Isabelle, the hardest-working pupper in video games, received her official invitation to join the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster during the September 13 Nintendo Direct. At first, I thought "Isabelle is too sweet to join Smash," but then I remembered Villager is part of the roster, too. I bet a certain shih-tzu has a lot of pent-up rage about a certain spoon-handed Mayor abandoning his duties to fart around in Smash and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.
Isabelle is your assistant in 2012's Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. Though she's a relative newcomer to the long-lived Animal Crossing series, her popularity shot through the roof the instant she was introduced. She's smart, she's optimistic, she never shirks her responsibilities (unlike you, Mayor), and she's sweet beyond words. Isabelle helps you get your orchards started in New Leaf by giving you some of her fruit, because "Mom always told me to share, because that's what good puppies do." Combine all that sugar with a doggie bell that jingles when Isabelle walks, and you have a character guaranteed to turn your heart into a crimson puddle of pulsating goo.
So, Isabelle is killer at admin work, and I'm sure most of us would jump in front of Kapp'n's bus to protect her. How does all that translate into fighting potential, though?
The Basics: From Isabelle's reveal trailer we can surmise she's a bit of a defensive fighter, much like Villager. Like the rest of Animal Crossing's cast, she's afflicted with "Stubbiness"—plump, short limbs that lack much in the way of joints, digits, or opposable thumbs, let alone natural weapons like claws. Isabelle needs to be clever and full of tricks if she hopes to best monsters like Bowser and Ridley.
Lucky for Isabelle, the little pooch hefts an arsenal of everyday items that become inexplicably deadly outside the world of Animal Crossing (or were the items always deadly, and the denizens of Animal Crossing built up an immunity to their harmful effects over the years…?). As you might expect, Isabelle's moveset has several things in common with Villager's, but it's worth pointing out she's not an echo fighter.
Isabelle's basic attacks let her hit rivals with a broom and blast them away with the party popper she typically whips out when commemorating a new building built in her 'hood. She can plant a Gyroid that launches you into space if you step on it. And for her Final Smash, she can summon Nook's family to build a tiny replica of City Hall that becomes a tomb for anyone unfortunate to walk into the vicinity of its rapid construction.
Most Notable Move: Despite her we little legs, Isabelle can perform a long-range move with the aid of her fishing pole. She uses the tool to snag an opponent, then hurls them back behind her like they're an inferior catch. Cold, Isabelle…but you're well within your rights to do it.
Best Reference: One of Isabelle's tools is Animal Crossing's bug-catching net. Isabelle can scoop up another fighter and throw them with it, but what I find interesting is the net's ability to reflect projectiles like Cloud's Climhazzard. I choose to believe this move doubles as a reference to the famous Easter egg that lets Link reflect the wizard Agahnim's magic back at him in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Will Nadia Main Her? I doubt it. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Isabelle is jumping into the fray to defend her ideals (whatever those ideals might be. Chew toys for all? A movement to fire all slacking civil staff members into outer space?). As I've stated before, though, I prefer heavy-hitting Smash characters, especially ladies and dudes who use their own bodies as weapons. The quick and lightweight Isabelle and Villager strike me as characters for advanced players, i.e. people who understand the ins-and-outs of every stage and grok tactics like edge-guarding. People who play Smash to win, not just to noodle around as Bowser for a while. People who aren't me.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is coming to the Nintendo Switch on December 20. Don't forget to read the Super Smash Bros Ultimate guides we made just for you.
You should also read the rest of our profiles for Smash Ultimate's newcomers!