A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Though the game's roster of fighters includes a wide range of characters from different Nickelodeon properties, they aren't given any sort of plot. Instead, they're just fighting each other for the sake of fighting, with no other rhyme or reason involved.
Positive Role Models
While the line-up of characters run the spectrum and include a lot of heroic characters, the lack of any story or even voiceovers turn them basically into little more than generic fighters with a familiar look.
Ease of Play
Basic controls are simple to pick up and play. Most moves are given specific dedicated buttons and are altered by adding a directional (up, down, or either side). Difficulty can also be adjusted before starting any game mode.
Violence & Scariness
Characters fight each other with a variety of special attacks and weapons, wearing opponents down and knocking them offscreen. The cartoonish nature of the attacks and the lack of any kind of blood or gore does a lot to lessen the impact of the violence on younger audiences.
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Products & Purchases
The game is essentially a massive bit of fan service advertising the various Nickelodeon properties. The current roster features Nickelodeon exclusive characters from the past and present, with even more planned for future release via downloadable content.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is an action fighting game available on the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows based PCs. The game brings together a roster of popular characters from various Nickelodeon franchises, past and present, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. Characters fight against each other in different game modes, using special abilities and weapons in a generally cartoonish fashion, with the goal of knocking opponents off the screen and out of play. With some minor exceptions, the violence tends to be slapstick in nature, and there's no blood or gore. Parents should also note that players are able to play in both local and online multiplayer matches, potentially matching up with strangers online, though without built-in chat features.
Is It Any Good?
Since the early '90s, Nickelodeon's Nicktoons lineup has provided kids (and some adults) with a healthy dose of animated entertainment. Now many of those characters have come together for a cartoon combat crossover in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. The game has a pretty strong roster to choose from, ranging from spotlight stars like SpongeBob SquarePants to classic characters like Ren and Stimpy to oddball side characters such as Reptar, the Godzilla-esque creature (and only base character) from Rugrats. Fans will always have opinions about who should and shouldn't be represented in a game like this, and it also opens up a whole debate on what characters should be added later as extra downloadable content. Unfortunately, even the characters in the base roster are missing something. While they look and move like their cartoon counterparts, there's a glaring omission in the audio department. None of the characters have any sort of voiceovers or even their original theme music. It's a disappointment that could potentially be fixed in a later update and makes the game feel cheaper in its current state.
They say that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." If that's the case, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is heaping loads of flattery on Nintendo's Smash Bros. franchise. That's not a bad thing, as far as gameplay is concerned. Just like Nintendo's juggernaut, the game's easy to pick up and play for players of all skill levels, while still having little nuances that add an extra layer of depth to the gameplay. Each brawler also has its own unique style, but without feeling particularly over or under powered when compared to the rest, making for very balanced match ups. And just like the Smash series, the game's best experienced in frantic local or online matches with friends. That's even more true here, due to the game's lack of any kind of Story mode. In fact, All-Star Brawl is a bit anemic in general when it comes to game modes. The Sport mode is the only real gameplay variant, pitting teams against each other as they try to hit a ball through the opposing team's goal. It's a fun break from the usual free-for-all fare, but it's not enough to make the game feel like a lightweight in terms of overall content.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.