The control stick is pressure sensitive; the more you tilt it, the faster your character will move.
Smashing the control stick left or right will initiate a dash. It takes more time to turn around while dashing. The only attacks you can do while dashing are an dash attack, a dash grab, and the Smash + . Additionally, you can cancel the dash by pressing .
Pressing while on the ground will cause your character to crouch. While crouching, you can do a weak attack. If you are attacked while crouching, you will not be sent flying, and will simply slide along the ground. However, if you have high damage, you may slide off the stage in a downward direction, which is hard to recover from.
Every character can jump by pressing , , or once, or twice for a double-jump. While in the air, use or to affect direction. All characters except Yoshi, Kirby, and Jigglypuff also have a third jump in the form of the + (although Kirby and Jigglypuff have seven normal jumps) attack (Ness' + attack must be redirected to hit himself in order for it to become a third jump, however).
If you are close enough to the edge of a stage or platform while falling or jumping, your character will automatically grab it. While holding on to the edge, you can then press , , or to jump up, to climb up and attack, to roll onto the stage, or to let go. Only one character can hang from an edge at a time; if an enemy is going to grab the edge, grabbing it first will prevent them from catching on and they will fall off. This strategy is known as "edge-hogging" and is a last measure tactic of "edge-guarding" (where you try to keep them from getting to the edge by attacking).
Every character has several regular button attacks. They are done by pressing standing still, while dashing, or by tilting the control stick , , , and . You can also press repeatedly for an attack combo. When your character is dashing, you can press to do a special dash attack. Different variations can be done in midair by pressing while airborne. Different airborne attacks can be done by moving to control stick , , while pressing . Attacks using the control stick tend to strike in that direction. Regular attacks tend to be weak, but when used well enough can keep your opponents on their toes.
Smash attacks are powerful ground-based attacks that are useful for both delivering damage and sending opponents flying, although they are slightly difficult to master. How to Smash is explained in the "Basic Movement" section above. Every character has three smash attacks, done by pressing Smash or Smash + , Smash + and Smash + . You can hold the button and control stick in place during a smash attack to charge it up. It will release itself automatically once it gets fully charged, although you can prematurely release and charging smash attack for weaker results.
Every character has four different moves, and most of these are very different, so you'll need to experiment to learn and master them all. To use them, simply press , + , + or + . The attacks tend to strike in the direction that the control stick is facing, although how so varies a lot from character to character. Some attacks are different or do not work in midair. + attacks can usually be used as a third jump to help you recover after using your second jump, although a few characters do not have this feature. Attacks vary a lot in strength, and some aren't even for attacking. For example, Princess Peach's (no direction) move is to hold out Toad (from the Super Mario Series) as a shield, though attacking with it is possible(but has small range and neither inflicts much damage nor knocks them down).
Damage and Recovery
When an attack hits you, you'll take damage. The damage of every player is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Special Recovery Items can heal you and take away damage. Different attacks inflict more damage than others. The more damage you get, the weaker you become. Weak players can still attack as well as strong players, but will fly back farther when struck. When flung back, try to recover back to the stage by holding the control stick in the direction of the stage and using your double jump and + attack strategically in order to make it back. Using your + will disable your double jump, so use them in the right order. Failing to recover will result in you falling down the pit and losing a life. Note that if you are weak enough, you may get flung so far you won't even get a chance to recover.
Cliffhanging is very useful when you just barely miss the platform while recovering. When you fall close enough to the edge of most platforms, your character will automatically grab on. When hanging on, your character is safe from most attacks from above, although he is vulnerable to any attacks from below. Your character can hold on for a long but definite amount of time, but will let go if attacked. To climb back up, press or lightly on the control stick, and your character will get back onto the platform. You can press or while cliffhanging to climb up and automatically do an attack. Or you could press or to come up and do a dodging roll forward. Pressing , or Smash will cause your character to climb up in a jump. Pressing on the control stick will cause your character to drop. The execution of these edge recoveries will vary depending on your character's health: If you have less than 100% damage, than the recovery is quick, but if you have more than 100% damage, the recovery is slower. Remember that only one player can hold onto an edge at a time.
Any attack can be blocked with a shield which is used by pressing or . The shield weakens while in use, and when blocking attacks. When it breaks, the character is stunned for a few seconds, which leaves him/her at a disadvantage. When you put the shield away, it will slowly recharge to full strength.
Pressing or lightly will create a very large yet dim shield, which reflects ranged attacks and counters normal attacks. When an opponent's attack is countered, the opponent is stunned momentarily, leaving them open for attack.
Rolls and dodging
Hold down or to bring up your shield, then press or while on the ground to perform a roll. While rolling, your character is invincible to attacks, and once you stop rolling your shield returns (but there is a small gap between when you stop rolling and when the shield comes back up).
To dodge, press or and ; the character performs a sidestep. Dodging allows the character to avoid all attacks, but there is a small recovery time involved in this maneuver. Air dodging is performed in the air by pressing or and tapping the control stick the direction in which to move. Air dodging allows the character to shift in the chosen direction, and otherwise has the same effects as ground dodging. However, after air dodging, you can no longer jump. It is also possible to air dodge from the ground by pressing or and .
To grab someone or something, press or and , or just . When your character seizes another character, they will remain held for about 2 seconds. The opponent can tap , repeatedly to reduce this time. Your character can punch their held opponent by pressing . To throw the character, press and move the control stick in the direction you wish to throw them. If you use + , the character will bounce back up off the ground after being thrown down. Naturally, the higher their damage, the farther a character will fly when thrown. Grabbing and throwing are the only attacks that penetrate shields.
Special Note on Samus, Link, and Young Link: These characters have a grappling hook/beam, allowing them to grab opponents from afar. However, if it takes them a longer time to recover after a failed grab attempt. When used in the air, the hooks and beam damage opponents, and can grab on to the sides of the stage. When hanging onto a wall with the hook/beam, press to receive a small boost jump up.
Special Note on Donkey Kong: Although most characters can't move while grabbing someone, Donkey Kong can carry other characters on his back and walk around before throwing the character.
Special Note on Luigi: Luigi's taunt is an exception, due to the fact that it actually does do 1% damage if his foot hits your opponent while taunting.
In single player mode, the can be used to control the camera with and to control the automatic camera mode, which includes: Fixed Camera ( views the whole stage ), Closeup ( Follows your character closely ), and Normal (Zooms to see you and your opponents). Pressing and will zoom the camera in and out in any of the modes.
Pressing will pause the game. While paused, you can tilt the camera around your character with . You can zoom in and out with and , and switch character focus with and . If enabled, the game can be ended with a "No Contest" by pressing + + + .