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Review: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl (PS5)By lukezeppo At 14.09.2022 10:36

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Over the years, Nickelodeon (Nick) brought together some fantastic shows that stand the test of time to this day. Clearly the big draw of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is the roster that pulls from these shows. Most are recognisable although a few needed a quick google (other search engines are available) to get a brief character catch up. The big plus is that the range of these characters spans across multiple years of the Nickelodeon franchise. Even when being of the opinion that Helga Potaki was a far superior character to that Spongebob nonsense, the wide spread of characters should bring many to the party. Credit goes to the developers for also giving free character updates at the moment, something Nintendo has always taken issue with. Already Garfield and Shredder have been added at no extra cost. Playability wise, the question remains, is it a party worth attending?

After diving into a battle, the differences are worlds apart between this and its more popular inspiration. Characters all feel different enough with special care taken to ensure a character's playstyle and moves represent exactly how they would approach a scrap, but every contact feels lacklustre and lacking the necessary impact. Character movement also feels floaty and less precise than needed. Admittedly this has had years to be perfected by the folks in Nintendo central but even so, it's very apparent if familiar with other titles in the genre.

Mode wise, everything that would be expected is available with arcade, VS and online modes as well as the usual training facilities. With no discernible slowdown when flooding the screen in the party, fighting local matches of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl still does exactly what it says on the tin by providing some short-sharp fun. Even then however, in the midst of some chaotic action, something feels missing.

In the end, the problems outside of preferences in control all come down to presentation. A lot of the gripes in play could be forgiven if this went for a style over substance approach, providing a nostalgic trip through a 30 somethings childhood while attracting new fans with the different TV shows they get nowadays. Unfortunately, due to what can only be assumed is licensing issues and possibly time constraints, this title never quite reaches its lofty ambitions.

Stages are fantastically detailed, invoking the spirit of the shows they were based on as well as providing some rather deep cuts for the biggest fans (pretty sure that was Mondo Gecko skateboarding through the sewer). With the lack of any kind of voice acting however, most battles feel hollow and empty, music also is incredibly forgettable and this reviewer did have to boot back up to check if there was any at all.

Hopefully these issues will be addressed in the future to improve the experience as it really feels something that small would be a massive benefit. Attention also needs to be paid to improving interactions between characters, the same dialogue is used over and over with very little person specific comments.

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Final Score
[i]Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl[/i] is, well, fine. It will provide a good few hours of harmless fun and raise more than a few smiles in the nostalgia sector of the cortex as Reptar beats on April O'Neil. Underneath that initial sheen however is nothing of real interest. Thankfully, support seems to be very much active and maybe the initial issues will be focused on to provide a more well-rounded, in-depth experience. For now, though, the shadow of its inspiration looms heavy and ensures that this will not be challenging for any place in the top tier of party'esque fighters for some time.



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