Mr. Game & Watch (SSB4)
Mr. Game & Watch (Mr.ゲーム＆ウォッチ, Mr. Game & Watch) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. After making a cameo in Pac-Man's trailer, Mr. Game & Watch was announced during the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 50-Fact Extravaganza on October 23rd, 2014. Like in Melee and Brawl, he uses Game & Watch-esque sound effects to represent his "voice".
Mr. Game & Watch is ranked 39th out of 55 on the tier list, placing him at the top of the E tier. This is a significant drop from his ranking in Brawl, where he was ranked 16th out of 38. Mr. Game & Watch's strengths include great combo and air games, as well as a high overall damage output in spite of his size and weight. His overall mobility is also decent, with his recovery in particular being impressive due to Fire's long-ranged distance, large edge sweetspot, and general safety.
Mr. Game & Watch is also good at edgeguarding, due to his recovery and moderately fast aerials. His landing lag, while not supplemented by autocancels, is actually quite low and is among the best in the game in terms of the total amount of frames in aerial move lag upon landing.
However, Mr. Game & Watch possesses notable weaknesses as well. One of his biggest flaws includes a surprising inability to KO at higher percentages despite dealing a lot of damage quickly. This is due to his finishers being plagued with either inconsistent KO set-ups (such as down throw into up aerial), KOing options that are too sluggish, or have large sourspots (such as forward and down smashes, respectively).
Additionally, while he has surprisingly good range for his size due to his disjointed hitboxes, he still has shorter range than a handful of the cast, such as Shulk, Ike, Marth, and Cloud. He is also the third lightest character in the game, making him prone to getting KO'd quite easily, which is further exacerbated by the loss of Bucket Braking and the introduction of rage.
Mr. Game & Watch's grab game is also lackluster outside of down throw, as his pummel is one of the slowest in the game, and none of his other throws possess the same utility that his down throw does, nor are they strong enough to KO at realistic percentages. His neutral game is also lacking, due to having no aerials that autocancel from a short hop and his limited amount of safe options on shield. Lastly, some of his moves are considered to be situational, due to either needing luck (Judge) or the opponent to have an energy-based projectile (Oil Panic) in order to have the moves function.
Overall, Mr. Game & Watch's strengths are generally on par with his weaknesses. While his tournament representation is poor overall due to his noticeable character flaws and unpopularity in competitive play, he has still achieved above average tournament results, such as Regi placing 17th at EVO 2016 and Maister placing 13th and 17th at GENESIS 5 and 2GG: Hyrule Saga, respectively.
How to unlock
Mr. Game & Watch must then be defeated on Flat Zone 2.
Mr. Game & Watch must then be defeated on Flat Zone X.
Mr. Game & Watch's archetype as a lightweight slightly differs from the majority of his fellow lightweights. While he is small, has the third lightest weight, the fifth slowest falling speed, below average gravity, low jumps and is tied for the seventh fastest air acceleration, he has average walking and dashing speeds, a low short hop and above average air speed. Overall, Mr. Game & Watch's speed when moving is quite exceptional for a lightweight, but his low falling speed can be somewhat detrimental. His short size also makes him difficult to hit, especially when crouching.
Unlike most lightweights, Mr. Game & Watch has moves with disjointed hitboxes, with some of them reaching relatively far from him. His damage output is above average, and he has a good combo game, allowing him to easily rack up a decent amount of damage with few moves. His down throw is a reliable combo starter, being able to be followed by his up tilt (on floaty characters) or neutral attack (on fast-fallers) at low percents, Judge, up smash or Oil Panic from low to high percents, all aerials except down aerial from mid to high percents, and Fire at high percents. His combo game is further compounded by his great air game, with his neutral, forward, back and up aerials having good combo utility and being fairly damaging.
His neutral aerial has pretty high range above him and does very high damage if all hits connect and the last hit has moderate knockback, making it difficult to punish, as well as being rarely escaped by SDI and able to be followed up by other moves. His forward aerial has decent range and knockback (when clean), making it useful for edgeguarding, and the late hit can be followed up by another attack when late despite the moves' ending lag. His back aerial, while less damaging than in Brawl, is still pretty useful due to its disjointed range and low knockback that allows it to be followed by another one, giving it effective wall of pain ability.
Mr. Game & Watch's up and down aerials are mainly used for KOing. His up aerial is his strongest one, but its windbox can make it difficult to connect into the second hit, which carries all the knockback. Nevertheless, its windbox can also safely space the move and juggle opponents. Meanwhile, his down aerial is an effective meteor smash as well as being a stall-then-fall, giving Mr. Game & Watch an effective move for edgeguarding, ending a stock early, and getting out of juggles.
While he has fairly damaging moves, Mr. Game & Watch also has plenty of reliable and powerful finishers for his weight class, which can put him on par with some heavyweights. The most notable examples include his forward and down tilts at high percents, all of his smash attacks, his aerials, Judge 9 and Oil Panic. Finally, his special moveset is pretty decent, albeit polarized. His neutral special, Chef, is weak but can effectively stun players, as well as work as an efficient anti-pressure option from afar. His up special, Fire, grants exceptional vertical distance and deals average knockback, as well as slows his descent down after usage, giving Mr. Game & Watch an amazing recovery that is also difficult to edgeguard.
Mr. Game & Watch's side special, Judge, is infamously polarized due to being luck-based; its effects range from causing no knockback while damaging Mr. Game & Watch himself (1) to inflicting extremely high knockback that can KO even at very low percents (9). Finally, Oil Panic can absorb three energy-based projectiles (or one extremely powerful energy-based projectile) before unleashing a powerful attack that can score a one-hit KO depending on how much damage it has absorbed. However, it only works on characters with absorbable projectiles such as Zelda and Samus, making it very situational and generally not that useful.
While Mr. Game & Watch does have many positive traits, he also possesses many notable weaknesses. Due to his two-dimensional nature, he is one of the lightest characters in the game, which makes him susceptible to early KOs, especially vertically. He has a very short roll that is quite slow, often punishable even when used sparingly. His grab game is also very poor outside of grab combos: his grab still has very short reach, his pummel is slow and he has no useful throws other than his down throw.
Despite possessing large, disjointed hitboxes, Mr. Game & Watch's overall range is mostly mediocre. Their range was also nerfed from Brawl, with his attacks being much less wide and far. While the majority of his moveset has quick startup, it suffers from particularly high ending and landing lag in most of his attacks, allowing him to be easily punished when his moves are whiffed. Finally, some of his special moves are considered to be situational depending on the matchup, with Judge being an unsafe move in general due to its randomness, and Oil Panic being only useful when facing a character with an absorbable projectile.
Mr. Game & Watch has a few noteworthy custom moves. Short-Order Chef is weaker, but much faster, allowing him to space more easily. Chain Judge has no special effects but deals more damage the higher the number is, significantly improving the move's consistency and damage racking capabilities. Heavy Trampoline grants less distance at the cost of being stronger, while Trampoline Launch has no parachute at the cost of granting more distance and being stronger as well.
All in all, Mr. Game & Watch's pros and cons are generally even. Like his fellow lightweight Mewtwo, Mr. Game & Watch can be considered a glass cannon due to his overall damage output and his ability to finish opponents, yet being very susceptible to being finished earlier than most characters. Due to his scarce tournament representation as of late, he ranks below average in most tournaments and has very few players. However, Mr. Game & Watch's playerbase includes notable players such as KOSSismoss, Regi and Songn, who have managed to achieve decent tournament results with him.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Mr. Game & Watch was overall nerfed in his transition to SSB4, with the buffs he received failing to compensate for the more drastic nerfs to his important abilities. Many of his moves have increased lag, such as his neutral aerial having a shorter duration, more ending lag, more landing lag and no longer auto-canceling with short hops, which weakens his options to approach or punish opponents. His other aerials (except forward aerial) having increased landing lag especially his down aerial. Mr. Game & Watch's overall range, damage output and KO potential have been reduced making it harder for him to rack up damage and land KOs. The changes to hitstun canceling can be considered a double-edged sword for Mr. Game & Watch: they indirectly removed Bucket Braking and momentum canceling, which greatly hinders his endurance especially horizontally and it makes him more susceptible to combos, yet it improves his combo game due to his altered down throw which is now a very strong combo starter. He also suffers from the removal of edge momentum shifting as he could previously making solid use of it using Judge. The inclusion of rage also does not benefit Mr. Game & Watch as much as some other characters as while it improves his KO potential, his very poor endurance prevents him from making great use of it.
Mr. Game & Watch has seen some buffs though. As previously mentioned, his down throw is now a potent combo throw which can potentially lead into an up aerial for a KO. While Oil Panic has had its valuable Bucket Braking ability removed, it also fills faster, letting Mr. Game & Watch use one of his most situational moves more frequently. His recovery has also been improved due to his faster air speed, Fire's increased vertical distance which also no longer suffers from the grab release glitch, and Oil Panic's newly acquired jump boost mechanic.
As a result, Mr. Game & Watch is a significantly less effective character overall as while most of his strengths are still there, they were nevertheless toned down and his weaknesses were not properly addressed. He also did not benefit from the changes to the game's mechanics as much as some other returning veterans. Despite this, he still had some dedicated players, such as GimR, Regi and Maister, who have occasionally received some solid results with the character.
Mr. Game & Watch has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates. Update 1.0.6 hindered his up tilt's combo potential, but increased the frying pan hitbox for all variations of Chef. Update 1.0.8 noticeably improved down tilt by increasing its knockback to the point of granting it KO potential, and improved back aerial's spacing potential by decreasing its landing lag. The changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 also indirectly buffed Mr. Game & Watch, as they make his moves that hit multiple times or have high damage outputs much more reliable at pressuring shields. Lastly, update 1.1.3 noticeably worsened Mr. Game & Watch's potential in doubles play by halving Oil Panic's damage output when it has absorbed a teammate's projectiles.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Since the early metagame, Mr. Game & Watch has maintained a mixed perception in regard to his tier placement and viability, due to the fact that he had been nerfed overall in his transition from Brawl. Players acknowledged his heavily damaging combos, raw power and having one of the best recoveries in the game, but also his very light weight, lackluster range and sub-par grab game. Mr. Game & Watch's results had always been rather obscure until EVO 2015, where Regi placed 13th (out of 1,926 entrants), and opinions of his potential became more positive over time due to some decent results brought by GimR as well. This led him to being ranked 35th on the first 4BR tier list.
However, Mr. Game & Watch's overall tournament results and representation still remain rather low in competitive play, even with the recent high placings of KOSSismoss and Regi's relatively higher placing of 17th (out of 2,662 entrants) at EVO 2016. Regardless, these results allowed Mr. Game & Watch to only negligibly drop to 37th on the second tier list, a drop attributable to the inclusion of Corrin and Bayonetta, due to their absence from the first tier list. Despite these traits, and due to the fact his tournament success have dropped compared to summer 2016, he dropped to 40th on the third tier list, before rising to 39th on the fourth and current tier list; while his results remain scarce, his rather high placings have allowed him not to drop significantly on the tier list, and he has officially become a mid-tier character due to the expansion of the tiers in the fourth tier list.