Thanks to a detailed developer walkthrough, we now know how fights will play out in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.
Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl shocked the world when it debuted back in July. The Smash Bros-style platform fighter pits some of our favorite childhood characters against each other in an all-out brawl. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob, and more enter the battle for after-school supremacy, and four new gameplay videos have given us a glimpse of what to expect. Let's take a look at all four and see what we can glean right now.
Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl: Breaking Down The Action
This six-minute video breaks down the core mechanics of Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl, and Smash Bros fans will feel right at home with what they see. The main objective is to ring out your opponent, forcing them to the sides, top, or bottom of the screen. A damage percentage determines how far a character is knocked back after attacks; the higher the percentage, the more a foe is knocked back.
The attack structure of Nick Brawl is also very similar to Smash Bros, just with different terminology. Normals and what Smash players call "tilts'' are called "light attacks," "Smash" attacks are called "strong attacks," and character-specific attacks are also called Specials. Characters can still grab, dash, and jump twice to get around.
Nick Brawl's Unique Mechanics
Where Nick Brawl starts to set itself apart is in its attack collision system, a rock-paper-scissors mechanic for when strong attacks collide. As the gameplay breakdown above describes it:
- A down strong attack beats a mid strong attack, causing a stagger
- A mid strong attack beats an up strong attack, causing the up attacker to turn around
- A up strong attack beats a down strong attack, causing the down attacker to spin and fall
That's just one of the game's interesting changes to the Smash Bros format. Grabs can now be performed in-air and on the ground, and the grabbing player has full movement while holding the opponent. Grabs can also affect projectiles, allowing the target of a projectile move to turn the tables. Players can also reflect projectiles with strong attacks, enhancing their power with every successful reflect.
A change that seems small but could prove game-changing is the addition of a strafe button. By holding the strafe button down--left trigger on most controllers--the character is prevented from turning around. This means that while the character can't attack behind them, they can perform retreating attacks while trying to create distance. Imagine how Terry, Kazuya, Ryu, and Ken act in one-on-one matches, and that's how this button works.
When put together, these mechanics changes should create a gameplay experience that stands apart from Nick Brawl's smashing inspiration. Grabs seem to be much more useful, projectile spamming can easily be countered, and the rock-paper-scissors mechanic adds a new level of strategy to the neutral game. Nick Brawl may just change enough to be a whole new experience.
Three Full Matches Ripe For Analysis
The new information also came with three full matches showing off these new mechanics in action, while also highlighting an early disappointment: the lack of voice acting.
Match 1 is April O'Neil, one of Nick Brawl's newest entrants, taking on the patriarch of The Wild Thornberrys, Nigel Thornberry. This is a fairly short affair where April dominates her explorer adversary with relative ease. The match showcases a lot of April's moveset--namely her reporter-themed moveset complete with boom mics and cameras aplenty. Nigel does get a bit of offense in, leaning a lot of the new throw mechanics, but ultimately ends up losing to the raging reporter.
Match 2 sees the other newly announced character CatDog squaring off against Lucy Loud. Again we see a new cast member run away with victory as CatDog bounces around the stage. The two-headed titan also shows off Nick Brawl's wavedash mechanic, which looks as crisp as it did back in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Lucy Loud, we hardly knew ye.
The final match is a four-way tussle with Spongebob, Patrick, April O'Neil, and Leonardo from TMNT. The party aspect of the game shines as the four combatants wage war, with the final two fighters being Spongebob and April. Oh, and even though leaks have essentially confirmed the franchise's inclusion, it's nice to see a stage from Avatar: The Last Airbender's universe.
Between the new mechanics and fully unique case, Nick Brawl could be a major contender to Super Smash Bros' throne. The lack of voice acting furrows our collective brows--we're hoping it's a temporary exclusion--but the on-screen action definitely piques the interest enough to make up for it. Will it be enough to make a dent in the FGC, or even earn a spot at Evo 2022? We'll see when Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl drops nostalgia slime on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC this fall.