Over the decades, Nickelodeon has put together a beloved cast of cartoon characters, Nicktoons, who are recognized by people of all ages. But who would win if they all fought against each other? $ 49.99 The Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl answers that question in the form of a nice silly crossover that also happens to be a legitimately great fighting game. The occasional subpar wrapping does not always do the premise justice, but the mechanics more than make up for it. To quote another cartoon empire, this Nintendo Switch game is a rough diamond.
Are I Ready Kids?
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is available on PC, PlayStation and Xbox, but I played the Nintendo Switch version. At first glance, it reminds you of another crossover fighting game on Nintendo’s hybrid system. This game is basically Super Smash Bros.Ultimate, but with Nicktoons instead of video game characters. Fortunately, like Smash, Nick All-Star Brawl extends several eras of nostalgia to put together a satisfying list filled with familiar faces and unique play styles.
Clearly, SpongeBob SquarePants is the star along with his sidekicks Patrick and Sandy. It’s still weird to accept Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as Nickelodeon characters, but you can play as brothers Leonardo and Michelangelo as well as April O’Neil. Avatars battle-ready elemental heroes Aang, Korra and Toph show up. Old-school Nick lovers should get a kick out of watching Ren and Stimpy or Invader Zim, while Lincoln and Lucy Loud from The tall house reminded me that there are actually popular Nick shows that debuted after my own childhood.
The 20-fighter list captures the comic chaos you want from a concept like this. Characters strike bags based on internet memes to their mockery. Like any common universe, the Nick All-Star Brawl also makes you want more. More Nicktoons! Where are the signs from Rocko’s modern life or Doug? Can live-action actors take part in the match? Give us Everything cast! Upcoming DLC warriors should give us plenty to wonder about in the next few months.
Although the developers clearly have a great passion for Nickelodeon, a relatively modest budget seems to have hampered how well they could express that passion in production value. Overall, the game looks tough but decent. The slightly whimsical character models are well hidden by the drawn-out camera angle, and the various stages successfully capture the aesthetics of their respective shows, from cel-shaded Saturday morning cartoons to anime martial arts epics. The game runs smoothly, with only a rare frame rate drop when multiple visual effects appear at once.
More disappointing is the sound design. We love characters like SpongeBob and Nigel Thornberry not only for their looks, but for what the voice actors Tom Kenny and Tim Curry brought to their personalities. Unfortunately, apart from the enthusiastic advertiser, Nick All-Star Brawl has no voice activation at all, I guess due to licensing issues. Whatever the reason, it feels distracting and makes the slapstick sound effects even more repetitive.
Meanwhile, the soundtrack tries to evoke the instruments and musical styles you expect from each show, but don’t expect any classic theme songs either. When it comes to truly honoring its different worlds with remarkable quality and craftsmanship, Super Smash Bros. remains. Ultimate surpassed.
Happy Happy, Joy Joy
So what stops the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl from simply being a tossing money in title? The gameplay beats so far above its weight class that it makes you willing to forgive almost anything else. Nick All-Star Brawl was co-developed by Ludosity, a team best known for its well-received indie platform fighter Slap City. This love of this creatively fruitful fighting subgenre elevates every aspect of Nick All-Star Brawl’s design.
The easiest way to describe platform fighters is still “fighting games that play like Super Smash Bros.” Sorry, that’s true. Attack other characters to increase their damage percentage. If you have a high percentage, you will be more vulnerable to being launched from the screen when hit by a strong attack. You can also jump around with far more freedom than you see in a “traditional” fighting game like Guilty Gear, Street Fighter or Tekken.
Like other platform fighter Brawlhalla, the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl introduces several exciting ideas in this familiar framework. Normal attacks, including antennae, are found in light and heavy varieties. Up, center and down attacks use a rock-paper-scissors system to determine priority. You can keep moving and jumping after grabbing your opponent, and you can block indefinitely, but by breaking a block near the ledge, the blocker opens up for severe punishment. Characters, of course, also have their own special attacks, such as Helga Pataki’s difficult slingshot, Oblina’s garbage can and Danny Phantom’s ghostly cry with high risk and high reward.
These systems come together to form a fighting game that just feels great to play. At first I thought the floating animations looked a bit stiff and weightless, but they make a lot more sense considering the game’s lightning-fast speed and air mobility. Combinations have an addictive, improving feeling, as movements flow smoothly into each other. I could go on and on about how practically everyone has a step that puts opponents in oblivion, an ingenious choice. This is a game made for people who still think Melee is the best Super Smash Bros. game. games, to the point where wavedashing is a vital technique.
You do not have to worry about crazy, unbalanced objects or excessively dangerous stages. The Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is convinced that the pure Nicktoon fight alone will keep you entertained and that trust is fully earned.
Get slim, online
Most debut fighting games need to lay a solid foundation before putting on a lot of extra content. Look at how many entries it took Mortal Kombat or Super Smash Bros. reach their present forms. So do not be shocked that the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, which has impressive groundwork, does not have an elaborate story feature. You need to settle for text quotes before each match.
However, the Nick All-Star Brawl has a number of different modes. Upgrade techniques in training mode. Take on a branching path for challengers in single-player Arcade mode, the best way to unlock player icons, jukebox songs and other extras. Up to four players can compete in stock (all have limited lives) or timed (score most kills before time runs out) multiplayer modes. In sports mode, characters try to knock different balls with different properties into the opposing team’s goals.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl’s esports dreams are becoming a reality in its robust online offering. Choose between Quick Play or classified competition matches. You can also set up and browse online lobbies. The game shows ping times in milliseconds and I experienced a bit of a delay, even on WiFi thanks to the feedback code, gold standard input prediction online code for the high speed and high precision fighting game genre. Currently, there are no crossplay multiplayer, but you can save and share iterations, and the community is already starting to gather its knowledge. Who knows what the tournament scene will look like in a year. Powdered Toast Man is top class.
Kids’ Choice Award
The Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has incredible heights and not surprisingly, disappointing lows. The contrast between its gameplay and presentation is whiplash-inducing. It’s an exciting but inexplicable game for the amazing fighting game freak who is more interested in seeing SpongeBob’s frame data than in hearing his trademark laugh.
Still, the developers bet on where it mattered most. All minor grips melt away as you figure out new CatDog combinations or show a Reptar player being boss. It does not matter if you are Super Smash Bros. -fan or not; The Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl should be your next offbeat fighting game cast.
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