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Super Smash Bros. 3DS guide - general tips

Some general tips and tricks for Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Learn how to brawl with the best of them.


Super Smash Bros. 3DS guide – general tips

Super Smash Bros. has a long history. The original Nintendo 64 game launched in 1999 creating a new fighting genre. A new Smash Bros. game is now here for a new generation, ending a six-year wait since the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii. For many new players, Super Smash Bros. 3DS will be an entry point into the franchise, so here's some basic tips get you going.


You win Super Smash Bros. matches by scoring KOs against your opponents. You'll see a zero percentage score for each character at the bottom of the screen at the start of each round. The figure rises as the character takes damage. The higher the number, the further the character will be thrown when attacked. This is called "knockback". Each attack has a set amount of knockback which increases as the damage percentage increases.

Note: The damage percentage will rise well beyond 100% (the limit is actually 999%). This can be confusing for new players, but just remember that a higher figure means greater knockback.

Think of Super Smash Bros.'s stages as big boxes. If a character hits the invisible boundary off the edge of the screen, the game will register a KO. The KO'd character's damage percentage goes back to zero and they reappears at the top of the stage.

To score KOs, you must be the last player to inflict damage to a character before they hit the edge of the box. If no player inflicts damage to a character before a KO (if a player jumps from a platform by accident and can't recover, for instance), it's considered a suicide and no one scores points for the KO. The KO'd player, however, still loses a life.

Bear in mind that you can land the last hit before a character is KO'd, even if you've done no damage to it previously, and still earn the credit for the KO. This is "stealing a KO” and happens regularly in four-player matches.


Most movement in Super Smash Bros. is intuitive: you use the analog stick for direction, and combine it with jumping for air movement.

Every character has a double jump, a vital aspect of the game: you'll need it to get back on platforms after being knocked off. Most characters also have a "recovery move,” usually a special move that lifts the character further upward. You'll need to get used to using it in combination with the double jump to get back on the central stage.

Ground movement is exactly as you'd expect. Move the analog stick to the left or right and you'll move in that direction. You can drop through most platforms by holding or double-tapping Down on the stick.


Generally, combos are a series of attacks guaranteed to hit an enemy if the first hit connects. Super Smash Bros. doesn't treat combos in the same way as most fighting games, as the goal is to score a KO by knocking the opponent back, as opposed to reducing their health to zero. Greater knockback is inflicted the higher the opponent's damage percentage. Some attacks do have a set amount of knockback no matter the percentage, but this is the general rule for Smash Bros.

Therefore, a combo that works on a character with a low damage percentage may not if damage is at 70 percent, as the player will get knocked back too far and the next attack in the series won't connect. In many cases, combos rely on guessing the direction your opponent will move after each hit lands.

A character can double jump after being hit. This is sometimes called a "tech". You can tech in whichever direction you're holding the analog stick. If your attacker can guess you're going to tech left, for example, they'll move left to land the next hit in the combo. Obviously, if the attacker guesses wrong, you'll be out of reach of the next attack and the combo will end.

Guessing tech direction is an important part of winning at Super Smash Bros. While some combos are guaranteed no matter the circumstances, many are situational based your opponent's damage percentage, the weight of the character (which dictates how heavy they are and how fast they fall), and the attack with which you hit them.

Smash Attacks

A Smash Attack is usually a hit with high damage and severe knockback. You perform them by moving the stick as far as possible in the appropriate direction while pressing A (assuming you're using the default controls). Remember, you need to move the stick right over: if you only move it partially, you'll get a different attack.

Super Smash Bros. characters usually have four Smash Attacks: one each for up, down, forward and back. Smash Attacks are generally slow, but they hit hard if they land and can sometimes be charged for extra damage and knockback by holding A.

You shouldn't rely on Smash Attacks as they're slow and relatively easy to avoid, leaving your character vulnerable to counter attacking.

Try to limit the use of Smash Attacks to situations in which they're practically guaranteed to connect. A good example is when you've knock an opponent from the stage and they're trying to make their way back: wait for them at the edge of the stage and try to land a Smash Attack as they come near. Similarly, if two opposing players are fighting, try to sneak in a Smash Attack while their attention is diverted.

Tilts and Aerial Attacks

Tilts and Aerials are usually less powerful then Smash Attacks, but some Tilts and Aerials can be brutally punishing. They're usually faster than Smash Attacks and should be used more frequently. While Smash Attacks are performed by moving the analog stick as far as it'll go in a certain direction, Tilts are performed by "tilting" the stick. Most characters have an up, down, forward and back Tilt.

Aerial Attacks, obviously, are performed in the air. If, for example, you wish to use a Down Aerial, you just press Down and A while air-bound. The amount of tilt on the stick makes no difference when it comes to Aerials.

Each Tilt and Aerial has "ending lag", which is the amount of time between finishing the attack and being able to perform another action.

Here's an example. Do a Down Aerial Attack, then hold your Shield button: how long did it take between the end of the Down Air and the appearance of the Shield? Be mindful of this. Attacks with plenty of of ending lag are less useful than attacks with less.

Special Moves

Super Smash Bros.'s default controls assign the A button to Smash Attacks, Tilts and Aerials, and B button does Special attacks.

Specials are usually a character's trademark attacks. Mario's neutral B, for example, is his fireball. Characters usually have four special moves: neutral, up, down and side (left or right).

Special moves vary more than Smashes, Tilts and Aerials. Some characters' Specials are designed for close-range combat, for instance. Little Mac is a good example: he has no projectile attacks, and needs to get close to use his Special moves. Fox McCloud, conversely, has Special that should be used from range.


The primary form of defense in Super Smash Bros. 3DS is the shield bubble. If you press Block or Shield, a bubble appears around you. As you hold the button, the bubble shrinks. If it gets too small it breaks, temporarily stunning you. The shield gradually regenerates back to full capacity once you release.

The bubble doesn't entirely cover the character in some cases, especially after shrinking, and any visible part of your character can still be hit.

You can press left or right while shielding, rolling your character in the desired direction. Rolling is a second line of defense you should master: it allows you to move immediately while protected. You are vulnerable for a small period during the roll, so try not to be too predictable with it.


Grabs (throws) are important, as they're one of the few ways to break through an opponent's defense: shielding players can't avoid grabs.

Most characters have multiple grabs depending on direction. If you grab an opponent then press down, for example, your character performs their Down Grab. Some grabs can be chained or followed-up with an attack (or series of them) to create combos.

Certain characters, such as Link or Samus, have tether grabs. These have longer reaches than normal grabs, but have more ending lag. The upside of tether grabs is that they can be used to latch onto walls and edges and prevent your character from falling from the stage.


If you're knocked off the stage, one of two things happens: you're knocked so far you get an instant KO, or you don't reach the edge of the hitbox and still have a chance to make it back to the central platform. Trying to get back to the centre is called "recovering".

Character have a Recovery Special move (normally up and B), which usually launches it high into the air. In most cases, the best option to recover is to get as close to the stage as you can, double jump and then use your Recovery Special.

Some characters have better recovery options than others. Kirby, for example, has multiple double jumps.


You opponents will probably be try to keep you off the stage when you're recovering. This "edgeguarding". Edgeguarding varies from character to character, but generally it involves using Specials to knock your opponent away from the main platform in the stage's centre.

More advanced edgeguarding tactics include grabbing the edge of a platform to make it unavailable to your opponent.

At its most basic, edgeguarding happens like this: you knock an opponent off the main platform, wait by the edge of the platform as the opponent recovers and approaches, and then use an attack to keep the opponent away from the edge and cause it to falls to a KO.

If you watch skilled players, you'll see them jumping from the main platform to follow opponents as they make recoveries. The idea is to use air attacks with considerable knockback, or a Special to batter the opponent further away toward the edge of the hitbox. Once the opposing player has been hit, the skilled player will probably use a double jump or Recovery Special to make it back to the platform.

Directional Influence

All Super Smash Bros. games feature directional influence. It's a simple concept: if you hold a direction after being hit, your character's trajectory will be affected. Say, for example, an opponent hits your character up; holding left straight after the hit will move you slightly to the left.

Directional influence in Super Smash Bros. 3DS, however, works a little differently than previously, as it allows you to directly decrease the knockback from hits. This means learning how to use directional influence can save you from KOs. It's a very powerful defensive tool once mastered.

Get loads for info from our Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS guide.

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