This page is about Ness's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Ness.
A psychic boy with a distinct midair jump.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Ness (ネス, Ness) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Being confirmed as a veteran fighter at E3 2001, he was originally planned to be replaced by Lucas from Mother 3. The final cancellation of Mother 3 on the Nintendo , however, caused Masahiro Sakurai to retrieve Ness.

He is currently ranked 23rd in the D tier. While still having fantastic throws and a great aerial game due to his double jump cancel, Ness has a poor approach on the ground and in the air due to significant range issues in most of his attacks; his recovery is also easy to intercept and edge-guard against, and he also has significant trouble KOing opponents, again owing to his poor range. As a result of these significant weaknesses, Ness has terrible matchups with six nearly unwinnable, one even (against Yoshi), and only three slightly favorable (against Bowser, Kirby, and Pichu).


Ness SSBM.png

Ness is a character known for his good Aerial Attacks, overall bad priority, and a variety of projectiles. His Forward Throw is good for knockback. His Back Throw is the strongest in the game. His Up and Down throws are good for setting up combos. However, Ness's standing grab range is the second shortest (next to Pikachu), and his running grab the shortest, which means his throws are usually unused in battle.

His Aerial Attacks are good for comboing, KOing, and edgeguarding. Ness's Down Aerial is a Meteor Smash with decent range, but it's slow. Three out of four of Ness's Special Moves are projectiles. However, they are overall slow and have various amounts of cooldown time and start-up lag with them. Additionally, each one has very limited use, making them all situational, with an exception to PK Thunder, which is good for edgeguarding, juggling, and mindgames.

A majority of Ness's attacks are fast with little lag, but many of his attacks are also short-ranged. Ness has a powerful Side Smash that can reflect projectiles, but his Up and Down smashes are weak and nearly useless, except in tech chasing. Ness can reflect projectiles with his body during his Side Smash, and he can use his Down Special Move, PSI Magnet, to absorb energy projectiles and lower his percentage, but it is quite slow.

Ness has fairly slow dash speed, but his fast, although short wavedash can help this problem. Ness also has an effective (as well as the lowest) double jump cancel. Ness's main form of recovery is PK Thunder 2. When mastered, this covers great distance and is very powerful (and having a large sweetspot range and very high second jump also helps his recovery). However, it takes great amounts of precision to angle in certain instances, and Ness is extremely vunerable while his PK Thunder is out; because if it is hit by a high priority projectile or the opponent, Ness will fall into a helpless state.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee

Ness was overwhelmingly nerfed in his transition from Smash 64 to Melee, despite being ranked 10th on the Smash 64 Tier list. His nerfs significantly counter the various buffs he received, with his nerfs impairing his already-poor recovery, and significantly reducing his KO options. As a result, Ness has a lower tier placing in Melee; while already placing in the low tier of Smash 64, Ness is currently bottom tiered in Melee, and he is now regarded as non-viable in tournaments.


  • Notice.png Ness's grounded jump is no longer psychokinetic.
  • Notice.png Ness has new voice samples.
  • Notice.png Ness's backpack is two strapped.


  • Buff.png Ness is heavier, now being a middleweight.
  • Buff.png Ness's air speed and dashing speed were greatly improved. Walking speed was improved to a lesser extent.
  • Nerf.png The speed and reach of Ness's attacks was generally decreased.

Ground Attacks

  • Buff.png Ness now has access to the Yo-yo glitch.
  • Buff.png Forward tilt is much stronger.
  • Buff.png Down tilt is much faster.
  • Buff.png Dash attack does more damage and has more range.
    • Notice.png His dash attack have psychokinetic properties.
  • Buff.png Forward smash now has longer reach and is faster.
    • Nerf.png Forward smash now has 2 sourspots.
  • Nerf.png Both his up and down smashes have less reach and they have been drastically weakened to the point where they can no longer KO at realistic percentages.

Aerial Attacks

  • Nerf.png Just like Yoshi, Ness's DJC'd combos are slower and harder to perform, although those are still relatively powerful.
  • Notice.png Neutral aerial animation has been changed to a spin rather than a split kick.
  • Notice.png Both his forward and back aerials have psychokinetic properties.
  • Buff.png Forward aerial deals more damage and has more range.
  • Buff.png Up aerial has more reach with a bigger hitbox.
    • Nerf.png Ness's head no longer has intangibility frames when performing the attack.
  • Buff.png Down aerial has much higher base knockback, making it a deadly 0-death KO tool if not meteor-canceled.
    • Nerf.png Down aerial is slower and, like most other meteor smashes, has significantly more start-up lag It also has much lower knockback scaling.

Grabs and Throws

Special Moves

  • Notice.png Ness now has a new neutral special move, PK Flash. PK Fire was moved to Ness's side special move.
  • Nerf.png PK Fire travels a smaller distance, and it is now considerably easier to DI out of.
  • Buff.png PK Thunder travels faster, and it has a tighter radius which it can travel.
    • Nerf.png PK Thunder 2 travels a shorter distance, damage when hitting an opponent is 5% less, and has a lot more ending lag.
    • Notice.png The crowd no longer gasps when Ness hits himself with PK Thunder.
  • Buff.png PSI Magnet is considerably faster, improving Ness's defensive game.
    • Notice.png The color of PSI Magnet is now blue instead of green.
    • Notice.png The crowd no longer cheers when Ness absorbs a projectile with PSI Magnet.


  Image Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Ness Neutral attack SSBM.png   3% Ness punches forward twice, then kicks the opponent away.
Forward tilt Ness Forward tilt SSBM.png   12% Ness does a forward roundhouse kick. This attack can be aimed up or down.
Up tilt Ness Up tilt SSBM.png   7% Ness thrusts both hands upward. Ness's head is invulnerable during the early part of the animation.
Down tilt Ness Down tilt SSBM.png   3% Ness thrusts one leg forward while crouching. This attack can combo into itself at early percentages.
Dash attack Ness Dash attack SSBM.png   5% (hit 1), 4% (hits 2-3) Ness dashes forward and extends both arms, sending out three sparks of PSI energy forward. This attack launches the opponent in random directions.
Forward smash Ness Forward smash SSBM.png   18% (body), 20% (bat base), 22% (bat mid), 24% (bat tip) Ness swings his baseball bat horizontally forward. The bat can reflect projectiles.
Up smash Ness Up smash SSBM.png   9% (startup), 4% (charging), 6% (attack) Ness does a variation on the "around the world" yo-yo trick by swinging his yo-yo above his head. Has good range, speed and knockback and has very potent juggling, tech-chasing and spacing ability. Can be used to perform the powerful Yo-yo Glitch. The attack has a hitbox while charging.
Down smash Ness Down smash SSBM.png   11% (startup), 4% (charging), 7% (attack) Ness sends his yo-yo backwards and "walks the dog" with it before pulling the yo-yo back. This attack has good range, speed and knockback, along with having very potent juggling, tech-chasing ability and spacing ability. More powerful than the up smash in terms of power and knockback and contains a hitbox while charging.
Neutral aerial Ness Neutral aerial SSBM.png   11% (clean), 8% (late) Ness spins around with both arms outstretched. Has good knockback, useful for spacing.
Forward aerial Ness Forward aerial SSBM.png   3% (hits 1-4), 5% (hit 5) Ness extends both arms forward, shocking the enemy with PSI energy. A fast, multi-hitting move, with good range and high knockback on the last hit.
Back aerial Ness Back aerial SSBM.png   16% (clean), 10% (late) Ness performs a reverse dropkick. When hit at the beginning to the attack, it electrocutes the foe and launchess them at a semi-spike trajectory. The fourth most powerful back aerial in Melee.
Up aerial Ness Up aerial SSBM.png   13% Ness performs an upwards headbutt and flips. This attack has amazing juggling potential and is a good KO move at high percents, but has short range.
Down aerial Ness Down aerial SSBM.png   12% Ness kicks downward with one leg. This attack is a meteor smash that has strong knockback even at 0%, but its low knockback scaling prevents it for being an efficient finishing move off-stage at higher percents.
Grab Ness Grab SSBM.png    
Pummel Ness Pummel SSBM.png   3% Headbutts the opponent.
Forward throw Ness Forward throw SSBM.png   11% Ness psychically throws the opponent forward. Has very high knockback.
Back throw Ness Back throw SSBM.png   11% Ness psychically lifts the opponent over his head then tosses them away. Ness's strongest throw and one of the strongest back throws in the game.
Up throw Ness Up throw SSBM.png   10% Ness psychically spins the opponent above his head and throws them upwards.
Down throw Ness Down throw SSBM.png   1% (hits 1-5), 4% (throw) Ness slams the opponent to the ground and blasts them with PK Fire.
Floor attack (front) Ness Floor attack (front) SSBM.png   6% Ness punches on both sides whilst getting up.
Floor attack (back) Ness Floor attack (back) SSBM.png   6% Ness gets up and does a sweep kick with both feet.
Edge attack (fast) Ness Edge attack (fast) SSBM.png   8% Ness somersaults onto the stage and performs an upward dropkick attack.
Edge attack (slow) Ness Edge attack (slow) SSBM.png   10% Ness slowly picks himself up and does a jump kick.
Neutral special PK Flash (SSBM).png PK Flash 11-36% Ness launches an electrical blast that rises vertically over his head. As the B button is held, the projectile begins to move downwards and increases in power, which explodes if too much time passes or if the B button gets released.
Side special PK Fire (SSBM).png PK Fire 2% (lightning), 3% (pillar hit 1), 2% (pillar 2-7) Ness fires a lighting bolt that explodes into a pillar of flames if it hits an enemy. When grounded, Ness fires the lightning bolt horizontally, but when he's airborne, he throws the lightning bolt at a downward angle.
Up special PK Thunder (SSBM).png PK Thunder 8% (thunder head), 1% (thunder tail), 25% (PK Thunder 2 clean), 20% (PK Thunder 2 late) Ness releases a bolt of lightning that can aimed into opponents to deal damage with the head and stun them with the tail. Aiming the head into Ness himself will launch him in a trajectory opposite to the side he was hit on, which is referred to as PK Thunder 2. PK Thunder 2 has invincibility frames during the first half of the move. When used in the air, Ness will begin to fall slowly.
Down special PSI Magnet (SSBM).png PSI Magnet 0%, heals 2.0x the damage of absorbed projectiles Ness surrounds himself in a blue energy field which absorbs energy-based projectiles. Holding the B button allows Ness to use it infinitely.


  • Ness turns to the screen and nods while saying "Okay".


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.
Nessssbmhead.png -3 -3 -3 -3 -3 -2 -2 -3 -2 -2 -1 ±0 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 Mirror match +1 +1 +1 -2

Trophy descriptions

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

Ness is a young boy who's mastered the psychic power known as PSI. Ness was living a normal life in the suburbs of Onett until a meteor crashed into a nearby mountain and sent him on a wild adventure. Believing in the ultimate powers of wisdom, courage, and friendship, Ness proves that some heroes come in small packages.
Ness (Smash Red)
The key to mastering Ness is controlling his unique midair jump, which makes up for what he lacks in speed. His PK Flash attack may seem weak at first glance, but it grows more powerful the longer you hold down the B button. To do a lot of damage with PK Fire, try to burn your opponent as many times as possible.
Ness (Smash Blue)
Ness's mind is his best weapon. PK Thunder is a PSI missile weapon that can be guided using the Control Stick, and if Ness hits himself with it, he turns into a living missile capable of doing massive damage. This move can also be used for recovery. PSI Magnet turns energy missile attacks into health; try out certain Pokémon for stamina replenishment.

Alternate Costumes

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


  • When Sakurai updated Ness's profile page on July 17, 2001, Sakurai confirmed that Ness was originally meant to be replaced by Lucas from Mother 3. However, as Mother 3 was facing problems that caused its release on the Nintendo 64 to get cancelled, Sakurai earned Ness back instead.