Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 08.11.2023

Review for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 on Nintendo Switch

Nickelodeon is definitely on a mission to grab that party game audience, what with its third kart racing mash-up and a platform fighting game already out there. Nintendo is the king in that area, of course, and if there is one company to take inspiration from it is the Japanese giant. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is the anticipated sequel to the TV channel fighter, and the Super Smash Bros. influence will be as clear as day to anyone that is familiar with Nintendo's own multiverse brawler. The question is: does this come anywhere close to matching the super successful Mario and co. franchise?

Cutting to the chase, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 comes up short on Nintendo Switch. Running at 30 frames per second isn't ideal for any fighting game, even if this is a party-style platform fighter, but that is the case here, along with poor presentation values that make for an unattractive game. Load times are incredibly long, and navigation outside of battles is very janky and glitchy. The first online match experienced ended in a soft reset being required due to getting stuck on the results menu. The stop-start nature of the arcade and story modes is made all the more frustrating thanks to those 20+ second load screens, and there is a lack of quality control in a number of other areas. This is going to be a big letdown for Switch owners that give it a chance.

If the numerous issues can be overlooked, though, there is a decent Super Smash Bros. clone here. There is no escaping the comparisons to Nintendo's superior fighter, as almost everything from controls, move commands, and stage layouts (even if they are lacking in level design variety) are reminiscent of Smash. The adjustments to basic fighting abilities over the first entry also make for a more Smash-like game, as dodge rolling and midair dodging become possible.

For anyone that isn't accustomed to the ways of Super Smash Bros, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 allows players to select from a host of characters from the Nickelodeon cartoon universe, pitting them in 2D side-scrolling battles on small stages that are based on locations from the TV shows. Rather than some of the more complex move inputs traditional one-on-one fighting games employ, different attacks can be pulled off by combining light, charge and special attack buttons in tandem with analogue directions. A light tilt of the stick as opposed to a hard smash of it while hitting an attack button will produce different moves, just like in Smash Bros.

Battle gameplay is equally similar, whereby there isn't a health bar to deplete for any character. Instead, pummelling an opponent racks up damage; the higher the number, the more prone that combatant is to fly out of bounds from an attack. That is the overall goal of each match, too: smash the enemy off the stage to KO them. Do this enough times until their lives run out or get as many KOs as you can in the time limit to win. In multiplayer matches, though, it is indeed possible to fight under stamina conditions, which may suit those more accustomed to other versus fighting games. Items from across the Nickelodeon franchises can appear mid-match, too, which can offer an advantage to turn the tide of battle.

Screenshot for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 on Nintendo Switch

Beating on your opponents rewards in increments to your slime meter - a Final Smash-like mechanic that allows the character to pull off a powerful and flashy attack once it has built up to its maximum. Be warned, however - the timing can be tricky, so not connecting the move with the opponent will mean a waste of slime, as the bar depletes to zero again. It all sounds very Smash Bros, right?

In a slight difference, though, slime can also be used in conjunction with attacks and shields to deliver a more powerful move or to pull off blocks that reward in a guaranteed chance to counterattack. With slime depleting every time it is used, this adds a quick-thinking strategic element to the fast-paced battles. It makes for some intelligent fights in what otherwise can seem like a frantic mess at times.

Although the core appeal is in multiplayer bouts, there are some single-player modes that include a couple of minigames and an arcade mode. The campaign is the main draw, though, in what is somewhat like an almost-endless arcade mode (or Classic from Smash), except one KO results in defeat, and you are sent back to the hub area to rebuild. Using accumulated points, power-ups and perks can be bought and equipped, with the intent of utilising them to get one step further in the campaign, unlocking more characters to switch to, and ultimately defeating the final boss of the story.

There is voice acting, which helps make a connection to the shows each character is from, although cutscenes are non-existent, so the whole thing isn't all that entertaining. It is a tough mode that solo players that enjoy a challenge will spend a good deal of time in, but it is quite a boring and tedious affair overall, not helped whatsoever by the ridiculous load times in this Switch version - waiting 20 seconds either side of a 10-second stop to purchase a new perk is not a pleasant experience.

It is far, far worse when entering a local multiplayer bout, though. The pre-match load screen lasted over 120 seconds in one example - two minutes of waiting to get into a fight that looked and ran terribly. It will be extremely difficult to look past these troubles on Nintendo Switch, and online crossplay may not be enough to warrant the purchase.

Screenshot for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

A decent Super Smash Bros. clone that clearly improves on the first iteration, but Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is rife with problems on Nintendo Switch. The 30 frames per second gameplay, unbelievable load times, poor presentation, and glitches that force reboots of the game mean this isn't going to be a joyful time unless playing on one of the more powerful systems. Underneath the numerous issues, there is fun to be had here, and crossplay will at least help ensure match-ups when battling online, but it is difficult to recommend this version of the game.

Developer

Fair Play Labs

Publisher

Game Mill

Genre

Fighting

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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