Nostalgia All-Star Bust
- Oct 16, 2021
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Alright, gamers… this is a tough one. I’m a big underdog guy. I love it when another company tries to make a competitor to a game that’s already wildly successful. I love that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl came out.
I’m going to give you absolutely every ounce of my experience possible so that you can make an informed decision to pick up the game or not.
All-Star Brawl was made by GameMill Entertainment who also brought you the bangers of “Big Buck Hunter Arcade” and “Disney Frozen Olaf’s Quest.” Honestly, by looking at the list of games that they’ve put out, I’m truly baffled that All-Star Brawl is as good as it is. And making a game that competes with one of the most successful video game series in history is extremely challenging and ballsy.
In my mind, there’s no way anybody puts out another platform fighter that is better than Smash Bros. and takes the crown. No pro is going to leave that scene for another game… at least not for a while. All GameMIll had to do was make a game that could hang with Smash Bros. I think they did that.
Mechanics – 10/10
This is the shining star of All-Star Brawl. It feels clean. Every action, button mash, wave dash, dodge, and flick feel as they should in a high-quality brawler. Not once in my time playing this game did I notice a glitch, buggy behavior, or anything else that could feel bad to a gamer.
It’s hard to talk about games that feel really good. With this game, you get what you put into it. There’s an extremely high skill ceiling and there’s quite a bit that you can carry over from Smash Bros.
The only issue I’ve had is that the edges of the map feel extremely sharp. In Smash, you can float out of the area of view for quite a bit before you die, but in All-Star Brawl, it feels like as soon as you leave the area of view you lose a stock.
Game Modes – 2/10
The game modes include your normal match, online, sports, and a single-play mode.
The online system is fantastic. You start with a 400 rating and it goes up and down based on the results of the match. When queueing up for games, I was honestly baffled that I found a match so quickly. I expected a loading screen or something… but nope. Right into a match.
Oh my goodness are people good at this game already. I’m a filthy casual that sometimes spams down-B on Kirby until I’m rightfully punished for doing so. People in All-Star Brawl are absolutely cracked. I went into the competitive mode, played 3 matches and got 3-stocked each time. It wasn’t fun for anyone.
There’s also an arcade mode that is like an extremely poor version of the Nintendo 64 Smash Bros single-player campaign. It’s a linear challenge where you face like 5 opponents and then you’re done. No levels with a million different colored Yoshi or bosses or anything. Just random opponents that are just normal characters in the game. It’s non-compelling, lazy, and downright not fun.
This game is at its absolute worst when playing alone.
Characters – 7/10
This game really tried to take that syringe filled with nostalgia and just stab every gamer in the neck with it. If you had any sort of “watching cartoons on Saturday morning” kind of life, then you’re probably happy to see quite a few characters in this game. There are characters from newer shows such as Lincoln Loud from The Loud House, but then there’s a whole lot of nostalgia. Most of the characters are from cartoons that aired in the 1990s and as I am writing this I am realizing that for a significant amount of readers, this isn’t even nostalgia, this is just ancient.
In terms of the gameplay of the characters, each character feels unique enough. Each character has moves that are reminiscent of things that they did in their respective shows. It feels pretty good to Cone Crash into someone as Patrick.
Much like Smash Bros., each character falls into an arch-type of being Heavy, Quick, Balanced, or a character that can control the fight from range. For example, Patrick Star and Reptar are heavies and Aang is an extremely quick character like Fox or Falco from Smash.
One issue with the characters, or I guess the gameplay design, is that when two people pick the same character, there aren’t any alternative colors like there is in Smash Bros. The only indication of who’s character is who’s is a tiny little icon above their head. This makes it difficult to want to pick your main in a competitive game if your opponent already locked them in.
Developers – 10/10
The developers for this game are awesome. They really are what you want out of a development team. They’re responsive, take ideas from the public, and even explain to people why they are unable to do some things. One user on Steam wrote, “Sent a suggestion list to a dev. They responded within 5 minutes with a breakdown of my list, what they liked, what's already being worked on, what won't work (and why) and what they'll bring up to their team. The devs clearly care about the game and the game itself is rock solid.”
Could you imagine if literally any competitive game had developers that were responsive and took suggestions from the people who play the game? WILD. Good on you, GameMill.
Sounds – 0/10
The sounds for this game are horrid. The main menu music is horrible and annoying. The announcer, the only voice in the game, said probably all of his voice lines within two hours of playing the game. And…
THERE ARE NOT ANY VOICE LINES BY ANY CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE GAME.
How can you make a game with some of people’s favorite cartoon characters without a single voice line from any of them? They even actively avoided voice lines and input little text boxes where the characters “talk” to each other before the game, only what they say is completely random and they don’t make and sense to who they are fighting against. It’s just a random attempt to boost the nostalgia levels but reading “No this is Patrick” isn’t the same as hearing the doofus himself say it.
This makes the game so awkwardly quiet that it is unbearable to play without music in the background or friends to talk on Discord with.
Again, I love that this game came out. I love the nostalgia, and I love the gameplay. It really does feel good to play. It’s a quality game.
However, I hate it. I almost never refund games, but I did with this one. It wasn’t worth $40.
That’s just me though. I rarely play fighting games, and maybe the gameplay will outweigh some of the negatives for other people. I just don’t find myself enjoying it.
Now, if you’ve had a different experience, or you have questions about the game, us at Vyrus would love to hear what you have to say. Hit us up on Twitter @VyrusCo.
What do you want to see reviewed next? Drop a comment below and let us know.