It’s an exciting day for fans of botany and/or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the highly anticipated Piranha Plant joining the battle. Ever since Super Smash Bros. first debuted on the N64 in 1999, fans have been asking, “Where’s Piranha Plant?”
Okay, maybe that’s going a bit far. Director Masahiro Sakurai stated in an interview with Famitsu that he liked including characters that aren’t necessarily major characters. He references Game & Watch, R.O.B, and Duck Hunt as being this type of unexpected character as well that bring something unique to the roster. Piranha Plant, in particular, was added as an incentive for players to purchase the game early, being offered for free until the 31st of January. Players must have registered their games with My Nintendo or bought the game digitally before this date. If they did that, they should have received an email with their code, which you can redeem now to bring everyone’s favorite plant into the fight.
The Plant isn’t the trickiest of characters to learn, but there are some unique aspects that take some getting used to. Its neutral special move has them blowing a spiky ball up into the air and then redirecting it to the left or right. It turns out this is perfect when you have the high ground and need to drop something quickly on an enemy coming at you from below. I tried plenty of times to make it useful on flat stages like Final Destination, but the best way to use it there is to make it a part of a combo where you launch the enemy into the air and then fire a spiky ball directly above you.
In a game where so many ranged moves are delegated to the side and neutral specials, it’s easy to forget that for Piranha Plant, the best projectile is their own gnawing head. The down special has you charge and then fire the Plant’s elongated neck out towards distant enemies, further than the range of some projectile attacks. Because of these moves that require a little bit of charging to reach their full power, Piranha Plant is very effective in team battles where they will be able to take their time to deal out effective moves.
The Plant is also particularly effective at edge-guarding. Apart from their neutral special which allows them to rain down spiky balls onto recovering opponents, they also have a chargeable poison cloud side special attack that can deal damage to opponents stuck at the edge. If they need to recover themselves, their up special move has them fly a long distance whilst doing damage to anyone that gets in the way.
Unlike in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, it seems that DLC characters actually do seem to be properly integrated into the game like any normal release character. For instance, Piranha Plant has their own Palutena Guidance conversation where Viridi reveals her fascination with the plant, listing off every type of Piranha Plant to have appeared in the Mario franchise. The Plant also has their own Classic Mode, known as “New Bloom”. This has them battle other characters that were first introduced into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the order of their reveal.
Although perhaps the best part of Piranha Plant is the victory screens, one of which includes Mario jumping in, ready to take the victory, only for the Plant to ambush him and take it for themselves.
If you’ve already purchased Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, search through your emails for your code and give the Plant a play for yourselves. Once again, it’s a character with a very unique moveset and makes me even more excited about the inclusion of Joker from Persona 5 in the upcoming months.