This article is about Bowser's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For other uses, see Bowser.
Who's the greatest nemesis of all!? It's King Bowser! In Super Smash Bros. his power and weight make him a reliable fighter. Use his Fire Breath to keep opponents at bay, then use his damaging attacks to launch them off the stage! He transforms into Giga Bowser for his Final Smash and delivers a super powerful punch!
—Description from the Super Smash Blog.

Bowser is a veteran fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, first playable in Super Smash Bros. Melee. His return was confirmed at the E3 2018 Conference on June 12, 2018.

When unlocked, he is fought at Mushroom Kingdom U.



  • Heaviest fighter in the game.
  • Is quite agile on the ground, having a very high dashing speed for a heavyweight character.
  • Has a passive Super Armor which allows him to shrug off attacks without flinching. Said attacks must inflict over 19 units of knockback in order to hit stun Bowser.
  • Many of his attacks, such as all his of Tilts and Forward and Up Smashes have intangibility frames, making Bowser extremely powerful when trading attacks with his opponents.
  • Surprisingly fast for his size both on the ground and in the air.
  • Most moves have huge knockback, especially his Smash Attacks, powerful enough to KO opponents at mid-low percentages.
  • Down Aerial is a powerful Meteor Smash.
  • Like the other heavy weight characters, Bowser can shake the ground by landing on it after he jumps.
  • Has the strongest Forward Smash in the game, which can KO light opponents at 0%-10% when fully charged near the ledge.
  • Fire Breath can rack up damage quite fast, which, combined with its high range, considerable low ending lag allows Bowser to stay at safe range and has a windbox on its tip that can be situationally used to gimp opponents with poor recovery.
  • Flying Slam is inescapable once Bowser grabs his opponents, and can KO opponents below 100% damage once he hits them on the ground.
  • Whirling Fortress gains altitude if the button is mashed, improving Bowser's recovery.
  • Bowser Bomb grants him powerful super armor, and deals high knockback when used on the ground. It can also break shields easily hit.
  • Has amazing out-of-shield options, like Whirling Fortress, which can easily pressure opponents and interrupt combos.
  • His Up Throw is one of the best combo starters in the game, capable of leading to effective KO setups.


  • Very large hurtboxes.
  • High lag on some attacks, especially landing lag.
  • Fire Breath counts as an energy projectile, which means it can be reflected, nullified and absorbed, it decreases in range and damage the more it is used and the very tip of Fire Breath will deal damage, but will not cause opponents to flinch at all.
  • Mediocre and predictable recovery.
  • Struggles against combo-oriented opponents that can juggle him, and projectile users that can zone him out.
  • High knockback on his attacks means he can't pull off many combos.


Changes from SSBWU/3DS


  • Up and side taunts have been shortened.
  • Bowser has two new victory poses.
  • Tough Guy has an amplified effect.

Ground Attacks

  • Down tilt has much less lag and can now trip.
  • Tilts and smash attacks have Super Armor during their start-up now
  • Down smash is now a claw swipe that has more power and range than the previous down smash.

Aerial Attacks

  • All aerials have significantly less landing lag (neutral and back aerials have five frames less, forward and down aerials have ten frames less, and up aerial has sixteen frames less).

Grabs and Throws

  • Grab is faster.
  • Pummel is weaker, but quicker by comparison.
  • Up throw is much stronger and Bowser now hops when executing the final hit of the move.
  • Down throw is faster and stronger.

Special Attacks

  • Flying Slam spins Bowser around more dramatically and now has an explosion effect upon landing.
  • Aerial Whirling Fortress's last hit has greatly improved knockback.
  • Giga Bowser's functionality has drastically changed: rather than utilizing Bowser's Brawl moveset, he teleports to the background of the stage and aims a single punch that will force a Screen KO on its victims or do massive knockback upon them if their percentage is low enough.


Ground Attacks


  • Neutral Attack: Performs a sumo-style palm strike, followed by a punch.
  • Forward Tilt: A swung backhanded punch, with his arm slightly bent.
  • Up Tilt: Does an arcing claw swipe.
  • Down Tilt: Does an alternating pair of hooks.
  • Dash Attack: A side kick, similar to Meta Knight’s dash attack.

Smash Attacks

  • Forward Smash: A dropkick.
  • Up Smash: Hops a bit to thrust his shell upwards, while spinning.
  • Down Smash: Does a grounded claw swipe, hitting opponents in front and behind him.

Other attacks

  • Floor Attack (Front): Swipes his claws behind himself and then in front of himself while stumbling to his feet.
  • Floor Attack (Back): Swipes his claws around himself while getting up.
  • Floor Attack (Trip): Swipes his claws around himself while getting up.
  • Ledge Attack: Bowser slowly climbs up from the ledge, then swipes at the ground in front of him.

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral aerial: An aerial cartwheel.
  • Forward aerial: Swipes downwards with his claws.
  • Back aerial: A dropkick.
  • Up aerial: An upward headbutt.
  • Down aerial: A stall-then-fall attack that involves Bowser retreating into his shell while turning upside-down, then propelling himself towards the ground while spinning on a vertical axis.

Grabs and Throws

  • Pummel: Headbutts the opponent.
  • Forward Throw: Places the opponent in between his horns, rears his head back, and then powerfully sways his head forward to launch the opponent.
  • Back Throw: Throws the opponent backward in a sideways motion.
  • Up Throw: Throws the opponent slightly upward, withdraws into his shell, and then spins rapidly in order to repeatedly stab them with his shell’s spikes. He hops up on the final hit, launching the opponent upward.
  • Down Throw: Places the opponent on the ground and splashes them.

Special Moves

Bowser's Special Moves
Melee Brawl SSBWU/3DS Ultimate
Standard Special Fire Breath
Side Special Koopa Klaw Flying Slam
Up Special Whirling Fortress
Down Special Bowser Bomb
Final Smash Giga Bowser Giga Bowser Punch


  • Up Taunt: Sways his head backward while roaring and exhaling steam.
  • Side Taunt: Leans forward and chomps furiously.
  • Down Taunt: Teeters.

On-Screen Appearance

Idle Poses

Victory Poses

In competitive play

Classic Mode: The Red One. Every Red One!

Bowser's opponents are all wearing attire that is red, which is a reference to his mortal enemy (Mario) wearing red clothing. Bowser unlocks Pokémon Trainer as a playable fighter at completion.

Round Opponent Stage Music
1 2 Mii Brawlers, Mii Gunner, and Mii Swordfighter Find Mii Airship Theme - Super Mario Bros. 3
2 Ken Suzaku Castle Ken Stage
3 Samus Norfair Brinstar (Melee)
4 Giant Charizard and Giant Incineroar Pokemon Stadium 2 Victory Road - Pokemon Ruby / Pokemon Sapphire
5 Diddy Kong Kongo Jungle Stickerbush Symphony
6 Rathalos ? ?
Final Mario, then Metal Mario New Donk City Hall (Omega form) Ground Theme (Band Performance) - Super Mario Bros. / Metal Battle (Melee)

Role in World of Light

Bowser was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.

During the opening cutscene, Bowser was present when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Bowser attempted to fight back, using his Fire Breath alongside the Pokémon Trainer and his Pokémon. This effort ended up being fruitless however, as Bowser was vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment alongside the other fighters (except for Kirby). Presumably, it was during this time that he ended up transformed into Giga Bowser and later dispatched to a molten castle to guard it.

Bowser can be found in the Molten Castle sub-section in the World of Light, though he is only unlocked after defeating Giga Bowser, with his joining being a requirement in order for the story to progress.

against Galeem and Dharkon. He also shows up in the bad ending where Galeem emerges victorious against Dharkon, witnessing Galeem engulf the world in light.

In Spirit Battles

As the Main Opponent

  • Bowser (Wedding)
  • Mechakoopa (Tiny; x4)
  • Dry Bowser
  • Paper Bowser
  • Moosh
  • Baby Bowser (x2; Giant and Tiny)
  • Blargg (Curry)
  • Sandshrew
  • Kangaskhan
  • Tauros
  • Heracross
  • Groudon (Giant)
  • Volcanion
  • Pico
  • River Survival
  • Lakitu & Spiny (Tiny; x8)
  • Geno
  • Turtle Bridge
  • Satoru
  • Nibbles

Palette Swaps

Bowser Palette (SSBU).png
  • Default: Based on his appearance since Luigi’s Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine, and Mario Party 4.
  • Black: Based on Morton Koopa Jr. design from recent games. It also seems to combine elements of his black and brown costumes from Brawl.
  • Yellow: Resembles Ludwig Von Koopa and Lemmy Koopa In Super Mario World. Could also possibly reference the Gold Bowser Statue from the same game.
  • Green: Resembles his appearance in Super Mario World and an alternate color in Mario Golf. It also seems reminiscent of Bowser’s cartoon design in the DIC Entertainment shows, as well as the Nintendo Comics System series.
  • Grey: Resembles Morton Koopa Jr. in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. It also slightly resembles Dry Bowser. Also bears a strong resemblance to Dark Hammer Slam Bowser from Skylanders: Superchargers.
  • Orange: Resembles Bowletta from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. It also resembles Giga Bowser in Ultimate.
  • Red: Resembles an alternate color in Mario Golf.
  • Blue: Based on the Blue Bowser impostor from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and an alternate color in Mario Golf. It also bears a resemblance to Dark Bowser from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.


External links


  • Bowser is the only unlockable World of Light character who is not directly fought, instead being unlocked after defeating Giga Bowser.
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