balance of offensive and defensive capabilities. He has a strong combo game, including a versatile down aerial (that can easily lead into an up aerial to continue the combo, an up smash as a finisher, or itself offstage to drag opponents down) and his up tilt (which can chain into itself at moderately low to moderate percentages), as well as among the best edgeguarding abilities, with powerful forward and back aerials that can also space against opponents easily, down aerial meteor smash with extremely low set knockback, and a powerful down smash that can easily cover edge options and rolls. To further compliment his offstage game, he also has one of the few good recoveries in the game; despite a moderate falling speed and low air speed, his Super Jump Punch gains some good distance while being relatively quick, and he also has an additional option in his Mario Tornado, which can even meteor smash a careless edgeguarder on the last hit. Mario has numerous additional tools, including a projectile in his Fireball, a very powerful finisher in his up smash, and useful throws, with his back throw being especially powerful.
Mario, however, has limited range compared to characters tiered higher than him, with issues in the hitboxes of his tilts and aerials. He also has poor mobility, with subpar walking and dashing speeds, and a low air speed, also slightly limiting his combo ability. In addition to this, his recovery, despite being good, is on the more predictable side against most characters, with his Super Jump Punch and Mario Tornado traveling in a linear way that isn't too difficult to attack out of. Overall, however, Mario has the tools to take on any character. He is also considered to be slightly better in the Japanese version due to the changes to SDI.
Mario is considered to be the balanced character. His stats are overall average to slightly subpar, with average weight, size, and falling speed, and below average walking, dashing, and air speeds. He overall has a good combination of low power and high power attacks, giving him a pretty strong combo ability with many options, yet a variety of KO moves and options. He also has a projectile in his Fireball, that is a decent way to prevent opponent approaches due to falling downward while moving forward if used in the air. On the ground, it travels too slowly (along with the move's ending lag) to be effective however.
Mario's down aerial, a drill kick, is an excellent damage racker, being able to combo straight into an up aerial or itself (if offstage or high enough). It, being a meteor smash with consistently low knockback, is a rather effective way to gimp opponent's recoveries, and isn't of very high risk to use offstage due to Mario's good recovery. Mario's short hopped down aerial to up aerial combos are usually considered the best way to rack damage at base to low percentages, when his up tilt has too much ending lag to combo efficiently. His up tilt can chain into itself easily at moderate or close to moderate percentages, can combo into aerials, and is an effective move to use for juggling along with his up aerial. Mario's up smash and back throw are very powerful KO moves, with the former being able to KO on Dream Land as low as 73%, and being able to be combo'd into with a short hopped Z-cancelled down aerial, and the latter easily being able to garner KOs or at least set up edgeguards when used near the edge. His down smash is also a powerful move, with its two hits being spread out over a somewhat long duration, allowing it to easily read defensive options such as rolls, and also being able to hit characters on the edge. Even his forward throw and forward smash, weaker than his main KO moves, are strong enough to be able to KO near the edge.
Mario also has one of the best offstage games. His forward aerial consists of multiple hits, with the last few being able to semi-spike, while his back aerial is a solid KO move. Both can also be used for spacing efficiently. His down aerial can drag opponents down if used repeatedly, as it is a meteor smash with extremely low set knockback, though it isn't very fast, meaning characters with better recoveries (mostly Pikachu, other Marios to a lesser extent) are able to escape. His neutral aerial, while inferior to back aerial in terms of power, may be used to edgeguard whenever Mario is in the situational position to use it after a combo. Super Jump Punch and Mario Tornado also grant Mario a good recovery (though the latter requires quick button mashing), especially vertically, and while both moves travel in a linear way, Mario Tornado can be used at different times to mix up his options and make his recovery more unpredictable.
Despite his advantages which compensate for his disadvantages, Mario still has some weaknesses that prevent him from being in the higher tiers. His attacks generally have short range, allowing many characters to outspace and outcamp him easily, particularly ones with some disjointed moves (most notably Kirby, Pikachu, and maybe Fox). He also lacks a reliable way to deal with projectiles, which combined with his poor mobility, gives him difficulty approaching characters such as Fox. Mario's attacks also aren't very fast, with his best finisher (up smash) having major ending lag, and only very few of his moves (such as up aerial) having notably fast startup. Mario also isn't too good at dealing with pressure due to his poor mobility, though his OoS options are pretty decent.
Mario, overall, has above average matchups. His only disadvantageous matchups are Pikachu on Dream Land, with a handful of his matchups being even.
Differences between game versions
In his transition to the NTSC version, Mario got a mix of buffs and nerfs, but was slightly nerfed overall due to the higher SDI presence. However, he is still considered to be viable in competitive play.
In Competitive play
Mario has one of the better matchup spreads in the game, being above average overall. His only disadvantageous matchup is Pikachu. Mario's up smash and aerial combos enable him to do well against Kirby, despite his short range. Mario also has an even matchup against Captain Falcon, largely due to his ability to edgeguard him. Mario's all-use combos and KO moves in general give him 60-40 matchups against most characters below him on the tier list, with the exception of Yoshi. Mario's matchups are largely similar on Dream Land and Hyrule Castle, with the better stage of those two for him being debatable, though his matchup spread is a bit better on Dream Land due to his edgeguarding and gimping abilities.
Mario can gain vertical distance during the Mario Tornado if the B button is mashed often enough during the attack animation, similarly to the Luigi Cyclone. However, the button must be mashed much faster than with Luigi due to Mario's faster falling speed and slightly lower maximum height that can be reached from his Down B.
Mario Bros. "pseudo-spike"
Both Mario and Luigi can "spike" an opponent by repeatedly using their down aerials on the opponent when off the edge and then taking advantage of their huge vertical recoveries to get back to the stage. This does not work against Pikachu, who has a much longer and faster vertical recovery than either Mario or Luigi.
Main article: Jab grab
Mario is one of three characters (along with Pikachu and Fox) that can perform the jab grab, an exploit that allows increased shield pressure. Mario can exploit the high shield stun by jabbing, then immediately jab cancelling using a grab.
In 1P Game
In the game's single-player mode, a player and a randomly chosen ally fight against Mario and Luigi in a team battle on Peach's Castle. Later on in the single-player mode, Metal Mario, a metallic incarnation of Mario (introduced in Super Mario 64), is featured as a "boss character" in Meta Crystal. He is not merely a heavier texture-swap of Mario; his weight is drastically higher than Mario's, and his attacks deal much more knockback as well. He can take many, many hits before being KO'd.
From the Game
Although best known as the mustachioed plumber who battles the Turtle Tribe with his distinct jumping action, this internationally famous hero has also acted as a referee, a driver, and even a doctor! He's been linked to Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom for years, but to this day their true relationship remains a mystery.