Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 by joint developers Fair Play Labs and Ludosity:
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 (The Explanation)
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 arrives on Nintendo Switch and all other major platforms two years after the first game. The second outing in the Nickelodeon series features a variety of changes, updated character rosters, engaging gameplay modes, and more. While the first game kept its distance from Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series of games, the second one borrows heavily from mechanics found in Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch but takes off in new directions to create a unique experience.
Where Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 borrows from Smash Bros. Ultimate is in the basic level design of the arena areas with platforms and moving pieces mimicking stages from the Nintendo franchise. There is also a varied and eclectic roster of characters each with unique special movies, attack styles, weights, and movement speed. From there the game differs in how it approaches the fighting game genre.
The main standout in the game is the slime mechanic which allows you to augment your moves. As you attack and land kicks and punches, you build up your slime meter. By pressing the slime button while also using your special or charge-up move you can extend your moves and deal extra damage. The slime button can also be used to cancel out of the move animation, increase shield durability, roll into a strong attack combo, and other slime attacks.
As mentioned earlier there are various game modes within Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 which include online and local co-op multiplayer battle, a single-player campaign loaded with mini-games, and a story mode. The battles are local 4-player only and can consist of CPU or human controller players as well as teams. Once you select your characters you can adjust their costumes with L and R and then choose a stage to play on. There are a variety of rulesets you can apply to your matches as well from stock, time, items, etc. You can save multiple different rulesets to save for future matches. There are 24 stages initially included with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 it is unclear if there will be more stages unlocked in the future or through paid DLC.
Online play consists of searching for open lobbies or joining friends with a password-protected lobby. You can look for games based on Ranked, 1v1 or 2v2 Quick Play, and Lobbies with up to 12 players on a stage. I did not get to play online in my EXPlay but as I checked in on the lobbies within the first days of the games launch, I noticed several active games. It will be interesting to see how the longevity of the online matches goes in the future and if there is a player base to help keep interest.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 has a unique spin on an included story mode called the Campaign. Within the campaign, you will play through a series of arenas, and mini-games, visit shops to spend your in-game currency, and more. Along the path you may need to choose which route you take and each time you enter into the mode the path changes. Defeating other characters unlocks those fighters within the Campaign which in turn gives you access to new costumes and augments which you can use to match your play style.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 as a total package has a lot to offer. Where the game struggles on the Switch is in the presentation and framerate. While all of the above mentioned in my EXPlay would be more than enough to recommend the game, the Switch performance at the time of review leaves a lot to be desired.
I experienced long load times of 45-60 seconds to jump into a match. While loading into a match the game’s music would stop for a few seconds before reloading and looping. Once playing the game, the characters and stage textures would sometimes appear to pop in or be jagged. Some characters look bad up close whereas other ones seem to have more care taken into their design.
Overall Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a great package and can compete to a degree with games like Smash Bros. Ultimate. But because of the lack of overall polish and drops in framerate, I would recommend waiting until the performance issues are resolved. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 has a great cast of characters and a decent variety of game modes, it’s just a shame the overall package lacks the punch to reach the heights of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 (The Gameplay)
Developers: Fair Play Labs, Ludosity
Publisher: Game Mill
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Fighting, Multiplayer, Party
No. of Players: 1-4 (Single System), 1-12 (Online)
Release Date: NA|EU: November 7, 2023
File Size: 4.8 GB