Ladder (stage element)
Characters can grab onto a ladder by tilting up or down on the control stick when passing by one. While on the ladder, they can then climb up or slide down by tilting the control stick vertically until they reach either of its ends, or let go of it by tapping the control stick horizontally.
While on a ladder, characters are considered to be in the air, so they are immune to sleep and other such effects. All characters have the same speed on ladders, and multiple characters can occupy the same space on a ladder. Additionally, grabbing onto a ladder restores all of a character's jumps (with the notable exception of Pac-Man, for unknown reasons), and they can grab it even if they are helpless.
Ladders appear in the following stages:
- Rumble Falls
- Stage Builder stages (Brawl and Ultimate only)
- The Subspace Emissary
- Wrecking Crew
- Palutena's Temple
While on a ladder, in Brawl and for Wii U, characters cannot do anything other than climb, descend, or let go, which leaves them vulnerable to attacks if they remain on the ladder. Starting in Ultimate, however, they can also use aerial attacks while remaining stationary on the ladder, a property known officially as a ladder attack, giving them a means of fending off attackers.
Any aerial attack can be used while on a ladder, though some cause the user to let go of the ladder, namely:
- All stall-then-fall down aerials (except Bowser's)
- Link and Young Link's down aerials
- Ivysaur's down aerial
- Lucario's down aerial
- Mii Gunner's forward aerial
- R.O.B.'s back and down aerials
- Steve's down aerial (with sufficient materials)
Additionally, certain aerial attacks function differently when used as a ladder attack:
- Bayonetta cannot perform the extended versions of her neutral and up aerials, instead simply firing Bullet Arts once before going back to her ladder grabbing animation. Similarly, she cannot use the second and third hits of her forward aerial.
- Min Min cannot perform consecutive Punches with her forward and back aerials, and remains stationary while attacking.
- Steve cannot use his neutral and up aerials consecutively by holding the attack button (it has to be pressed repeatedly instead), and remains stationary when using his down aerial with insufficient materials (or if an anvil is already out).
- Sora can only perform the first attack of both his neutral and forward aerial, which means he won't be able to use his three-hit combo on a ladder.
- Even though Bowser can climb ladders in Brawl, he cannot do so in his playable appearance in Super Paper Mario, which was released before Brawl.
- Diddy Kong's climbing animations are a reference to the animation of climbing up and down vines in Donkey Kong Jr., except Diddy Kong is turned around.
- Mewtwo, Rosalina, and Bayonetta don't actually touch the ladders, let alone climb them. Instead, they use their powers to float up and down across it.
- Oddly, R.O.B doesn't move his arms at all when climbing up the ladders.
- Steve is the only fighter to not have animations while climbing.
- The Dracula's Castle sub-area in World of Light features ladders on the map. This is the only way to see Pokémon Trainer's climbing animations.