Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl
Developer: Ludosity & FairPlay Labs
Publisher: Gamemill Entertainment
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 5/10/21
A code was provided for review purposes
Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick…… Nickelooodeeeoonnn
Sweet childhood, welcome back. Crashing its way onto the Playstation 5 this October is Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, a partnership and collaboration between Ludosity and FairPlay Labs. It’s the very first console title they are bringing into their newly procured Nickelodeon Brawl franchise which is otherwise focused on mobile gaming titles.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl attempts to traverse almost 30 years of characters through the Nickelodeon back catalogue and bring these icons to life in what can easily be described as the closest Super Smash Bros alike game I’ve ever played. The premise is simple and familiar, brawl your way to fight your opponent off the edge of the platform until they fall into the abyss. The execution however is surprisingly complex and well composed. There are three different combinations of attacks, solid defence options, and directional influence that plays the age old rock paper scissors algorithm to decide who wins the battle when toe to toe with your foe.
Sharper Than Reptar’s Teeth
Gameplay is sharp and effective, it takes time and discipline, and is superbly refined. Similar to Smash Bros you’ll find those characters that you click best with in no time, yet with every try you’ll begin to realise the unique complexity each character brings to the game. It’s absolutely addictive.
Game modes are a simple fair, with a Battle mode which serves as an almost exhibition like option with bots or human players. There’s an Arcade mode which felt like Tekken, 8 rounds and then unlock some goodies for the character you fought with (such as audio tracks and levels to select) and then lastly an online mode which tasks you against some of the better players across the globe. Matchmaking was a little hit or miss and it didn’t always feel like there were a whole bunch of people playing at the times I was reviewing.
Sounds Like Childhood
In game music is absolutely stunning. Each levels track felt deeply connected to the show it represented, whether bouncing across a cereal bowl as Powdered Toast Man with a Ren and Stimpy soundtrack. Or even in the Junk Yard with the Arrrggghhh Real Monsters screaming backdrop. Each level offered a real auditory experience.
Graphically the game pops with a spectrum of colour and vibrancy. Resolution is 4K and superbly steady, although textures don’t appear massively boosted from what you’ll see on PS4. All characters are modelled perfectly to their original TV show designs and the nostalgia is bubbling away at every turn. Yet this endeavour is a brave one that for me is a little flawed. When it comes to many of these characters, particularly those from my 90’s TV childhood, the character is graciously intertwined with the musicality of the TV show as well as the incredible voice acting that brings it all together.
Helga Pataki – “Move it football head!”
Reptar – “Halt I am Reptar!”
Ren – “Stimpy! You Idiot!”
The list goes on! However none of these voices, lines or quotes are on show in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. There is a complete absence of Story Mode or any lines of voice throughout the game, with all pre-fight communication delivered as text bubbles, it really saps the player back out of what should be a blissful immersive experience.
There are 20 characters available right now for the game, with no additional players to unlock as it currently stands. For those with my level of nostalgia, you’ll feel some of the omissions you’d love to see.
We have Helga from Hey Arnold, but no Arnold or Gerald. There’s Reptar from Rugrats, but no Tommy or Chucky. There’s Oblina from Arrgghh Real Monsters, but no Ickis or Krumm. In fact, there’s no Rocko’s Modern Life or Doug at all. Unfortunately after a little researching Doug is an obvious one as Disney have now bought the rights to the show, yet it still feels a blow. There is always a possibility that voice work and extra modes could be added via DLC later, it’s just a shame it’s not on show for the finished product right now.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl despite these shortcomings and slightly odd omissions is a truly captivating game. It oozes with fun and begs to be played with friends and family. I truly hope this game receives the attention and credit it deserves. With an eager eye over the year ahead, I hope we get to see a franchise and game experience that thrives and expands further. More characters, more levels, more music, and this game will truly make it to the big time!
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl from the Playstation Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.