Thank you GameMill Entertainment for sending us a review code!
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Anyone who plays Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl will recognize the Super Smash Brothers inspiration immediately. With Super Smash Brothers dominating the brawler fighting genre since 1999, can Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl make a dent in its fan base?
The biggest draw to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is the fighter roster. This includes characters from popular TV shows like Avatar, Danny Phantom, Ren & Stimpy, Hey Arnold!, Invader Zim, SpongeBob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Loud House.
In total, there are twenty fighters with a good representation from each show, but there are noticeably missing characters. For example, when it comes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you’re limited to just Leonardo and Michelangelo. Each character has a unique skillset that often involves a ranged and close proximity attack. I like how Ren & Stimpy toss logs for their attack.
There are three game modes you can play: Battle, Arcade, and Online. The arcade is a quasi-story mode where you select a character and beat up seven others in one on one battles. There are several difficulty levels to make the AI more (or less) challenging. I’m happy to report that the online mode has active players. Since Korra is an over-powered character, all of my online opponents used her.
The Battle mode is the main one and offers three variants: Stock, Timed, and Sports. The Stock mode lets you fight against four players with three lives each for six minutes. Players will lose their lives when they take too much damage or are knocked off of the stage. Time mode gives you six minutes and an unlimited number of lives. The winner is determined by who dealt the most damage within that timeframe. The Sports mode has soccer and goal hoops to get it through provided you can stop beating up your opponents to do so. Whichever team can score the most (or any!) points wins.
The twenty show-themed levels are very colorful and nicely detailed. Many of them have moving platforms and obstacles for your character to avoid while dodging various attacks from your enemies. The background music for the levels is good and so are the sound effects. What is noticeably missing are vocalizations from the popular characters. Sure, the announcer is good, but having all of the characters voice acted would have added more immersion and overall polish.
For the most part, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is family-friendly. The ultimate goal is to smack people around, but it’s done in a cartoony way and isn’t bloody or gory. Some of the characters make bodily noises that are classified as potty humor. A couple of the (Avatar) characters have elemental magic abilities as well.
With an MSRP of $49.99, your money is best spent on Smash Brothers, however, there are several versions of the game available for less than $20. At that price point, it’s worth considering. Especially if you’re a fan of the cartoon series’ represented in this title.