Unlike Ultimate, and the previous games before it, Bowser no longer uses the realistic voice clips that he had, instead, he now has voice samples recorded for Smash by his Mario series voice actor, Kenny James.
Bowser is also a starting fighter once more, unlike Ultimate.
- Bowser has a unique attribute called Tough Guy. It is universal armor against attacks with low knockback. This is most apparent when Bowser has low damage, and it can be amplified by crouching, but not while crawling or attacking. It will decrease as Bowser starts taking more damage.
- Bowser also has damage-based armor on the start-up of his tilts and smash attacks. Each move has a damage threshold: 4% for tilts, 8% for up and down smash, and 10% for side smash. Any attack that is below the indicated percent will be armored, but an attack with a larger percent won't.
- For example, Bowser will armor the first 4 hits of Limit Cross Slash (which deal 3% each) during his up tilt, but the 5th hit (which deals 10%) will launch him. However, *Bowser's forward smash will be able to armor even the last hit of Limit Cross Slash.
- Bowser can crawl, although it has no practical use because of his large hurtbox.
|Neutral attack||N/A||Bowser performs a sumo-style palm strike, followed by a punch. Both hits of neutral attack have decent speed and deal decent damage in total.|
|Forward Tilt||N/A||Bowser does a swung backhanded punch, with his arm slightly bent.|
|Up Tilt||N/A||Does an arcing claw swipe.|
|Down Tilt||N/A||Does an alternating pair of hooks.|
|Dash Attack||N/A||A sidekick, similar to Meta Knight's dash attack.|
|Forward Smash||N/A||A dropkick.|
|Up Smash||N/A||Hops a bit to thrust his shell upwards, while spinning.|
|Down Smash||N/A||Does a grounded claw swipe, hitting opponents in front and behind him.|
|Neutral Aerial||N/A||An aerial cartwheel.|
|Forward Aerial||N/A||Swipes downward with his claws.|
|Back Aerial||N/A||A dropkick.|
|Up Aerial||N/A||An upward headbutt.|
|Down Aerial||N/A||A stall-then-fall attack that involves Bowser retreating into his shell while turning upside-down, then propelling himself towards the ground while spinning on a vertical axis.|
|Pummel||N/A||Headbutts the opponent.|
|Forward Throw||N/A||Places the opponent in between his horns, rears his head back, and then powerfully sways his head forward to launch the opponent.|
|Back Throw||N/A||Throws the opponent backward in a sideways motion.|
|Up Throw||N/A||Throws the opponent slightly upward, withdraws into his shell, and then spins rapidly in order to repeatedly stab them with his shell's spikes. He hops up on the final hit, launching the opponent upward.|
|Down Throw||N/A||Places the opponent on the ground and splashes them.|
|Neutral Special||Fire Breath||Expels a stream of fire from his mouth. It gradually loses strength and range, but will slowly regain its strength when not in use. It can be angled upward or downward.|
|Side Special||Flying Slam||Grabs an opponent, jumps with them into the air and backflips before belly-to-belly suplexing them onto the ground, causing an explosion effect. Bowser spins around dramatically during the descent.|
|Up Special||Whirling Fortress||Withdraws into his shell and spins around rapidly. It is capable of moving forward or backward while doing so.|
|Down Special||Bowser Bomb||A Ground Pound. On the ground, Bowser performs a weak headbutt that drags opponents into the main attack. If performed in the air, Bowser performs the Ground Pound after a brief pause instead of leaping first.|
|Galactic Smash||Superclaw Bowser||Bowser launches the opponent into the air, then grows extended claws as he slashes his opponents several times before punching them back onto the stage in a super fast speed, ending with a large explosive bodyslam.|
|Final Smash||Giga Bowser Punch||Bowser transforms into Giga Bowser and teleports into the background, where he becomes impervious to attacks. Red crosshairs will appear on screen to indicate where Giga Bowser will aim his punch, which can be moved around with the control stick; the crosshairs also contains a depleting green gauge around their circumference to indicate how much time is left until the attack will activate automatically, though the attack can be activated manually before the gauge fully depletes. If the opponent's damage percent is 60% or greater before they are punched, they are instantaneously screen K.O.d.|
|On-Screen Appearance||Emerges from a wall of flames hunched over, before standing upright.|
|Taunt 1||Throws his head back, spinning it in a circle, and roars.|
|Taunt 2||Snaps furiously forward three times.|
|Taunt 3||Balances precariously on one leg, similar to his teetering animation.|
|Character Selection Screen|
|Victory Pose 1||Stomps and spreads his arms while roaring.|
|Victory Pose 2||Runs into the scene and slashes his claws twice.|
|Victory Pose 3||Breathes fire and assumes a pose similar to his render from SSB4.|
Role in The Galactic Battle
Bowser appears at the start of the Story, crashing Peach's Castle with Bowser Jr., the Koopalings, and the rest of the Koopa Troop. He fights off Mario and Luigi in a tough battle but sends in the Koopalings to finish off the brothers. He then reveals that he is now working under Hearth, the Lady of Fire, and after giving an all-clear, watches as Hearth vaporizes the Mario Bros. with relative ease. He turns his attention to Peach and Daisy, and once again gives the all-clear for Hearth to vaporize both Princesses after Wendy's suggestion that both could bring trouble. Bowser then is seen leading his troop to vaporize the Mushroom Kingdom into flames for Hearth.
Role in Classic Mode
Bowser will appear as both an opponent and an ally in all variations of Classic Mode.
The Red One. Every Red One!
Bowser's Ultimate style Classic Mode is named, The Red One. Every Red One!, and features Mario then Metal Mario as the final opponent. Bowser's opponents are all wearing red attire, which is a reference to his mortal enemy (Mario) who wears red clothing. His penultimate battle is against Rathalos before the bonus round. It remains unchanged from Ultimate.
|1||Mii Brawler (x2), Mii Gunner, and Mii Swordfighter||Find Mii|
|4||Giant Charizard & Giant Incineroar||Pokemon Stadium 2|
|5||Diddy Kong||Kongo Jungle|
|Final||Mario, then Metal Mario||New Donk City|
Bowser has several alternate costumes that can be purchased within the Vault
Changes Bowser's appearance to Dry Bowser, his undead counterpart and a common boss within the Mario games. Bowser's fire notably changes to blue and also features a Dry Giga Bowser design for a Final Smash.
|White||Changes Bowser's appearance to Dr. Bowser from Dr. Mario World. Unlike Dr. Mario and Dr. Luigi, Bowser retains his fire rather than using megavitamins.|
|Green||Changes Bowser's appearance to a modernized 3D version of his design from the DiC Super Mario Cartoons. Notably, rather than having his signature hair, Bowser gains a crown on top of his head.|
Bowser's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Bowser in The Galactic Battle allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Galactic Battle.
- Galactic Battle marks the first time that Bowser has used his canon voice actor, Kenny James, for his voice clips in the game.
- He shares this with Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and King K. Rool who also previously used realistic voice clips in previous installments.