Bowser Jr. (SSBU)
Bowser Jr. (クッパJr., Koopa Jr.) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was revealed for the game along with the rest of the veterans on June 12th, 2018. He returns with his Junior Clown Car, and the Koopalings also return as his alternate costumes. Bowser Jr. is classified as fighter #58.
As in Smash 4, Caety Sagoian's portrayals of Bowser Jr. in the Mario games were repurposed for Ultimate. In addition, Lani Minella’s portrayals of Larry, Morton, Wendy, and Lemmy, Mike Vaughn’s portrayals of Iggy and Ludwig, and Dan Falcone’s portrayal of Roy from the New Super Mario Bros. games that were used in Smash 4 were also repurposed for Ultimate.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
Bowser Jr. is a unique heavyweight in the sense that, his Junior Clown Car has a separate hurtbox from him, making his survivability variable. Bowser Jr. has the sixtieth fastest walking speed, sixty-second fastest dashing speed and initial dash, twenty-sixth fastest air speed, thirty-first highest air acceleration, thirty-fourth highest gravity, the twenty-eighth fastest falling speed and fast falling speed, and the sixty-eighth highest traction. As a result of these attributes, Bowser Jr.'s mobility is merely average in most cases, though many characters supersede him in terms of approach.
Bowser Jr. and his Junior Clown Car both have separate hurtboxes, much like the Duck Hunt dog and duck. He possesses a unique mechanic where the Clown Car takes less damage from all incoming attacks, whereas he himself takes more damage in comparison. Unlike in SSB4, the Clown Car's hurtbox takes priority over Jr.'s hurtbox: when combined with his heavy weight, this gives Bowser Jr. potentially above-average survivability compared to other characters, and even other heavyweights. Bowser Jr. also possesses a purely disjointed moveset and two good projectiles in Clown Cannon and Mechakoopa, giving him a ranged gameplan.
Clown Cannon can have two cannonballs in play at the same time, deals good damage and knockback, and its cannonballs travel quickly. This, as a result, makes Clown Cannon good for disrupting or throwing off approaches, as well as KOing at high percentages. This is further compounded by its outstanding shield damage, making Clown Cannon a viable punishing tool. Mechakoopa is also disruptive in its own right, due to its explosion that is induced from hitting it. The Mechakoopa always follows opponents no matter the circumstances, and explodes upon contact, serving as an excellent KO setup against launched opponents.
Clown Kart Dash travels extremely quickly, vastly making up for his somewhat poor approach, as he can easily cover long distances, both on the ground and in the air. Clown Kart Dash also deals above-average damage and knockback at maximum speed, enabling it to KO opponents at mid-high percentages. Junior can double jump out of his side special, which grants him potential aerial follow-ups. Abandon Ship! travels good vertical distance, allowing Junior to return to the stage if he is right below it. The Junior Clown Car itself damages opponents upon exploding, serving as a potential KOing option, should it hit foes at later percentages. Bowser Jr. himself is gifted with a hammer, which deals high damage and knockback, and has quick startup, all of which allow it to swiftly end opponents. Clown Kart Dash and Abandon Ship! can be mixed up with an air dodge for an excellent recovery.
Bowser Jr.'s aerials have great utility, going hand-in-hand with his specials. Neutral aerial has edgeguarding capabilities, and it is good to use out-of-shield, because of its lingering hitbox. His forward and back aerials are great for edgeguarding, spacing, and KOing, because of their high knockback, high potential damage, and good range. Bowser Jr.'s up aerial is good for juggling, because of its decent speed and vertical range; it is also good for KOing. Lastly, down aerial can shield stab, and works well with Clown Kart Dash when initiating follow-ups.
Bowser Jr.'s smash attacks are good KOing options, all dealing high knockback and overall damage: forward smash has low ending lag, stabs shields, and can be angled; up smash has very quick startup and ending lag, pressures shields, and denies any aerial approaches; lastly, down smash has high range, and KOs the earliest out of Jr.'s smash attacks.
Despite his great aerial mobility and damage-racking potential, Bowser Jr. is not without his flaws. One of his biggest problems is that his recovery is glaringly susceptible to gimps. While Abandon Ship! grants him impressive vertical distance, a weak hit from an attack can result in Bowser Jr. not being able to respawn his Clown Car if the player does not button mash. Another major problem that Bowser Jr. faces is a lack of viable options on shield, making him susceptible to punishes. Bowser Jr. is also a very straightforward character, which can make him quite predictable at times. In addition, Clown Cannon and Mechakoopa are important to Bowser Jr.'s neutral game, making it easy (especially for characters such as Fox) to shut down his options. Despite his overall grab range being rather long, his grabs have noticeable start-up and ending lag, while his throws are not very useful in general due to their inability to KO at reasonable percentages, while only up throw has combo potential at lower percents. Bowser Jr. suffers from poor KO potential due to having very few reliable KOing options (his neutral attack, smash attacks and his forward/back aerials), which is further compounded by said options being burdened with considerable ending lag.
Overall, Bowser Jr. fares well with a bait-and-punish playstyle like his father does, but he can also be potent at pressuring the opponent thanks to Clown Cannon, Clown Kart Dash and Mechakoopa. However, his slew of easily exploitable weaknesses can make him a bit underwhelming overall and greatly overshadowed compared to the rest of the cast. Because of this, his results and representation have been largely below-average overall, like in SSB4.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Near the end of SSB4's metagame, Bowser Jr. had been considered a low tier, and was thus ranked as the 8th worst character in SSB4's most recent tier list (48th out of 55). Because of this, he was noticeably buffed in his transition to Ultimate.
One of the biggest changes include the Junior Clown Car now taking priority over Bowser Jr.'s hurtbox, making him unique as he will now take less damage on average compared to any other fighter. He also benefits heavily from the universal frame 3 jumpsquat, allowing him to use his formidable aerials more effectively. Bowser Jr.'s mobility is also better, due to his higher walking, dashing, and air speeds; his increased dashing speed contributes to a better grounded approach, while his increased air speed slightly aids his air game and recovery. His up tilt and grab's misleading hitboxes have been fixed (with the latter being given more range). Up throw is now capable of starting combos, while his down throw now deals much more damage, improving his previously lackluster grab game. His neutral attack was also fixed and connects reliably like many other neutral attacks, which is especially relevant for Bowser Jr., as the final hit has good KO potential.
His special moves, previously notorious for their lag and/or situational use, have been buffed significantly. Clown Cannon, a previously slow projectile with limited use, is now less punishable due to its decrease in lag and increase in lifetime if fired in the air, and two can be in play at once. It also deals far more shield damage; an uncharged landing cannonball can now hit twice to almost break a full shield. Clown Kart Dash travels faster, allows Bowser Jr. to keep his double jump if cancelled, no longer requires travel time to deal maximum damage and immediately deals higher damage if the directional key is held forward, while its spinout deals far more knockback, making the move harder-hitting in general. Abandon Ship!'s hammer swing has more range and a longer duration. Finally, Mechakoopas start moving quicker and bite onto victims, guaranteeing that the second hit will connect.
However, Bowser Jr. has received some minor nerfs, including a sourspot on his forward tilt and the removal of air dodging out of Clown Kart Dash. Additionally, Mechakoopas fall over if they walk into a shield and can then be picked up by the opponent, making them much easier to deactivate. Lastly, he retains several of his weaknesses from the previous game, including his extremely gimpable recovery.
Overall, Bowser Jr.'s moveset and attributes have been retooled to be more consistent and significantly less situational than in SSB4, allowing him to zone opponents more effectively. As of now, it is unknown how his changes will affect him compared to the rest of the cast. Due to many of his weaknesses from SSB4 remaining intact, many top-level players still view him as one of the worst characters in the game. This, however, is debatable, especially after the buffs he received in updates and notable performances thanks to players such as Young Eevey and Ketchup.
Bowser Jr. has been buffed in game updates so far. However, how these buffs will affect his status is yet to be known.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Classic Mode: Mama Peach, Where Are You?
All of Bowser Jr.'s opponents are princesses, some of which are teamed up with their love interest (or in Lucina's case, her father).
Role in World of Light
Although Bowser Jr. does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (except Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
Bowser Jr. was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He is found in one of two alternate pathlines on the Triforce of Power segment of the Sacred Land sub-area, guarded by various Legendary spirits.
Bowser Jr.'s Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Bowser Jr. in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate. Bowser Jr. also appears as a primary spirit in the form of Shadow Mario.
Additionally, due to being alternate swaps, each of the Koopalings possess their own Fighter Spirits.
In Spirit Battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Instead of alternate color schemes, Bowser Jr.'s alternate costumes consist of the Koopalings. Bowser Jr.'s Junior Clown Car is the only one with black eyes and horizontal orange "eye paint", while the Koopalings' Clown Cars have yellow mechanical eyes with vertical black "eye paint". All of the Koopalings have their own models and voice clips.
Character Showcase Video