Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl review

By Published On: October 18, 2021Categories: Gaming, Reviews

Source: GameMill

Get this, ya lousy bum.

You know if there’s a game out there that’s a success, there are going to be companies that attempt to create their own spin on the formula. Remember when Grand Theft Auto III dropped and then everyone tried to make an open-world criminal game? Yeah, that’s the mantra.

Same with Super Smash Brothers. After Nintendo made it a success, Sony decided to try its hand with the formula with the surprisingly good PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale. Now we have GameMill taking Nickelodeon characters through the motions with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl and, surprise, it isn’t just about the license.

True, it’s not quite up to the Smash standard, mainly due to some missing components that I’ll touch on later. With that said, for a first title out of the gate, All-Star Brawl isn’t half bad. If you ever wanted to settle who could kick more ass in a fight between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo and Spongebob Squarepants, boy, do we have a game for you! 

Getting Your Feet Wet (and Kicking)

Source: GameMill

One great aspect of All-Star Brawl is how the game really wants to help new players adapt to its competitive nature. Not that it’s a hard game to learn, since it takes the Smash basics and rolls with them in their own special way. There’s a cool tutorial here that teaches you how the general mechanics work, from throws to punches to kicks to special moves. It’s easy to learn, hard to master, and surprisingly fun to play.

The mechanics are not overly complex – this feels like Smash through and through – but it’s nicely dialed in, though there are minor questions with balancing. Michelangelo, for example, seems a bit too over-powered at times, and there are other small issues too. In general, the fights are very well done, and jumping in is a snap, both with local play and against others online.

Speaking of online, the netcode provided in All-Star Brawl is very good. I had no trouble connecting to fights and kicking butts, though over-complex features like ping rate and crossplay are not really in the testing phase. At least, they are not yet, but, from what I tried out, the game is pretty solid. It is not amazing, mind you, but for a product that’s mostly about the license, it’s not bad at all.

Finally, the fighter variety is pretty good. There are some missing characters here, mainly two of the missing Ninja Turtles and – gasp! – there is no Rocko from Rocko’s Modern Life anywhere in sight. Even so, they have DLC combatants coming in and it should be a pretty good line-up based on what we’ve heard so far. I can not wait to dine on Turtle soup with Shredder.

Good Looking, But Painfully Silent

Source: GameMill

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl also benefits from a terrific presentation. It’s not as highly detailed as Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it’s the next best thing! It has a variety of backdrops, solid fighter animations, and good depth, with even a few surprises for long-time Nick fans. It is curious how Ren and Stimpy are combined into one fighter, but they make a pretty impressive duo.

The game loads fairly quickly, even with online fights, and the mode selection, while light, is easy to get to, thanks to a good menu design that makes choosing things simple.

Even still, All-Star Brawl comes up short in one key area – sound. While the in-game music is fun, it’s surprisingly generic, when we could have had a ton of great tunes such as the Log theme from Ren and Stimpy and some battle themes from the Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Worse yet, there’s no voice acting to speak of, and no interaction between characters, ala Mortal Kombat 11 and Injustice 2. That does mean getting to the fight sooner, but a little bit of magic is missing without the talk going on between fighters. That’s probably a step the developers were following from Smash, but this would have been something to address.

Not a Bad Brawl

Despite the silence and the lack of story mode (it would’ve been great for Ren and Stimpy to have a grudge against Patrick), Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a thoughtful, beat-em-up, well put together game by the developers. Its’ gameplay is fun and easy to adapt to and its’ visuals look quite good considering the product at hand. The possibilities with the loaded cast are excellent, with even more waiting in the wings to join the fray. It won’t replace Smash as your favorite anytime soon, but it does make for a curious – and jam-packed – addition to your brawler collection. What we need are Rocko characters in here and, maybe, Danger Mouse for some nostalgia. Please?

RATING: 7.5/10

 

About the Author: DVS Gaming