Al Downloaded – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: The Piranha Plant

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has a gigantic roster with fighters from so many different video game franchises, from the mainstays of Mario and Zelda to wild picks from Final Fantasy and Street Fighter! Naturally, this means that the very first DLC character in Ultimate has to be something crazy, something mind blowing, like a potted plant. A potted plant? Welcome to the first instalment of Al Downloaded: a series where I examine DLC from games I’ve already looked at in Progressive Looks, reviews, and one-offs! I’m going to be tackling each kind of DLC in a different way due to how each game works. Story updates and expansions will more or less be organized like mini-Al Unlocked reviews, while other types of DLCs will be organized in different ways as they come up. For the very first Al Downloaded this casual is going to be taking a look at Smash Ultimate’s first downloadable character, the Piranha Plant from the Super Mario series.

Character Intro

Piranha Plant came as a huge surprise to Smash fans, with many being quite upset at the character’s inclusion, and others turning it into one big giant meme. While it’s a DLC character, it exists outside of Ultimate’s Fighters Pass, meaning there are still five DLC characters to go. After first seeing the reveal trailer, I saw Piranha Plant as a sort of trickster type character that annoys people from mid-range. Seems like I wasn’t too far off the mark either. Our leafy friend is definitely a tricky heavy character, but if I had to classify them I would probably just call them a joke character. Everything about the Plant just seems to be designed to mess with your opponent and style on them. Let’s get into their special moves.

Neutral Special: Ptooie

Piranha Plant spits a spiked ball from its mouth and blows on it to keep it airborne. It can send the ball flying in front of it or behind it, with the projectile range varying based on how high or low the ball is while the Plant’s blowing on it. The ball even sticks around if Plant is interrupted while blowing on it, and the ball will just drop and hit whatever’s underneath it. The Plant can also stall briefly if it uses Ptooie in the air, which can keep people guessing. It’s a decent projectile from long range and it’s amazing to use while your opponent is off-stage. With how aiming the ball works, the Plant can send it off-stage at a number of different angles depending on your own position, and it knocks the opponent far enough back that a well-placed hit will almost certainly kill someone that’s trying to recover.

Side Special: Poison Breath

Piranha Plant spits out a cloud of poison from its mouth which lingers for a short time and deals a great deal of damage to anything inside it, despite them not flinching or being knocked back by it at all. This move can be charged up and saved for later use, with longer charge time equaling to a larger poison cloud that deals more damage. This move seems pretty useful for keeping the opponent out of certain parts of the stage, or forcing them to recover a certain way by putting a cloud near the ledge while they’re off-stage. Another neat thing about this move is that it obscures vision, meaning that the opponent can’t see what the Plant is doing inside the cloud. The Plant could use this to be sneaky and try to charge up a smash attack or down special inside the cloud.

Up Special: Piranhacopter

Piranha Plant spins its leaves like a helicopter, allowing it to fly upwards for a short period of time. The Plant can steer itself from side to side while flying, and the propellor leaves can damage enemies slightly. This is the Plant’s main recovery move, and it can them back from near-death at the bottom of the stage since it has great vertical distance. Unfortunately only the propellor leaves can deal damage, meaning the Plant’s head is extremely vulnerable while using this move, which can lead to the Plant having their recovery gimped by smart players.

Down Special: Long-Stem Strike

Piranha Plan retracts into their pot before extending out to bite opponents in a chosen direction. This move can be charged to give the Plant more range and damage, and the Plant can take damage without flinching or being knocked back while they’re inside their pot charging. This move is really good for sniping opponents off-stage that might have gotten wise to Ptooie and try to play outside its range. It’s also pretty useful for recovering against an aggressive opponent since the Plant can take attacks while inside their pot and still survive.

Final Smash: Petey Piranha

Piranha Plant summons Petey Piranha from Super Mario Sunshine to terrorize the stage wielding two cages that he can trap opponents inside. Petey Piranha can be controlled during this Final Smash, and after it ends he breathes fire into the cages and slams them on the ground, dealing great damage and knockback to anyone caught inside. It’s possible for Petey Piranha to kill himself by accident if he jumps off-stage during the Final Smash, which is something to be careful of. Overall the move is a fun callback to both Mario Sunshine and Brawl, both of which featured Petey as a boss fight.

General Thoughts

Piranha Plant is a crazy fun character to play. Having said that, they don’t seem to be very good. They’re a heavy character with normal moves that are either slow to start or slow to end, and none of them are particularly great. I found the most success playing the Plant while waiting for the opponent to mess up somehow and then getting one or two good hits in before running away again. This bait-and-punish style isn’t bad, but the amount of punishment I could get off one of my opponent’s mistakes felt woefully inferior to the likes of Palutena and Pokemon Trainer. The Plant is probably the most fun character I’ve played online, while the Classic Mode route for the Plant isn’t anything super special, although a potted plant vs. a dragon is pretty funny when you think about it.

If you didn’t already get Piranha Plant for free by registering your copy of Smash Ultimate before January 31st, you can buy them for $4.99USD through the Nintendo eShop, and I recommend that you give them a shot if you happen to be on the fence about them at all.

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