There aren’t all that many games in the sub-genre of “platform fighters,” but there’s a good reason for that–the genre is absolutely dominated by the 1000-pound gorilla that is Super Smash Bros. Yes, there are other games that look to put their own spin on Smash’s formula, but they don’t have anywhere near the same kind of reach or appeal as Nintendo’s beloved brawler. Enter Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, a game with a roster of nostalgic characters that is very clearly modeling itself on Smash, from the controls to the stage and game formats all the way down to how the interface is designed–but with several elements catering to Smash’s competitive sub-community.
The premise is simple: A bunch of your favorite Nickelodeon characters (from the early ’90s Nicktoons era to the present day) are all, for reasons unclear, trying to blast each other off of various themed levels. This is accomplished the same way as you do in Smash Bros.: smack around an enemy a bunch to get their damage percentage higher and increase their launchability before whacking them with a power move to blow them out-of-bounds. The gameplay will be instantly familiar to Smash players, but newcomers to platform fighters shouldn’t have much of a problem picking up SpongeBob, Reptar, and Korra and doing some cool moves. Every fighter has an array of normal and special attacks on the ground and in the air (including an aerial recovery attack to attempt to save your bacon when launched), along with a throw and shield.
That isn’t to say it’s exactly like Smash, as there are some key changes to set All-Star Brawl apart. One example is in the controls. You have three attack buttons: normal, strong attack, and special attack, along with a dedicated jump button (and no “press up to jump” option). Smash’s “Tilt” moves, where you move the analog stick slightly in one direction and press the normal attack button, are instead remapped to D-pad or analog stick plus normal attack button in All-Star Brawl. This is a very clever way to implement these attacks while reducing the odds of a wrong input, and as someone who frequently overshoots the tilt threshold in Smash, I greatly appreciated it. Also welcome is a dedicated “strafe” button to keep a character facing a specific direction while moving around the arenas. Advanced mechanics familiar to Smash faithful, like wavedashing, perfect guarding, and attack priority, have been deliberately emphasized and expanded upon.
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Source: Game Spot Mashup