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 type of a marvel that it’s taken this lengthy for one thing like Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl to return 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 stream of fight from Smash Bros., leading to a fighter that’s method sooner than any Smash sport has been since Melee in 2001. This places All-Star Brawl in an ideal spot as an alternative choice to Smash Final that’s obtainable on virtually each platform – however its subpar use of its wealth of supply materials, together with a basic lack of polish and some irksome mechanics, does imply it’s not a suggestion that comes with no few vital 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 degree are extraordinarily generic, there’s only one barebones single-player arcade mode, a barely price mentioning Sports activities Mode, and 0 significant unlockables or development rewards exterior of some photos and songs in a jukebox. However maybe probably 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 attraction that comes via. There’s no voice performing, no remixes of any themes from the various cartoons featured, and whereas the phases are plagued by enjoyable Easter eggs for followers to find, all of it simply feels type of soulless.
It’s a powerful come-from-behind victory, then, that All-Star Brawl remains to be actually enjoyable to really play. It follows the identical primary formulation as different platform fighters by eradicating life bars in favor of harm percentages: the extra you get hit, the upper your injury proportion 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 may probably be killed after taking hardly any injury, or you possibly can survive even after taking an unlimited quantity of punishment. It’s a very thrilling fashion of motion the place it feels such as you all the time have an opportunity to make a miraculous comeback even in case you’re down a number of lives.
This fashion of combating sport actually comes alive in a celebration atmosphere with as much as three associates, and All-Star Brawl isn’t any completely different. It’s tremendous simple to choose up, be given minimal directions on play, and have an excellent time no matter your expertise degree. That stated, 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 features as a restoration choice, a wavedash, and a fastfall multi functional. The air sprint means that you can sprint left and proper for a fast, substantial increase of horizontal momentum that you may nonetheless carry out actions out of, or in any course downwards for a fair bigger burst of velocity. The draw back is that it’s particularly an air sprint, and never an air dodge, which signifies that there’s no invulnerability frames throughout it.
It’s a trade-off price making although. I like the additional mobility given to each character because of this distinctive tackle the normal air-dodge mechanic. It permits for unpredictable approaches, tremendously aids characters who would in any other case wrestle immensely with their recoveries when making an attempt to get again to the stage after a giant hit, and works as an ideal software to play thoughts video games along with your opponent and maintain them guessing at what you may do.
There are additionally plenty 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 approach to keep away from taking injury if you find yourself hit is by blocking or negating the assault with certainly one of your individual; as a substitute of Smash assaults, there are sturdy assaults which could be carried out within the air; and each character has a throw that permits them to choose 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 each one characters have principally the identical throw, nor do I actually just like the throw mechanics typically. It appears to be like janky, it’s too simple to mash out of at low percentages, and appears like an affordable 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 could not look fairly ok to essentially flood my mind with nostalgia chemical substances, however All-Star Brawl’s solid of characters is essentially nice from a design viewpoint. It’s a wholesome mixture of some apparent “necessities” and fascinating oddballs which may not instantly spring to thoughts whenever you consider iconic Nicktoons, however find yourself being fairly impressed selections – like Nigel Thornberry, whose eccentric moveset includes him mimicking assaults and poses of assorted animals to hilarious impact.
There are undoubtedly some obvious omissions, like all characters from Rocko’s Fashionable Life, Indignant 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 real consultant of recent Nicktoons.
Every fighter performs similar to you’d anticipate they might. My private favourite, Avatar’s Aang, has weak total energy, however can chain his mild airbending assaults collectively at just about any proportion and turns into an absolute combo machine. Reptar performs the position of the Bowser-like beast with gradual assaults that may ship you packing with only one or two sturdy assaults near the sting. In the meantime, Lucy Loud adjustments into both a vampire or ghost type every time 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 sturdy appears like overkill – and a few characters have strikes which are eyebrow-raisingly near what’s present in Smash Bros. – however other than these points all people on the roster feels fairly distinct from each other.
What doesn’t really feel distinct is when a number of individuals choose the identical character. For no matter cause, there aren’t any alternate colours or costumes for any of the characters. In case 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 might make it exhausting to determine who you’re at an instantaneous look, particularly in bigger phases.
Every character comes with their very own stage, a complete of 20 in all, which is a reasonably first rate variety of arenas… besides when you think about that the variety of phases 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 phases simply aren’t enjoyable to battle on. You’re usually going up towards the stage greater than you’re going up towards your pals as you attempt to sustain with quickly shifting tiny platforms within the House Insanity stage or keep away from curler coaster automobiles on the 2 strong bits of land within the Glove World stage, simply to call two irritating examples. All these ranges aren’t something new, however they don’t have the type of visible spectacle that makes that kind of sacrifice price it.
The handful of phases which are price taking part in on are those you’ve most likely come to anticipate. Comparatively flat and easy stand-ins for Smash’s iconic Ultimate Vacation spot, Battlefield, Smashville, and so forth. That stated, whereas a lot of the gimmick ranges are a nightmare, there are just a few that may be fairly enjoyable given the appropriate circumstances. The Showdown at Teeter Totter Gulch degree from Rugrats is a private favourite of mine as a result of its teetering central platform isn’t too intrusive and offers a pleasant change of tempo. And regardless that it’s just a little too exhausting to get kills on due to its monumental dimension, the Powdered Toast Hassle degree 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 probably the most half. There actually have been dangerous 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 undoubtedly 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.