A recent gameplay breakdown for Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl highlights a game that is trying to be much more than a Smash Bros clone.
Upcoming platform fighter Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has been receiving all kinds of hype as its release date draws nearer. However, it would be foolish not to address its similarities to other games in this genre, such as Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series and Sony’s Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, along with a handful of indie platform fighters like Brawlhalla and Rivals of Aether.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is chock full of fun callbacks and fan-favorite characters that makes the game stand out in its own right. Classic characters such as Helga from Hey Arnold and Nigel Thornberry from The Wild Thornberries are making their reappearances after being obscured for nearly a decade outside of internet memes. Of course, fan favorites like Spongebob Squarepants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are also joining the fight.
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The similarity to Super Smash Bros. typically categorizes platform fighters. In these games, characters usually have regular and special attacks that they can use in the air or on the ground. The main goal of these games is to knock your opponent off the screen, which either earns the assailant points or costs the victim a life or a stock. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl seems to be implementing the core mechanics of this formula.
Each character has three light and strong attacks, along with three special moves. There are down, up and mid attacks and each character has access to grounded and aerial versions of these attacks. Damage builds up as characters land attacks on their opponents. Use light attacks to stack up damage and strong attacks to knock opponents off the stage. These mechanics are nearly a copy and paste of the Super Smash Bros. recipe.
However, this isn’t to say that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl hasn’t innovated at all. The strong attacks in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl have a rock-paper-scissors formula built into their interactions with other strong attacks. Down beats Mid and causes the disadvantaged player to suffer from “stagger,” immobilizing them for a few seconds. Mid beats Up and causes a “turnaround,” having the opponent’s character flip to look away from their opponent and Up beats Down, inflicting opponents with a “spinout,” causing them to spin out of control and get pushed away/stunned.
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There are also Dash attacks that come in light and strong variations. Although dash attacks are nothing new to this genre, in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, fighters can cancel these attacks into anything, including strong attacks and grabs, which immensely opens up the game’s combo potential. Grabs work differently from what Smash players are used to — every character has a grab similar to Donkey Kong that allows characters to move around the stage while holding their opponent. Characters can throw their opponents in any of the three previously mentioned directions. Characters can even perform grabs in the air.
Guarding has no limits in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. However, being hit into a ledge while guarding will cause the character to “teeter,” canceling their guard and making them vulnerable to a follow-up attack. Guards borrow the concept of perfect guards from their predecessors, allowing characters with good timing/reads to guard attacks and immediately follow up with a counterattack.
Projectiles follow a leveling system that causes them to become more powerful as they get reflected by characters. Instead of having only a handful of characters with the ability to reflect projectiles, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has given the power to all characters who can time their strong attacks well. Projectiles can even be grabbed out of the air by any character.
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Reworked movement allows players to use “strafing,” which enables players to hold down the left trigger to prevent turning. Strafing grants players more control over their attacks and allows the use of retreating attacks. Air dashes are also useable in the game but do not offer any invincibility. Characters can use these dashes for dashing forward or dashing downward, and the latter grants players the ability to wave dash. This term will be familiar to fans of Super Smash Bros Melee on the Nintendo Gamecube.
As the sun begins to set on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s Fighters Pass, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl could be the platform fighting game to dive into next. With these mechanics and confirmed rollback netcode, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl could become one of the most competitive platform fighters to date when it releases in Fall 2021 on PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.
KEEP READING: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl’s Latest News, Analysis and Game Details
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