The user will shoot a small ball of electricity that will hit their opponent.
Upon use, the user drops a sphere of electricity diagonally downwards, which can deal medium damage as it falls. If it lands on a surface, it turns into an arcing wave of electricity that hops along the terrain's surface and deals slightly less damage. The projectile will wrap around corners and snake along walls and even ceilings if the corners are not too sharp and it lives long enough; it cannot wrap around the underside of soft platforms due to there being no ceiling to latch onto. When the move is used on the ground, it essentially turns into the wave form immediately.
Like its other specials and electrically charged attacks, Thunder Jolt damages Pichu upon use, inflicting 1% (0.4% in Ultimate) damage each time. Kirby also gets the damage if using the move after having copied Pichu.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Unlike most other attacks Pokémon use in the Super Smash Bros. games, there has never been an attack named Thunder Jolt in any of the Pokémon RPGs. Thunder Jolt was, however, present on the original Pikachu card as one of the many moves invented for the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG); both the English and the Japanese names on the card match the Smash move's name in the respective versions of Smash Bros.. The name of the move in the Smash Bros. games likely arose from the popularity of the trading cards at the time of Smash 64. The move's effect in the TCG, where it damages Pikachu under certain circumstances, is similar to how Thunder Jolt works when used by Pichu; however, all of Pichu's electric type moves damage itself.
Its custom versions, however, are actual moves in the Pokémon games and match their effects accurately. Thunder Wave does no damage in the Pokémon RPGs, but it inflicts the Paralysis status. Thunder Shock is a basic low-level Electric-type attack that many Electric-type Pokémon start with. Both moves can be learned by Pikachu in all main series Pokémon games.