Palutena (パルテナ, Palutena) is a character from the Kid Icarus series. As the Goddess of Light and the patron deity to Pit, the captain of her Army, Palutena assists him via Powers and her vast knowledge in order to protect humanity and maintain celestial balance.
After making cameos in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a trophy, during Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary, and in Pit's Final Smash, Palutena's Army, Palutena transitioned into a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4, and has been a mainstay in the Super Smash Bros. series ever since.
Palutena (a derivative of Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and justice) is the Goddess of Light from Skyworld. Not much was known about Palutena's personality in the first two Kid Icarus games, aside from her wisdom and kindness. She is shown to wield a magical staff and a mirror-like shield. In the plot of the original Kid Icarus, she is the ruler of Angel Land along with the Goddess of Darkness, Medusa. After she punishes Medusa for her hatred of humans by turning her into a monster and banishing her to the Underworld, Medusa rebels by joining forces with the Underworld Army and attacking Skyworld. A distressed Palutena calls upon Pit as her last hope. As he adventures through the Underworld to Skyworld, Pit gathers the Three Sacred Treasures, defeats Medusa, and rescues Palutena, who rewards him in various ways depending on his performance.
In Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, Palutena has a premonition of an army of monsters attacking Angel Land, and tasks Pit with preventing this disaster by recovering the Three Sacred Treasures. When he gathers the treasures, the archdemon Orcos appears and petrifies Palutena, leaving Pit to defeat him and rescue the Goddess of Light once more. This game went largely unnoticed, partially due to the fact that it was not released in Japan until 2012 via the Virtual Console.
Much like the rest of her series, Palutena was formerly a minor footnote in gaming history and a curious obscurity of Nintendo's library. Even compared to Pit, who made several cameos and minor appearances in other media since his inception, Palutena was a relatively unimportant character with very little involvement in the first two Kid Icarus games and virtually no representation otherwise. This is in spite of the fact that her name is in the series' Japanese title, Mirror of Palutena.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl marked Palutena's 3D debut, appearing alongside Pit in several minor gameplay roles. Like Pit, she was redesigned to appear as if she had drastically changed during the gap between Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters and Brawl. Her original design featured her with long, green hair, a blue robe-like dress, a matching blue tiara, and gold accents and accessories. The 3D redesign retained most of these basic aspects, but changed the color of her dress to white with red trim, altered her tiara to resemble a golden halo, and added a number of additional accessories. Her staff and mirror shield were further redesigned, while retaining the original gold-and-blue color scheme. This look would be kept and refined for her future appearances.
With Pit's positive reception in Brawl leading to the development of Kid Icarus: Uprising, the team at Project Sora were able to further develop Palutena as a character. Rather than being simply a damsel-in-distress, she is in constant communication with Pit via telepathy. It is shown that, as previous installments imply, Palutena is very wise and dignified when she wants to be; however, she is actually quite cheerful and playful most of the time, contrasting with her nature as a goddess. While she is the ruler of Angel Land, and ergo Pit's mentor and "boss" of sorts, she treats him more like a kid brother than an actual servant. She can even be mischievous, and she will often place Pit in very dangerous situations purely to amuse herself.
During their psychic communication, she is prone to speaking casually to Pit's adversaries, and she is also known to improperly use modern-day colloquialisms (something that confuses others, particularly Pit himself). One trait she shares in common with Pit is her ravenous appetite, as simply mentioning food will make her hungry; in one of the game's early chapters, she speculates on what Pit's wings would taste like if they were fried during a thunderstorm. On another note, she is sensitive about her age despite her youthful appearance, to the point that she becomes agitated when being called "ma'am". Hidden conversations in Super Smash Bros. imply that she is older than she looks, and that her outward appearance may not be her true form.
As the Goddess of Light, she has great power over the element, and therefore is capable of performing powerful magic. One of her most powerful attacks is a giant beam of vaporizing light that can disintegrate enemies. She is also the one who supplies Pit his Power of Flight, alongside his other powers. She is quite omniscient, and she demonstrates her godly insight to look into the pasts of total strangers. Aside from this, Palutena has the typical abilities shared by other gods from the Kid Icarus series, such as the aforementioned telepathic communication, and summoning large projections of herself.
In Uprising, Palutena's increased role compared to previous installments gave her more significance, allowing her to become a fully-realized character. As a result, she rose in popularity among fans, which is reflected by her being promoted from an ancillary character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl to a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. 4 and Ultimate. Palutena is a relatively well-known character as of now, though not to the same extent as Pit.
Palutena was amongst the small collection of Kid Icarus characters to have had their voice actors changed from Uprising to Smash due to scheduling conflicts. Originally voiced by Ali Hillis in Uprising, Brandy Kopp takes over in SSB4 due to Hillis not being available at the time of the recording, and she retains the role in Ultimate.
Palutena is mentioned in the description of Pit's trophy.
As a background character
Though she does not appear in battle as a playable character, she does appear in Pit's Final Smash. An image of Palutena appears in the background when activated, and she summons many Centurions to help Pit in battle.
In The Subspace Emissary, Pit is seen in Skyworld watching Kirby and Mario fighting in the Midair Stadium courtesy of a Reflecting Pool. When he sees the Subspace Bomb being detonated, Palutena appears. She gives Pit her sacred bow and sends Pit to help save the World of Trophies from the Subspace Army. Palutena is the only character in The Subspace Emissary who is neither playable nor a villain.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Kid Icarus series)
As a playable character
Main article: Palutena (SSB4)
Palutena was announced as a playable character at E3 2014 during the Nintendo Digital Event. Prior to her announcement, in early 2014, rumors of Palutena being included as a playable character within the game had spread across the Internet, consisting of two images of her in the Nintendo 3DS version. However, the images were eventually proven false when it was revealed that they were created in an external program and digitally manipulated to resemble those from Super Smash Bros. 4.
Palutena's home is featured as an available stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, called Palutena's Temple. Designed to resemble its appearance in Kid Icarus: Uprising, a large, golden statue of herself appears on the stage. Palutena uses various Powers that she would grant Pit and the Fighters in Kid Icarus: Uprising. According to one of her trophies, these moves help her by customizing her into a long or short ranged fighter, due to their variety. The most notable of these moves include Super Speed and Lightweight, both of which increase her mobility. Like the Mii Fighters, these powers are unlocked from the start as custom moves.
However, custom moves were an object of controversy at tournaments, most notably at EVO 2015, due to how they gave most fighters unfair advantages, and as such, they have been banned from tournament play. Due to this, Palutena cannot make use of them to compensate for her weaknesses, including the limited utility of her default special moves. Outside of this, Palutena's very poor frame data (most notably her grounded and special moves), unimpressive KO potential, and vulnerability to getting KO'd early, juggles and combos.
Although Palutena possesses some notable strengths, such as her very solid air and grab games granting her good combo and spacing capabilities, her weaknesses mostly outweigh these strengths. As such, she still suffers from poor tournament representation and results; although the latter have improved over time, she is nevertheless ranked 45th out of 55 characters on the current tier list, placing her in the E tier.
As a playable character
Main article: Palutena (SSBU)
Palutena returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as with all previous fighters. Like most characters in Ultimate, Palutena is an unlockable character. Notably, she is one of very last characters to be unlocked, with the Classic Mode (unless the player did not previously unlock anyone outside of Kirby's unlock tree) and Versus Mode methods always resulting in her being the final unlockable character.
Due to the removal of custom moves (except for Mii Fighters), some of her custom moves were swapped or combined with her default moves. Her side special is now Explosive Flame, which was previously one of her custom neutral specials. Her down special now consists of both Counter and Reflect Barrier (the latter of which was previously her standard side special), allowing her to either counterattack or reflect projectiles depending on the incoming attack.
Additionally, while Lightweight does not return as a move, Palutena's mobility has been greatly improved to compensate for its loss. Palutena's buffs have greatly benefited her, so much so that she is widely considered one of the best characters in the game. This perception has been reflected by her acquiring a sizable playerbase and a plethora of successful tournament results.
Names in other languages