SSF2 Dev Blog #17 – Newcomer Design and Balance Pt. 2

Happy Friday everyone!  Once again my name is Starkiller, and I’m going to finish showing you some of the design and balance concepts we have used for the newcomers to SSF2 Beta. In this Part Two, I will show you Isaac, Pit, PAC-MAN, and Sandbag.


Isaac is ready for battle. Isaac is ready for battle.


As you are aware, Isaac hails from Golden Sun.  His design is meant to be full of moves that have fairly specific applications only, but with a few versatile moves that he can fall back on.  With his various types of attacks, he is sure to have an answer for any situation.  While many characters stick to one type of attacks only, Isaac has a blend of Psynergy and blade attacks, with a small amount of physical attacks as well.

We’ve already gone over Isaac in the past, but as a refresher, a number of his moves feature the hand you’ll recognize from his Super Smash Bros. Brawl Assist Trophy, Move.  His up special, side special, up air, jab, dash attack, and grab all use this motif.  Die-hard fans of Golden Sun will be able to recognize particular uses of the hand as spells from Golden Sun.


Isaac is a master of <em>hand-to-hand</em> combat. Isaac is a master of hand-to-hand combat.


One of Isaac’s main ways to approach is using one of his aerials.  His neutral air covers around him, his forward air has great range in front of him, his up air has great range above him, and even his back air is good in its own right.  His down air is a multihitting meteor, while it gives Isaac a convenient way to jab reset, it’s low range, meaning that he is vulnerable from below.


Two sword attacks, two kicks, and one Psynergy attack. Two sword attacks, two kicks, and one Psynergy attack.


We’ve already covered Move before, but as a reminder, you can press back, up, or down to make the hand throw the enemy towards Isaac, upwards, or downwards!  Each has it’s own uses, so be sure to experiment with Isaac!


Like beating an approach! Like beating an approach!


One more good approach tool for Isaac is his neutral special, Growth.  It is a long range move that traps your opponent in place briefly.  It is not a fast move, so Isaac cannot spam this move and hope for success.  Smart use of this move will allow you to get a follow up, a grab works well for that.




I mentioned earlier that Isaac only has a bit of a weakness from below.  To help defend against such threats, his down special, Gaia, can be used midair.  You can delay the activation of the move, but doing it right away creates a rock on the ground beneath Isaac which might be enough to stop a juggle.


Caught between a rock and a hard place. Caught between a rock and a hard place.


Overall, Isaac is intended to give a unique experience while playing.  He has zoning tools to keeps his opponent out, and truly this is where he thrives best.  His moveset is built on a set of specialty tools that have numerous situational uses, while also having some versatile moves to form a gameplan if all else fails.  Learning the best uses of his more niche attacks will be the key to mastering Isaac.



Pit prepares to fly with the Arwings in Sector Z. Pit prepares to fly with the Arwings in Sector Z.


Pit is a Brawl veteran, and while his moveset has changed only a little bit from Brawl to Smash 4, we’ve decided to take as much from his Smash 4 incarnation as we can.  His classic gameplay from the main games has transferred to SSF2:  he has multiple jumps and a long recovery, and numerous disjointed attacks with multi-hitting properties.  Overall he is a jack-of-all-trades, having an answer for everything but not necessarily excelling in any particular area.


One weakness of Pit’s is that he can have a hard time killing.  We’ve made sure that his Upperdash Arm is a satisfying kill move that requires some setup to prevent abuse, and that he also has access to other kill moves that are less risky to use.


Rock, paper, UPPERDASH ARM!!! Rock, paper, UPPERDASH ARM!!!


Going onto his recovery, while it might be long compared to most of the roster, Pit can’t defend himself very well.  His up-special does not have any attack frames, which makes it incredibly easy to challenge.  It has massive range and can be angled while moving to trick an opponent, but it’s hard to sweetspot and easy for an opponent to hit you without fear of being hit back.


But hey he can go under FD.


Pit’s neutral special, Palutena’s Bow, remains as it always has, with complete control over its direction.  His down special, Guardian Orbitars, comes from Smash 4, and reflects projectiles from both sides.  With Upperdash Arm’s armour, he has three ways to deal with projectiles!


Reliable defense and offense from afar. Reliable defense and offense from afar.


Pit has his Smash 4 forward air, but the rest of his aerials have remained the same across both games, and they have found their way into SSF2 as well.  His down air sends away horizontally, but if you hit your opponent with the lowest part of the hitbox, you will meteor them.  You’ll find this move extremely useful for edgeguarding.  His neutral air hits all around him, you’ll probably use this to link into a grab or to jab reset your opponent.  Forward air works similarly, but due to it’s range you’ll have more success using this to zone.  Back air is a kill move, one of the few in his moveset but still a good finisher.


Hack and slash your way to victory! Hack and slash your way to victory!


There’s one of his aerials I’d like to talk about in particular, up air.  Pit spins his bow above his head in a multihitting fashion, but it has great combo properties if you don’t land the last hit.  Landing before the end of the move brings your opponent down slowly in hitstun, allowing you to get a quick follow up.


Dragged down into the grave.



Round, insatiable hunger with feet.  And to his left, Kirby. Round, insatiable hunger with feet. And to his left, Kirby.


As you know, PAC-MAN’s design is based on his appearance in Smash 4.  We’ve taken the opportunity to recreate his oddball playstyle here, and adjust some features to help him fit into the SSF2 environment.

PAC-MAN’s gameplay revolves around setting up approaches with his neutral special, and getting what damage he can from that.  His ground and air mobilities are both below average, so he relies on his projectiles to get in.  


Catch! Catch!


PAC-MAN is also a fairly small character, and lacks range on many of his moves.  His combo game is also held back by his low mobility, but you can be sure that he can rack up damage quickly with mini-combos.  Using his projectiles frequently will aid in racking up damage with moves like his aerials.


If only PAC-MAN brought some spare power pellets. If only PAC-MAN brought some spare power pellets.


His smashes and grab are all quite disjointed.  His smashes hit like a truck, once you get your opponent to high percent look for a chance to use the extra range these attacks have.  His grab is long range and lasts longer than the average grab, so you can secure punishes from greater distance.  It also helps him overcome his low ground speed when tech chasing opponents.


Contact with the ghosts is lethal in PAC-MAN, too.


PAC-MAN’s offense is oriented around projectiles, and his aforementioned weaknesses give him a bad defense, but his recovery is definitely a strong point.  With three bounces on his up special and multidirectional capability on his side special, PAC-MAN has numerous options for recovery.  However, his up special is slow and can be turned against him, and his side special can be predicted, so PAC-MAN can’t be reckless with either move.


Plan ahead to maximize your recovery!


Overall, PAC-MAN is sure to be a fun character to play, and creating fun and unique gameplay is his primary goal.  Use his various projectiles to get openings, set up stage control with Fire Hydrant and Pac-Jump, and occasionally throw in one of his goofier moves to keep your opponent guessing.  


Wait, Hydrants can DO that?


On the defense, PAC-MAN struggles, but you can regain your positioning by going offstage, and using his long recovery to get back, because he almost always can.



A lone figure maintains a silent vigil. A lone figure maintains a silent vigil.


Possessed by Cleodbot, Sandbag has his own set of unique mechanics that differentiate him from the rest of the cast of SSF2 completely.  His biggest difference from the rest of the SSF2 cast is his unique movement mechanic.

As you may remember from the Sandbag dev blog, Sandbag only moves in quick hops, instead of normal running.  This also prevents him from making a lot of use of typical movement techniques, such as dash-dancing or dash canceling.  His side taunt stops him in place, so implementing his taunt into your gameplay will be crucial to maximizing the effectiveness of his movement.


Adds a whole new meaning to 'taunt canceling'.


Despite seeming like a sturdy opponent, Sandbag has a very poor defensive game.  In addition to a poor movement game, his dodges all have very little time spent invincible.  They are shorter in duration, but he is less protected than other characters.  Furthermore, Sandbag cannot grab ledges (but he can still grab opponents with his psychic powers), and his up special might even kill him when he tries to recover.


Or you can do this.


To compensate, we’ve given Sandbag a very powerful offense.  He has great reach on many of his attacks, and he has combo potential with moves such as his up tilt, up air, back air, and neutral air.  Then, he has strong finishers in his forward smash, down air, and even his up special!




We feel that while this character is weird, he will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the right hands. His mobility and offense is second to none, and he is as glass a cannon as they come.  Destroy your opponents onstage with his surprising offense, maintain the middle of the stage as much as you can, because offstage Sandbag is more worse off than any other character.


I'm not really feeling up to fighting right now. I'm not really feeling up to fighting right now.


I have some important news to bring to you, though.  It is now little more than a month till Super Smash Con, many of the devs are going to be there, and it’ll be a great chance to meet the people that make the game.  Since the event is so close, we are going to focus on cleaning up the content that will be featured at Super Smash Con, and as a result there will be no more Dev Blogs until Super Smash Con.  We must make sure that as few bugs as possible come with us to Super Smash Con, whether they be as small as an attack dealing the wrong damage, or as large as Sandbag at the end of the bug reel.  Do not fear though, once we get back from the event you can be sure that Dev Blogs will resume.


Right, this happened. Right, this happened.


Now, to officially close out the blog, another gameplay video!  Just like with last blog, we’ve got a video of a couple of matches between characters featured in the blog, this time it’s Isaac and Pit!  Enjoy!

We’ll also give you a bonus Beta screenshot 😉

Stop standing on Gaia and get back to work! Stop standing on Gaia and get back to work!