There’s only one place Helga Pataki can take on two generations of Avatar and the Powdered Toast Man and still win, and that is Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl: a fast-paced battle royale where passive-aggressive jabs count as movesets and a walking sponge can beat the everliving crap out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Development began over at Ludosity and Fair Play Labs early last year and now we finally have a release date. The game comes out on multiple platforms, but only the Nintendo eShop made significant changes to its online listing; according to the update, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl hits shelves on October 5. Since video games typically release concurrently, it’s safe to say the number remains the same for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
The Nintendo eShop shared cover art and high-definition screenshots for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl recently; only thirteen characters grace the cover. Reports indicate there are, in fact, twenty overall, each taken from disparate points across the Nickelodeon multiverse. From the butt-kicking end, fans can expect Aang and Korra from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, Leonardo and Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Reptar from Rugrats, Danny Fenton from Danny Phantom, Powdered Toast Man from The Ren & Stimpy Show, Zim from Invader Zim, and Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob Squarepants. Well-meaning civilians include Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold!, Oblina from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, CatDog, Lincoln and Lucy Loud from The Loud House, SpongeBob and Patrick Star from SpongeBob Squarepants, April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nigel Thornberry from The Wild Thornberrys, and Ren and Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show. It’s unknown if unlockable playables are available.
Marvel at the cover artwork for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl below:
Since the first Super Smash Bros. released at the turn of the century, there have been numerous attempts at replicating the game’s time-tested mechanics. Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl certainly isn’t the first. In 2009, Sony created SuperBot Entertainment for the sole purpose of developing PlayStation’s console-ready version of Super Smash Bros., featuring mainstays from a handful of PS exclusive franchises. The result was 2012’s PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a Bluepoint Games collab with the likes of Kratos (God of War), Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal), Isaac Clarke (Dead Space), Cole MacGrath (Infamous), and Heihachi Mishima (Tekken) as playables.
Much like Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl today, it seemed like a winning combo initially; the PlayStation, after all, has some of the most dedicated fandoms in video game history and each PS exclusive has endured the tests of time in ways many Nintendo frontrunners have not. Plus, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale not only plumed an impressive lineup, it also offered next-gen, high-definition visuals impossible for any Nintendo platform of the same era.
And yet the game floundered in sales and was criticized for limited content. Super Smash Bros. was the sort of arena experience that gave more than it took, and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale tried to master both serious combat gameplay and characteristic Nintendo silliness, and only fell flat on its face. It was an attempt — but that’s all it was. Imagine if Naughty Dog had made PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as planned. Perhaps we would have gotten Super Smash Bros. with 3D open world capability and the Drakes’ level of manual dexterity. The maps would have rivaled Nintendo’s self-moving platforms, easily. Here’s to hoping Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl manages to sidestep the same disadvantages.
What with the processing and graphical power of newer generation platforms, the game already has everything going for it. Couple that with the charming melange of characters and locations Nickelodeon already has at its disposal, the media conglomerate’s All-Star Brawl may finally deliver a complementary battle royale experience without any of the copycat machinations that held PlayStation All-Stars back. Sometimes the attempt at mimicry fails when a game seeks to do everything only to arrive at nothing; Sony wanted a duplicate and it backfired. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl looks virtually identical to Super Smash Bros. already, so it all comes down to execution and impact, both of which Sony failed at.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl comes out on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 5.