Posted by: metinahurricane | December 7, 2008

The King's Conclusions — SSH: Knuckle Joe

~~ Super Star Helpers ~~

By SirKibble


Part I – Knuckle Joe


Wheeeeee! I don’t think any moveset has taken as long in coming as this one has. Seriously, Kibble, you’ve been toiling away at this thing for months, and that’s no exaggeration. What’s more, this is probably the most detailed ‘set with this many characters. I feel that such a huge feat in moveset making deserves an equally monumentous review. Therefore, I’ve split the Super Star Helpers review into four parts, one for each character, as can really stand alone in many ways. And where else could I start but with the feisty Power/Speed character, Knuckle Joe himself.


 Well now. The first thing that really leaps out – even though I’ve had the chance to peruse this moveset in the past – is how much you managed to do with such a simple character. This also leapt out at me earlier, in his Waddle Doo and Cutman movesets. Seriously, you’ve captured the very essence of Knuckle Joe; this is exactly how he should be playing.

Let’s talk about the Chi mechanic. I like this. It’s simple, yet effective. It fits Knuckle Joe, but it doesn’t turn playing him into one big memory game. I do have a few minor quibbles (Kibbles), though. For starters, I’m thinking you should have a brief visual effect every time he gains a Chi unit. It only happens when he KOs and every thirty seconds, so that’s not gonna be too often; a small purple flash, rather like the one he has when he goes up from 0, would make it oh, so easy to keep track of when you can freely use Chi attacks. Actually, the more I consider it, the more I’m thinking it’d be a good idea to have a little counter next to his % down at the bottom of the screen. It’d really help to keep you on top of things, and encourage caution with those vital units. I also think he regains it a tad too quickly when he’s not in play; bide your time a bit and he’ll be back at (almost) full power. One unit every ten seconds would be quite a bit more balanced, I think.

Now then! On to a more in-depth analysis of his actual moves.

Standard Combo – Vulcan Jab – This is obviously pulled straight from the game, so I can’t complain. It’s simple but functional. However, I do have one small question: you say that each punch releases Chi, so how much will you lose exactly? Do you literally lose one for EVERY punch? You’re gonna be losing a hell of a lot of Chi that way, making this an attack to always avoid. Clarification is needed.

Forward Tilt – Swipe – I like this attack. It really captures Knuckle Joe’s playstyle perfectly, combining Speed and Power with lack of Range to offset it. You really have to get right in close for this attack to be pulled off. I’d put the mention of no knockback closer to the beginning of the description, with the damage, for the sake of readability.

Up Tilt – Flip Kick – A simple attack, but it seems to fit him. Nothing thrilling, but the description of his little lag at the end keeps it interesting. No complaints.

Down Tilt – Tripper – So I’m assuming this attack is kinda like Fox’s or *insert better example of sweeping kick that turns character around here*. This is pretty simplistic… kinda boring, to be honest. Well, not all attacks can be Smash Punches or Quakes.

Dash Attack – Flurry Spin – This is a really neat approach. However, you say that short characters or Kirby can duck right under the attack, but if there’s Chi around him and he’s already barely off of the ground, I don’t see anyone dodging this anytime soon.

Forward Smash – Triple Kick – This attack’s description has been much improved since the last time I saw it. It’s now a very cool attack that keeps it simple while still being something that hasn’t really been seen in Brawl up until now. I’m thinking that the damage is a tad excessive – you say that it can do up to 30% if all the hits connect, and also that if you hit with one, you’re likely to hit with all. Of course, it has the same old drawback of low range, so, what do I know, maybe it cancels itself out.

Up Smash – Set Punch – Aside from the strange name – are you referring to the set amount of hitstun or something? – this is a really cool attack. It’d probably be overpowered if not for the application of Chi here, which forces you to be more careful. However, I have one concern with this that’ll be addressed below.

Down Smash – Quake – Really sweet attack. It’s different, moving away from the simplistic hand-to-hand combat attacks, while remaining 100% Knuckle Joe. It actually seems more or less balanced, its huge power cancelled out by the ability to dodge just by hopping up and then punish. In fact, with that in mind, it’s maybe a bit underpowered. Still, that just cancels out some of his stronger moves.

Neutral Air – Chi Pulse – A fun attack. It really serves a different purpose from most of his attacks, and appears to be most effective when shorthopp’d. However, half a Smart Bomb radius is pretty damn huge. I dunno if the Chi should be giving damage without knockback; seems like it’d just mess the Joe player up, confusing him and making him guess half the time.

Forward Air – Rocket Punch – Now, when you say that he spins, do you mean that he spins kinda like Falco or Sonic, but with his fist extended? Clarification needed. Also, this attack seems a bit too good from your description, especially for a non-Chi one. I’d scale back the knockback just a bit.

Back Air – Spin Kick – Okay, lesse. I don’t really like the name, it seems a bit too generic. I’m assuming this is his non-charged aerial attack in KSS? The little foot extended? Now, I have one big question with this. You claim that attacks that use Chi don’t work anymore once you run out. However, this one has Chi effects added in almost as an afterthought. It’d be kinda weird for the whole attack to do nothing if you had no Chi. Clarify, please.

Up Air – Chi Shot – This is my concern with the aforementioned Up Smash. If they’re hitstunned for so long, it seems too possible for a skilled Knuckle Joe player to simply jump and follow up with this, which, as you say, is extremely powerful. This is actually more of an interaction than a concern, but maybe you want to bring down the knockback a bit.

Down Air – Driving Kick – Hmmm. A stall-then-fall with a twist. I’m not generally a fan of this kind of attacks, but I can’t really complain here. This one feels a bit wordy, repeating the same points, but that’s fixed easily enough. How easy is it to pull someone down with you? If it’s at all easy, 16% is a bit excessive for an aerial.

Special – Smash Punch – This attack is patently Joe, and I really do like it. However… it comes out really quickly, has good range, and deals massive amounts of damage. I’d either tone it down a bit – which I kinda dislike, just cuz it’s his iconic attack – or make it use up two Chi units instead of one.

Forward Special – Rebound – This thing is just really, really cool. Simple but really, really cool. It seems balanced enough, although it’d certainly be one of his more useful edgeguarding tactics, mixing it up with Forward Air and maybe Smash Punch for a good edge game. I don’t really have much to suggest on this one; very well pulled off.

Up Special – Rising Break – Not, perhaps, the most interesting recovery, but it’s excusable because this is one of the four things the guy actually does. The Chi factor makes it a bit more dynamic. Actually, this is exactly how this should be implemented, so kudos is all I can say on this one.

Down Special – Megaton Punch – This attack feels a bit overpowered in free-for-all situations, where you can easily sneak up on a crowd of jostling foes. I don’t really think it should be useable in the air; it feels odd to me, that you can just jump under the stage and use it to recover. It wouldn’t really be broken or anything – too long a wind-down later on – but it just doesn’t gel with me. Well, anyway, I like how you plotted this switching mechanic, simple but unique.

Throws – I’m lumping these together because throws bore me. These are all simple but functional. Nothing special, but… The Down Throw has Chi, which makes it a bit more interesting; I have a few questions/Kibbles about this one. What happens if you have no Chi? The attack still happens, but they take no damage? And if so (or if then has no knockback), why NOT make it a chainthrow? Makes it a more unique chainthrow that can’t just go on forever, as you’ll run out of Chi soon enough. Makes you consider whether or not to expend your Chi in a safe way to rack up damage over some of his more dynamic, powerful attacks.

Final Smash – Meh. I’m not really concerning myself with this thing. I never do. To tell you the truth, I consider these to be a quasi-extra. Still, yours looks like a neat twist on the classic “Beat ’em up” Final Smash.

So, let’s talk overall, shall we? I have not much but positive things to say about Knuckle Joe. His balance is MUCH improved since I last has a look at him, and that was really my only “thing”. Here, my biggest suggestion is to add a counter for that there Chi. It’d make things easier for just about everyone, especially those people who aren’t dedicated enough to count their Chi as they go along.

And his feel… he’s got the perfect martial-arts-fighter feel to him while remaining distinct from every other character in the game, many of whom also use (for less fitting reasons) strictly hand-to-hand combat. Playstyle here is excellent.

Lastly, let me say that this is quite the auspicious start to this four-character moveset. Right now, I’m thinking I want to learn to use Knuckle Joe, and him alone. That’s a good indication. Let’s see if the next in the series gets me to change my mind. We’re following Speed with Speed but dropping the Power; Poppy Bros. Jr is coming to a Stadium near you!




  1. First off, thanks a ton for the review. At least, the first part of it! 🙂

    Now, even though I’ll be fixing up and clarifying what you mentioned in the actual moveset, I might as well address a few things here.

    The Vulcan Jab uses one unit of Chi every time you use the move, though you could hold it forever and not lose any more. I can definitely see how that wasn’t clear, though… :/

    Boring tilts… Yeah, they were a bit. I tried to keep them at least somewhat interesting, though.

    You’re probably right about Flurry Spin. I’ll change that.

    As far as the Smashes go, I’ll definitely consider lowering the damage for Triple Kick. Set Punch is named that because of its ability to “set” your next move. It’s mainly a setup move, which is why it does less damage than his others, though I’m still considering lowering it a bit.

    About Chi Pulse… I knew I’d screw something up. The range wasn’t supposed to be that big… For Rocket Punch, I meant he spins sideways, still upright as he does. I’ll think about dropping the damage/knockback there, too.

    Spin Kick, now, is a name I can’t change. He’s only got four signature attacks, and even though this is the least of them, it’s still gotta be there. This is actually his charged aerial attack in KSS. As far as the Chi there goes, without Chi, he’ll just do the attack minus the burst of Chi, so it’s basically just a sex kick to the back.

    Chi Shot is meant to be a killer, but I definitely see what you’re saying. Maybe I’ll drop the knockback… And I’ll probably drop the finishing blow’s damage for Driving Kick as well. (Man, I really overpowered him, didn’t I? That’s what I get for sucking at balance…)

    I’m thinking two units of Chi actually sounds good for Smash Punch. Perfect remedy for an obvious problem. Thanks.

    Glad you liked Rebound. That one took a while to think up.

    The Rising Break practically wrote itself, as I’m sure you could tell. No real comments there.

    As far as the Megaton Punch goes, just remember that there’s at least a two second period where you can see the move coming, so I’d actually suspect that in free-for-alls, most of the other players would figure you out, and all come to punish you if you weren’t careful. As far as making it only useable on the ground… Then I’d have to make it so the Helpers can all only switch on the ground, which I really don’t want to do.

    I guess if you have no Chi, and you use his Down Throw… He’d go through the motion, but do no damage. Actually, I hadn’t considered that, so I’ll definitely have to. A chain grab there actually isn’t a bad idea. Maybe I will make it chain grab.

    I’ll definitely put up a Chi counter, though. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that, and I’ll also make him glow briefly every time he gains a unit. I’ll have to put a little more thought into the rate at which he recovers it, though… Hmm…

    All in all, I’m glad you liked it. I’m really looking forward to what you have to say about the others!

  2. God Kibble, freaking pick an avatar and stick with it already.


  3. I’ve been trying to get this one to work for a while. I’m sticking with this one, now that WordPress finally didn’t have a freaking seizure over it.



    Anyway, pretty much, I have only two things to say: I suck at balancing too (look at every review I got from Magikoopa onwards, and you’ll find only one or two balanced sets and lots of deal-breaking unbalances); and is Spin Kick really the name of that attack? Dang. Sakurai sure is uncreative. I guess I forgot about that one.

  5. It’s bee too long since I played Kirby Super Star, apparently… I lied. Spin Kick is actually the charged dash attack, not the aerial one… Shooting energy wasn’t something it did there, though, but…


    *cough* It was too boring as it was, but as one of the four moves that were big enough to make it with Joe in the anime, I had to include it one way or another.

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