HAL Laboratory's pink puffball returns for another bout in Smash! Kirby's familiar moveset remains mostly unchanged, with only minor stat adjustments. Kirby is certainly a character for novices, a jack of all trades that is easy to pick up. Although being one of the lighter characters, he boasts multiple jumps, great combos, fair reach, strong attacks and unique special attacks. At low level play, Kirby is one of the easiest and most forgiving characters to use, but he is no slouch against advanced players either. Learn to utilize Kirby's tools on the ground and in the air, and you'll be a solid contender in any match.
Kirby is one of the lightest characters in the game, so he can get KO'ed early. Despite having only poor air speed and slow fall speed, he has five mid-air jumps, so Kirby can airdodge a few times and still get back to the stage. On the ground, Kirby has mediocre running speed and short ranged attacks, which makes spacing crucial. However, even though most of Kirby's attacks do little damage compared to others, he is huge in making combos. Also, Kirby is average in roll length, speed, and end lag. Advanced players should take note that Kirby has one of the best crouches in the game, so he can evade some attacks and grabs. Overall, Kirby players should mainly play defensively with some offensive and utilize his ducks and combos for maximum success.
Copy abilities are Kirby's signature skill. Using Inhale, Kirby can copy any character's neutral special move, gaining a hat that signifies the character of the ability he copied from. Trying to use Inhale while he has a copy ability will result in Kirby using the copied ability instead. Unfortunately, Kirby cannot copy custom moves, only the default version of every neutral special move. Kirby can lose his copy ability if he is hit with a powerful attack, is KO'd, or when he taunts. Also, take note that some characters can immediately attack Kirby once he copies the ability. Overall, Kirby should copy characters with projectiles as their neutral attack since Kirby lacks a good projectile.
- Mario: Fireball - Kirby throws a fireball that bounces along the ground. A projectile ability is always a nice addition to Kirby's skillset, and the Fireball's range and trajectory makes it a worthwhile ability to hold on to.
- Luigi: Fireball - Kirby throws a green fireball that travels straight. Not as much range but better fire rate. It functions well at mid-range, which is the ideal distance for Kirby to fight at.
- Peach: Toad - Kirby brings out Toad to protect himself. If he is hit by an attack, Toad will release spores that deal multiple hits. Like Peach's own Toad, this counter special is unreliable and hard to land, so it isn't the best choice of an ability. It does let Kirby stall his fall in the air though.
- Bowser: Fire Breath - Kirby breathes fire in front of him that gradually weakens over time. It is a projectile, has great reach and can be held down to last longer, all great traits. It's an awesome tool for zoning and punishing rolls.
- Yoshi: Egg Lay - Kirby extends his tongue and grab nearby opponents. Once he swallows them, he launches them out in an egg. This ability functions much like his normal Inhale, but it doesn't leave him vulnerable as long and has slightly greater reach, so it's a decent if slightly redundant choice.
- Rosalina & Luma: Luma Shot - Kirby charges up and launches his own Luma, which disappears after being shot. As Kirby cannot emulate Rosalina's Luma mechanic, this ability is nothing more than a projectile. It is still a good projectile, with great range, power and duration.
- Bowser Jr.: Clown Cannon - Kirby opens his mouth wide and charges up, then launches a cannonball which travels straight forward. This ability is another projectile, albeit one that isn't very spammable. It is pretty powerful, and the arc of uncharged cannonballs can be used against recovering foes.
- Wario: Chomp - Kirby opens his mouth and bites down at any nearby foes, munching them a few times before spitting them out. Like Inhale, it is an air grab but with a lot less range. Unfortunately, Kirby doesn't have the aerial maneuverability and quick air attacks that Wario has, so he can't utilize it as well as the source. Nevertheless, it's still a good option to use close range.
- Donkey Kong: Giant Punch - Kirby winds up and does a powerful punch. The charge can be saved by shielding, and a fully-charged punch has super armor. While Kirby has no lack of powerful or chargeable attacks, the charge of Giant Punch can be saved, making it much easier to land a charged punch. However, Kirby lacks Donkey Kong's great melee range, so the Giant Punch is not as effective as it is for DK.
- Diddy Kong: Peanut Popgun - Kirby takes out a popgun and fires peanuts that travel in an arc. Its fast firing rate and the peanut's arc make it one of the best projectiles in the game. It can be used to great effect with Diddy Kong, and it's just as useful for Kirby as well.
- Mr. Game & Watch: Chef - Kirby flings pieces of food that travel in random arcs. This is a good projectile for zoning due to its unpredictable arc, as well as for edgeguarding foes. It doesn't have a lot of range, but Kirby can take full advantage of its utility at mid to close range easily.
- Little Mac: Straight Lunge - Kirby charges up and lunges forward, gaining super armor throughout the attack. It certainly is a strong attack, but the charge can't be saved, so the attack is quite telegraphed and easy to dodge. Unfortunately, Kirby can't copy the K.O. Uppercut either, so avoid this subpar ability if you can.
- Link: Hero's Bow - Kirby fires an arrow which can be charged to increase it speed and power. This ability is, obviously, a projectile. With great speed, range and the ability to delay its launch to mix foes up, it is a solid copy ability for Kirby to keep. While not as annoying without Link's other projectiles backing it up, the arrow from the Hero's Bow is still an awesome zoning tool.
- Zelda: Nayru's Love - Kirby envelops himself with a magical spinning barrier which hits enemies multiple times and reflects projectiles. It is the only ability that gives Kirby a reflector, which is certainly a useful niche. Nayru's Love is also good for punishing whiffed attacks or just to rack up damage. It's a solid copy ability for any situation.
- Sheik: Needle Storm - Kirby charges up some needles and fires them forward on the ground, or diagonally downward in the air. This ability is yet another projectile, but it cannot be canceled out by other projectiles, giving it a great edge compared to other copy abilities. It is also very spammable, so it is a great ability to hold on to.
- Ganondorf: Warlock Punch - After a considerable delay, Kirby unleashes a powerful punch of purple energy. Like Ganondorf, Kirby has super armor during the startup of a grounded Warlock Punch. Its very slow, so you won't have much luck landing this move even with the super armor. Kirby's multiple jumps do help you net some flashy offstage KOs with it if you aim to be a crowd-pleaser.
- Toon Link: Hero's Bow - Kirby fires an arrow which has less velocity but travels straight ahead for longer. This ability is a projectile much like its counterpart from Link. However, its differences from Link's Hero's Bow makes it more spammable but easier to predict, so adjust your zoning strategy accordingly.
- Samus: Charge Shot - Kirby charges up power, which can be saved by pressing shield, then fires a blast of energy. This ability is a chargeable projectile, and the charge can be saved. However, unlike other similar copy abilities, Kirby cannot charge it in midair. Just like with Samus, it's not very effective at continuous projectile zoning, so keep it fully charged and save it for long distance KOs.
- Zero Suit Samus: Paralyzer - Kirby shoots a chargeable paralyzer shot which stuns enemies that it hits. It's a projectile with average range, but the paralysis effect is quite unique. Unfortunately, Kirby does not possess Zero Suit Samus's speed or lightning fast attacks, so it is harder to capitalize off successful stuns.
- Pit: Palutena's Bow - Kirby fires a bow of light with a malleable trajectory. This is a great projectile ability for Kirby, with high speed, long range and the ability to alter its direction, all of which help Kirby to pester and harass opponents, especially when they are recovering. It's one of Pit's best moves, and it's one of Kirby's best abilities too.
- Palutena: Autoreticle - Kirby targets the nearest opponent in a conical area of light, then fires three shots at their location. Like many other of Kirby's abilities, it's a projectile. It is a solid zoning tool, it's definitely worthwhile to hold on to unless you know there's a strictly better option.
- Marth: Shield Breaker - Kirby charges up, then lunges forward with a sword, doing increased damage against shields. This ability is quite similar Hammer Flip, trading more range and shield damage for mobility. As such, you won't find many uses for it except in specific situations. Kirby definitely benefits from a broken shield, so seize the chance to use this move whenever the situation is ideal.
- Ike: Eruption - Kirby builds up power, then slams into the ground, creating an explosion around him. Like Shield Breaker, this move is basically an immobile Hammer Flip with a much wider hitbox. It's decent for punishing rolls and to punish recoveries that missed the ledge. With Kirby's multiple jumps, you can also afford to land offstage Eruptions more boldly.
- Robin: Thunder - Kirby uses a tome to execute electric elemental attacks. With no charge, it shoots Thunder, a fast, weak projectile that takes up 1 charge. Slight charging results in Elthunder which is stronger and has more range but with less speed, consuming 2 charges. After significant charging, it turns into Arcthunder, which travels slow but stuns enemies when hits. Arcthunder uses up 4 charges. Fully-charged Thunder unleashes Thoron, a screen-wide beam attack, burning away 8 charges. When Kirby uses up all 20 charges, he automatically loses the copy ability. This unique ability gives you a mix of different projectiles. 4 different projectiles result in more flexibility with 1 ability. It's just a pity you can't keep it as long as the others.
- Duck Hunt: Trick Shot - Kirby kicks a volatile can. Press the button repeatedly to shoot the can, making it move forward. It will explode after enough shots, hitting an enemy or once enough time has passed. This is a decent projectile that is moderately useful for zoning. Just like with Duck Hunt's own Trick Shot, it is ineffective against shields, and can hurt yourself if you're too close to the explosion.
- Kirby: Inhale - Identical to Kirby's normal Inhale. If you happen to swallow a Kirby with a copy ability, you steal that Kirby's ability.
- King Dedede: Inhale - Similar to Kirby's normal Inhale, but with slightly greater range. You can only spit out enemies when you suck them in.
- Meta Knight: Mach Tornado - Kirby spins around, slicing nearby foes with multiple hits. This ability has a pretty long duration, so it is best used for punishing rolls or airdodges. It has little use otherwise.
- Fox: Blaster - Kirby fires rapid, non-flinching beams from his blaster. This projectile is purely to rack up damage, and it does a pretty good job. Use it in short bursts whenever you are far from your foe to tack on extra damage.
- Falco: Blaster - Kirby fires slower lasers from his blaster. It has subpar damage output for a projectile ability, but it can't be canceled out by other projectiles. It's not spammable enough to be used for zoning, so use it every now and then just to annoy your foes.
- Pikachu: Thunder Jolt - Kirby shoots a ball of electricity that bounces along the floor. This projectile ability is pretty good, as it lets Kirby zone effectively while its habit of sticking to surfaces make it harder to dodge. It's not the best projectile for Kirby, but its more than adequate for the job.
- Charizard: Flamethrower - Kirby breathes fire which dissipates after a while. Like Bowser's Fire Breath, it has great range and continuous fire, so it can be useful for zoning, edgeguarding and punishing rolls.
- Lucario: Aura Sphere - Kirby builds up aura between his arms, which can be saved by pressing shield, hitting nearby enemies while the orb is still charging. Then, he can launch the ball of aura forward. This ability is a projectile like many others, but it is quite flexible. You can either throw out uncharged or partially charged orbs to zone, or use fully-charged spheres for KOs. Unfortunately, the aura mechanic is not carried over, so Aura Sphere never increases in size with damage.
- Jigglypuff: Rollout - Kirby spins in place, then rolls forward to strike foes. As with Jigglypuff's Rollout, this ability is hard to control, yet easy to dodge. It's an ability you don't need to keep, although you can still attempt to net yourself some KOs if the battle is chaotic enough that no one is paying attention at you.
- Greninja: Water Shuriken - Kirby charges up a watery ninja star and throws it forward. It's a decent projectile ability, although Kirby has better choices. You can't save the charge for later, so choose when to charge wisely. Repeated usage of uncharged shurikens is often good enough for zoning.
- R.O.B.: Robo Beam - Kirby fires a long-range beam that can be angled. The beam charges passively over time. The beam's range make it a great projectile for both zoning and edgeguarding. However, its charge time prevents you from spamming it often.
- Ness: PK Flash - Kirby unleashes an explosion of PSI energy. It is a very slow projectile that leaves Kirby vulnerable for its whole duration, so you're better off with another copy ability. If you want, you can still try to strike recovering opponents with it, although experienced players will usually recognize your tactics and punish with ease.
- Captain Falcon: Falcon Punch - After a moderate delay, Kirby delivers a powerful, fiery punch. This ability is slow, but very strong. It is very difficult to land and quite impractical in a serious battle, but it is immensely satisfying if you get a successful hit. Kirby has many jumps, so it is easier to go for midair or offstage KOs with it.
- Villager: Pocket - Kirby collects any nearby projectile and item and saves them for later. He can throw out the pocketed object whenever he wishes. This is one of the best utility moves in the game, so holding on to the ability is a no-brainer. It is especially useful against the very character you got the ability from, Villager, due to his reliance on projectiles.
- Olimar: Pikmin Pluck - Kirby plucks a Pikmin and throws it, with the Pikmin dying upon colliding with an enemy or terrain. Kirby plucks the Pikmin in the same order as Olimar, but he can't keep thee Pikmin nor have them latch on to enemies. It's a decent projectile as the Pikmin all have arcing trajectories, and you can use it haphazardly as you don't have to rely on them.
- Wii Fit Trainer: Sun Salutation - Kirby charges up the sun's energy, saving the charge with the shield button if needed, then launches a solar projectile forward, healing himself slightly at full charge. This ability is similar to Aura Sphere, and is used in the same ways. It is moderately spammable uncharged, but you can still save fully-charged shots to net KOs.
- Shulk: Monado Arts - Kirby cycles between several arts which modifies his stats temporarily. Jump makes him jump higher and move faster in the air, but reduces his defense. Speed greatly increases his movement speed, but reduces damage and knockback. Shield drastically boosts his defense, but his mobility and offense suffers. Buster increases Kirby's damage and reduces knockback, but makes him take more damage as well. Smash powers up his move's knockback but reduces damage, while making Kirby extremely light. Use Jump, Speed and Buster for general fighting, and switch to Shield or Smash when you or your opponent is at high percents respectively.
- Doctor Mario: Megavitamins Kirby tosses out a colorful pill that bounces along the ground. It functions nearly identical to Mario's and serves the same purpose. Use it for zoning enemies and to rack up damage.
- Dark Pit: Silver Bow Kirby fires a chargeable arrow of darkness. Its trajectory is not easily changed, but it does more damage. This projectile ability is not the greatest, but it is undeniably above average.
- Lucina: Shield Breaker Kirby charges up, then lunges forward with a sword, dealing increased shield damage on hit. It is identical to the copy ability from Marth, just without a tipper effect. A shield break is always a fortunate occurrence. Just be warned that it is difficult to land this move due to its flaws.
- Pac-Man: Bonus Fruit Kirby cycles through a variety of fruit which have different effects when thrown. It is a standard projectile ability, but the many variations of fruit makes it very unique. Kirby does play somewhat similarly to Pac-Man in the air, so it could be worth your time exploring combos and traps with Bonus Fruit if you often play against Pac-Man players. Bonus Fruit also helps stall your fall while preserving your forward momentum, in case you need a stronger recovery.
- Mega Man: Metal Blade Kirby throws out a saw blade in one of eight directions. The blade can be picked up and thrown again if it hits terrain. This projectile ability is fairly flexible due to its multiple directions.
- Sonic: Homing Attack Kirby rolls up and shoots toward the closest foe. While Sonic can mix this attack in with his Spin Dash and Spin Charge, Kirby has no such luxury, so it is much easier to spot and anticipate his Homing Attack. Use it when you see a significant opening in a distant foe, or to edgeguard recovering foes.
- Mii Brawler: Shot Put Kirby throws a metal ball in an arc. It has good power and great trajectory. Use it to zone opponents at mid-range. You can also throw it down at recovering opponents while remaining safe onstage. Overall, a fairly good ability.
- Mii Swordfighter: Gale Strike Kirby sends out a whirlwind with his blade. It's a subpar projectile ability, as it travels in an unremarkable straight line and doesn't do a lot of damage or knockback, and is not spammable enough to be a good zoning tool.
- Mii Gunner: Charge Blast Kirby builds up power, saving the charge if required with the shield button, then fires a ball of energy straight forward. This move functions identically to Samus's copy ability, but it's slightly weaker. Keep it fully-charged to get more long distance KOs with it.
Final Smash - Ultra Sword
Kirby swings a huge sword from Return to Dream Land. If he strikes one enemy, he will follow up with a brutal sword combo, slicing at foes from multiple angles, before finishing off with a final cleave to send foes flying. This Final Smash belongs to the category of trapping final smashes, in that it is only activated when the initial hit connects. Ultra Sword's unique quirk is its absurd range. The initial strike has huge horizontal reach, and even sizable vertical reach due to the animation. Kirby can easily strike multiple foes with the first strike on smaller stages. Even during the rest of the Final Smash, opponents not trapped can still be hit by Kirby's slashes, which still have a lot of range, so you can expect to do some collateral damage as well. However, the move only does 34-40% damage, and it usually doesn't KO until around 35-60% depending on the character's weight, which is well below average for a Final Smash. Overall, the range makes up for its weakness.