RoA on Smash Box - Getting Started

The Smash Box is the best alternative to a fight stick, keyboard, or any common controller for Rivals of Aether. In order to help you take advantage of the precision of this arcade controller, we have compiled this post to go over the basics of the Smash Box and the key techniques to learn in Rivals of Aether. 

Before you start, be sure to set up your Smash Box correctly for your PC and Steam by using our post "Rivals of Aether for Steam on Smash Box."

If you have any questions about Rivals of Aether on Smash Box, please join our community on Discord and visit the #rivals-of-aether channel. In addition, be sure explore the "Hit Box" and "RoA" tags at the bottom of the post for more How-To content.

The Basics

Profile and Layout

First, thing to do is to ensure you are using the Default Rivals of Aether profile. If you just received your Smash Box, it should be on Profile 3 (the three-way switch on the side of your Smash Box set to "II"). Otherwise, download our Designer Software and load up the profile onto your Smash Box.

Now let us go over the default layout we have Rivals of Aether.

Each cluster of buttons are a representation of the GameCube controller flattened out!
  • The Analog Stick is controlled by your left fingers.
  • The D-pad / Tilts are controlled by your left thumb.
  • The C-Stick is controlled by your right thumb.
  • The 8-buttons on the right are controlled by your right fingers.
Smash Box is designed so that you will always be able to cover your options without contorting your hand or moving your thumbs all over the place.  By following the hand position above, you will be off the best start possible


Tilt Modifiers

In order to get certain angles, walk, and access Tilt Attacks, we use modifiers we call Tilts. By holding down Tilt 1 or Tilt 2, similar to "shift" on a keyboard, you modify the full direction of the digital directions to slight tilts.

How To Play

Dash Dancing

If you are familiar with most platform fighting games, this will be recognizable right away. Press left and right will give you a dash. Press them one after the other (but not at the same time) will give you a dash dance. To practice, start off slow then get quicker with your speed as you go.



Using X2, Tilt 1, or Tilt 2, you can walk around instead of run. This is very important for positioning.



Short Hop

One of the most important techniques in the game is short hopping. The easiest way to do this on Smash Box is to 'flick' at the edge of the button (instead of trying to press into and lift off the button). In this gif, Dustin showcases the differences between short and full hop, and the two different pressing techniques.




Due to the design of the Smash Box, you can press jump with one finger and attack with another. And your ability to do so only improves with Button Remapping. In this gif, Dustin showcases using both C-Stick and A button for doing aerials.



Wave Dashing

This technique is far more streamlined than in any other platform fighter. Simply press Jump + Dodge at the same time then immediately input the direction you wish to go. Below Dustin showcases three wavedashes:

In place: Jump + Dodge
Half Distance: Jump + Dodge > Down + Forward
Full Distance: Jump + Dodge > Forward

Note: If you wish to face the direction you are wavedashing, press and hold forward right before you press jump + dodge.


Tilt Attacks

Using Tilt 1 and Tilt 2 you can do Tilt Attacks in all directions with a Directional button + A (instead of getting a Strong Attack). Also, if you activate an ordinal (ie, diagonal) with either Tilt 1 or Tilt 2, your character will face the left/right direction you press and do an Up or Down Tilt. Use whichever modifier is comfortable for you.


Gif actions, in order (you can slow down the gif on desktop to make it easier to see):

  • Tilt 1 + Down + A = Down Tilt
  • Tilt 1 + Right + A = Forward Tilt
  • Tilt 1 + Up + A = Up Tilt
  • Tilt 1 + Left + A = Forward Tilt
  • Tilt 1 + Right + Down + A = Down Tilt facing Right
  • Tilt 1 + Left + Up + A = Up Tilt facing Left
  • Tilt 1 + Right + Up + A = Up Tilt facing Right
  • Tilt 1 + Left + Down + A = Down Tilt facing Left
  • Then all repeated with Tilt 2


Angled Recoveries

By combining ordinal inputs and with the linear modifiers, you have access to all of the accessible angles in Rivals of Aether. Below is a showcase of what these angles look like and how to activate them (use the speed options on the gif to slow it down).

Note: You can use these angles for anything that can use angles in RoA.


Gif actions, in order:

  • Left
  • Left + Up + Y1
  • Left + Up + Y2
  • Left + Up
  • Left + Up + X2
  • Left + Up + X1
  • Up
  • Right + Up + X1
  • Right + Up + X2
  • Right + Up
  • Right + Up + Y2
  • Right + Up + Y1
  • Right

Advanced Play

Dashing Out of Walk

Smash Box offers a unique opportunity with Rivals that allows you to Dash right out of a Walk without having to reset your directions to neutral first.

Walk using Tilt 2, then release Tilt 2 while still holding forward to get a Dash.


Strong Attacks out of Run

Rivals is fairly unique among platform fighters in your ability to do a Strong Attack out of a Run. Simply use Strong Attack in the direction you want while running, and it will activate.



Run Cancelling with Crouch

By pressing down while running, you can cancel your Run animation and momentum. You can use this for positioning, going into a walk, or do neat things like Cactuar Dash (see below). Simply press down while running to cancel the run.


Run Cancel into Tilts

Using crouch to run cancel, you can go directly into using Tilt Attacks. The gif showcases with Tilt Stick, but it can also be done using Tilt 1 and Tilt 2 modifiers.


Holding Tilt while Running

After you initiate your run, you can hold down Tilt 1 or Tilt 2 without having any effect on your run. However, the moment you try to turn during run while holding these modifiers you will activate a slow turn that will act like a Run Cancel. In the gif below Dustin showcases using this specific run cancel to get turnaround Tilts.

Experiment with this technique to see what you can do!


Reverse Aerial Rush

This technique is situational but also very useful. When running, simply press back and then jump. This will turn you around before the jump, maintain your momentum, and allow you to do Back Aerials while going forward.



Running Neutral Special

You can use X1 to stop your momentum and go straight into 'neutral' inputs, meaning you can activate Neutral Special (and Jab) right out of run easily. Hold forward to run, then press X1 + Special.

X1 makes your directions act like neutral inputs, so in any situation you want a neutral input you can use X1 to activate it. Note: You can do the same thing with SOCD (shown later in the post).


Turn Around Neutral Special

If you want your Neutral Special to face a specific direction, hold the direction you want to face and then press X1 + Special. Here Dustin showcases this with turn around Neutral Specials in the air.


Cactuar Dashing

When running, you can crouch and go directly into running the other direction. Simply press down while running and go directly into back - it is like doing a half-circle motion toward the direction you want to run.




Probably the most stylish looking techniques you can learn. On Smash Box it is fairly straight forward to do: Press Down+Back then go directly into Forward (forward is the direction that you want your momentum to go, not which way you are facing).



SOCD Neutral

By pressing Left and Right at the same time, the Smash Box on default will output a 'neutral' or center position. This can help you force neutral inputs and get more precision - experiment to see what you can do!

For more info check out our post SOCD Neutral in Rivals of Aether.


If you have any questions about Rivals of Aether on Smash Box, please join our community on Discord and visit the #rivals-of-aether channel. In addition, be sure explore the "Hit Box" and "RoA" tags at the bottom of the post for more How-To content.