New gameplay for Nickelodeon All Star Brawl has shown that the game’s got legs, with a deep combat system that’s not content to just ape the popular Smash Bros series.
In a new gameplay breakdown posted by IGN, Ludosity’s Thaddeus Crews broke down the basic system mechanics for Nickelodeon All Star Brawl, explaining all the different decisions you’d have to make interacting with other players in a match.
Of course at its core, Nickelodeon All Star Brawl shares a lot with the premier platform fighter. Instead of health characters have percentages, which dictate how far they’ll fly on hit. Unlike Playstation All Star Battle Royale, this means points will be scored entirely by ring-out, with no option to kill them via regular damage.
The game also won’t be using motion inputs, instead using tilt inputs. (meaning forward+punch, or down + punch, instead of down-forward-punch). One exception that we know of right now is Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants, who will have a special 360 input for his command grab as confirmed by the developers on their Discord channel. It will still have a tilt-input function, but doing the full motion will grant him armor on startup.
The final similarity is in the ruleset itself, with players being given multiple “stocks” per match. Considering how easy it is to accidentally fall, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want it to be over in one.
Thinking About Your Offense
However, that was pretty much where the similarities end. As Thaddeus Crews explained, the biggest difference is in the buttons. Unlike Smash, Nickelodeon All Star Brawl will have three attack buttons, consisting of a light, strong and special attack buttons. These will have up, down and middle tilts, with interesting interactions between them for Strong Attacks.
According to Crews, Down attacks will beat mid attacks, staggering the player who loses the interaction. Similarly, mid attacks can beat up attacks, turning the player around. Up attacks will beat down attacks, causing a spin out, which behaves like a much longer stagger. This rock-paper-scissors approach means it’s no longer about who has the faster strong attacks anymore, and players will want to be making more informed decisions if they wanna win the interactions.
Characters will also have dash attacks, being able to do a dashing light or dashing heavy attack. One great reason to do these, though- they’re cancellable into any move, making them great for starting off your offense.
Grabs function largely the same way that they do in Smash, with an exception- projectiles can be grabbed out of the air now, hurling them back at your opponent. You’ll want to do these if your opponent tries to zone you out, so it’ll be good to practice the timing on them. You’ll also have air throws, so once again it’ll really boil down to your moment-to-moment decision making since any interaction with your opponent has the potential to cost you your turn on offense.
Speaking of, you can also reflect projectiles back, with the potency of the projectile increasing with every reflection.
Be Just Or Be Dead
Nickelodeon All Star Brawl is also going to feature more robust defensive actions, by adding indefinite blocking. Unlike Smash where you have a bubble that shrinks after every hit, All Star Brawl lets you hold down the block button for as long as you want, but at a cost- each hit knocks you back, so holding the button for too long can send you over the edge eventually.
There’s two tools you can use to better your defense here, however- the first is timing your block. You get a flash when you do, reducing knockback from blocking. You can also do a directional input as you block, and if it matches your opponent’s input (plus the timing), you get a Perfect Block. Here you won’t be pushed back, and will recover faster from the blockstun to let you start up your offense again.
Like any platform fighter, you can turn your character around to face either direction. However, Crews revealed that the game will have an additional feature- to lock your character’s facing direction by holding down a button. This will make it so characters will run backwards instead of running away, letting them do moves while putting distance between them and other players.
Possibly the most anticipated feature in the game, All Star Brawl will let you dash through the air with 8-directional airdashes. These have no invulnerability, but the downwards dashes are much faster and doing them into the ground carries your momentum
This lets you both Wavedash and Waveland, a high-level technique absolutely adored by the Smash community. These can also be canceled into attacks, so it’s gonna be a big part of the game’s mobility since you’ll move quite a bit faster than you do on the ground, especially if you’re playing heavier characters.
All in all, it looks like there’s going to be a lot to look forward to with Nickelodeon All Star Brawl. It looks like a game with a relatively low skill floor, meaning it’ll be great for people who just wanna see their favorite Nickelodeon characters. But on top of that, it looks like the team at Ludosity have really put their heart and soul into making a game with deep combat, which only makes me hope we get a scene for the game going even more.