as a character, Piplup is extremely light, being lighter than any other character except for Pichu and Jigglypuff. Piplup's dashing speed isn't that fast either and it may sometimes struggle in aerial combat, although its air speed is much higher than its grounded speed. Piplup has two jumps, is around Pikachu's height, can't wall jump but can crawl. If gliding made a comeback (which I doubt), Piplup wouldn't be able to do it.
I'm starting with special moves because Piplup's neutral special will show its main gimmick.
Neutral special is Ice Beam
. Upon performing the move, Piplup will create a beam of ice, then it shoots it forward. The beam deals minor damage (3%/4%) but has two interesting properties. It may freeze opponents if their damage is high enough and also freezes the area it traveled in for a couple of seconds. During this time period, Piplup is able to freely move on the ice, as it won't be affected by the slippery physics of solid water, rather Piplup gets a speed boost when dashing on the ice. On the other hand, its opponents have lots of trouble navigating on the slippery ice. Ice Beam leads to easy approach and it's Piplup's go-tool for the neutral. It's based on Empoleon's abilities in Pokkén Tournament.
Side Special is Peck
. Upon performing the move, Piplup simply pecks forward. It's kind of a simple move, but if it's performed on the ice, Piplup will dive on the ice using its cute little belly, like real life penguins do. Peck is a great combo tool when used in normal circumstances, but it's a great damaging option when performed on the ice (deals around 16% instead of 6%).
Up Special is Drill Peck
. Upon performing the move, Piplup will move like a drill upwards. It's possible to change the direction of the move, like with Fire Fox. The move also travels a lot more distance than Fox's and Falco's up Bs. It has multi-hit properties during the charging segment, but when the move is released and Piplup dives upwards, it hits only once.
Down Special is Whirlpool
. Upon performing the move, Piplup will create a whirlpool. By holding down the B button, the whirlpool grows in size and by releasing the B button, Piplup throws the whirlpool forward. A bigger whirlpool is stronger, dealing multi-hit damage until it explodes (dealing around 24% in total), but it is also the slowest and the one that travels the closest. A smaller whirlpool, on the other hand, hits only once but quickly travels far.
- Jab is a hit with the left wing, then one with the right wing and a final peck.
- Side tilt is a weak headbutt.
- Up tilt is a hit with both wings that sends opponents upward. It is a good combo tool.
- Down tilt is a sweeping kick.
- Dash attack is a belly dash like real life penguins often do.
- Side Smash is a dropkick forward, like Bowser's but with an additional water aesthetics when Piplup jumps and a water explosion when the move's hitbox becomes active. It's a surprisingly strong move and has a decently low start-up. The ending lag is incredibly low too, making the move Piplup's best KO option overall. It's based on the move Aqua Jet.
- Up Smash is a single stream of water surrounded by two minor streams on the left and on the right. The move might remind Squirtle's up Smash, however, Squirtle's streams are meant to be equally strong, while Piplup's secondary streams only serve the purpose of throwing opponents into the main stream, the one with real KO power. It's quite slow, but also surprisingly strong. It's based on the move Hydro Pump.
- Down Smash has Piplup surfing in a circular motion on a very small wave. The wave deals damage and has a wide hitbox, but is comparatively weaker. The animation of this move is absolutely adorable: Piplup surfs on this small wave with a very happy expression. It really looks like it's having a lot of fun! The attack is based on the move Surf.
Grab and throws:
- Neutral aerial is a simple spin, with watery effect added in order to widen the hitbox.
- Forward aerial is similar to Falco's, but again has a watery effect added.
- Back aerial is a kick, like Sonic's. Piplup's strongest aerial attack.
- Up aerial has Piplup releasing a stream of bubbles upwards. It's unique in the sense that propels Piplup downwards, like Ivysaur's up aerial.
- Down aerial has Piplup kicking downwards three times, like Lucas or Lucario. The move spikes.
Final Smash: Hydro Vortex
- Piplup's grabbing animation is kinda normal: it holds the opponent with both wings. The pummel is a simple peck.
- Piplup's forward throw is similar to Squirtle's in Ultimate: it throws opponents forward using a wave of water.
- Piplup's back throw has Piplup jumping forward and kicking the opponent backward, with an angry face. Piplup's strongest KO throw.
- Piplup's up throw is similar to up Smash, as Piplup creates a stream of water that lifts the opponent.
- Piplup's down throw has it jumping on the opponent. It throws the opponent at a favorable angle for a follow-up.
Upon performing the move, Piplup creates a huge sphere of water that it throws forward in a second. When it connects with an opponent, it will explode, creating a huge whirlpool that deals massive damage. When the whirlpool is about to fade, it explodes, knocking away opponents.