How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Pac-Man must then be defeated on Pac-Land.
Pac-Man is a middleweight whose attributes slightly deviate from the typicality of his weight class. Although his air and dashing speeds are average and his air acceleration and traction are above average, his walking speed is slightly below average, while his falling speed is below average and his gravity is low. As a result, these traits make him a rather floaty character, albeit not to the degree of Rosalina. Pac-Man is also able to crawl and wall jump, although the former is largely impractical because of his crouch's tall height.
Pac-Man, like Diddy Kong, is reliant on his item-producing special moves to control the flow of battle and win in the neutral game. Two special moves, Bonus Fruit and Fire Hydrant, grant him numerous mix-ups for almost any situation: each object provided by Bonus Fruit has different attributes, which makes them good spacing, combo, and edge-guarding options, and some notably possess early KO potential as a way to overcome his smash attacks' slow speeds and low ranges, such as the Apple or the Key. This allows him to confuse and force movements from his opponents to put them in disadvantageous positions, especially off-stage.
Fire Hydrant, when used in the air, functions similarly to Stone, which makes it useful for covering landings or breaking combos. It is also Pac-Man's most powerful projectile when launched, which makes it a viable KO option from a distance. In addition to its offensive potential, Fire Hydrant has defensive potential, thanks to its shots of water possessing a push effect. As a result, the water can be used to space, gimp poor recoveries, and even force opponents into Pac-Man's attacks. Apart from his projectiles, Pac-Man also possesses a slow, but potent, KO option in Power Pellet, which functions both as a great recovery and mindgame option, as it can be aimed prematurely and made to curve in creative angles using his Fire Hydrant's push effect, and can also be confirmed off of Bonus Fruit's Bell. Pac-Jump is an effective vertical recovery should all three trampoline jumps be used, and makes it safe to edge-guard off-stage, as Pac-Man will likely make it back onto the stage. It is also difficult to gimp, especially from an overhead perspective, thanks to Pac-Man's jumps having unblockable hitboxes, and can function as a good out of shield option when used properly.
Outside of his specials, Pac-Man has a good combo game. Though his ground attacks are weak with slight ending lag, his neutral attack and tilts are fast and extend his hitboxes (forward tilt) or slide him forward (down tilt), letting him attack out of shield easily or poke opponents at a safe distance. His down tilt can reliably combo into his dash attack, which allows Pac-Man to follow up with almost any ground move as his dash attack hits multiple times with nearly no ending lag, such as his safe and fast neutral attack. Pac-Man is also capable in the air; his aerials are fast and can chain into themselves, especially his forward and up aerials, his neutral aerial is a useful out of shield option and both it and his back aerial are effective off-stage finishers, making him overall good at damage racking and edge-guarding.
Pac-Man has a respectable grab game, he possesses a tether grab with long lasting hitboxes, giving him a good grab range. His throws have some utility, with his up throw and down throw having combo potential, with his down throw being able notably into Bonus Fruit's key, Power Pellet, a dash attack, or a short hopped forward aerial into neutral aerial. Although the latter combo does not work on characters whose hurtboxes are low after missing a tech, it can still be beneficial, as Pac-Man can instead lock the opponent with a short hopped forward aerial at low to medium percentages.
Pac-Man is not without weakness however, one of his biggest issues is his inability to KO early because of the overwhelming majority of his moveset having low base knockback. Although his tilts and aerials are fast, only his clean neutral aerial and clean back aerial possess actual KO potential. This, in turn, is further compounded by their reliability being most apparent at high percentages and/or while near the left or right blast lines. His main KO options, his smash attacks, can KO near the edge easily thanks to their respectable damage outputs and knockback growth, but are very punishable and predictable because of their considerable amounts of start-up and ending lag. Pac-Man also has viable KOing options in Bonus Fruit's key and flying Fire Hydrant, but former needs to be charged in order to be accessible, whereas the latter can be easily used against Pac-Man just as he is about to launch it. Additionally, Pac-Man's average range and awkward hitboxes can make landing hits or spacing difficult against opponents with high reach, while his below-average movement speed can make it difficult to both chase down opponents or create space and charge his Bonus Fruits, especially against rushdown-oriented characters.
Pac-Man’s tether grab, while nowhere as awful as it was in SSB4, is still flawed in some ways, as it possess some risk which leaves him vulnerable if he misses due to its long animation. Although his down throw and up throw have combo potential, his forward throw and back throw were unimpressive due to both of them not having any combo potential nor having enough KO Power.
Despite their perks, all of Pac-Man's special moves can be used against him. Bonus Fruit's objects are items that can only exist once at a time, hence opponents can grab them out of the air, nullifying one of Pac-Man's only projectiles so long as they hold onto it. So long as Bonus Fruit is nullified, Pac-Man is disadvantaged at spacing, KOing and mindgames, while a competent opponent can use his own Bonus Fruit against him. His Fire Hydrant can be turned against him as well; it can be knocked back or reflected by opponents, even in the first few frames when it is released, making it possible for Pac-Man to immediately be dealt noticeable damage. Its push effect also affects him, and can cost Pac-Man a stock if he is careless. Despite being strong, Power Pellet is highly predictable and can be interrupted by any attack, which drops a healing Power Pellet that can be used by the opponent, and his Pac-Jump, though giving great vertical height, can also be used by opponents for gimping Pac-Man's own recovery. Due to these possibilities, a good Pac-Man player must keep watch of where his items are in order to inflict the highest knockback possible at a safer range, and avoid his items' abilities being turned against him.
Overall, Pac-Man excels at mindgames and damage racking, yet his moveset's overall low base knockback and average range make him unable to KO opponents early. As a result, he is dependent on utilizing traps and zoning in order to continually deal damage and set up a KO, such as collectively using his air game, Bonus Fruit, and varied recovery to edge-guard. While Pac-Man's special moves grant him a uniquely versatile moveset, they can also hinder him in battle, as one careless move can ultimately decide the momentum of not only himself, but even the whole match itself.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Possibly due to his low tier status in Smash 4 (ranked 46th out of 55 characters), Pac-Man has been significantly buffed overall in his transition to Ultimate.
One of Pac-Man's biggest buffs involves his grab, which was widely regarded as the worst grab in Super Smash Bros. 4 due to its lag and hitbox issues. It is now significantly faster overall, acts as one continuous hitbox instead of separate short-lasting ones, and is more in line with the cast due to the universal increase to grab ending lag, eliminating his worst weakness and giving him a very reliable grab. Additionally, Bonus Fruit now cycles significantly faster and allows Pac-Man to charge cancel by jumping, giving him more options and speeding up a previously slow-charging projectile. If Pac-Man picks up a fruit he previously dropped, he can begin the cycle at the one he is currently holding. This technique, dubbed Fruit Recycling, allows Pac-Man to constantly pressure with his Bonus Fruits by allowing him to switch fruits and set up new combos after catching a fruit. The Bell fruit can now paralyze opponents if Z-dropped as well, granting a new item setup.
Other improvements come in the form of changes to his mobility; his overall speed is faster compared to his mediocre speed in Smash 4. His recovery reaches further, as Power Pellet is faster and less punishable, grants even more distance, has less lag on a wall collision, and no longer makes him tumble when he runs into the ground, instead allowing him to move along the floor. He has also received an abundance of buffs to his standard moveset: his Up and Down tilt attacks have less lag, and some of his best aerial combo initiators (such as neutral aerial and forward aerial) have altered knockback, allowing his attacks to flow better into each other. The universal reduction to landing lag further improves his respectable combo ability by allowing him access to his quick aerials, while the ability to dash cancel ground moves lets him approach with his tilts.
Some of his attacks have new benefits, with moves such as down tilt being less punishable due to momentum changes, dash attack hitting one extra time while having even less endlag (relative to the final hit), down aerial connecting better and doing more damage, and his new up tilt reaching higher while also being much faster. Finally, his mediocre KO potential has been improved, as his punishable smash attacks have less startup, F-Smash in particular is much stronger, Power Pellet's fully charged sweetspot is much stronger, and the aforementioned buffs to Bonus Fruit allow Pac-Man to access the Key projectile more easily.
However, Pac-Man received some noticeable nerfs that affect his combo game. The mechanics of his Bonus Fruits have been changed in many ways, severely limiting the variety of item techniques he can perform: the time window for catching fruits is now very narrow, as most of the fruits disappear almost immediately after hitting an opponent, while the Cherry and Strawberry now have a set distance and no longer linger on the ground. Z-dropped fruits cannot be picked up again, and with the changes to footstools and locks, Pac-Man can no longer perform his notorious zero-to-death footstool combos. While all these changes prevent the opponent from capitalizing on his own fruits, it also makes his item-camping play even more straightforward. Fire Hydrant's physics have also been changed, as it loses more momentum and height from each bounce, making it less effective for coverage and setups when sent flying. In addition, many moves are less useful for launching Hydrant, lessening the variety of coverage and pressure.
His new up tilt is more situational than his previous up tilt, as it can no longer hit opponents directly next to him, and it is unable to hit his Fire Hydrant to send it at a backwards angle. Neutral and forward aerials can no longer lock, removing lock followups, though this is compensated by their adjusted knockback values which allow them to combo at a wider percent range. Pac-Jump is even more exploitable than before, as opponents can now hit the trampoline to reduce its uses. Finally, Pac-Man retains many of his former issues despite his buffs, such as mediocre range and a dependence on setups to KO.
Overall, Pac-Man's moveset is now more consistent for fighting against close confrontations, and his tools have been improved to keep up with the fast pace of Ultimate. The changes overall make Pac-Man a significantly more formidable fighter, though his playstyle has less of an emphasis over item stalling and rewards item positioning and setups more than before. Though Pac-Man's representation is generally poor, he has obtained very strong results competitively thanks to the efforts of players such as EKING, Sinji, and especially Tea. As a result, Pac-Man has achieved a positive reception across the community overall, where he is near universally considered to be a high tier character in comparison to his low tier status in SSB4, with some players like Mew2King and MkLeo even claiming Pac-Man is a top tier.
Throws and other attacks
For a gallery of Pac-Man's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
During E3's pre-release of Ultimate, Pac-Man garnered a generally mediocre reception; this was because many players considered Pac-Man to not have significantly improved from his SSB4 counterpart outside of his buffed grab. As a result, many players thought of him as lower-mid tier, or even a low tier character, much like his standing in SSB4.
However, upon the release of Ultimate, Pac-Man has achieved increasingly strong results by both Sinji and Tea; Tea in particular has gone on to place Top 8 at multiple major and supermajors such as Umebura Japan Major 2019, 2GG: Prime Saga, Mainstage, Let's Make Big Moves, EVO Japan 2020, and Frostbite 2020 all while taking sets off of multiple top level players. Many players came to realize that Pac-Man greatly improved in many aspects like mobility, KO potential, combo ability, and recovery, viewing him as a formidable character to face. As a result, Pac-Man has achieved a significantly stronger reception from the community, where he is mostly regarded as a upper high or top tier character.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
Classic Mode: Ageless Classic
Pac-Man fights classic characters who debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System or appeared in an NES game at least once. These characters are listed in accordance to their original release date, similar to All Star-Mode in SSB4. To go with the theme, Pac-Man faces Dracula as the final boss of his route as he was the oldest boss who debuted on the NES console, like many characters in his route, and is a supernatural foe similar to the Ghosts.
Role in World of Light
Although Pac-Man 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.
By taking Marth's route, the player can find Pac-Man near the mushroom area.
PAC-MAN's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Pac-Man in World of Light 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.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video