Two years ago, Fair Play Labs and Ludosity brought us Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, a decent platform fighting game featuring Nickelodeon characters. Now, with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2, the studios aim to fulfill the game’s potential. While some improvements, like a unique control scheme and a new slime meter mechanic, enhance the experience, there are still notable flaws and perplexing roster choices that prevent the game from reaching its full potential.
Gameplay and Controls:
Nick Brawl 2 retains the innovative control scheme from its predecessor, offering a fresh take on platform fighters. Movement, shields, and throws follow standard conventions, but attacking introduces a unique system with three main attack buttons for light, charge, and special attacks. This separation allows for easier combo execution and adds extra moves for each character. The inclusion of a dedicated jump button and the new slime meter mechanic, similar to EX bars in other fighting games, contribute to the game’s distinct feel.
The slime meter adds a layer of strategy, providing options for enhancing attacks, canceling moves, and executing powerful super moves. While not entirely new to the genre, the implementation of EX moves and versatile meter-focused mechanics adds depth and experimentation to each character’s playstyle, enhancing the overall fun in every match.
Roster and Character Design:
The roster choices in Nick Brawl 2 are a mixed bag. While the inclusion of 25 fighters, with 14 returning and 11 newcomers, brings variety, some choices raise eyebrows. The absence of certain characters from the previous game is disappointing, with no apparent logic behind the exclusions. The addition of new characters like Plankton in a giant mech brings humor, but some, like Hey Arnold’s Grandma Gertie, feel out of place, especially without the title character Arnold.
Character cuts from the previous game add to the frustration, as 11 fighters are left out. The reasoning behind these cuts seems arbitrary, and the presence of cut characters in non-playable roles feels like a missed opportunity. However, those who made the cut receive considerable reworking, making each fighter feel fresh and enjoyable.
Nick Brawl 2 introduces an improved single-player experience with a variety of modes. Arcade mode allows some opponent choices, adding a bit of customization to the usual progression. The campaign mode, featuring roguelite elements, stands out as a major improvement. Mixing elements from various single-player modes in other fighting games, the campaign offers brainwashed characters, platforming sections, and checkpoints with unique interactions. The roguelite structure adds replayability, and the inclusion of voices for every character enhances the overall experience.
Despite these positives, the platforming sections in the campaign prove to be a significant downside. The mechanics that work well in battles become frustrating during pure platforming challenges, with sluggish jumping, imprecise ledge grabs, and strange hit boxes creating a less enjoyable experience.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a step forward from its predecessor, featuring a solid fighting system, engaging new mechanics, and a diverse roster of characters. However, the game is not without its setbacks, including awkward platforming levels, questionable roster choices, and missed opportunities for fan-favorite characters. While the improvements contribute to an overall enjoyable experience, there’s still untapped potential that leaves the game short of reaching its full greatness.