I can’t think of a time when Nickelodeon wasn’t a part of my life.
As a kid, I was a huge fan of the Rugrats and would spend hours in front of the TV watching the Turtles. Growing up, I found myself gravitating toward Spongebob Squarepants which just has this amazing universal, timeless appeal.
And now with a little one, it seems to be on constantly between Dora the Explorer and Unfiltered. I’ve grown up with the network and in that time it’s become pretty clear it has quite a selection of infamous characters to draw from.
So what better IP holder to try and stand toe to toe with the mighty Smash Bros than Nick, and that’s exactly what they’ve attempted to do with All Star Brawl.
Although, I do want to set expectations from the off. In terms of depth and substance, All Star Brawl doesn’t have anywhere near as much as what Smash is offering. Sure the gameplay look and feel may be similar, but the overall experience is quite bare bones.
You’ve got your standard Arcade Mode where you pick your fighter – from an admittedly impressive roster – and fight your way through eight stages of combat, with the option of choosing between several different stages.
From theme parks to the Technodrome, you bounce between a real varied set of stages with short platforms, deep pitfalls, and all sorts of variation happening in the background.
My problem is that there’s not much else going on. Sure, all characters fight and act differently, but at most you get a short exchange at the beginning of each fight from a set of pre-selected phrases and once you finish all eight stages, you get a series of unlockables for extras, with no unique ending or fancy sequence to speak of.
It just makes the whole presentation feel a little unfulfilling. Even the UI feels a bit bland. Which is a little bit of a shame since, honestly, this is core to the entire All Stars Brawl experience.
Fortunately, the combat is really well implemented and configured. This is as close as you’ll ever get to playing Smash Bros on a PS5 with the same rules applying. It’s fast-paced, there’s a great weight and balance to the flow, and each character’s move set feels so incredibly appropriate.
With Michaelangelo’s nunchuks flailing and flinging about and Aang’s hand to hand combat feeling a natural fit for a fighting game, it’s always interesting to see how a character like Oblina – who uses scare tactics – and Ren & Stimpy – who use eccentricity and comedy – are implemented and are made to feel authentic.
In each battle, you essentially ring out an enemy by knocking them off platforms and ledges, hitting them as much as possible until their health percentage reaches a max of 300%. By around 100+ though, they’ll start getting ragdolled all over the place and every hit turns the opponent into the equivalent of a pinball.
Honestly, if you’ve ever played Smash at any point, you’ll feel right at home here. And if you haven’t, then this is a fantastic introduction.
The game really seems to thrive on its Battle modes, though. With the option to hop online, play or go local, you have the choice of Stock – last player standing – Timed – most KOs within a short window – and Sports Battle which feels like the classic Kung Foot from Rayman.
They’re all great, logical additions, but I would have loved to have seen a few extra modes offered here, like team battles, or a variation of spirits that encourages regular logins. Perhaps something for the DLC?
Ultimately, though, All Star Brawl runs and plays absolutely fine, and probably has just about enough to keep itself interesting for the younger gamers with its extras. As long as you don’t expect something on the scale of Smash, in terms of content and replayability, this is a really well made and built fighter that will definitely offer lots of laughs and plenty of fun.
+ Beautiful visuals and representation of infamous characters
+ Great fight feel and balancing
+ Nice range of stages and characters
– Limited modes
– Basic presentation feels a bit underwhelming
Nickelodeon All Stars Brawl is now available on PC, PS4, Xbox, and Switch
Played on PlayStation 5
Code Kindly Provided by PR