Ness (ネス Nesu?) is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. His return from the series was leaked on January 21, 2008 via a promotional trailer, but was later confirmed on February 1, 2008 on the Smash DOJO!, one day after Brawl was released in Japan.
Ness is currently ranked 26th on the tier list. His unsafe recovery, unusually long grab release animation, and below-average match-ups have prevented him from reaching high tier. However, his powerful KO moves, good comboing ability, and powerful throws have gotten him into the D tier.
How to unlock
- Play five matches in VS mode.
- Reflect ten projectiles
- Get Ness to join the party in The Subspace Emissary.
With the exception of the third method, the player has to face Ness in a brawl on Onett.
Ness 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's 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 Smash Attacks 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 Lucas, leading to: chaingrabs, infinities in walls, and other moderate to major problems. An example would be Marth's semi-infinite (seen as a 0-death) on Ness and 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 midair 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'. In addition, his PK Thunder will stop in its 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, no longer activates 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 sweetspot compared to the 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 an effective vertical finisher.
His Up and Down Smash Attacks are stronger, have greater knockback, and are able to kill at very high percentages, but they are still among the weakest Up and Down Smash Attacks. 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, a jump, a grab or a Spot Dodge. His Down Aerial is faster, stronger, and has much better range, making it easier to Meteor Smash. His 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 pushes close opponents away without doing damage. All of his Aerial Attacks 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, Ness's character design is much more detailed than in Melee. His PK attacks also were updated visually, and his baseball bat and yo-yo have a new design. Ness's Forward Smash produces a realistic bat sound when connecting instead of the ping sound used by the Home-Run Bat.
- Neutral Attack - Jabs twice and kicks. 3% first hit, 2% second hit, and 4% third hit for a total of 9% damage. Ness has the ability to jab lock.
- Dash Attack - Slides forward and outstretches hands, sending 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 for a total of 13%. 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. This move resembles PSI Brainshock from EarthBound, as it sends the opponent in different directions, resembling the "Feeling Strange" effect in EarthBound.
- Strong Side - Kicks out in front of him. Can be tilted up or down. 10% when angled down, 11% when angled forward, and 12% when angled up. 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% damage. Has surprisingly high knockback scaling, but it usually won't kill until 150% and up.
- Strong Down - Ness crouches and very quickly kicks out in front of him. Extremely spammable and the quickest Strong Down attack and one of the overall fastest attacks in the game, as it 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 noticeable at extreme percentages.
Ness' Up and Down Smash Attacks 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, slightly 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 his Down Smash, to damage while charging, 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 the first hit is connected properly, the enemy will be hit twice. For some odd reason, certain characters like Link, Sonic, and a few others 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, its 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% damage.
- 100% ledge attack - Slowly pull himself up and delivers a powerful punch. 10% damage.
- 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% damage.
- Trip attack - Gets up on his hands, kicks backwards, then brings his legs under him and kicks in front of him. 5% damage.
- Neutral Aerial - 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 Aerial - Ness sticks out his palms sending a stream of PSI sparks in front of him. Very similar to his Dash Attack. It is excellent at disrupting opponents with its multiple, disjointed hitboxes. 4 hits of 2%, then one hit of 3% for a total of 11% damage. Its sourspot can sometimes trip opponents, leading into a jab lock. Its 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 both at the same time.
- Back Aerial - 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' Forward Aerial, its 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 Aerial - 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 Aerial - 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 Forward Aerial 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. His standing Grab is below average range, making it somewhat difficult for Ness to shield-grab, and it is very fast. His Dash Grab has very large range and is very fast for a dash grab, going virtually unpunished most of the time. His Pivot Grab has large range and vertical height compared to Ness' size. One of the game's better pivot grabs, as it is quite fast.
- Pummel - Headbutts the opponent. Has an odd rhythm to it, but 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% damage.
- 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 the angle, fluctuates from barely noticeable to significant depending on percent. At about 90-140% it can KO any character quite easily changing from the game's worst throw to the best. It is the strongest throw in the game, due to having by far the highest knockback scaling. 11% damage.
- Up Throw - Psychokinetically spins the opponent above his head before sending them up. Leads into many PK Thunder tricks and juggles. Good knockback for an Up Throw, though the opponent will have to be around 200% to actually KO. 10% damage.
- 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 amounts of damage quickly. Following this immediately with a Down Aerial 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% for a total of 9% damage.
|Ness's Special Moves|
|Standard Special||PK Fire||PK Flash|
|Side Special||—||PK Fire|
|Up Special||PK Thunder|
|Down Special||PSI Magnet|
|Final Smash||—||PK Starstorm|
- 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 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!"
- Closes his eyes and puts his index finger on his forehead to focus his power, then quickly points forward.
- Looks left then right nervously.
Teleports using PK Teleport, then shakes off the soot gathered after crashing.
"Ness, Ness, Ness, GO!!!"
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 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, trophifing King Dedede and Bowser takes Peach/Zelda's trophy.
Later on, after Tabuu uses his Off Waves to revert the Fighters into their trophy form, Ness and Luigi are revived, thanks to Dedede's 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.
- Despite his appearance, Ness is 13 years old.
- As a hidden character, Ness's presence in the game was intended to remain a secret until the game's release, however, he, along with Lucario and Jigglypuff, were accidentally leaked approximately two weeks prior to the game's Japanese release via a How to Play video.
- Due to Brawl speculation, it was widely believed that Ness had been cut from the game due to an offhand remark made by Sakurai on the Dojo. This turned out to be nothing but speculation, as Ness did in fact end up in the finished product of the game as a hidden character.
- Despite being the first character unlocked through playing Brawls and the first playable unlockable character, Ness is one of the last characters unlocked by playing Subspace Emissary. This is due to the fact that he does not join after his entry during the fight with Porky due to his trophification from Wario and only joins after Tabuu turns all of the player's characters into trophies with his Off Waves.
- 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." This a reference to his console of origin, Brawl's year of release, and his home series.
- Ness' Special Moves aren't even his own attacks in Earthbound, but rather Paula's and Poo's. The same happens with Lucas in MOTHER 3, only his attacks belong to Kumatora instead.
- The only exception is PK Flash, which is the only attack that Ness can actually learn in EarthBound.
- Ness and Captain Falcon are the only two characters to have their unlockability status change between games.
- Ness, King Dedede, Mario, Diddy Kong, and R.O.B are the only characters to wear their default costumes in team battles when they are on the red team.
- Ness's teeth can be seen during the cutscenes of the Subspace Emissary, but not during the actual gameplay. Lucas has this distinction as well.
- Ness is the only character whose fight for unlocking is played on a Melee stage instead of a Brawl stage.
- Ness's name is an anagram for SNES, which is the system he made his debut.
- Similarly, Ninten, the predecessor to Ness, also has a name that is an anagram for the Nintendo.
- Ness is the only character with only one smash attack that deals more damage the longer it's charged.
- Ness' page at Smash Bros. DOJO!!.
- Image still from the trailer leak confirming Ness' pfresence
- Screenshots (Spoilers)
- Ness Character Guide at SWF
- Ness' hitbox size of each of his moves