Kirby is a playable character in the Brawl mod Project M. For his appearance in Project M, he has been given a buffed moveset that draws from both his Brawl and Melee versions, along with other unique changes that provide Project M Kirby with a distinctive playstyle exclusive to the mod.
Kirby ranks 40th out of 41 on the official tier list, being at the top of the D- tier. This is a significant drop from his Brawl position as 20th out of 38, and roughly similar to his Melee ranking of 25th out of 26.
Kirby is a lightweight character with slow fast fall speed, making him difficult to combo but easy to KO once a hit lands. He can jump up to six times (five in the air, one on the ground), enabling him to edgeguard opponents for an exceedingly long time and at great distances, all the while being able to recover once the deed is done. His poor dash speed and limited approach options despite being a close-range fighter, however, make Kirby susceptible to camping and other defensive strategies. His small stature makes him a difficult target to hit, with his crouch shrinking to a very small height, making him unreachable against some attacks, including grabs.
Kirby's overall moveset consist of quick attacks at close range. While lacking in strength and pressure from afar, Kirby possesses decent combo potential and strong utility when the opponent is up close and personal. Jab comes out very quick and is able to jab reset, making it a great follow up for down throw when an opponent misses their tech. Because Kirby's legs have no hurtbox, most of his moves are also surprisingly disjoint, providing him decent spacing tools relative to his size. Kirby's down tilt and forward tilt are his primary ground spacing tools, with emphasis on the former. Despite possessing little knockback, both moves are capable of effectively pushing away opponents and exerting pressure, and are even safe on shield. Both are also useful edgeguarding tools, knocking opponents away from the ledge for an easy gimp. Down tilt also shrinks Kirby's body down (effectively the size of when he's crouching), making him difficult to hit or grab when he's performing the move. Kirby's up tilt is one of his strongest combo tools, comboing into itself at early percents and sending the opponent upward for reliable juggling. Kirby's Melee dash attack has been brought back for Project M, now possessing significantly more speed, less lag, and more knockback. Being one of his primary approach options, Kirby's dash attack is a great combo starter and is also a reliable move when covering tech options.
Kirby's smash attacks have decent kill power while being relatively quick, and are effective options in KOing opponents when edgeguarding proves to be difficult. Kirby's forward smash possesses the most knockback of his three smash attacks, covering decent range and is effective against opponents attempting to recover back onto stage. Kirby's down smash comes out very fast and has decent knockback, and is devastating when edgeguarding opponents trying to recover from below the stage. Up smash provides good vertical knockback, and is a decent out of shield option against especially laggy moves. All three smash attacks are good combo finishers, dishing out good percent damage at the early stages of an opponent's stock.
Kirby's aerials are among the fastest in the game, coupled with his numerous jumps make his edgeguarding abilities especially dangerous. His neutral air comes out incredibly fast and attacks around Kirby's body, making it a great out of shield option. Kirby's back air is disjoint and relatively big in compared to Kirby's body, making it great for zoning out opponents and racking up damage. Kirby's back air is also capable of performing the Fence of Pain, making it great for both comboing and KOing. Kirby's up air, while a significant nerf compared to its Melee counterpart, is good for comboing opponents, with a sourspot that can semi spike. Up air can also finish off opponents at high percents. Kirby's down air is great for gimping opponents, and while it has more lag than Kirby's other aerials, it can lead to a smash attack when used onstage.
Kirby's grab game is a useful part of his toolkit. Relative to his size, Kirby's grab range is quite large, with his pivot grab being deceptively long. His down-throw can lead to a tech-chase on most characters, allowing him to rack up easy damage and possibly net him a KO. Back throw is an excellent positional throw that, when used near the ledge, sets up easy edgeguarding situations, allowing Kirby to gimp his opponents at notoriously low percents. Up throw has several follow-ups at early and mid percentages (including his aerial hammer on fast-fallers), but is rather situational compared to the two aforementioned throws. Forward throw is also a situational move but has niches uses at very low percents, notably the move can be wavelanded into a grab once again on some characters.
Kirby's special moves are very punishing and shouldn't be taken lightly. Kirby's neutral special, Inhale, is a grab that allows him to copy the neutral special move of his opponent, providing him substantial options depending on the character he swallows (such as being able to short hop double laser with Falco's Blaster). Kirby can also spit out his opponent, turning them into a star-shaped projectile for a brief period of time. Infamously, Kirby can use inhale to perform a kirbycide by jumping off the stage while the opponent is still in his mouth. Kirby's Hammer is a cumbersome, yet very strong move that can rack up heavy damage, if not outright KO an opponent when landed successfully. While not recommended to be used during the neutral game due to its poor speed, hammer is a great follow-up on an opponent who missed their tech, and is especially useful in conjunction with Kirby's down throw tech-chase. The hammer when used in the air swings two times instead of only once, with the second swing being a semi-spike. Kirby's down special, Stone, has received significant changes since its Brawl and Melee iterations. Stone no longer provides invincibility when under transformation, and instead provides armor, making it easier to break the transformation with an attack. The move, however, has had significant decrease during start-up, and is now much more useful as a means to punish opponents trying to juggle Kirby, often outright KOing them. Final Cutter is Kirby's primary recovery move, giving good vertical distance and decent horizontal drift to provide subtle mix-ups. Final Cutter's downward strike can also spike, providing extra utility during edgeguards. Unique to Project M, Final Cutter can be aimed for a horizontal "Cutter Dash", providing Kirby with an extra recovery option. Using Cutter Dash provides Kirby with one jump remaining, which is useful for follow-ups if Kirby uses Cutter Dash as an approach option. Final Cutter, while a safe option most of the time, can be dangerous since it leaves Kirby with no jumps if he is knocked out of the move, making it nearly impossible for Kirby to recover again.
Despite his quick speed and impressive edgeguarding tools, Kirby has numerous weaknesses that inherently come with his playstyle. His below average speed on the ground and in the air without a proper projectile makes him susceptible to defensive play, particularly characters with good projectiles or ability to camp. Kirby also lacks a reliable way to KO opponents raw, and can be at times over reliant on his gimping game. Characters with strong recoveries can be difficult to deal with since Kirby will have few reliable ways to take stocks. In spite of his exploitable weaknesses and low placement in the most recent Project M tier list, Kirby has seen some success in the competitive scene, with players such as Tetraflora, ChuDat, and YadoR being national threats at some point in time.
Changes from Melee to PM
As he was at the bottom of Melee's tier list, and only mid-tier in Brawl, Kirby was heavily buffed in Project M, keeping most of his attributes from Brawl while gaining buffed ones from Melee, as well as receiving other new buffs (though with slight nerfs).
Grabs and Throws
Copy Ability changes
Changes from PM to P+
In competitive play
Z-Secret Costume: Yarn Kirby
R-Secret Costume: Classic Kirby