Two years in the past, Honest Play Labs and Ludosity entered the platform combating sport ring with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. The sport was respectable sufficient, nevertheless it was clear that the core “Smash Bros. with Nickelodeon characters” thought had extra to supply than what was delivered. Now, with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2, the 2 studios try to comprehend that potential.. Nonetheless, whereas some welcome changes have been made, there are a number of vital flaws–and some mind-boggling subtractions–that as soon as once more preserve the complete potential of this concept out of attain.
Probably the most notable enchancment Nick Brawl 2 makes over different platform fighters is its management scheme, which carries over from the earlier sport and but nonetheless feels genuinely revolutionary. Character motion, shields, and throws are all customary fare: You progress your character with the stick, press a shoulder button to seize for a throw, and press a special shoulder button to convey up shields or dodge opponents’ strikes.
Attacking, then again, makes use of a management scheme fairly totally different from what you would possibly anticipate from a platform fighter. Every character has three major assault buttons–light assault, cost assault, and particular attack–and every button makes use of a special transfer if the joystick is held in a sure course. Cost assaults in most different platform fighters have shared a button with mild assaults, however Nick Brawl 2 separates them. It is a sensible enchancment, because it makes for simpler combo execution within the warmth of battle and permits for a number of further strikes for every character. This sport additionally made me recognize leaping with a button as a substitute of tilting the joystick up–by dedicating a button to leaping, utilizing a upward cost assault turns into simpler, as I do not by accident soar as a substitute of attacking. I by no means used the button choice in Smash, however Nick Brawl 2 has made me come round to the thought.
I additionally love the brand new slime meter mechanic, which operates precisely like EX bars in Road Fighter or Mortal Kombat. You accrue three bars of slime whereas combating and may use these to reinforce assaults, cancel strikes, and air sprint. Filling all three bars permits you to unleash a one-time tremendous transfer that hits for large injury. The addition of a meter is not new–Smash Bros. Final did the same–but including EX strikes and meter-focused cancels is new for this format, and it really works effectively. By implementing a meter system that offers every character extra instruments to work with, as a substitute of simply providing a meter with just one operate, there’s extra room for experimentation with every character, and which means extra enjoyable in every match.
Talking of the roster, it is probably the most confounding design selections in all the sport. Nick Brawl 2 incorporates 25 fighters–the similar quantity because the earlier sport as soon as all downloadable content material had been released–with 14 fighters coming back from Nick Brawl 1 and the remaining 11 making their franchise debut. A few of the new additions are deserved–Plankton commandeering an enormous mech model of himself is hilarious–but others like Hey Arnold’s Grandma Gertie do not match as effectively, particularly when, like in Gertie’s case, the title character Arnold is not right here.
Nonetheless, when you’re following the mathematics, you will discover that this implies 11 fighters from the earlier sport have been ignored. A few of them aren’t big losses–few individuals are going to cry over the lack of Oblina from Aahhh! Actual Monsters or Sandy the Squirrel from SpongeBob–but others left me scratching my head. It is cool that TMNT’s Donatello and Raphael be a part of the struggle this time, however why did that come on the expense of Michaelangelo and, extra importantly, the staff chief Leonardo? Lucy Loud from the Loud Home returns, however Lincoln Loud is left by the wayside. There is not any obvious logic behind these roster cuts, and gamers who used these characters are going to be left within the lurch.
What’s worse, a handful of the reduce characters seem in Nick Brawl 2 in some capability, which rubs salt within the wound of their exclusion. Shredder has been restricted to a non-playable boss character. Hugh Neutron now seems within the marketing campaign mode providing free objects to the participant, together with his combating days seemingly over in favor of his son, Jimmy. The aforementioned Lincoln Loud will be seen within the background of The Loud Home stage–in his idle animation from the final sport, no much less.
Fortunately, regardless of the bizarre make-up of the roster, each fighter has loads to supply. Every of the 14 returning fighters have been significantly reworked, to the purpose the place they really feel like new fighters in their very own proper. April O’Neil and Korra really feel notably sturdy on this sport due to some highly effective cost assaults and versatile mobility choices. The brand new characters have a variety of enjoyable and distinctive movesets to discover as effectively; I am notably keen on the Offended Beavers and their Ice-Climbers-esque two-in-one method. Whereas I could have issues with how the roster was concocted, I am unable to deny that those that made the reduce have actually enjoyable designs.
The roster selections could also be questionable, however the accessible modes in Nick Brawl 2 are a serious enchancment from its predecessor due to a deeper single-player expertise. Some platform fighter requirements like native and on-line versus battles, staff battles, and coaching modes return, however the single-player choices are much more strong. The arcade mode is the standard collection of battles in succession, however you are supplied opponent selections in some phases versus merely following a linear path. The alternatives do not add a lot, admittedly, however I like that I can select.
The all-new marketing campaign mode, in the meantime, follows a construction just like the arcade mode, however with a number of additions. For every run, the marketing campaign takes components from all through Smash Bros’ single-player historical past and mixes them right into a fantastic gumbo; there are brainwashed characters that grow to be playable after they’re defeated like in Final’s World Of Mild, platforming sections like Brawl’s The Subspace Emissary and Melee’s Journey mode, and checkpoints the place characters like Mrs. Puff, the Cabbage Salesman, and the aforementioned Hugh Neutron provide objects and power-ups.
What’s extra, versus the earlier sport, which launched with no voices, each character on this sport is voiced, with the bulk being carried out by their unique voice actor. Some even have distinctive dialogue when controlling sure characters: Mrs. Puff will get nervous round SpongeBob, Hugh goes full dad mode when Jimmy’s round, and many others. The hub world between runs has a number of alternatives for distinctive interactions as effectively, with Grasp Splinter giving the turtles and April particular recommendation, for instance. The voices aren’t all the time a boon, although; typically skipping dialogue would not cease enjoying it, which ends up in Hugh Neutron speaking about geese and his son on the similar time, amongst different bizarre moments.
Better of all, this marketing campaign additionally contains an attention-grabbing twist: It is a roguelite. You select a personality when leaving the hub to start out a hub and should keep alive so long as doable by way of a number of paths–with injury carrying over from bout to bout–before it will definitely culminates within the remaining battle towards the primary boss, Vlad Plasmius. Finishing phases can unlock new characters by defeating them, and also you earn currencies that can be utilized to unlock further power-up slots, buy one-time buffs for that run, and extra. Some NPCs maintain particular buffs, and visiting them a number of occasions can stage up a selected buff you could be keen on. I by no means pictured combating video games and roguelite components becoming collectively, however Nick Brawl 2 makes it work in addition to including chocolate to exploit.
This method is just not completely with out concern, although, as some elements of the marketing campaign work higher than others. The paths by way of every part of a run aren’t all the time clear, so whereas planning a route, I typically acquired combined up and ended up going a special approach, which precipitated me to overlook a particular character battle or merchandise service provider in consequence. The boss fights are fantastic; whereas some provide extra problem than others–the Flying Dutchman, particularly, is deviously tough–none of them transfer the needle by way of new and thrilling bosses. Many of the fights encompass a fighter spamming fast assaults, dodging a boss’s assault, after which persevering with to spam till the boss dies. They are not all that thrilling, which is unlucky.
The worst a part of the marketing campaign, by a substantial margin, is the platforming sections. Whereas the platforming mechanics work in battles, they don’t translate effectively into pure platforming sections. Sluggish, gradual leaping is met with imprecise ledge grabs and unusual hit packing containers on obstacles to create a maddening expertise throughout each platforming problem. I do recognize that falling right into a pit right here solely ends in taking some injury, however after I fall so many occasions that I enter the following battle with 800 injury and just one inventory left, I am much less hesitant to be grateful. Finally, I started particularly planning my routes so I might keep away from platforming phases, relatively than specializing in the routes I genuinely needed to take.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a marked enchancment over the earlier sport, with a strong combating system, enjoyable new methods to play, and a assorted roster of characters from all through Nickelodeon’s historical past. Every enchancment comes with a catch, nevertheless, as funky platforming ranges in marketing campaign mode, bizarre roster selections, and extra proceed to carry the sport again from its full potential.