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Bowser (PM)

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in Project M
Bowser as seen in Brawl.
PPlus Bowser.png

Universe Mario
Base game appearance Brawl
Moveset inspiration Bowser (SSBM), Bowser (SSBB)
Alternate costume Dry Bowser

Hailing from the Mario universe, Bowser is a playable character in the Brawl mod Project M. His moveset in Project M comes from a combination of his Brawl and Melee movesets, though with heavy buffs.

Bowser is currently ranked 41st out of 41 characters on the official tier list, ranking himself as the worst character on the tier list, the same Melee placement ranking 26th out of 26 characters and a somewhat larger drop from his Brawl placement of 33rd out of 38.


In Project M, Bowser keeps most of his characteristics from Brawl and Melee. He is both the largest and heaviest character, but still has a somewhat high dash speed for his size, and his powerful attacks are offset somewhat by lag or awkward animations. His only recovery move, Whirling Fortress, maintains its strong horizontal capabilities while still being weak vertically. However, in Project M, Bowser's offense has been greatly buffed, giving him better damage, armor, additional shield damage, and less lag on many of his moves, making him excellent at dealing burst damage and, consequently, a terrifyingly dangerous force when he's in control of the match. Bowser's armor mechanic allows him to absorb the knockback and flinch effects from attacks of various strengths while performing certain moves, as well as during his dash, crouch, and crawl. As a result, Bowser can nullify what would otherwise be a potentially combo starting move, or simply plow straight through an attack intended to stop Bowser from advancing. Additionally, the damage buffs on his attacks now allow Bowser to outprioritize stronger attacks if his armored moves aren't appropriate. Even though he is a slower character, Bowser has high speed in some areas: besides his above-average dashing speed, Bowser Bomb can be cancelled before Bowser reaches its peak, allowing for quick follow-ups into the air that are impossible to achieve with his normal jumps.

The keystone of Bowser's combo potential is Koopa Klaw, which returns from Melee with some reworking. Instead of providing Bowser with a pummel, Koopa Klaw is now purely a grab, and now gives Bowser a down-throw option which spikes when used in the air while knocking grounded foes down, setting up a highly advantageous tech-chase. Bowser can use his down-smash or the quake hitbox on his up-smash to hit foes attempting to roll into him; the latter can keep foes close for another Koopa Klaw. Foes attempting to get up in place can easily be hit with a forward-smash, and its lingering hitbox and armor can easily circumvent the invincibility and weak hitboxes on get-up attacks. Meanwhile, foes who roll away from Bowser can be chased down thanks to his surprisingly high dash speed, which can outpace all but the quickest and farthest rolls. The versatility and numerous setups Bowser has off of this tech-chasing option, combined with his armor, shield-damaging capabilities, and highly damaging attacks, allow Bowser to easily dominate opponents who attempt to play defensively in close quarters with him. The forward- and back-throws off of Koopa Klaw, while nowhere near as useful as the down-throw, can set up an edgeguard when used from the ground, and at low percentages, lead well into all of his aerials. While Bowser's ordinary jump is often too slow to serve this purpose, using a cancelled Bowser Bomb can let Bowser quickly chase foes into the air at low heights.

Bowser has other setups at his disposal. Whirling Fortress remains a stellar out-of-shield option that can let him get the upper hand out of a defensive situation, and its first hit has lower knockback to keep damaged foes close enough for a combo. Fire Breath keeps its buffs from Brawl and remains a great tool for trapping foes too far away for melee attacks. It also now has a bite hitbox in its ending animation, punishing foes who attempt to DI close to him to punish the ending lag. Bowser Bomb is now a much safer move; in addition to its new cancelling capabilities, it is more damaging, it is armored (especially during its descent), and upon landing, it produces a shockwave that serves the same purpose as Fire Breath's bite, making the move harder to punish from the ground. The shockwave can lead into most aerials, an up-tilt, or a down- or up-smash.

However, Bowser's high gravity, large size (almost double that of his Brawl counterpart), and high weight make him susceptible to attacks and combos. Despite his speed in some aspects, he remains easy to out-maneuver, as he has relatively poor air speed. In addition, Bowser possesses one of the longest jump squats of the cast, leaving him with one of the slowest wavedashes in the game, though not the shortest. While it is difficult to send Bowser far due to his weight and moves with armor frames, it is fairly easy to send him off the bottom of a stage or gimp him, as he suffers from a predictable recovery that does not cover much vertical distance.

With his new buffs alongside his old weaknesses, Bowser is played best when used offensively enough to get in close range to opponents, but defensively enough to punish a foe instead of trying to start a combo himself. Bowser's new offensive tools can allow him to get KOs more easily than ever off of an opponent's mistakes, but his increased size and poor recovery necessitate that the player keep from making mistakes themselves.

Changes from Melee to PM[edit]

Likely as result of his poor competitive dominance in the previous games, Bowser has been heavily buffed in the transition to Project M. Many of his attacks are both quicker and more powerful. He has received widespread armor of varying levels depending on the move, and in addition some of his favorable traits from Melee such as the Koopa Klaw and Fortress Hogging return.

While his tournament viability is only moderate, his results are better than ever before.


  • Change Bowser now roars during his on-screen appearance.
  • Change Bowser's third idle pose from Brawl now replaces his down taunt, and he additionally emits a roar from his Super Mario 64 incarnation, which is also his Wii Remote selection sound in Brawl. Giga Bowser also has this taunt, but instead uses his own roar.
  • Change Bowser now has a unique victory theme, which is a rock version of the prelude to his final battle theme in Super Mario 64.
  • Change Bowser now has his own series symbol consisting of an icon of his face usually associated with him in the Mario series.


  • Change Bowser is approximately twice as large as he was in Brawl; this gives him more reach in his attacks, but also makes him more vulnerable.
  • Buff Bowser retains his longer arms from Brawl, giving his arm attacks more reach.
  • Change Bowser is slightly heavier (117 → 118), increasing his endurance but making him more susceptible to combos.
  • Buff Several of Bowser's moves and animations now have varying levels of armor; his crouch, crawl, and dash attack give him light armor while his neutral aerial grants him medium armor and Bowser Bomb gives him medium and heavy armor. All of his smash attacks grant variable armor from light to super armor depending on how long they are charged.
  • Buff Many of Bowser's attacks do much more damage and knockback than either of his past incarnations and now deal shield damage.
  • Buff Bowser's jump squat is reduced (8 frames → 6).
  • Buff Spot dodge keeps its long duration but has more invincibility frames, dodging attacks more effectively.

Ground Attacks[edit]

  • Buff Neutral attack has less start-up and ending lag.
  • Change Jab damage has been swapped, with the first hit now dealing the most damage.
  • Buff Forward tilt's clean hits deals 4% more damage and has slightly less ending lag. It also retains its longer reach from Brawl.
  • Nerf Forward tilt's late hit deals 4% less damage.
  • Buff Up tilt has a longer hitbox duration and significantly less ending lag.
  • Nerf Up tilt now has a clean and late hitbox, with the latter dealing 5% less damage.
  • Buff Down tilt has less start-up and the second hit, now optional and activated by a second button press, deals 2% more damage; this allows Bowser to either launch the foe with a single hit to then follow on, or punish shielding or crouch canceling foes with a second hit.
  • Buff Dash attack deals 1% more damage and has slightly less ending lag. It also now has light armor during its start-up and initial hit (frames 1-12).
  • Buff Forward smash has less start-up, a 1 frame longer hitbox, and deals 2% more damage and knockback, making it the strongest side smash in Project M. It has medium armor when charging on frames 0-19, heavy armor on frames 20-38, and super armor on 39-60.
  • Nerf Forward smash has slightly more ending lag.
  • Change Forward smash now deals flame damage and an explosive effect on hit.
  • Buff Up smash has less start-up and ending lag, and the second hit has a longer hitbox duration. The second hit also now meteor smashes and can hit opponents on ledges.
  • Buff Down smash has less start-up and ending lag.
  • Nerf Down smash's final hitbox deals 4% less damage.
  • Buff Up smash and down smash now have light armor when charging on frames 0-19, medium armor on frames 20-38, heavy armor on frames 39-57, and super armor on frames 58-60.

Aerial Attacks[edit]

  • Buff Neutral aerial has less start-up and landing lag, slightly less ending lag, and auto-cancels earlier. It also now has medium armor on frames 5-8.
  • Buff Forward aerial retains the slashing trail from Brawl indicative of its sweetspot. The sweetspot also deals 2% more damage and knockback, while the sourspot deals 1% more. It also interrupts earlier.
  • Buff Up aerial deals 6% more damage and has less start-up, albeit slightly slower than in Brawl.
  • Buff Back aerial's clean hit deals 4% more damage while the late hit deals 1% more. It also has a significantly longer hitbox duration and auto-cancels earlier.
  • Buff Down aerial has faster start-up and significantly less ending lag.
  • Nerf Down aerial deals 3% less total damage.

Grabs and Throws[edit]

  • Buff Pummel deals 1% more damage (3% → 4%).
    • Change Pummel is now a bite similar to the Koopa Klaw pummel.
  • Buff Forward and back throws have stronger knockback.
  • Buff Down throw deals 4% more damage (12% → 16%).

Special Moves[edit]

  • Buff Fire Breath retains its ability to be angled from Brawl. Bowser now also bites in front of him when the move is stopped, hitting foes attempting to punish the move's ending lag.
  • Nerf Flame canceling has been removed.
  • Buff Back throw with Koopa Klaw is much more powerful, dealing 4% more damage and KOing near edges more reliably. Bowser can now also perform a down throw with it which meteor smashes foes when used on the ground, allowing him to tech-chase with it on the ground and KO foes when used over an edge; when performed in midair, it will spike opponents.
  • Nerf Koopa Klaw can no longer bite opponents, weakening its damage potential. It can also no longer be held indefinitely; Bowser will automatically perform the forward throw a few seconds after grabbing the opponent.
  • Change Forward throw with Koopa Klaw is now a head smash.
  • Nerf Whirling Fortress has much less knockback on its first hitbox.
  • Buff Bowser Bomb's descending hit deals 4% more damage is much stronger, and can be canceled with a jump before the apex when used from the ground, letting Bowser perform followups on foes knocked into the air. It can still grab ledges from both sides as in Brawl so it can be reliably used from the stage to then be edge-canceled, equipping Bowser with a deadly edgeguard in this move. The landing hitbox deals 2% more damage, and the move now produces a large shockwave on Bowser's sides, making its landing harder to punish. It also now has medium armor on start-up and landing, and heavy armor when Bowser begins to descend.

Giga Bowser[edit]

Giga Bowser's alternate costume.

Giga Bowser remains Bowser's Final Smash in Project M. However, by holding a shield button at the character selection screen, it is possible for Bowser to start and participate as Giga Bowser permanently during the match, similar to how Zero Suit Samus was playable in Brawl. Starting from v3.0, Giga Bowser can now receive knockback in addition to damage, as well as now being vulnerable to status ailments like sleeping or getting buried, though his moveset has been improved to compensate for this, and he still cannot be grabbed. In 3.6, he gained the ability to pick up items and use the majority of them. Giga Bowser's main flaw is that he is extremely prone to combos because of his size and weight. His duration when summoned via Final Smash was also increased to almost twice as long. In addition to receiving most of Bowser's changes, some changes to Giga Bowser include:

  • Buff Dashing now produces hitboxes in front of Giga Bowser's feet, which repeatedly inflict 3% damage while weakly pushing enemies forward. His heavy landing also produces a 6% damage hitbox that sends any close grounded opponents straight up.
  • Buff Koopa Klaw forward throw deals 5% more damage (15% → 20%).
  • Buff Landing with Bowser Bomb produces an enormous quake hitbox that affects all grounded opponents (no matter the platform in which they are standing) near him, similar to Venusaur's Earthquake in Melee.
  • Buff Bowser Bomb hits opponents powerfully in different directions depending on when they get hit; at the apex of Bowser Bomb, they are sent upwards; while Giga Bowser is falling at any other point of the attack, they are spiked; if they are on the ground and directly below Giga Bowser, they are buried and then sent horizontally.
  • Buff Down throw now involves Giga Bowser forcefully slamming his opponent into the ground, which is faster than the original throw, and hits nearby characters.
  • Nerf Down throw deals 2% less damage (16% → 14%).
  • Nerf Vulnerability to knockback now leaves Giga Bowser heavily susceptible against combos due to his large size, especially against juggling.
  • Nerf Whirling Fortress is not intangible during startup, instead granting Giga Bowser heavy armor.
  • Change Giga Bowser has his own on-screen appearance, where he roars while bathed in flames.
  • Change Ending the match as Giga Bowser will now make him appear that way on the results screen, using the same victory poses and clapping motion as the regular Bowser. His name is now properly displayed on the jumbotron on the Pokémon Stadium stages and the results screen if he wins. The announcer also has a separate voice clip for Giga Bowser's name.
  • Change Giga Bowser has two new victory poses, replacing Bowser's roar and claw swipes. One of them has him in a crouching position. The other has him biting rapidly similar to his side taunt.

Changes from PM to P+[edit]

Term clarification:

FAF: First Actionable Frame

IASA: Interrupted as soon as

BKB: Base Knockback

KBG: Knockback Growth


(Taken from

  • Attributes:
    • Change Weight: 118 → 113
    • Buff Jump Startup Time: 6 → 5
    • Buff Empty Landing Time: 6 → 5
  • Jab 1 & 2:
    • Change Jab 1: Adjusted animation so that the first frame of hitboxes hit in front of him rather than completely to the side.
    • Buff Jab 2: Startup 8 → 6
  • Up Tilt:
    • Change Added 3rd hitbox to sweet spot to match sour spot. Matches sourspot’s KB but retains sweetspot’s angle.
    • Bug fix Up Tilt interpolation glitch has been fixed.
  • Nerf Down Tilt: Armor removed.
  • Buff Forward Smash: Armor comes out 3 frames earlier.
  • Up Smash:
    • Nerf Landing Hitbox active frames 22-25 → 22-23
    • Nerf IASA 40 → 42
  • Down Smash:
    • Change Hitboxes no longer clank
    • Nerf Low Hitboxes pulled in slightly, X Offset -9.4/11.2 → -8/9.8
  • Nerf Up Air: Damage 23 → 22
  • Buff Standing Grab: Startup 9 → 7, Total animation frames 36 → 31
  • Grab boxes:
    • Buff Outer Grab box X Offset: 14.175 → 15.8
    • Nerf Middle Grab box X Offset: 11.7 → 10.0
    • Nerf Inner Grab box X Offset: 7.2 → 6.2
    • Buff Size 2.73 → 3.23
  • Dash Grab:
    • Change Inner grab box size increased in size to fix dead zone
    • Buff IASA 52 → 48
  • Change Up Throw: KBG 110 → 118
  • Neutral Special (Firebreath → Fireball):
    • Change Firebreath replaced with Fireball (similar to Yoshi's fireballs during his final smash, Super Dragon). Fireball takes roughly 13 seconds to fully recharge, is lost on death, and does not recharge on the respawn platform.
    • Change While uncharged, Bowser has access to a bite attack.
  • Side Special (Koopa Klaw):
    • Bug fix Fixed a bug where character actions wouldn’t update if thrown from a buffered Koopa Klaw throw. As a result, this slows down the fastest possible throw by 2 frames.
    • Change Grounded Version: Cleaned up GFX timing.
  • Aerial Side Special:
    • Buff Down Variant: IASA 51 → 45
    • Nerf Down Variant: BKB 40 → 20
    • Buff If you hold the B button upon punching, Bowser will gain a small boost of momentum in the opposite direction of the punch.
    • Bug fix Fixed a bug where it could not do damage to opponents that were too close to the ground.
  • Nerf Up Special (Whirling Fortress): Grounded initial hit KBG 85 → 80
  • Other:
    • Nerf Ledge Jump IASA 4 → 7
    • Nerf Crawl and Crouch armor reduced from 80/52.333 → 50/33
    • Bug fix Bowser’s armor while charging smashes now works properly.
    • Buff Missed tech rolls given slightly more distance.
  • Costumes & Aesthetics:
    • Change New Dash and Run animations
    • Change Dry Bowser alt costumes now have blue fire effects.
    • Change Eye animation adjustments made on back air, up air, and forward air.
    • Change Sound quality of voice clip used for down taunt improved.

v2.0 - v2.28[edit]

No Changes



  • Bug fix Bowser fits properly on the Training pause screen.


  • Buff Bowser's crawl speed has been increased.
  • Buff Bowser's knockback armor strength was increased slightly on dash attack's startup, up smash's charge, down air, and up throw to correspond with the tumble threshold.
  • Buff Neutral air adjusted in animation and timing to be autocancelable in a short hop.
  • Buff Down air hitboxes adjusted to be more like Melee in positioning, but pull opponents into the hits much better.
  • Buff Whirling Fortress can properly meteor cancel.
  • Change Bowser's spot dodge animation and invulnerability adjusted.
  • Change Bowser's sound effects cleaned up on first jab.
  • Change Down air causes more shield damage on the landing hit, but less shield damage on the multihits.


  • Buff Dash attack now hits a second time; when Bowser lands on the ground .
  • Buff Dash attack's cooldown reduced.
  • Buff Back aerial autocancels notably sooner.
  • Buff Dash grab has Bowser lunge notably further.
  • Buff Dash grab's startup was changed to look identical to the dash attack's one.
  • Buff Pivot grab range increased.
  • Buff Grounded Bowser Bomb's horizontal drift can now be controlled slightly during the jump cancel window - Bowser can gain or lose a distance of about a width equal to himself.
  • Buff Bowser Bomb's quake hitboxes were slightly increased in size.
  • Bug fix Corrected a mistake where crawl armor was much stronger than light armor when not moving.
  • Nerf Removed armor on Whirling Fortress, back aerial, and down aerial.
  • Nerf Neutral aerial timings and cooldown reverted to those of v2.1.
  • Nerf Forward aerial knockback base greatly reduced; its knockback growth was compensated for percents over 115%, but not sufficiently.
  • Nerf Back aerial knockback slightly reduced.
  • Change Giga Bowser significantly revamped.
  • Change Bowser's armor matched to the Project M standard of Light, Medium, and Heavy armor. The majority of Bowser's Armor was already adhered to this standard, and remained unchanged.
  • Change Converted Bowser's crawl armor to light armor.
  • Change Forward tilt's startup homogenized between angles.
  • Change Forward tilt knockback base reduced, but knockback growth compensated for percents over 115%.
  • Change Back aerial's hitboxes repositioned and resized to closer match Melee's placements.
  • Change Up aerial's knockback angle slightly lowered.
  • Change Ledge attack knockback reverted to set knockback (v2.1's knockback).
  • Change Fire Breath reaches slightly further, but drains faster to a much smaller minimum range, and recharges a bit slower.
  • Change Grounded Whirling Fortress's initial hitboxes reduced in size. To compensate, the hitboxes' damage degrades slightly slower, and the hitboxes enlarge briefly when it does so.
  • Change Bowser Bomb's landing graphics enlarged to match the new hitboxes.


  • Buff Up tilt initial knockback stats increased to match Melee's. Frame timing adjusted so that the move degrades sooner, when Bowser is swiping above his head.
  • Buff Forward aerial's hitboxes restructured into a tipper format. The inner “flub” hitboxes have damage and knockback approximating Melee's hitboxes, while the tipper hitbox has damage and comparable knockback to PM v2.5's forward air.
  • Buff Fire Breath's hitboxes redone. They now start with lower damage but gain damage as they travel, being strongest at the tip, so it's better to use the move from a distance. Grounded foes are now pushed down and out of the flames.
  • Nerf Dash length very slightly shortened.
  • Nerf Dash grab reverted to pre-2.6 animation and tweaked for readability. Bowser grabs slightly later, but grab range should now match animation properly.
  • Nerf Neutral aerial's knockback stats reduced to be closer to Melee's.
  • Nerf Back aerial's IASA timings delayed to match Melee's.
  • Nerf Whirling Fortress edgehog behavior changed to no longer auto-snap to ledges; it requires more finesse to fortress hog now.
  • Nerf Grounded Whirling Fortress initial hitboxes further shrunk and later hitbox coverage restructured to match the animation better.
  • Nerf Aerial Koopa Klaw has slightly less horizontal movement.
  • Change Forward aerial now has a claw trail that traces the sweetspot's arc.
  • Change Aerial Whirling Fortress hitboxes redone to reduce vertical coverage but slightly increase horizontal reach.
  • Change Whirling Fortress animation has slight tweaks for polish.
  • Change Aerial Fire Breath hitboxes have unaltered knockback behavior, but have the scaling damage of the grounded version and no longer flinch at the tip.
  • Change Giga Bowser can now be damaged normally. As compensation, his moveset was improved and his Final Smash duration almost doubled.


  • Buff First hit of down tilt deals 13% damage, regardless if it hits at the tip.
  • Buff Landing shockwave from up smash deals more damage.
  • Nerf Dash attack now only hits once.
  • Nerf Late hitbox of up tilt deals less damage.
  • Nerf Second hit of down tilt deals less damage.
  • Nerf Up smash deals less damage when jumping.
  • Nerf Down smash deals less damage.
  • Change Up smash hit stats have been altered.



  • Change Bowser is 6% smaller.
    • Nerf Shield size: 16 → 15
  • Buff Dash Initial Velocity: 1.1 → 1.3
  • Buff Walk Acceleration: 0.05 → 0.07
  • Buff Walk Maximum Velocity: 0.65 → 0.75
  • Nerf Dash attack IASA: 49 frames → 54 frames
    • Nerf Armor reduced.
    • Nerf Initial hit trajectory: 80 degrees → 70 degrees
    • Nerf Late hit trajectory: 80 degrees → 55 degrees
    • Nerf Hit degrades to weak hit one frame earlier.
  • Buff Forward tilt startup: 11 frames → 9 frames
    • Nerf Initial damage: 15%/14%/13% → 14%/13%/12%
    • Change Late hit added that makes it one frame more active but deals 4% less damage with no extra shield damage, 0 base knockback, and 100 growth.
    • Change Disjoint on hand hitbox is reduced while body hitbox is enlarged.
  • Nerf Up tilt's initial hit degrades 1 frame sooner.
    • Nerf Late hit damage: 11% → 8%
    • Nerf Trajectory: 80 → 110/70
    • Nerf Base knockback: 55 → 40
  • Change Down tilt has armor indicator for light armor.
  • Buff All smashes have light armor while charging.
    • Nerf Charge time now determines how strong the Smash’s corresponding armor is. Scales from light armor (no charge) to super armor (full charge). While Bowser now has access to super armor, it takes him a much longer startup to achieve the armor strength he had on his smash attacks in v3.5, particularly the side smash.
  • Buff Forward smash start up: 34 frames → 30 frames
    • Nerf One less active frame and armor frame.
    • Change Tipper hitbox now comes out a frame later and slightly reduced in size. Body Hitbox enlarged.
    • Change Lunging movement reduced.
    • Nerf Knockback reduced. Base 50 → 60, Growth 100 → 70.
    • Change Minor tweaks to explosion graphic placement.
  • Buff Up smash startup: 15 frames → 12 frames
    • Buff IASA: 50 frames → 46 frames
    • Nerf Removed intangibility in favor of Armor (Frames 13-18) that degrades one step on frame 15 (to possibly no armor).
    • Buff Re-arranged hitboxes to give slightly better sweetspot coverage.
  • Buff Down smash startup: 13 frames → 10 frames
    • Buff IASA: 68 frames → 60 frames
    • Change Tweaked positioning and Resized repeating Hitboxes to give Bowser better body coverage without effectively increasing range.
    • Change Final Hit adjusted:
      • Nerf Damage: 10 → 6
      • Nerf Trajectory: 90 degrees → 120 degrees
      • Buff Base knockback: 40 → 50
      • Buff Knockback growth: 140 → 168
  • Nerf Neutral aerial armor reduced to medium armor and activates 2 frames later to match hitbox startup.
  • Change Forward aerial knockback matches Melee's forward aerial. Hand hitbox is now 25 base and 99 growth while tip hitbox is 35 base and 92 growth, where they both used to be 50 base and 75 growth.
  • Change Up aerial knockback curve redone to favor lower base and higher growth.
    • Nerf Base knocback: 50 → 25
    • Buff Knockback growth: 96 → 112
  • Nerf Down aerial lowest hitbox size reduced.
  • Change Down throw made weight independent.
  • Change Flame Breath has larger hitboxes but drains quicker and hits in very slightly later intervals.
  • Buff Koopa Klaw startup: 16 frames → 12 frames
    • Change Graphical tweaks and new sound effects for claw attack.
    • Nerf Armor removed.
    • Buff IASA: 57 frames (aerial) and 48 frames (grounded) → 44 frames (both)
    • Nerf Reduced horizontal burst movement.
    • Change Claw attack damage from base to tip: 11%/11%/12% → 12%/12%/10%
    • Change Claw attack trajectory: 70 degrees → 65 degrees
    • Nerf Forward throw damage: 20% → 15%
    • Nerf Forward throw trajectory: 80 degrees → 74 degrees
    • Nerf Forward throw has 55 base knockback and 50 growth from 92 base and 29 growth, making followups much harder at higher percentages.
  • Nerf Whirling Fortress initial hit base knockback: 90 → 70
    • Buff Knockback growth: 80 → 85
    • Nerf Aerial version's repeating hits damage reduced by 1% each.
  • Nerf Bowser Bomb vertical distance slightly reduced.
  • Buff Giga Bowser now has a hitbox on his landing animation that hits close grounded opponents straight up, and some of his attributes (particularly attack and movement speed) have been adjusted to reflect Bowser's changes in this version.
    • Buff Bowser Bomb hits opponents powerfully in different directions depending on when they get hit; at the apex of Bowser Bomb, they are sent upwards; while Giga Bowser is falling at any other point of the attack, they are spiked downwards; if they are on the ground and directly below Giga Bowser, they are buried and then sent horizontally.
    • Buff His shield can no longer break.
    • Nerf Side taunt no longer does any damage.
    • Change New character portraits.
    • Change His name is now properly displayed on the jumbotron on the Pokémon Stadium stages and the results screen if he wins. The announcer also has a separate voice clip for Giga Bowser's name.


  • Buff Inner body hitbox size increased on Forward tilt
    • Buff Initial hit damage increased by 2%: 15%/14%/13% → 17%/16%/15%
      • Nerf Knockback compensated
    • Buff Linger hit damage increased by 1%: 10%/9%/8% → 11%/10%/9%
    • Buff IASA: Frame 3 frames sooner → 38
  • Buff Animation tweaked further on Up tilt to enlarge sweet spot range
    • Nerf Sweet spot base knockback reduced: 55 → 50
    • Nerf Sweet spot knockback growth reduced: 120 → 112
  • Nerf Knockback growth increased on Forward tilt: 70 → 80
  • Buff Forward smash light armor is now medium armor
    • Buff Armor activates 3 frames sooner: 31 → 28
    • Buff Transitions to heavy and super armor earlier when charging (charge frame 19 and 38 respectively).
  • Change Initial Flub hitboxes matched to sweet spot on Up smash.
  • Buff Down smash starting lag reduced: 10 frames → 7 frames
    • Change Final hit adjusted
      • Nerf Damage lowered: 23 → 18
      • Nerf Trajectory: 90 degrees → 125 degrees
      • Buff Base knockback: 50 → 75
      • Nerf Knockback growth: 96 → 88
  • Buff First actionable frame is 6 frames sooner on Forward throw
  • Change Neutral Special (Flame Breath) adjusted
    • Nerf Flame cancel removed
    • Buff Start-up reduced by 6 frames; cool-down reduced by 3 frames
    • Change Flames are non-clank
    • Buff Minimum flame breath time reduced by 5 frames
    • Buff Maximum angle upward increased: 50 → 55
  • Change Side special (Koopa Klaw) adjusted
    • Change Aerial momentum reworked to be more consistent with ground movement
    • Change Adjusted stick sensitivity on grabs to match regular throw sensitivies
    • Buff Forward throw angle changed: 74 → 77
      • Buff Growth: 50 → 40
    • Buff Down throw added
      • Buff Grounded version powerfully meteor smashes for tech-chases and can KO near the ledge
      • Buff Aerial version is a spike
  • Buff Aerial momentum on Whirling Fortress altered to aid in Fortress Hogging: 0.02 → 0.035
  • Change Frame removed on Jab 1 swing animation
  • Buff Increased momentum on Dash attack, Dash grab, Under 100 Ledge attack, Forward and Backward rolls, and Tech rolls to better match 3.5.
    • Buff Tech roll tweaked to be more ambiguous to which way Bowser has teched
  • Buff Air dodge positioning adjusted to correct unintentional waveland difficulty


Up to date as of version 3.6.

Name Damage Description
Neutral attack 6% Bowser swipes at the opponent twice.
Forward tilt 17% (clean), 11% (late) Bowser extended his arm and delivers a backhanded punch with impressive knockback. This move can be angled up or down. Bowser's left arm is intangible while the hitboxes are out.
16% (clean), 10% (late)
15% (clean), 9% (late)
Up tilt 13% (early), 8% (late) Bowser swats in an upwards arc his left claw. This move deals good knockback and can set up combos well. Similar to the forward tilt, Bowser's left arm is once again intangible while the hitboxes are out.
Down tilt 13% Bowser slashes along the ground with both his claws. The second attack is optional by pressing the attack button again, though Giga Bowser is forced to perform both swipes.
Dash attack 12% (ram), 8% (fall) Bowser tackles the opponent. Has light armor during the initial frames of the attack.
Forward smash 26% Bowser rears back for a short moment, and hits incredibly hard with his head. If this move it connects, an explosion occurs. Strongest forward smash in Project M, acting as a great finisher at low percentages. Has medium to super armor depending on the length of its charge. Unfortunately, it has rather massive starting lag.
Up smash 20% (leap), 12% (landing) Bowser jumps upward, hitting opponents with his spikes of his shell. Causes an earthquake when coming down. Opponents who avoid the leaping hitbox can still be hit by Bowser whenever he lands, during which it inflicts a meteor smash. Has light to super armor depending on the length of its charge. Bowser's shell is intangible while the hitboxes are out.
Down smash 2% (hits 1-6), 6% (hit 7) Bowser spins around in his shell, doing great damage and hitting multiple times. Has light to super armor depending on the length of its charge.
Neutral aerial 13% Bowser spins around in his shell. Has medium armor during the first loop.
Forward aerial 16% (sweetspot), 13% (sourspot) Bowser slashes forward with his left claw. The glowing area is the sweetspot.
Back aerial 17% (clean), 10% (late) Bowser thrusts his shell backwards. Contains high landing lag.
Up aerial 23% Bowser strikes upwards with his head. Causes serious damage and knockback, being the most damaging up aerial in the game.
Down aerial 2% (hits 1-9), 3% (hit 10), 5% (landing) Bowser spins downwards, hitting multiple times with the spikes on his shell, capable of meteor smashing opponents.
Pummel 4% Bites the opponent. A fairly slow pummel.
Forward throw 10% Bowser tosses the opponent forwards.
Back throw 10% Bowser violently throws the opponent backwards.
Up throw 1% (hits 1-8), 2% (throw) Bowser tosses the foe upwards, retreats into his shell, and spins, damaging the foe with his spikes. Has great knockback.
Down throw 16% (hit 1), 0% (throw) Bowser places the opponent on the floor and then body slams them. This throw contains set knockback.
Floor attack (front) 6% Bowser leaps forward to strike with his head, then back to kick behind, and finally gets up into standing position.
Floor attack (back) 6% Bowser gets up while swinging his right hand around.
Floor attack (trip) 5% Bowser gets up while swinging his right hand around.
Edge attack (fast) 8% Bowser quickly spins onto the stage while inside his shell, then retreats back a bit.
Edge attack (slow) 10% Bowser slowly climbs onto stage and does a quick claw swipe.
Neutral special Fire Breath 1-3% (flames), 3% (bite) Bowser lets out a stream of flames that can be angled up or down. Over time, the flames it loses its range, but gains slightly more power.
Side special Koopa Klaw 15% (throw), 10% (claw tip), 12% (claw body) Bowser grabs the opponent to then throw them either forward, backward, or downward. If no one is grabbed, Bowser does a forceful swipe that deals vertical knockback. The aerial version of the downward throw spikes opponents. Giga Bowser cannot perform the down throw.
Up special Whirling Fortress Ground: 13%/10%/8%/6%
Air: 10% (hit 1), 2% (hits 2-6), 1% (hits 7-11)
Bowser spins rapidly in his shell to gain height. This move can be used for edgehogging.
Down special Bowser Bomb 25% (drop), 10% (landing body), 7% (shockwave close), 4% (shockwave far) Bowser leaps diagonally into the air and plummet downward, creating a shockwave that damages nearby foes. If performed in the air, Bowser performs straight downward without initiating the leap. Has medium armor during the jumping animation and when hitting the ground, and heavy armor when he begins to descend. The grounded version of this move can be cancelled by performing a midair jump before Bowser reaches the apex of the jump.
Final Smash Giga Bowser Varies Bowser transforms into an enlarged, much more powerful version of himself, which uses elemental effects such as fire, electricity and darkness during most attacks. Lasts for roughly 24 seconds. Giga Bowser himself can receive damage and knockback, though he becomes significantly heavier and is immune to grabs.

In competitive play[edit]

Most historically significant players[edit]

See also: Category:Bowser players (PM)

Alternate costumes[edit]

Project M[edit]

Dry Bowser appears in Project M as Bowser's alternate costume. In the game New Super Mario Bros., Bowser falls to his apparent doom in a pit of lava, only to emerge and be fought later on in his skeletal form, Dry Bowser. He is an undead skeleton of Bowser (similar to how Dry Bones are apparent skeletons of Koopas) with an orange tuft of hair and his shell intact, though badly burnt. As of v3.5, Bowser's eyes gain an orange glow during certain attack animations as Dry Bowser. However, Bowser's moveset and sounds remain the same while playing as Dry Bowser.

Giga Bowser now additionally uses recolors correspondent to those of the regular Bowser, including a Giga Dry Bowser alt costume. Disregarding size, shell and tail, the latter costume looks exactly the same as the regular Dry Bowser, though with a more pronounced muzzle and additional spikes protruding from his chest and nose.

Bowser's alternate costumes in PM
BowserHeadSSBB.png BowserHeadBlackSSBB.png BowserHeadRedSSBB.png BowserHeadBlueSSBB.png BowserHeadWhiteSSBB.png BowserHeadBrownSSBB.png BowserHeadDryPM.png


Project+ provides several new recolors for both Bowser's default and Dry Bowser costumes. Bowser's new green alternate costume resembles his appearance in Super Mario World, and his new red costume resembles a costume in Mario Golf. The last default costume recolor resembles his appearance on the Japanese cover for Super Mario Bros. Both Giga Bowser and Giga Dry Bowser are affected by the new color schemes. Additionally, Dry Bowser's attacks now use a blue fire effect instead of the regular red fire of his default costume.

Bowser's alternate costumes in P+
Giga Bowser's alternate costumes in P+

All Costumes:




Blue: Based on his color scheme used on the Japanese cover of Super Mario Bros., albeit with green body skin instead of blue body skin.

White: Somewhat resembles the color scheme of Morton Koopa Jr.'s in-game sprite from the NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3.


Bright Red: Based on an alternate color scheme used in Mario Golf.

Green: Based on the color scheme of his in-game sprite from Super Mario World, which depicted him with green body skin.

Dark Blue: Based on both a peculiar blue Fake Bowser from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (albeit with blue body skin rather than brown body skin) and an alternate color scheme used in Mario Golf.

Cyan: Similar to the blue color scheme, but taking more inspiration from the source material such as the black eyebrows and yellow hair.

Dry: Dry Bowser, an undead form of Bowser who debuted in New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS and would sometimes become a separate character in games like Mario Kart Wii.

Dry Black: Possibly based on Red Dry Bones a.k.a. Dark Bones, a variant of Dry Bones that appeared in Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers.

Dry Green: Possibly based on the Dull Bones enemies from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario.

Dry Blue: Possibly based on the Dark Bones enemies from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and the Elite Dry Bones enemies from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.

Dry Red: May potentially be a nod to how, in games like Super Mario Bros., the fight against Bowser often takes place above a moat of lava that he's liable to fall into, which is what led to him becoming Dry Bowser in games like New Super Mario Bros., as well as the fact that the castle levels in a number of games are often illuminated by the lava within. It may also potentially be based on the Vomer enemies from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, which have a reddish tint due to their home being Barrel Volcano.

Z-Secret Costume: Dark Bowser: Based on Dark Bowser, a doppelgänger of Bowser created by the Dark Star after it steals some of his DNA in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Extra details include black mask-like markings around his red eyes and his hair being more spiked up. Since 2.4, this secret costume has received a minor visual overhaul, namely a scar on the left side of his chest and the mask-like markings being smaller.

R-Secret Costume: Rookie: Based on Rookie, Bowser's alter-ego that he develops after winding up with amnesia in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The only visual distinction from Bowser is the blue burglar mask he wears.

Giga Bowser Z-Secret Costume: Giga Dark Bowser: A Giga Bowser version of the Dark Bowser Z-Alt. Project+ Ver. 2.4 altered the mask-like markings and placed the Dark Star on the left side of his chest where the scar mentioned above used to be.

Giga Bowser R-Secret Costume: Giga Rookie: A Giga Bowser version of the Rookie R-Alt.