The concept of a Tremendous Smash Bros.-style platform fighter that brings collectively a few of Nickelodeon’s most beloved cartoons throughout a number of generations is one which simply makes a lot sense, and it’s sort of a marvel that it’s taken this lengthy for one thing like Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl to come back round. However regardless of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl’s clear inspirations, developer Ludosity has made a notable effort to distinguish its mechanics and the general circulation of fight from Smash Bros., leading to a fighter that’s approach sooner than any Smash sport has been since Melee in 2001. This places All-Star Brawl in an excellent spot as a substitute for Smash Final that’s obtainable on virtually each platform – however its subpar use of its wealth of supply materials, together with a common lack of polish and some irksome mechanics, does imply it’s not a advice that comes with out a few important caveats.
The very first thing that comes throughout whereas taking part in All-Star Brawl is that this appears like a sport made on a reasonably tight finances. The character fashions and backgrounds lack element, the unique themes made for every stage are extraordinarily generic, there’s only one barebones single-player arcade mode, a barely value mentioning Sports activities Mode, and nil significant unlockables or development rewards exterior of some pictures and songs in a jukebox. However maybe essentially the most damning factor of all is that, regardless of being a sport all about celebrating Nickelodeon’s most interesting, there’s little or no Nickelodeon allure that comes by means of. There’s no voice appearing, no remixes of any themes from the numerous cartoons featured, and whereas the levels are plagued by enjoyable Easter eggs for followers to find, all of it simply feels sort of soulless.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Screenshots
It’s a powerful come-from-behind victory, then, that All-Star Brawl remains to be actually enjoyable to truly play. It follows the identical primary system as different platform fighters by eradicating life bars in favor of harm percentages: the extra you get hit, the upper your injury share and the additional you’ll go flying from each hit till you’re KO’d by an opponent knocking you off the stage (until you activate crucial KOs). This implies two key issues: you’ll be able to doubtlessly be killed after taking hardly any injury, or you can survive even after taking an unlimited quantity of punishment. It’s a very thrilling model of motion the place it feels such as you at all times have an opportunity to make a miraculous comeback even should you’re down a number of lives.
This model of preventing sport actually comes alive in a celebration atmosphere with as much as three pals, and All-Star Brawl isn’t any completely different. It’s tremendous simple to select up, be given minimal directions on easy methods to play, and have an excellent time no matter your expertise stage. That mentioned, the builders are clearly big Smash followers themselves, as a result of they’ve designed the deeper mechanics behind that approachable coat of paint with extra hardcore followers of these video games in thoughts.
The place All-Star Brawl units itself aside is primarily in its motion. It’s exceptionally fast-paced, facilitated by excessive run speeds, speedy recoveries on most assaults, and its distinctive air sprint that capabilities as a restoration possibility, a wavedash, and a fastfall multi functional. The air sprint lets you sprint left and proper for a fast, substantial increase of horizontal momentum which you could nonetheless carry out actions out of, or in any path downwards for a good bigger burst of pace. The draw back is that it’s particularly an air sprint, and never an air dodge, which implies that there’s no invulnerability frames throughout it.
It’s a trade-off value making although. I really like the additional mobility given to each character because of this distinctive tackle the normal air-dodge mechanic. It permits for unpredictable approaches, enormously aids characters who would in any other case wrestle immensely with their recoveries when making an attempt to get again to the stage after an enormous hit, and works as an excellent software to play thoughts video games together with your opponent and preserve them guessing at what you would possibly do.
There are additionally quite a lot of smaller mechanical variations that assist additional set up All-Star Brawl’s id within the platform fighter style. There’s no rolling or spot dodging, so the one method to keep away from taking injury when you find yourself hit is by blocking or negating the assault with one in every of your individual; as an alternative of Smash assaults, there are robust assaults which may be carried out within the air; and each character has a throw that enables them to select their opponent up and transfer them round earlier than tossing them (until the opponent is ready to mash out of their grasp).
Whereas I respect a lot of the methods All-Star Brawl tries to be completely different, I’m not a fan of all of its mechanics. I particularly don’t like that every one characters have principally the identical throw, nor do I actually just like the throw mechanics normally. It appears janky, it’s too simple to mash out of at low percentages, and appears like an inexpensive KO at excessive percentages. However worst of all, not giving distinctive animations for every character on their throws appears like a missed alternative so as to add some extra character to every movelist, whereas additionally additional diversifying their playstyles. .
There’s No Toon Like a Nicktoon
They might not look fairly ok to essentially flood my mind with nostalgia chemical compounds, however All-Star Brawl’s solid of characters is essentially nice from a design viewpoint. It’s a wholesome mixture of some apparent “prerequisites” and fascinating oddballs which may not instantly spring to thoughts if you consider iconic Nicktoons, however find yourself being fairly impressed selections – like Nigel Thornberry, whose eccentric moveset includes him mimicking assaults and poses of varied animals to hilarious impact.
There are positively some obvious omissions, like several characters from Rocko’s Trendy Life, Offended Beavers, or the Pretty Oddparents simply to call just a few, however all-in-all, this can be a pretty admirable beginning roster of 20 characters that primarily covers a good unfold of Nicktoons from the ‘90s to the early 2000s. There are classics like Rugrats and Hey Arnold, megahits from the 2000s like Avatar: The Final Airbender and The Legend of Korra, after which The Loud Home as the only consultant of contemporary Nicktoons.
Every fighter performs similar to you’d count on they might. My private favourite, Avatar’s Aang, has weak general energy, however can chain his gentle airbending assaults collectively at just about any share and turns into an absolute combo machine. Reptar performs the function of the Bowser-like beast with gradual assaults that may ship you packing with only one or two robust assaults near the sting. In the meantime, Lucy Loud modifications into both a vampire or ghost kind at any time when she connects along with her chew assault, which alters the properties of a few of her strikes. I do want that not each character had a spike transfer on their aerial light-down assault since – it’s such a strong finisher that giving it to characters who’re already tremendous robust appears like overkill – and a few characters have strikes which can be eyebrow-raisingly near what’s present in Smash Bros. – however except for these points all people on the roster feels fairly distinct from each other.
What doesn’t really feel distinct is when a number of folks decide the identical character. For no matter purpose, there aren’t any alternate colours or costumes for any of the characters. In the event you’re taking part in with 4 Reptars, the one factor that distinguishes you out of your opponents is the small icon above every one, which may make it onerous to determine who you’re at a right away look, particularly in bigger levels.
Every character comes with their very own stage, a complete of 20 in all, which is a reasonably respectable variety of arenas… besides when you think about that the variety of levels you’ll really need to go to might be a lot decrease than that. Whether or not you’re taking part in competitively or casually, a lot of the gimmicky levels simply aren’t enjoyable to battle on. You’re typically going up in opposition to the stage greater than you’re going up in opposition to your pals as you attempt to sustain with quickly shifting tiny platforms within the House Insanity stage or keep away from curler coaster vehicles on the 2 strong bits of land within the Glove World stage, simply to call two irritating examples. A lot of these ranges aren’t something new, however they don’t have the sort of visible spectacle that makes that form of sacrifice value it.
The handful of levels which can be value taking part in on are those you’ve most likely come to count on. Comparatively flat and simple stand-ins for Smash’s iconic Remaining Vacation spot, Battlefield, Smashville, and so forth. That mentioned, whereas a lot of the gimmick ranges are a nightmare, there are just a few that may be fairly enjoyable given the precise circumstances. The Showdown at Teeter Totter Gulch stage from Rugrats is a private favourite of mine as a result of its teetering central platform isn’t too intrusive and gives a pleasant change of tempo. And although it’s a bit of too onerous to get kills on due to its huge dimension, the Powdered Toast Hassle stage is filled with enjoyable interactables and Ren and Stimpy Easter eggs.
Maybe the key weapon of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is its on-line play with rollback netcode, which in my expertise has been comparatively easy for essentially the most half. There actually have been unhealthy matches, particularly on sure ranges just like the Rooftop Rumble stage, which I’ve had quite a few points with whereas taking part in on-line, however the overwhelming majority of my on-line matches have been with none points. It’s positively no Responsible Gear Attempt when it comes to the standard of its netcode, however on the very least, it’s ok the place I can comfortably say that that is the one space the place All-Star Brawl has a transparent benefit over Smash Final.