Have you ever sat around with your friends at the school lunch table and debated which Nickelodeon characters would win in a fight? “Dude, Danny Phantom would kick Invader Zim’s ass! How do you beat up a literal ghost?” Well, even if you’ve never had those kinds of debates before, the answers have arrived. Yes, now there is a new Super Smash Bros.-esque video game out on pretty much every platform imaginable that lets you find out which of your favorite Nickelodeon characters is the superior fighter.
Right off the bat, there are some rather strange selections for the cast of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. Never in my life have I wondered what it would be like to fight Nigel Thornberry of The Wild Thornberrys. But you know what? I’m looking forward to delivering a strong right hook to that smug, orange mustache of his.
But there are also some obvious selections. It was always fairly obvious that Powdered Toast Man from The Ren & Stimpy Show could throw the hands, but now you can really put it to the test. Yes, when I first heard that this game was coming out, I was excited, yet also concerned that it would be too much of a Super Smash Bros. rip-off. But, after giving this game a try, all I can say is that it’s totally awesome.
No, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is not exactly the most sophisticated game out there. The platform fighting dynamics don’t really hold up as well as those of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But, hey, there’s no other game out there where you can pit Helga from Hey Arnold! against one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And while a lot of people out there are complaining about certain aspects of the gameplay and design, I think we should all just feel thankful that this game even exists.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Characters
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl features 20 characters in its initial release, and they’ll surely add more in later updates or purchasable packs. Here’s the game’s roster thus far:
- Oblina (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters)
- Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
- Toph Beifong (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
- CatDog (CatDog)
- Danny Phantom (Danny Phantom)
- Helga Pataki (Hey Arnold!)
- Zim (Invader Zim)
- Korra (The Legend of Korra)
- Lincoln Loud (The Loud House)
- Lucy Loud (The Loud House)
- Ren & Stimpy (The Ren & Stimpy Show)
- Powdered Toast Man (The Ren & Stimpy Show)
- Reptar (Rugrats)
- SpongeBob SquarePants (SpongeBob SquarePants)
- Sandy Cheeks (SpongeBob SquarePants)
- Patrick Star (SpongeBob SquarePants)
- Leonardo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- April O’Neil (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- Nigel Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys)
Initially, the biggest surprises among the cast have to be Powdered Toast Man, who kids born after the early ‘90s will have never heard of, and Nigel Thornberry, who I would imagine to have no fighting prowess whatsoever. It’s also quite strange that only two of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got invited to the part while Donatello and Raphael got the boot. And, being that Korra, Aang, Toph Beifong, and Danny Phantom all come from shows that center around fighting quite a bit, I’d say they have the initial advantage. Zim can probably also hold his own with all of that alien technology he’s got access to.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Levels
Upon the initial release of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, there are 20 playable stages where you can go head-to-head with the other characters in the game. It’s highly likely that new stages will be developed and added to the game in the near future. Here’s where you can play right now:
- Jellyfish Fields (Spongebob SquarePants)
- The Flying Dutchman’s Ship (Spongebob SquarePants)
- Glove World (Spongebob SquarePants)
- Western Air Temple (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
- Omashu (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
- Harmonic Convergence (The Legend of Korra)
- The Loud House (The Loud House)
- Royal Woods Cemetery (The Loud House)
- Rooftop Rumble (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- Sewers Slam (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- Technodrome Takedown (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- Space Madness (The Ren & Stimpy Show)
- Powdered Toast Trouble (The Ren & Stimpy Show)
- Irken Armada Invasion (Invader Zim)
- CatDog’s House (CatDog)
- Showdown at Teeter Totter Gulch (Rugrats)
- Wild Waterfall (The Wild Thornberrys)
- Traffic Jam (Hey Arnold!)
- Ghost Zone (Danny Phantom)
- The Dump (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters)
Out of these levels, my favorites definitely include Omashu, Harmonic Convergence, The Flying Dutchman’s Ship, and Glove World. If you couldn’t tell, two of my favorite Nickelodeon shows of all time are Avatar and SpongeBob. Honestly, all of these stages are pretty unique and fun, so you probably won’t get bored with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl for a long time.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Development
This new Nickelodeon-themed platform fighting game was published by GameMill Entertainment, which has a publishing portfolio including Goosebumps: The Game, Cobra Kai, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, American Ninja Warrior, and other notable titles.
The game was developed by a small Swedish studio by the name of Ludosity, which has proven itself capable of making high-quality platform fighting games. They’re responsible for Slap City, which is a fun fighting game that has some goofy animation but actually has some pretty impressive underlying mechanics. The mechanics in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl are also pretty solid. Are they as good as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? No. Do they interfere with the enjoyability of the game? Also no.
The quality game-playing experience delivered by GameMill and Ludosity as well as the nostalgia that people have for these Nickelodeon characters has allowed Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl to enjoy a high rate of adoption even among Smash purists. While other platform fighting games have failed to even hold a candle to the Smash series, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl does the platform fighting game justice and delivers a whimsical-but-also-intense experience.
While the reception to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has been mostly positive, there have been some complaints from players and critics alike. The whole game sort of feels like an early access game more than it does a finished product. There’s no voice acting. The graphics are pretty subpar, which makes the whole thing feel a little low-budget.
The game also doesn’t feature the option for crossplay, meaning that if your friend is playing on Nintendo Switch and you’re playing on Playstation 5, there’s no way that you can play the game together. You can, however, play online multiplayer on the same system.
The roster of characters also felt incomplete. Of course, they included classics like the three amigos from SpongeBob, but I can’t help feeling like there were some missed opportunities here. I bet that Tito from Rocket Power would be a serious force in the fighting area. Why not throw Vicky from The Fairly OddParents in there while you’re at it? Maybe it’d be a bit taboo to have Angelica from Rugrats fighting full-grown adults, but I truly feel like she could hold her own. Hopefully, there are more characters on the way, but we’ll just have to wait and see.