Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl PS5 Review: Where’s Rocko?

Grab your second favourite Nick toon for a punch up in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl - the next best thing to Smash Bros?

As a ‘Golden Age’ Nickelodeon fan, I’ll have to get my disappointment aired and verify that Rocko’s Modern Life doesn’t feature in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. That’s all I’m dedicating to the best cartoon of all-time; we’d hate for it to derail this PS5 review.

Besides, there are plenty of characters to choose from for ‘mature’ gamers such as myself – Ren & StimpyAaaahh! Real Monsters, and for ‘youngsters’ too – The Loud HouseInvader Zim.

We can save ourselves a paragraph or two by stating that there’s no story here, nor must we complete a background check on those that take part as most are household names. What is Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl? It’s Super Smash Bros. without the roster or extra features.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl PS5 Review

I’m a beat ’em up fan, but I don’t like the Smash Bros. series. Sorry. I’m not going to poo-poo it – it’s perfectly fine if you like it and partake in tournaments and swear it’s the best brawler out there, that’s fine. As I said, it’s not for me.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl PS5 Review - New toons
New toons. Source: PR

It’s quite possibly down to how hectic it is and just not enjoying the fundamental gameplay of jumping all over the place, aiming to get ring outs only for the other person to bounce back unscathed. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is this sort of game, but… it’s fun.

Again, nothing wrong with Nintendo’s benchmark, but I was able to get into this a little better, with a few exceptions to getting the rules and 300-400% damage indicators. Those elements didn’t make sense to me, and I thought the game was glitched.

If You’ve Got It, Taunt It

The controls here are amazingly simple; a button-masher, if you will, with up and down functioning as a modifier of sorts to perform special moves. Though the controls are easy to pick up, as with similar titles, it’s pretty hectic.

Game modes in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl are a little limited and may put off some die-hard fans. The bread and butter online and offline modes are there, as well as a training mode to hone your skills. I played this as a one-player before trying out with the kids, and it was alright. Nothing mind-blowing nor disappointing, but I wouldn’t expect anything exciting in a one-player mode.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl PS5 Review - Toasty
Toasty. Source: PR

You can play through arcade mode and unlock gallery images. As this was on the PS5, the resolution was perfect to put on a USB stick and use as a wallpaper; otherwise, the attention should be on either online play with others or three other friends, if you can rustle them up, on local multiplayer.

Big Air

With a lack of party modes, the focus is on pure brawling, and considering the variety of characters and their traits, it’s an entertaining affair and pretty damn madcap. The controls are responsive, and characters dance around the screen at lightning speed – the overall experience was pretty damn good.

Presentation-wise, the characters and arenas are fantastic and differ significantly, but could have done with a few more environmental elements instead of the weapons you would have seen in the Mario version.

I made that disclaimer at the beginning about Rocko, so we won’t go that route, but I wish we could have seen some of the main characters for franchises. While Reptar is a go-to character from Rugrats, it would have been nice to have played as Tommy or Chuckie. Likewise, Ren and Stimpy separate as opposed together (but I’m only whinging as I’m a fan). There are 20 characters to pick from with DLC to be announced at some point. Fingers crossed.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl PS5 Review - Ghostly
Ghostly. Source: PR

Something Sounds Different

But the real beef with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a superficial one: the audio. There aren’t any official themes or voices in the game. I’m one of the first people to agree that hearing the same whiny voices every time you perform a move is annoying, but there are so many standout characters here, I feel Ludosity missed out a little – or was it Nick? It would have been great to have official tunes for character stages, but instead, it’s a track ‘in the style of’.

Not many features, lack of licensed voice acting/tunes (and no Rocko – sorry), those are the parts I didn’t like. As for the gameplay, it’s been lots of fun. I couldn’t comment on the online element as I didn’t cover that, and considering the amount of Smash pros out there, it won’t take long for newcomers to master Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.

But, is Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl worth it? In terms of gameplay – that is, a brawler firmly in the style of said Mario title? Then yes, it’s a good alternative – addition. You’ll most likely find that your favourite character isn’t here, i.e. only two ninja turtles, no Arnold from Hey, Arnold!, but SpongeBob and Patrick are on the roster – arguably the biggest stars. Still, they have nothing on Powdered Toastman.

New characters and features will make this a standout. At the moment, I wouldn’t say this is an essential title, but it was a surprise hit in this household, and again, that’s coming from someone not into Smash Bros.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl PS5 Review - Sandy shores
Sandy shores. Source: PR
If you share this, I'll love you forever (ish)