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 and during both Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary and Pit's Final Smash, Palutena's Army, Palutena transitioned into a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4, and has remained as such since then.
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 the fact she was very wise. With the creation of Kid Icarus: Uprising Nintendo was able to develop her more as a character, as she is in constant communication with Pit via psychic communications. It is shown that Palutena, while a goddess, is very dignified when she wants to be; however, most of the time, she is actually quite cheerful and playful. While being the leader of Skyworld, and ergo Pit's boss of sorts, she treats him more like a kid brother than an actual servant. She is very playful and mischievous when she wants to be as well. Often she will put Pit in very dangerous situations to complete missions she has assigned him just for laughs.
During their psychic communications she is prone to speaking to Pit's adversaries, and is also known to use modern day quotes and phrases incorrectly due to her use of a large vocabulary that confuses Pit when conversing. She is shown having a huge appetite, to the point the mention of anything food related making her hungry, an example being the mention of eggs making her craving omelets. She is very touchy when it comes to her age despite her youthful appearance, and detests it to the point of becoming agitated when being called "Ma'am".
As the Goddess of Light, she has great power over the element, and therefore is capable of performing powerful magical abilities with it. 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 and all his other powers. She is quite omniscient, and she demonstrates her godly insight to look into the pasts of total strangers. Palutena has typical abilities shared by other gods from the Kid Icarus series such as telepathic communication, as mentioned before, and summoning large projections of herself.
Like Pit, Palutena was formerly irrelevant to gaming history and was a curious obscure character of Nintendo's library. Compared to Pit, who did make many cameos and minor appearances in other media since his inception, Palutena was a virtually unimportant video game character with very little involvement in the first two Kid Icarus games.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl marked Palutena's first 3D appearance, which contributed to her design in Kid Icarus: Uprising. In Uprising, Palutena gained a significant role as Pit's mentor-of-sorts; this gave the character a large fanbase. Palutena's popularity increased from being included in Super Smash Bros. 4 as a playable fighter, leading to her reappearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the same capacity. As of now, Palutena is a relatively well-known character, 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 Bros. 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 [[Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary|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 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.