Ness (ネス, Nesu) is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and has appeared in every installment of the Smash Bros. series thus far. Ness is one of the only four unlockable characters to appear in the opening cinematic of Brawl. The three others sharing this attribute are Marth, Snake, and Sonic. Despite being buffed from Melee to Brawl, Ness is currently ranked 26/27th on the tier list (tied with Bowser). His unsafe recovery, unusually long grab release animation, and below-average match-ups have given him his E tier ranking.
How to unlock
- Play five Brawls, then beat Ness in a Brawl.
- Reflect ten projectiles, then fight Ness and win.
- Get Ness to join your party in The Subspace Emissary.
With the exception of the third method, you have to face Ness in a Brawl on Onett.
Generalizing Ness is difficult. He generally runs a unique, versatile role, employing three different projectiles with differing purposes. Generally, the moves have modest lag and decent knockback, his PK Fire leads well into other attacks, and his PK Thunder can trap opponents and lead into PK Thunder 2, one of the strongest attacks in the game. Also, PK Thunder and PK Flash both leave Ness very vulnerable because he can't move or attack when controlling these projectiles. Ness can use his PSI Magnet to absorb any energy projectile. The best for Ness, however, are his powerful throws, most notably his back throw, the only throw in Brawl that can reliably KO under 150% without relying on being on the edge and bad DI. Combining these with proper projectile use and appropriate Smash timing, and Ness can be a powerful foe. Shield Grabs tend to be a problem for Ness because of his below average standing grab range. Ness is fairly balanced in the areas of weight, falling speed, and air speed with none of them being particularly good nor particularly bad.
Ness' true game can be found by utilizing his aerials. Ness is one of the very few characters in the game who can perform two aerials in one shorthop (Double Aerial Shuffle). This requires practice though because one needs to do the aerial immediately when one jumps off the ground. His ground game is decent but not great. With slow dash speed and short range tilts, he suffers fighting people with disjointed hitboxes such as Ike or Marth. The only upside of his tilts are that they come out very quickly, which can be used to rack up damage. His forward smash, although powerful, is slow. His up smash, though weak in terms of knockback, is very versatile when used properly, being one of the only two smash attacks able to damage people while charging, the other being Ness's down smash. All of Ness's smashes also give Ness some much needed range in his ground game.
Ness's major problems are his poor ground Grab release and recovery. He and Lucas both suffer from having extremely long grab release animations. A few characters have some sort of ground grab release on Ness, and/or Lucas, leading to chaingrabs, infinities in walls, and other moderate to major problems. An example would be Marth's 0-death on Ness, and infinite on Lucas. Another example is Wario using his forward smash out of the grab release, which Ness can't avoid. As mentioned above, Ness's other major problem is his using of PK Thunder 2 as a recovery move. Although Ness has a very large 2nd jump (second only to Yoshi's in terms of height), his PK Thunder, though faster than Lucas' PK Thunder, has a much wider turning axle, thus requiring more room for Ness to recover than Lucas. Its PK Thunder 2 also travels less distance than Lucas' version. In addition, his PK Thunder will stop in it's tracks when it hits most projectiles, walls, or a character. As such, some opponents may take a risk and jump in front of PK Thunder's path to intercept Ness's recovery, giving Ness little to no hope of making it back onstage, which is easier with disjointed moves. However, this is a risky way of intercepting Ness's recovery, due to his recovery move having an extreme amount of knockback, KOing below 50% in most situations, although a projectile could still be used to halt his recovery, especially if it's controllable.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Ness has been buffed from Melee to Brawl, although there are minor nerfs as well. PK Flash activates faster and charges and travels further, but is less controllable in horizontal direction. Also, it goes further down than where it starts (it doesn't activate automatically once it hits the ground) and hits in a smaller radius. His Forward Smash is slightly slower. His Back Air is somewhat stronger and has a slightly bigger sweet-spot compared to Melee version. (And its sourspot is much larger, greatly increasing the move's overall range). He can no longer double jump cancel, unless he uses a special move. PK Thunder travels tighter, making it easier to hit himself. His Up aerial now has a bit shorter range, but is much more powerful at high percents, and can be used as a effective vertical finisher. His Up and Down Smashes are stronger, have greater knockback and are able to kill at very high percentages (though they are still among the weakest up and down smashes). It is unknown whether he can still do the Yoyo Glitch, but the SLAPAYO glitch is similar. His Forward and Down throws now send foes at a higher angle. His PSI Magnet can be canceled with either Up Smash, Jump, Grab or Spot Dodge. His Down air is faster, stronger, and has much better range, making it easier to meteor smash. Dash grab has better range, is faster, and has little ending lag. Back throw is slightly more powerful. PK Fire activates faster. When PSI Magnet is deactivated, it blows close opponents away without doing damage. All aerials can cause Ness to rise greatly after he cancels his second jump. Finally, 10 extra frames were added onto his grab release animation, which makes him vulnerable to chain grab releases.
In terms of purely cosmetic changes, he is no longer a starter character (though he can be one of the first characters to unlock; Captain Falcon was also demoted back to hidden character status). His Victory Theme changed from an orchestrated version of the second half of the "Soundstone Melodies" (from EarthBound) to a sped-up section of the Mother Title theme. Both Ness and Lucas share the same Victory Theme. His yo-yo gained a new design. When Ness activates PK Fire, a different voice sample is used. PSI Magnet's color changed from blue to purple. His "toppling" animation was changed to match Lucas' animation. PK Flash also has a different animation. He gained new palette swaps, not all of which are just recolors of his striped shirt, which makes Ness the first in the Mother series to not wear a striped shirt. He has a new Star KO scream. His running grab animation no longer has Ness leaning forward hopping if missed. Finally, his Forward Smash produces a more realistic sound, similar to a baseball bat hitting a baseball, when connecting with the opponent instead of the echoing sound of the Home-Run Bat.
- Neutral Attack - Jabs twice and kicks. 3% first hit, 2% second hit, and 4% third hit, Ness has the ability to jab lock.
- Dash Attack - Sends three PSI sparks out in front of him with the third spark knocking the opponent up into the air. 5% first hit, 4% second hit, and 4% third hit. Each hit sends the opponent in a different direction, with different knockback. Great, disjointed range. If all hits connect, it can be followed up by an aerial combo.
- Strong Side - Kicks out in front of him. Can be tilted upward or downward. Downward, 10%. Forward, 11%. Upward, 12%. Mediocre range but rather strong knockback for a tilt, having KO power above 150%.
- Strong Up - Raises his hands, which grow large, up into the air. Quick start-up and it can juggle, but it has short reach (especially horizontally). 7%.
- Strong Down - Ness crouches and very quickly kicks out in front of him. The quickest Strong Down attack and one of the overall fastest attacks in the game (can be used multiple times in a row to rack up damage). 4% each hit. Has 50% chance of tripping opponent, but a 100% chance if sweetspotted. If it trips the opponent, it combos well into his Up Smash, Strong Side, Forward Smash, or Strong Down again. Has extremely short reach. It semi-spikes opponents, but due to extremely low knockback, it's only noticable at extreme percentages.
Ness' up and down smashes don't show the usual display while charging.
- Side Smash - Ness swings his bat. The bat has three hitboxes, with the tip being the sweetspot and the handle being the sourspot. Similar to Lucas' Forward Smash, but with a much more start-up and ending lag, slighty more power when sweetspotted (otherwise it is much weaker), and slightly longer range. One of Ness' more average killing moves. Can reflect projectiles if timed correctly. 18%-24% uncharged, 25%-33% fully charged.
- Up Smash - Ness sends his yo-yo forward and performs "around-the-world" over himself, with the yo-yo ending behind him before he pulls it back. This is one of only two smash attacks in the game, along with Ness' down smash, that do damage while it charges, which actually isn't a charge at all, since the yo-yo briefly shines when "charging". If connected properly, the opponent hit by the forward yo-yo will then be sent up to be hit by the swinging yo-yo and then sent up into the air. 4% while "charging", 9% on opponents in front on the ground, 13% on opponents in the air or behind Ness. Very weak knockback for a smash attack. Mostly used to rack up damage, set up combos or clear some space. This smash's power is unaffected by charging and can collide with aerial hitboxes.
- Down Smash - Ness sends his yo-yo backwards and "walks-the-dog" with it before pulling the yo-yo back. Works much like Ness' Up Smash. 4% while "charging", 13% during the actual attack. If connected properly (the first hit), the enemy will be hit twice. Certain characters like Link, Sonic, and a few others for some odd reason will only be hit by the weaker hitbox, and will be sent over the stronger hitbox, only doing 4%. Ness can't charge his down smash while on the edge of any platform. Good range, but very weak in terms of knockback. Like his up smash, it's power is unaffected by charging and it can collide with aerial hitboxes.
- Ledge attack - Flips onto the stage and does a sweep kick, usually only 1 hit connects. Sends opponent behind Ness. 8%.
- 100% ledge attack - Slowly pull himself up and delivers a powerful punch. 10%.
- Floor Attack - Gets up and kicks backward, then spins around and kicks in front of him. Usually only 1 hit connects. Sends opponent behind Ness. 6%.
- Trip attack - Gets up on his hands, kicks backwards, then brings his legs under him and kicks in front of him. 5%.
- Neutral Air - Spins diagonally in the air with arms outstretched. Ness' fastest aerial. A single, long lasting, hit with moderate knockback. Has no landing lag. 11%.
- Forward Air - Ness sticks out his palms sending a stream of PSI sparks in front of him. Very similar to his dash attack and is excellent at disrupting opponents with it's multiple, disjointed hitboxes. 4 hits of 2%, then one hit of 3%. It's sourspot can sometimes trip opponents, leading into a jab lock. It's range changes depending on the direction Ness is traveling; having decent reach while approaching, good reach while not moving, and is Ness' longest ranged aerial attack while retreating. Ness can chain this attack into his second jump by using it at the same time as the jump.
- Back Air - Kicks out backwards with both feet. When sweetspotted, it deals electrical damage with great horizontal knockback. The sourspot easily combos with many of Ness' aerials. One of Ness' killing moves. 8% normal, 15% sweetspotted. Like Ness' Fair, it's range expands as Ness is retreating. Generally considered Ness' best aerial due to its power, low start-up and ending lag, and good reach.
- Up Air - Headbutts up into the air. Great for juggling as it has low base knockback, but its high knockback scaling makes it a reliable vertical finisher past 125% if at full power. Quite a few can be chained together at low %s. Another of Ness' killing moves. 13%.
- Down Air - Ness pulls his legs to his body before stomping down into the air. This attack can meteor smash but has a small bit of start-up lag. When timed right, it is one of the best meteor smashes in the game. It can KO opponents at 0% offstage when at low height due to its extremely high base knockback, but from high heights, some characters can still recover from it, even at high percents due to its very low knockback scaling. It has huge disjointed range, almost the size of Ness' approaching Fair surrounding his whole body. If the sourspot connects, it deals large horizontal knockback instead. 12%.
Grabs and Throws
Ness has one of the fastest set of grabs in the game.
- Standing Grab - Below average range, making it somewhat difficult for Ness to shieldgrab. Is very fast.
- Dash Grab - Very large range and very fast for a dash grab, going virtually unpunished most of the time. Possibly one of the game's best dash grabs.
- Pivot Grab - Large range and vertical height compared to Ness' size. One of the game's better pivot grabs. Is quite fast.
- Pummel - Ness pummels the opponent with headbutts. Has an odd rhythm to it, and if timed right it is remarkably fast. 1% each hit. Since it is a 1% pummel, only the first hit counts towards stale-move negation.
- Forward Throw - Psychokinetically swings his opponent in a small circle in front of himself before sending them off forward. The opposite of his back throw, it has very high base knockback but very low knockback scaling. It changes from Ness' best throw to his worst as the enemy's damage increases. 11%.
- Back Throw - Psychokinetically swings the opponent over his head before sending them off backwards, in a diagonally upwards motion. Has extremely low base knockback but very high knockback scaling. The knockback (as well as angle) fluctuates from barely noticeable to significant depending on percent. At about 90-140% it can KO any character quite easily changing from the games worst throw to the best. It is the strongest throw in the game due to having by far the highest knockback scaling. 11%.
- Up Throw - Psychokinetically spins the opponent above his head before sending them up. Leads into many PK Thunder tricks and juggles. Good knockback for a up throw, though the opponent will have to be around 200% to actually KO. 10%.
- Down Throw - Throws his opponent down and shoots out fire onto his opponent. Combined with pummeling and PK Fire it can be used to rack up very high amount of damage quickly. Following this immediately with a regular-hopped dair can often instantly kill if the opponent is grabbed at the edge of a stage (with Ness facing the edge), making a 0%-death combo. Has little stun, making it easy for opponents to jump out of. 5 hits of 1%, then 4%.
- Up Taunt - Ness bows and says the word "Okay." Ness' Up taunt is a reference to the naming screen in Ness' game EarthBound. When one confirms the name one is giving a character, one hears a sound effect of the game's creator, Shigesato Itoi, say "Ok desu ka." which means "Is that okay?" in Japanese. The sound effect was never translated into the the English language, which is why it is Japanese in Earthbound.
- Down Taunt - Ness creates PSI sparkles on his fingers while saying "Hah!"
- Side Taunt - Ness points his bat outward and says "Huah!"
- Smashes his baseball bat multiple times in the air before posing with it.
- Skips with his arms out before nodding his head twice.
- Looks around nervously before loosening up and rubbing the back of his neck.
Teleports using PK Teleport, then shakes off the soot gathered after crashing.
In competitive play
Role in the Subspace Emissary
Ness shows up saving Lucas from the giant Pig King Statue, which is soon revealed to be their mutual nemesis, Porky Minch. Lucas and Ness team up to defeat Porky and his machine. Afterwards, Wario attacks him with his Dark Cannon, but Ness successfully dodges each shot. Wario, however, then aims at Lucas, forcing Ness to push Lucas out of harm's way and take the trophy-izing arrow from the Dark Cannon. As Lucas is too scared to face Wario, he leaves Ness behind as Wario cackles in the rain. Most of Lucas's story in SSE involves getting revenge on Wario and trying to find Ness.
As Wario is driving his Cargo with Ness' and Peach/Zelda's trophies on board, he finds Luigi's trophy and prepares to take it until he's ambushed by an army of Waddle Dees, who throw Luigi's trophy into the cargo, which is stolen by King Dedede. At his hideout, Dedede puts a badge on Luigi's, Ness', and Peach/Zelda's trophies before the roof collapses on them and Bowser takes Peach/Zelda's trophy.
Later on, Ness and Luigi are revived, thanks to the Dedede Badges. Upon inspecting Luigi's badge, he notices that it looks like Dedede, and, assuming that Dedede made them, proceeds to revive him. Upon being revived, King Dedede gives both of them a hug before they team up and rescue Lucas, along with most of the other characters, to defeat Tabuu.
Strangely, Ness has teeth during the cutscenes of the Subspace Emissary, but not during the actual gameplay. Lucas has this distinction as well.
- Despite being the first character unlocked through playing Brawls, Ness is one of the last characters unlocked by playing Subspace Emissary.
- When in metal form, Ness' bat is also metal, but his yo-yo is not.
- Ness' yo-yo says "Super Nintendo 2008" along the top, above "MOTHER."
- Ironically, while Ness' game (EarthBound) was released in North America, his in-game voice in the Super Smash Bros. series speaks with a Japanese accent. Whereas Lucas, whose game (Mother 3) was released only in Japan, speaks using an American accent.
- Interestingly enough, PK Flash is the only attack that Ness can actually learn in Earthbound. His other moves (PK Fire, PK Thunder, PSI Magnet, and PK Starstorm) are learned by Paula and Poo.
- Ness and Captain Falcon are the only two characters to be hidden in Super Smash Bros., starter in Melee, and hidden again in Brawl.
- Ness is the first unlockable character to be available to play in the Subspace Emissary, though he is not the first unlockable character to join the player's party, as he does not join after the battle with Porky.
- If Ness is hit while charging his yo-yo smash attacks, he will keep fighting and running with the yo-yo dangling from his hand. This may be considered a glitch, as when Ness is KO'ed with the yo-yo dangling, he will respawn with the yo-yo still dangling. This glitch can be dealt with by making Ness use his yo-yo smashes.
- Image still from the trailer leak confirming Ness' presence
- Screenshots (Spoilers)
- DOJO!! page
- Ness Character Guide at SWF
- Ness' hitbox size of each of his moves