There's something fun about watching a bunch of familiar characters beat the tar out of each other so here's Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.
Without a doubt, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a shameless copy of Super Smash Bros. in almost every way. From its interface to its onscreen prompts and its core controls to its match rules; it's basically just Super Smash Bros. with cartoon characters but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the only thing bad about this aspect is that it doesn't quite do enough to differentiate itself from Smash which is kind of a shame because with some new and interesting gameplay mechanics, it could have been a cool fighting game. v1d30chumz 54-211-101-93
All you essentially do is choose a fighter from the roster of 20 wacky characters then duke it out with up to 4 simultaneous combatants in each battle. As you get beat up, your damage percentage increases which makes you fly further when hit and once you get smacked out of the arena or fall off the edge, you'll lose a life. After you run out of lives, you're out of the match. It's simple stuff yet it can be great fun to play with others either online or locally. Unfortunately, the single player content is extremely lacking which is a bummer because going it alone feels boring and inconsequential no matter which rules you alter or how tough your opponent is.
With all of that in mind, the core gameplay of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is surprisingly solid and rather enjoyable. Each character has an impressive array of moves which makes mastering them fairly rewarding and the combat can get quite frantic and fast-paced at times. The controls are tight, the action is responsive, and the actual fighting requires skill; all great things. However, gameplay is about the only aspect that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl gets right and even that is too similar to Super Smash Bros. so it still doesn't add up to much.
Perhaps the greatest disappointment about Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is its presentation. Sure, the graphics are okay with detailed and faithful stages, silly animations, and accurate character models but none of it stands out as anything but what you'd expect. The audio is where this fighter really drops the ball as you won't hear many familiar tunes because it features a generic soundtrack but what's worse is that there's no voice acting at all. Even if they ripped lines from the respective series, that would have at least been something.
I already touched on how barebones the single player content is but perhaps I should elaborate on that a bit. You can choose to play a selection of modes including Stock and Timed standard matches as well as a Sports mode which is cumbersome and feels tacked-on. There's also arcade mode where you defeat a succession of characters then it sort of just ends. There is text dialogue throughout that's more nonsensical than funny but some lines did make me crack a smile. Finally, you can browse a gallery that merely has stills of the stages and character art, check out each character's moves, watch replays, and listen to the soundtrack via the Jukebox. That's about it.
Although I was impressed by how solid its gameplay is, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl still feels like a hollow experience that could have been elevated to new heights if it featured additional modes and a more fleshed-out presentation complete with voice acting.
- + Gameplay is impressively well-done
- + Solid cast of iconic and obscure Nickelodeon characters; each with nifty move sets
- + Multiplayer matches can be pretty fun
- - Doesn't deviate enough from Smash Bros.
- - Barebones presentation with generic music, no voice acting, and okay visuals
- - Single player content is downright boring