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Nickelodeon Cartoons Are Getting Their Own Smash Bros. With Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Everybody wants in on Nintendo’s massive crossover fighting game Super Smash Bros., but with only one more character addition planned for its current edition, the door is closing on that possibility—not to mention that, at least so far, it’s only open to characters who hail specifically from video games in the first place. So what is everyone else to do? Make their own, as Nickelodeon seems to have done with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.

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The game was announced today alongside the official trailer (above), and the similarity to Smash Bros. is noticeable right off the bat, with characters moving more freely about stage platforms than in most fighting games and being launched to their death either by falling to the bottom or hitting the sides of the screen.

Smash copycats like this have become so popular in recent years that “platform fighting game” has emerged as a new genre in itself—a rare feat for any game to achieve. Nickelodeon’s offering isn’t even the first one to include “Brawl” in its title (Brawlout and Brawlhalla come to mind), which was notably the subtitle of the official Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Wii and seems to have become somewhat synonymous with the genre.

It’s difficult to tell if Nickelodeon’s version will offer any major twists on the format—with the trailer showing pretty much only some fairly straightforward Smash-like antics, without even anything like items to mix things up—but we’ll have to wait and see as development progresses. As for characters, generally the selling point of a game like this, All-Star Brawl looks to include fighters from all eras and segments of Nickelodeon’s cartoons, from Ren and Stimpy’s Powdered Toast Man and Rugrats’ Reptar to Spongebob Squarepants, Invader Zim, Danny Phantom, and … the Ninja Turtles?

Here’s the full list of known fighters so far (via IGN):

Nigel Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys)
Powdered Toast Man (Ren & Stimpy)
SpongeBob SquarePants (SpongeBob SquarePants)
Sandy Cheeks (SpongeBob SquarePants)
Patrick Star (SpongeBob SquarePants)
Oblina (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters)
Lucy Loud (The Loud House)
Lincoln Loud (The Loud House)
Helga (Hey Arnold!)
Reptar (Rugrats)
Zim (Invader Zim)
Danny Phantom (Danny Phantom)
Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Leonardo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Sticking the Turtles in there just because Nickelodeon owns them feels a bit reminiscent of the new Space Jam to me, where Warner Bros. has mashed together a number of properties they have the rights to, whether or not they really feel like part of the same brand, but I can’t complain. Incidentally, the Ninja Turtles already got their own Smash-like game years ago, in the form of 2009’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up, which was developed, in part, by people who had worked on Smash Bros. Brawl.

Personally, despite the knee-jerk reaction many people may have to write something like this off as a “Smash ripoff,” I’m excited for it. The genre has already spawned popular titles like Slap City, Rivals of Aether, and even the Cartoon Network-based game Punch Time Explosion. I have plenty of nostalgia for a lot of these characters just like I do Nintendo’s, and I may be a bit biased, since Smash Bros. is easily my favorite multiplayer-focused game, but the gameplay style just lends itself to accessible fun with those characters in the way a lot of traditional fighting games emphatically do not.

That’s probably why there’s such an active modding scene around it, which has already demonstrated the fun of adding well-known cartoon characters to the formula:

Nickelodeon’s take on the genre has already spawned its own memes about character additions, too, with Jimmy Neutron trending on Twitter:

My one reservation is that a lot of platform fighters don’t achieve the same level of polish that really makes Smash Bros. feel so satisfying to play, which is easily noticeable to players of all skill levels and one of the reasons Smash has remained so popular as the unchallenged ruler of its genre. If this game can rise above that and feel like more than a cheap imitation to play, I’m in.

(featured image: Nickelodeon)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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