This article is about Kirby's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Kirby.
A puff ball that floats through the sky and boasts a variety of moves.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Announced at E3 2001, Kirby (カービィ, Kirby) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Although tier-wise, he was the second-to-top character in Super Smash Bros. topped only by Pikachu, in Super Smash Bros. Melee, he has been severely nerfed.

Currently, Kirby is ranked 26th in the G tier at the very bottom, a huge drop from his 2nd position in Smash 64. While he has some interesting throw options and a decent edge-guarding game, Kirby's approach and KO ability are among the worst in the game; slow attacks, slow air speed, an ineffective projectile, and numerous other flaws both on the ground and in the air prevent Kirby from easily approaching enemies, and he struggles against almost all characters as a result of this. Kirby currently has terrible overall matchups, with seven matchups that are near unwinnable, and only two positive matchups (against Bowser and Roy), and even these can be disputed at length.

Attributes

Kirby SSBM.png

Kirby's signature move is Swallow, which allows him to use his opponents' Neutral Special Moves. Kirby is also known for having five midair jumps (although the last couple of jumps barely give any height) and floaty descent, which gives him good recovery distance. However, his recovery is still slow and predictable. His multiple jumps also allow for good edgeguarding abilities and good midair evasion, due to slow falling speed when normal and fast falling speed when using Stone, especially with mid-air transformation.One of his most rage inducing moves is Kirbycide, where Kirby sucks in the openent, walks off the edge with him, then uses his multi-jump to fly back up to the top.

Kirby's small size, quick dodges, and low crouch (one of the lowest in the game) enable him to have good evasion. He also has a large shield in relation to body size, which makes him difficult to shield stab. Kirby is arguably most famous for his sacrificial KOs, the Kirbycides. These are extremely useful in certain scenarios, but his Back and Forward Throws can be intercepted. When Kirby is in Stone form, he does not take damage, but he can be grabbed out of it.

However, Kirby has several significant problems. Many of his moves are slow, weak (almost all of his moves have tiny sweetspots), and short-ranged. He is easily KOd due to being light and floaty, and he can't escape most combos despite this due to having a high amount of hitstun when hit. He has poor combo ability, his SHFFL'd aerials are slow, and his Up Special Move, Final Cutter, does not have good horizontal range. Also, his grab game is very limited because, as aforementioned, his Back and Forward Throws can easily be intercepted, due to them being easily shaken out of and leave Kirby to die, and only his Down Throw can be used to land another move. Kirby has a very small wavedash, making Wavesmashing hard. Lastly, Kirby's hammer is extremely weak and punishable if not sweetspotted, which is hard to do as the sourspot is much larger.

To win as Kirby, one will need to be very careful with most of his attacks which, like stated above, almost all of them have sweetspots, making those attacks unreliable. Kirby's Throws, Side Smash and Up Smash are his reliable KOing attacks, but warning with Throws, as sometimes Kirby will let go of the opponent and KO only himself. In tournaments, Kirby won very few, if any.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee

Kirby was overwhelmingly nerfed in his transition from Smash 64 to Melee. He is unarguably the most severely downgraded character from Smash 64 to Melee, and possibly the most severely nerfed character in all of the series. Kirby's nerfs primarily damaged his excellent finishers and good approach, with his various buffs failing to address his lack of reliable combos or significant survivability issues from the previous game; on the contrary, his nerfs downgraded his combo potential and made him easier to KO in Melee.

Attributes

  • Nerf.png Kirby generally is slower, weaker, and easier to combo, while he also has largely reduced combo ability and less range.
  • Nerf.png His already low air speed has been decreased even more, making his recovery much easier to gimp.

Ground attacks

Aerial attacks

  • Notice.png His up aerial animation from Smash 64 has been moved to his neutral aerial.
  • Nerf.png Forward aerial has a new animation that has less damage potential if all hits connect.
  • Nerf.png Back aerial has different animation and no longer contains a hitbox in front of Kirby.
  • Buff.png Up aerial has a new animation which is much more powerful.
  • Nerf.png Down aerial's animation has been tweaked, now containing a landing hitbox that makes it more difficult to combo with. The attack is also slower, making the meteor smash less reliable for edge-guarding, and the first few hits also no longer have high power, meaning the last hit must be landed to properly utilize the meteor smash.

Grab and throws

Special attacks

  • Buff.png Kirby can now walk after Inhaling an opponent.
  • Notice.png Kirby has a new side special move Hammer, which is a powerful horizontal swing on the ground and a vertical spinning attack in midair.
  • Buff.png Final Cutter can now grab edges even if Kirby is facing the opposite direction.
    • Nerf.png Final Cutter gains a shorter distance, which along with Kirby's lower air speed, further hampers Kirby's recovery. Both the hitbox while dropping and the wave are also weaker, and the wave no longer deals extra shield damage.
  • Notice.png Stone can change Kirby into five objects as opposed to one.

PAL differences

Like other characters, Kirby received some changes in the PAL version of Melee, which slightly buffed him overall, but are not enough to heavily affect his tournament results.

  • Buff.png Weight has been increased (70 → 74).
  • Buff.png Dashing speed has been increased (1.4 → 1.5).
  • Buff.png Dash attack deals 1% more damage.
  • Buff.png Forward aerial has 2 frames less of landing lag (1 frame less of L-cancelled landing lag).
  • Nerf.png Dash attack's knockback growth has been decreased (66 → 50).

Moveset

  Image Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Kirby Neutral attack SSBM.png   3% Kirby performs two quick jabs, followed by a series of rapid jabs. Based on the Vulcan Jab from the Fighter ability in his games.
2%
1% (loop)
Forward tilt Kirby Forward tilt SSBM.png   11% Kirby spins and performs a horizontal kick. Has decent range. This attack can be aimed up or down.
Up tilt Kirby Up tilt SSBM.png   8% (clean), 6% (late) Kirby bends forward and kicks one leg vertically upwards. Most useful if the opponent is behind Kirby.
Down tilt Kirby Down tilt SSBM.png   10% Kirby crouches low and performs a leg sweep. Fast with decent range.
Dash attack Kirby Dash attack SSBM.png   8% (clean), 5% (late) Kirby dashes forward with a fiery spiraling headbutt. Based on the Burning ability in his games. Uniquely, this attack can fall off ledges and platforms.
Forward smash Kirby Forward smash SSBM.png   15% (clean), 13% (late) Kirby slides forwards, delivering a very large jump kick. This attack can be aimed up or down.
Up smash Kirby Up smash SSBM.png   15%/13% (clean), 14%/12% (mid), 13%/12% (late) Kirby jumps and performs a flipkick attack.
Down smash Kirby Down smash SSBM.png   14% (clean), 10% (late) Kirby spins, attacking with his feet. Both of Kirby's feet are invincible during the early part of the animation.
Neutral aerial Kirby Neutral aerial SSBM.png   10% (clean), 8% (mid), 6% (late) Kirby spins vertically multiple times in the air. Has a long-lasting hitbox.
Forward aerial Kirby Forward aerial SSBM.png   5% (hits 1-2), 8% (hit 3), 3% (landing) Kirby does three spinning kicks forward. If not L-cancelled, it also has a landing hitbox that can stack up with the three kicks if timed perfectly.
Back aerial Kirby Back aerial SSBM.png   14% (clean), 10% (late) Kirby performs a reverse dropkick that deals solid damage. Can be used in the Fence of Pain technique.
Up aerial Kirby Up aerial SSBM.png   15% Kirby performs a midair flipkick.
Down aerial Kirby Down aerial SSBM.png   3% (hits 1-6), 2% (landing) Kirby spins around, drilling downwards with both his feet. Has a somewhat long start-up, but acts as a weak meteor smash. It also has a landing hitbox that has horizontal knockback, and can stack up with the six hits.
Grab Kirby Grab SSBM.png    
Pummel Kirby Pummel SSBM.png   3% Kirby delivers a quick jab to the opponent. Has more ending lag than most pummels.
Forward throw Kirby Forward throw SSBM.png   8% Kirby does a suplex, slamming the opponent on the ground. Can be used to Kirbycide. Escapable during the throw.
Back throw Kirby Back throw SSBM.png   8% Kirby flips backwards, hitting the opponent on the ground. Can be used to Kirbycide. Escapable during the throw.
Up throw Kirby Up throw SSBM.png   10% Kirby jumps high up into the air and comes back down, ramming the opponent to the ground that generates an explosion. Can be used to Kirbycide on certain stages. During the fall, Kirby will pass through soft platforms.
Down throw Kirby Down throw SSBM.png   1% (hit 1), 7% (throw) Kirby repeatedly stomps the opponent on the floor before launching away them with a final kick.
Floor attack (front) Kirby Floor attack (front) SSBM.png   6% Kirby gets up and does a spin kick.
Floor attack (back) Kirby Floor attack (back) SSBM.png   6% Kirby gets up, quickly kicking on one side, then the other.
Edge attack (fast) Kirby Edge attack (fast) SSBM.png   6% Kirby returns to the stage and delivers a kick.
Edge attack (slow) Kirby Edge attack (slow) SSBM.png   6% Kirby steadily climbs up and does a spinning split kick attack that looks similar to his down smash.
Neutral special Swallow (SSBM).png Swallow 8% (copy), 10% (spit), 8-19% (star collision) Kirby sucks his opponent into his mouth. He can copy the opponent's neutral special move by pressing the B button, or spit them back out as a star by pressing the A button. The star Kirby spits out acts as a projectile and hurts nearby foes. Damage of the star depends on the character's weight.
Side special Hammer (SSBM).png Hammer Ground: 23% (sweetspot), 16% (sourspot)
Air: 4% (loop early), 2% (loop late)
Kirby swings his hammer. The sweetspot is located on the head of the hammer, while the sourspot is on the handle. In the air, Kirby does a vertical spinning attack that hits multiple times.
Up special Final Cutter (SSBM).png Final Cutter 8% (rise), 2% (drop), 6% (wave) Kirby swings his sword upwards and does a leap into the air before striking downward to the ground, emitting a shockwave upon landing. The downward strike of the move can meteor smash enemies with set knockback. You can move left or right while Kirby is attacking.
Down special Stone (SSBM).png Stone 18% Kirby transforms into a heavy object and drops to the ground. While transformed, Kirby does not flinch or take damage, but he can still be grabbed. The transformation ends whenever a certain amount of time has passed or if the object takes too much damage.

Taunt

  • Waves and says his signature elongated "Hi!". The taunt's animation differs slightly, depending on what direction Kirby is facing. This taunt also allows Kirby to lose his current Copy Ability.

Idle pose

  • Hops a bit to look back, then hops again returning to normal position.

Matchups

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  Fox Head 01 (SSBM).png Falco Head 01 (SSBM).png Marth Head 01 (SSBM).png Sheik Head 01 (SSBM).png Jigglypuff Head 01 (SSBM).png Peach Head 01 (SSBM).png Ice Climbers Head 01 (SSBM).png Captain Falcon Head 01 (SSBM).png Pikachu Head 01 (SSBM).png Samus Head 01 (SSBM).png Dr. Mario Head 01 (SSBM).png Yoshi Head 01 (SSBM).png Luigi Head 01 (SSBM).png Ganondorf Head 01 (SSBM).png Mario Head 01 (SSBM).png Young Link Head 01 (SSBM).png Donkey Kong Head 01 (SSBM).png Link Head 01 (SSBM).png Mr. Game & Watch Head 01 (SSBM).png Roy Head 01 (SSBM).png Mewtwo Head 01 (SSBM).png Zelda Head 01 (SSBM).png Ness Head 01 (SSBM).png Pichu Head 01 (SSBM).png Bowser Head 01 (SSBM).png Kirby Head 01 (SSBM).png Avg.
Kirby.png -3 -3 -3 -3 -2 -1 -2 -3 -2 -2 -3 -1 -2 -3 -2 -2 -2 ±0 -2 +1 -2 -1 -1 ±0 +1 Mirror match -2

Trophy descriptions

In addition to the normal trophy about Kirby as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Kirby on any difficulty:

Kirby
A denizen of the far-off, peaceful planet Pop Star, Kirby became a citizen of Dream Land after defeating King Dedede. Even though he's only about eight inches tall, Kirby is an extremely skilled technician. He has the unique ability to absorb the powers of his enemies, and his elastic body makes him a versatile adventurer.
Kirby (Smash Red)
Kirby's small size lets him dodge many attacks, but his light weight makes him fly far when struck. Using his ability to inflate, he can jump five times. His Swallow attack creates wild combos; not only can he copy foes' moves, but he'll also put on special hats and mimic their voices. His Hammer is unwieldy but powerful.
Kirby (Smash Blue)
Because of his light weight, Kirby is always in danger of being sent flying, but his ability to puff up and fly allows him to come back from amazing distances. His Final Cutter strikes on the way up and on the way down, and it sends out a beam of force upon landing. Kirby transforms into various objects and crashes down when he uses his Stone technique.

Kirby is also the subject of five trophies that can be considered its own trophy series: The Kirby Hat series, with information about the powers Kirby gains when he uses Swallow on each opponent. The first three are "normally collectible" trophies that can be found during normal play and in the Trophy Lottery, but the last two are awarded once all the playable characters involved on those trophies have been unlocked.

Finally, the character Kirby himself is depicted on some other trophies not related to gameplay: Ball Kirby, Fighter Kirby, and Fire Kirby.

Alternate Costumes

Kirby's alternate costumes in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Trivia

  • A compacted version of Kirby's moveset in Melee are used in the game Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, through the use of the ability called Smash. The moves he gets are Twinkle Star (Neutral Aerial from Melee, although in this game it has much more range), Hammer, Final Cutter, Stone, and Vulcan Jab. He gets the ability from Master Hand, who is a boss in the game.
  • Kirby has the shortest taunt, followed by Mr. Game & Watch.
  • As the first nine hits of Kirby's down throw are meteor smashes, KO'ing an opponent with the move will earn the Meteor Smash bonus, even though neither the last hit nor the throw itself are meteor smashes.

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