Review – Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

You can say a lot of things about GameMill’s recent output of licensed games, but when it comes to their Nickelodeon titles, they usually improve upon their predecessors based on carefully listening to fan feedback. Nickelodeon Kart Racers was crap, but its sequel fixed pretty much every single complaint, becoming a shockingly competent Mario Kart competitor. The same can now be said about Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. It was an ambitious Super Smash Bros clone with a neat premise (Smash Bros with Nicktoons), but hindered by jank, balancing issues, and an overall “low budget” vibe. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 answers most of these issues, becoming – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – what’s proabably the best Super Smash Bros clone of all time.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 Donatello

You are indeed looking at a mutated reptile injuring an elderly woman without remorse. And this isn’t even rated M.

I liked the original Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, but there were loads of problems with it. Mechanically speaking, it had some neat ideas, but its combat system was plagued by the idiotic decision of having a dedicated jump button, instead of the approach used by Smash Bros and literally every other fighting game in existence (pressing up on the D-pad or analog stick). It had some cheap animations, a lack of interesting modes, and most notably, it did NOT feature the original voice actors reprising their roles, making it feel almost like a cheap fan project.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 doesn’t feel like that. For starters, this game feels a lot more polished. The presentation, the amount of content, the sole fact there is a plot in this damn thing (granted, a clichéd multiverse plot, but a plot nonetheless), Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 feels like what the original should have been, had the developers been given an actual budget two years ago. You can notice this increased level of care right away due to the sheer amount of voice acting stemming from all of the shows’ original actors.


Patrick spitting some philosophical facts.

Granted, its predecessor did add voice acting as an update a few months after its release, but by then, it was too little too late; the player base had dwindled, and it would have been pretty hard to revert some initial impressions. Can’t say the same about Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2. Everybody is delivering great performances, complete with an original script and a story mode that mixes elements from the modes found in Brawl and Ultimate.

Whilst there is a linear path to take at first, this campaign mode acts almost like a roguelike: keep powering yourself up with upgrades and undergo new runs in order to “rescue” fighters being held slave by the Danny Phantom villain. Upgrades can be purchased at a hub, and act like the Spirits from Smash Ultimate. It’s a long mode with a shocking amount of content and lasting value.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 roster

“But hey… where’s Goku?”

The arcade mode has also been revamped with a specific set of fights for each character (more or less akin to how Super Smash Bros Ultimate handles its arcade mode), complete with the inclusion of a bonus stage that acts just like the original “Break the Targets” mode from the original Smash games. There are even some actual boss fights, such as the Flying Dutchman from SpongeBob Squarepants. The unlockables aren’t anything overly interesting (mostly concept art, no new fighters or anything fancy).

Content-wise, I really cannot complain: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 has a ton of modes, stages, and cameos. Its fighter roster isn’t immense, but it’s still pretty good. Whilst I dislike the removal of favorites like Leonardo (duh), Sandy Cheeks, and CatDog, new inclusions like Squidward (complete with a taunt referencing the “fuuuuutuuuuuuuuuuure” line) and Jimmy Neutron do make up for some of these shortcomings. As previously mentioned, they are all fully voiced, adding a lot more charisma to the game, even though, sadly, Nigel Thornberry is not voiced by Tim Curry. Professional impressionist Jim Meskimen gets the job done with honors, though.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 Squidward

Our prayers have been answered. Squidward is now a playable fighter.

As for the mechanics, some new gimmicks have been added. The main one, yet another element taken straight out of Super Smash Bros, is the addition of an “ultimate attack” for each character. You do not need to grab an item or smash a medal, however: fill up a special meter, hold down LT, and press A in order to unleash a hilarious but overpowered attack. SpongeBob will attempt to drive a boat, Squidward will turn into his Handsome self, the Ninja Turtles will hop into their van, and so on. Some additional mechanics, such as dodge rolling and air dodging, have also been added, giving the pro players some extra toys to play with in the game’s robust online modes, rollback netcode, and all that.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 future!

The future!

The controls are still a bit confusing, however. I still haven’t been able to get 100% used to a combat system comprised of a normal attack button, a hold attack button, and a special attack button. Furthermore, the fact you still need to press the Y button in order to jump is just ridiculous at this point. I get that they were trying to come up with a control scheme that wasn’t 100% taken from Super Smash Bros, but the jump button was a dumb feature first introduced in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Did you like that game? No? Well, the jump button is certainly one of the reasons.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 Patrick

Yes, he is holding down the phone in order to unleash a “no, this is Patrick” attack. Brilliant.

Even if the controls are still a bit confusing, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 feels a lot less janky than its predecessor. In fact, it’s a vast improvement over it in basically every single aspect. It looks slightly better, its framerate is a lot smoother, it features more characters and stages, and it’s chock-full of single and multiplayer modes, with endless replayablity and a lot of unlockables. It shocks me to say the following, but the following is true: this is, without a doubt, the best Smash Bros clone ever made, a really entertaining party fighter with enough qualities to stand on its two feet.


Graphics: 7.5

It retains the art style from its predecessor, but with slightly better character models and animations, vastly improved background detail, and a slight bump in performance.

Gameplay: 7.0

New mechanics were added, such as an ultimate attack and air dodges, but relying on a jump button is still an unnecessary hassle.

Sound: 8.5

A ton of voice acting stemming from the original actors of each show. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a lot more charismatic than before because of that.

Fun Factor: 8.5

It builds upon the foundations set by its predecessor, featuring more content, better performance, and just more polish in general. It might possibly be the best Smash clone out in the market, shockingly enough.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 was provided by the publisher.