The objective of the game is to knock the enemy off of the map, which is considered a death. The two most common game modes involve either a set number of lives per character, or a set time limit with the winner being the person with the most kills when the timer expires. In both modes, you build damage against your opponent with each successful attack you land, and the higher the amount of damage your opponent has, the easier they become to launch. Launching the opponent occurs when you attack them hard enough to send them flying from your attack. The strength of each attack varies greatly, based upon different attributes for each character, or even just the type of attack. We will touch upon the different styles of attacking in a later section. In summary, to have an advantage over your opponent you want to try to rack up as much damage against them as possible, while trying to avoid their attacks to keep your percentage lower than theirs. In theory, this will give you the edge.
The first thing a good gamer should know is how to operate the character they are controlling. The image below will provide you with a diagram of what each button does, and I will also explain with a little more detail some of the finer techniques that can't be shown through a diagram.
A tilt attack is performed by only partially moving the joystick in the direction of the attack. For example, rather than moving the joystick entirely to the right, aim to only move it halfway, and you will use a quicker version of the attack. This is helpful when you are being overwhelmed by your opponent and need to land a quick attack to stagger them, or to build up a combo into a smash or special attack.
A perfect shield happens when you use your shield at the exact moment an attack or projectile hits you. This can cause the projectile to be reflected back at your opponent, or to block their attack while allowing you to quickly counter with one of your own.
A spike is an attack that launches your opponent downwards. This can also be referred to as a meteor attack. For most opponents, this is performed by doing an attack in the air. These types of attacks can be very effective for killing an opponent, and can even be successful at low percentages. Learning each characters spike is a necessity.
A tech is performed by pressing the shield button within 20 frames or fewer before hitting the surface. By shielding right before you land, you will quickly gain your balance and land on your feet, and you will also gain a brief moment of invincibility. This can be performed on the ground, on a wall or even on a ceiling. You can also roll out of a tech by tilting the control stick left or right. You can only perform this every 40 frames, or roughly once per second.
DI allows you to control what direction you are sent after an attack. The direction must be perpendicular to the direction the player is being sent. So you can possibly be sent up or down from an attack that should launch you left or right.
Fast falling is performed by pressing down while falling. This can help you fall quicker than an opponent expects, helping you to dodge an attack or to set yourself up for one of your own.
A short jump that occurs when you lightly tap the jump button. These can be effective for quickly dodging an attack, or providing you with the opportunity to land an air attack on your opponent while they are on the ground.