Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl frustrates me in hell. Fans of fighting games will love it.
I was never good at fighting games, you see. During my tenure as a college student, I played a ton of Super Smash Bros. Brawl while definitely, completely sober and it was still a messy affair. Every time I played, my friends were offered an unsolicited glimpse into my psyche. They watched in horror as I threw out hissing fits, much like the ones you see in the aisles of grocery stores, when a four year old is firmly said “no” to an economy-sized bag of corn candy. . Fighting games might not be my thing, but I can certainly tell a good one from a bad one – the good ones have all the features that remind me of my shortcomings.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a good fighting game. It seems faster and more mobile than recent Super Smash Bros. titles, but is just as easy to pick up for casual gamers, which means it fits perfectly into the board game category. On the surface, it’s a simple beat’em up filled with your favorite childhood characters, but once you open the hood you’ll discover some great in-game mechanics. If you’re into fighting games, it definitely is. something that you will want to consider choosing. It’s a solid entry into the genre and has the potential to grow and improve with age – I just wish there was a little more of that Nickelodeon polish on it. For those of us who struggle with fighting games, a heavy dose of nostalgia for Nick would make All-Star Brawl even more fun.
Hey now you are a star
It’s clear that the Ludosity team are fans of Smash Bros. The surface ease with which players of various skills can enjoy Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is reminiscent of the Smash titles, as are the deeper mechanics that cater to die-hard combat fans. It is a game that can entertain a party full of people, but it is also a game that can be played in high stakes tournaments.
However, All-Star Brawl is quite different from Smash, and that’s mainly because of its lightning-fast movements and increased mobility. It makes me drop cards a lot more often than I would like to admit, but it gives skilled fighting players a level of movement that so many other fighting games don’t have. You can recover from air attacks with ease and speed, and can use a cold air dashboard mechanic to recover, increase your fall speed, or rush – which you can also chain movements to for optimal results. Once I realize this, the aerial dashboard will allow me to cry diagonally over Spongebob Squarepants. The square jerk doesn’t stand a chance.
The increased speed and mobility offered by the air dash level the playing field when it comes to the various characters, some of whom are slower than others (looking at you, Reptar). When I played Super Smash Bros. Brawl in college, I moaned at the thought of my friends’ “GannonBattles”, where we were all forced to play Gannondorf on raised maps. I hated how slow and heavy he felt – and how many times I fell to death playing with him. All-Star Brawl’s movement and airy dash is perfect for Big Chongus characters who seem like they have to struggle with mobility – even Reptar can come back on stage after taking a big hit, and he has fairly short arms.
All-Star Brawl certainly takes inspiration from the Smash titles, but there are enough differences in its mechanics to create its own identity with its own appeal. You can’t repel attacks – instead, you’ll have to block them or counter them with your own. Each character has the ability to grab and throw enemies, a mechanic that I resort to repeatedly, whenever I’m particularly frustrated. It’s not the most enjoyable move, but it’s definitely something you can cheesy if you’re not confident in your skills.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has impressive in-depth combat mechanics and a pretty solid cast of fighters, but doesn’t have the polish of other popular brawlers. You can’t change your character’s colors, for one thing, which makes a foursome battle between Patrick Star the stuff of a nightmare. Imagine how cute a little green Patrick would have been? Why did you steal this from me, Ludosity?
There are so many classic Nickelodeon characters from my childhood available as fighters, so I was hoping the nostalgic play of All-Star Brawl would wash over me like a wave of memories and make my struggle with the genre a little less frustrating. But aside from the characters, card builds, and Easter Eggs hidden on some of the cards, there’s a lack of that iconic ’90s Nickelodeon essence the game derives from.
There is no dubbing of any kind, which means matches start with a little pop-up bubble for each character featuring an iconic line from their TV show. When you play Patrick Starr, âLEEDLE LEEDLE LEEDLE LEEâ pops up, and I can’t help but think how much better it would be if you could hear that famous line instead. The characters don’t make any noise during fights either, so instead of smiling at every odd growl from Helga Pataki, I frown at every missed kick. Plus, there’s no Nickelodeon licensed music in All-Star Brawl either, just off-brand versions of the iconic songs. More vibes from Nick would make the game a lot more fun, and, honestly, it’s a weird omission that makes All-Star Brawl feel like it’s not under Nickelodeon’s umbrella, but standing out in the rain. lively.
In fighting games like Smash Bros. and Mortal Kombat, iconic characters are expertly integrated into the gameplay. The sound of Kirby sucking in huge gulps of air in an attempt to swallow Sora whole makes the pink mascot appear to be breaking through the game’s barriers and spending time in Smash. The Terminator in Mortal Kombat 11 has the same pepper and salt hairstyle as Arnold Schwarzenegger in the last movie. There’s an effort to make these characters not only avatars that can take a punch, but fully realized versions of themselves in the game. This doesn’t exist in Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl.
But despite its lack of finish, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a fighting game that packs a punch. It takes the Smash Bros. framework. and increases speed and mobility, giving Brawler fans a chance to pull off some really cool moves. At surface level, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is incredibly accessible, but it offers remarkable depths for those who want and can dive and reach them.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
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