Kirby (カービィ, Kirby) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Kirby is classified as fighter #06.
Kirby is voiced in all regions once again by Makiko Ōmoto, using a combination of new voice clips and ones recycled from Super Smash Bros. 4, respectively.
Kirby is known for being a small lightweight, being tied for the eighth lightest character in the game. True to his franchise, Kirby is a slow, yet floaty character in the air, but has average ground speed. He has the twenty-first slowest walking speed, fortieth fastest dashing speed, and a decently quick initial dash. He also has the fifth slowest air speed, fifteenth highest air acceleration, third lowest gravity, the fourth lowest falling and fast falling speeds, and above average traction. Due to these statistics, Kirby is a floaty character overall and has a hard time chasing opponents in the air. Although Kirby has five midair jumps and the third-highest vertical airdodge in terms of distance, his recovery is average at best: despite his midair jumps and Final Cutter granting decent distance, his slow air speed combined with his low jump height means that he is vulnerable to offstage edgeguarding should he be careless.
Kirby's greatest strength is his fast frame data and combo potential due to the versatility of his moveset. The majority of Kirby's moveset is characterized by speed, possessing among the fastest tilts in the game, while his slowest moves instead boast high power as a trade-off, while also being quite fast for their power. Neutral attack and forward tilt are fast and have decent range, allowing Kirby to quickly fend off opponents. Up tilt's low knockback and fast speed allows it to combo into itself or an aerial attack. Down tilt's low power is compensated by its very fast speed and it launching opponents at the Sakurai angle, which allow it to trip most opponents even over 80%. Should he trip his opponents with it, he can follow up with a variety of attacks, such as his dash attack or forward smash. His smash attacks have good range, high power, and great speed, making them excellent at scoring a KO. Kirby is also very small, making him hard to hit, which combined with his very low crouch, allows him to avoid almost all grabs and several attacks. As a result, Kirby has a strong ground and defensive game thanks to his crouch, requiring opponents to be careful when approaching him in a neutral state.
The usefulness of Kirby's ground game also extends to his grab game. His grabs have short range but are among the fastest, while his pummel's meager damage output is counterbalanced by its very fast speed. His forward throw, unlike most other forward throws in the game, has combo potential, leading into aerial attacks from low to mid percentages. Back throw can be followed up by a back aerial at 0% on certain characters, can KO at high percents, and can send opponents offstage. Up throw is his strongest throw and is able to KO almost all characters around 170%, or even earlier if it lands on a platform. Lastly, down throw is reliable for damage racking when no other throw can yield better results.
Kirby's air game is also serviceable, thanks to the versatility of his aerial attacks. Neutral aerial has a long duration, decent knockback on the clean hit, very low landing lag, and good coverage make it a safe landing option. It can also serve as a follow-up for combos and can be used as a KO move at high percents. Forward aerial is a powerful combo tool, chains fluidly, can pressure shields, and its first two hits can allow additional follow-ups due to its low landing lag. Up aerial has vertical knockback, low landing lag and a fairly quick auto-cancel window, allowing for many potential follow-ups and even opportunities to KO. Back aerial has decent range, and is Kirby's fastest aerial, making it one of his most useful and strongest options overall. Lastly, down aerial has considerable startup, but drags opponents downward before meteor smashing them and has low ending lag, making it a deceptively powerful edgeguarding tool. In addition, it is a decent combo starter with guaranteed follow-ups on grounded opponents.
Kirby's special moveset can provide some unique strengths. Inhale is his most notable example; it allows him to either copy the neutral special move of any character he inhales, or spit them out as a weight-dependent projectile. Kirby can also inhale projectiles, allowing him to heal himself, while certain ones (such as a fully-charged Charge Shot) can be stored in his mouth, enabling him to spit them out. The former, depending on what character he inhales, can give Kirby a move that helps him in matchups to various degrees, such as useful projectiles to counter-camp his opponent (Needle Storm, Charge Shot, Wolf's Blaster), powerful punish options (Giant Punch, Homing Attack), a reflector (Nayru's Love), or other great benefits (Monado Arts). In addition, Kirby's version of the opponent's neutral special also has a 1.2x damage multiplier. Against a few projectiles, Inhale gives Kirby a reflector; the spat projectiles can be used to punish opponents at mid-range and can send them away with high knockback. It can also be used to Kirbycide or put the opponent offstage, although mashing out fast enough will free the opponent. Hammer Flip is very powerful, especially when fully charged, and Kirby can move and jump while charging. However. its high startup and endlag, along with its short range, makes it situational and difficult to land outside of a shield break or sometimes covering ledge options. Final Cutter is Kirby's primary recovery move, granting good vertical distance and decent horizontal distance, as well as protection in front of him during his ascent and descent. It also emits a shock wave upon landing, making it difficult to punish if not at point-blank range. Lastly, Stone causes Kirby to plummet straight down and ignore damage by any move that deals less than 25%. It is also very strong and can be canceled shortly after Kirby begins his descent, although these benefits are limited by its slow startup and ending lag, and Kirby is still vulnerable to grabs while transformed.
Kirby’s most notable flaw, however, is his poor approach. Characters who have fast mobility or can camp with projectiles can wall out Kirby, which includes examples such as R.O.B. and Samus. Kirby's lack of reliable burst options makes his approach in these matchups problematic and sometimes predictable. In addition, characters with long disjointed hitboxes such as Ike, Chrom, and Mr. Game and Watch can outrange and wall out Kirby since his range is rather short relative to the cast. Final Cutter's projectile has decent range and mover quickly, but has very slow startup due to it requiring Kirby to perform the entire rising and falling portions of the move beforehand, and he lacks other projectiles outside of spitting inhaled projectiles or opponents or using a copy ability. Despite having a great air acceleration, Kirby's air speed is also too slow for him to take advantage of it, hindering his aerial approach and recovery despite possessing five midair jumps. Kirby also has several KO moves, but most of them are hard to land without a setup due to their short range and Kirby's lack of setups into them, and his smash attacks, while strong and not being particularly slow in terms of startup, have noticeable ending lag and are not safe on shield, making them punishable if not used properly. Rage further compounds these issues, as Kirby will be launched even earlier, while he will typically not endure long enough in order to take advantage of it.
In addition, Kirby also has poor endurance. Being light and floaty, he cannot endure strong hits for long at high percents. He is also vulnerable to juggling, due to his aforementioned slow falling and air speeds. This imposes as a risk in approaching opponents in the air, while also preventing Kirby's aerials from being used effectively out of disadvantage state, often forcing him to rely on his jumps, Stone, or neutral aerial to escape and return to the ground or ledge, while also making him vulnerable to pressure.
Overall, Kirby tends to run hot and cold. He can inflict an impressive amount of damage if he gets close to his opponent thanks to his potent combo game, but doing so is challenging for him due to his poor approach. As such, Kirby functions well with a bait-and-punish playstyle, although being unprepared for an opponent's approach can be hazardous due to his unimpressive survivability.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Near the end of SSB4's metagame, Kirby had been considered a low-tier character in the game's most recent tier list (50th out of 55), due to a combination of lackluster attributes and underwhelming moveset despite its power. Likely as a result, Kirby has been granted a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate; although he was noticeably buffed overall, especially compared to the game's initial release, many of his changes to gameplay mechanics were also a mixed bag.
Kirby's buffs lie in the increased utility of his moveset as a whole, with overall improved frame data and KO power on his finishers. The first two hits of his neutral attack can now jab lock, and the looping hits connect into the opponent much more reliably (albeit at the cost of reduced damage output); forward tilt is a stronger neutral option and KO move due to its reduced endlag and its increased knockback; dash attack has been mostly reverted back to its Melee iteration — however, it is significantly stronger, dealing much more damage and knockback, has less startup compared to his previous dash attack in SSB4, can cross-up on shields, covers more distance, and is more reliable for catching opponents thanks to only consisting of one, long-lasting hit. These changes make it a stronger punish tool and a much more useful and versatile move overall than his previous dash attack. His smash attacks are also stronger punish options, with forward smash having an increase in range, up smash having reduced start-up, and down smash regaining its semi-spike angle that makes it better for edgeguarding, similarly to one of its hitboxes in Brawl; all three also have improved KO ability, with forward and up smash dealing more knockback, and down smash KOing earlier at the edge due to its lower angle (and despite its reduced knockback). Many of Kirby's attacks, such as up tilt and all his aerials except for up aerial also have more range, partially reducing one of his weaknesses from SSB4.
The universal reduction to landing lag has also exponentially benefitted his aerials, which already had among the lowest landing lag in SSB4; his aerials are not only safer, but now capable of leading into followups, with forward aerial's first two hits now being able to follow up into forward smash. Notably, his neutral and up aerials -the former being one of his most situational attacks-, are now faster, deal more knockback (with the former's clean hit being one of the strongest neutral aerials in Ultimate and the latter had some of its lost KO power restored from Melee) and have less ending lag, making them much better overall; neutral aerial also has more range, and up aerial deals higher damage which further improves its power. As for his special moves, Inhale has been significantly buffed with faster startup, less ending lag, a much longer grace period in which Kirby cannot lose his Copy Ability, a lower probability of losing said ability after this period has ended, and a new 1.2× multiplier to his copied neutral special compared to his opponent (albeit without a corresponding increase to knockback), giving him a greater incentive and a higher reward from inhaling opponents. Furthermore, he can now eat the projectiles he swallows to heal himself (and store certain ones in his mouth as well, enabling him to spit them out as stars). Hammer Flip now renders Kirby nigh-impossible to stop for a longer time as long as he's grounded; Final Cutter is faster and its landing hit is much more powerful, which improves its utility; and Stone's aerial variant now has super armor during its startup, making it more difficult to interrupt Kirby out of the attack, as in previous Smash games he could be interrupted even when he fully transformed.
However, Kirby has also received several noteworthy nerfs. The most notable were to his already below-average grab game: his already mediocre grab range has been worsened (most notably on his pivot grab), and forward throw has him jump up higher after the throw, which runs the risk of possibly landing on top of a soft platform, negating all follow-ups when it happens too early (although following up neutral air or up aerial can alleviate this issue), while back throw has lost most of its combo setups due to changes to the animation. Altogether, this grants Kirby a less effective combo game off of his grabs overall. Other nerfs include Stone no longer hitting shielding opponents twice, reducing its shield pressure considerably; back aerial deals less knockback (although the clean hit now lasts for slightly longer to compensate); and down aerial, one of his most reliable combo starters in SSB4, has more range on the looping hits, but slightly less on the final hit and is less advantageous on landing due to the removal of frame canceling, reducing the effectiveness of its follow-ups since its landing lag was not reduced enough to compensate properly. Furthermore, he still retains many of the same issues that plagued him in SSB4, with mediocre range, sluggish aerial mobility and a high susceptibility to being camped.
The changes to gameplay mechanics both help and hinder Kirby. The revamped air dodge mechanics have significantly improved his innate ability to edgeguard opponents more effectively, and directional air dodges have also given him a secondary recovery option, but this also makes him more susceptible to juggling and edgeguarding as well, due to his short-ranged aerials and predictable landing options. The changes to downwards velocity KOing opponents faster from the bottom blast line now render Final Cutter as a significantly more deadly edgeguarding and sacrificial KO option, further improving its utility. The increased shieldstun and increased startup on shield grabbing notably benefits Kirby's safety on hit, due to his moves' natural high damage and low ending lag, making him harder to get off and punish accordingly. Conversely, the changes to grabs' ending lag make Kirby's own grab riskier to throw out, as their ending lag can prove much more fatal. The increase in mobility adversely affects Kirby, as while his mobility has improved overall relative to the cast (most notably his aerial mobility), it also means characters with faster mobility and high and/or disjointed range such as Bowser and Zero Suit Samus, are now able to mobility camp him more easily. The increased prevalence of zoners and swordfighters further compunds this issues. Overall, the two lattermost changes have resulted in his range issues being even more pronounced than in SSB4, but the changed mechanics have also granted him additional edgeguarding tools and an improved defensive game.
Overall, Kirby's changes now render his punish game much more deadly, make him harder to get off once he gains the advantage, and allow him to seal stocks at much more varied percentages, but the universal changes to the game's engine have ironically made him easier to keep away and have rendered said punishment game slightly more inconsistent. Additionally, a majority of the veterans that were poorly regarded in SSB4 have also received notably bigger improvements than him to varying degrees, which includes characters such as Falco, Pac-Man, Wii Fit Trainer, and Zelda. Despite once again having earned some representation in all levels of competitive play with players such as Komota, Jesuischoq, and Ferretkuma, due to his sparse tournament results at the highest levels of play, his perception in Ultimate's competitive scene has been negative much like in the previous game, as multiple players view Kirby just as poorly as in SSB4, if not one of the worst characters in the game. On the other hand, several game updates have handed Kirby a myriad of buffs (most notably update 6.0.0 in recent times), which has caused a few other players to rank him higher and not among the worst. In the end, Kirby's overall viability remains questionable.
Throws and other attacks
Kirby has been noticeably buffed via game updates. Update 2.0.0 improved his ground game by reducing the ending lag of his forward tilt, along with granting it increased base knockback, giving it newfound KO potential at very high percentages, while also boosting its safety at low percents. Dash attack's clean hit was also given a larger hitbox, and its damage output was increased overall. 3.0.0 improved the duration of up smash's clean hit, making it easier to land on aerial opponents, and reduced the ending lag on neutral aerial. Inhale's Copy Ability grace period was also extended, allowing Kirby to safely keep his abilities for longer, and the probability of him losing them when receiving damage was also reduced. Furthermore, his down throw's damage-racking capabilities were improved, and his Final Cutter can grab ledges earlier, making it safer for recovery.
Update 6.0.0 granted Kirby some of his most significant improvements. Both neutral and up aerials had their startup reduced and their knockback increased, improving their combo and KO potential. Inhale had its startup reduced as well, and the grace period for Copy Ability was further increased, along with a further reduction to the probability of losing his abilities. Up smash's sourspot had its knockback increased, improving its consistency, and neutral attack's startup was reduced by 1 frame. Following this, patch 7.0.0 increased his shield size, making him much less susceptible to shield pokes. As such, he stands noticeably better in comparison to release.
For a gallery of Kirby's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Kirby rides in on his classic warp star, followed by a small explosion while flipping off of it.
All taunts remove Kirby's copy ability if he has one.
Note: Outside of team battles, Kirby's victory poses have three separate Kirbys, referencing the Kirby dances from his home series.
In competitive play
Since the release of Ultimate, many professionals immediately noticed Kirby's significant flaws from the previous installment had been retained, in spite of the mechanics suiting him better in comparison to SSB4. As a result, his representation in regionals and nationals has been minimal, with his reception being negative across the community. Players would deride on his subpar aerial game, poor range, slow aerial frame data, as well as platforms potentially negating all follow-ups should he start a combo with a forward throw. Throughout Ultimate’s metagame, many considered him a low or even bottom tier, with some going as far as putting him as the worst character in the game due to these weaknesses and his sparse results and representation outside of locals.
Patch 6.0.0 eventually gave Kirby some of his biggest improvements. While his neutral aerial and up aerial not only have more KO power and versatility, but also his ability to follow-up on platforms partially restored, many players still have a poor view on his viability. Even with his results slowly improving over time, with players such as Jesuischoq and Ferretkuma earning bigger impacts in comparison to release.
Classic Mode: Gourmet Clash
Kirby's opponents are characters who, like Kirby, are known for their large appetites. For each battle, Kirby and his opponent each spawn with 35% damage and several food items appear on the stage as the match begins.
Character unlock tree
Kirby's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Kirby's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.
Role in World of Light
Kirby was among the fighters summoned to the cliffside to assist in defeating an army of Master Hands.
After Galeem absorbed all of the Master Hands during the opening cutscene, he began to unleash beams of light that vaporized all of the fighters and later imprisoned all of them. Kirby was the sole survivor after escaping on his Warp Star, barely warping away from the beams before they could engulf him. Despite being the sole survivor, Kirby is still seen as a puppet in a few areas of the mode. It was later explained that Galeem had analyzed Kirby at some point during the story and was able to make puppet fighters in his image without needing Kirby himself.
Kirby crash-lands in a canyon area, and begins his quest to save the other fighters as the initial starting protagonist.
He is later seen alongside several other fighters, as they make their final stand against Galeem and Dharkon.
Kirby's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Starting World of Light and play as Kirby allows the player to preview the first 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.
Additionally, Kirby makes an appearance in various Support Spirits.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video