Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

It’s hard to deny that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a clone of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. But then again, that’s also a pretty reductive way of describing it. While it is another platform fighter — which means you have to build up an opponent’s percentile and attempt to knock them off the stage — there are many differences in core systems such as normals, projectiles, and movement.

We’ve gone over some of the major differences so you’ll be ready to get right into the action when Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl launches on October 5.

The Strafe Button

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

The strafe button is probably the biggest difference from Smash Bros. Ever been frustrated because you were just facing the wrong way in the middle of a battle? Well, the strafe button fixes that. Holding strafe prevents your character from turning, allowing you to move backward while facing your opponent. This means you can do retreating attacks on the ground or in the air without memorizing complex button combinations. It also helps ensure you’re facing the right direction while engaging in a footsie war.

Note, however, overuse of the strafing button will make you more vulnerable to ground-based cross-ups.

Tilt Directions

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

In Smash, you can tilt up, tilt down, tilt forward, or hit a button in neutral. In addition, you also get different attacks while dashing, and you get special “back” attacks in the air. This is not the case in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.

Instead, there are only three types of moves: mid, up, and down. Up and down moves come out when you press a button while holding — appropriately enough — up or down. Mid moves come out if you are holding ANY OTHER DIRECTION! This makes it much easier to ensure you get the move you want. Light, Strong, and Special attacks all have these three variations. However, characters also have dashing light and strong attacks, which only happen after you’ve built up enough speed to break out into a run.

Once again, it’s easy to ensure you get the attack you want simply by understanding Nick All-Star’s input system. If you are holding forward or back on the ground, there is a good chance you will get a dash attack. However, if you stop holding the direction, even if you are not moving, you will get your mid attack.

Light and Strong Moves

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Speaking of light and strong moves, Smash only has two attack buttons: normal and special. However, you can get jabs, tilts, smashes, and even command attacks for some characters based on your directional input and timing.

Nick All-Star decouples these moves from each other. Instead, light attacks (analogous to Smash tilts) are on one button while strong attacks (analogous to smashes) are on another. Once again, this is to prevent players from executing the wrong move in the middle of a heated battle.

Strong Move Interactions and Hit States

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Casual Smash players have long mentioned move “priority,” but in actuality most moves in Smash use a a standard fighting game hitbox interaction system. Strong moves in Nick All-Star, however, actually do have a priority system.

Down-strong attacks will always beat mid-strong attacks, and will cause a “stagger,” a small period of vulnerability.

Mid attacks beat up attacks and cause a “turnaround.” It’s the same small period of vulnerability as a stagger; however, it forces your opponent to face the wrong way, making their counterattacks whiff if they don’t take the time to turn around first, or retreat. Yes, this turnaround effect happens even if you are holding the strafe button.

Finally, up beats down and causes a spinout, the most dangerous of the special hit-states. The opponent flips around and then lies dizzy on the floor, giving you ample time for a follow-up. This is a reward for using up attacks in a face-to-face horizontal clash, considering up attacks tend to have small horizontal hit boxes.

Aerial Movement

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Much like in Smash, characters in Nick All-Star get a ground jump and at least one mid-air jump. Instead of an air-dodge, characters get a mid-air dash, which can be done in any direction. You can act immediately after dashing, which makes this more of an offensive move than a defensive one. In Nick All-Star, characters cannot fast fall. Instead, they must air-dash downward to hit the floor quickly after an aerial. Dashing into the floor makes you slide, and this does mean you can use quick jumps and dashes to wave dash.

It’s important to note that there are no actual defensive maneuvers in the air. All you have is your maneuverability and your attacks. This makes defensive specials and counter-specials very valuable.


Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Grabs largely operate the way they do in Smash. They are assigned to their own button and go through blocks. However, once you have grabbed the opponent, things become different.

There are no pummels in Nick All-Star Brawl. Instead, every character can pick up and walk around with grabbed characters, similar to Donkey Kong in Smash. Characters can be thrown up, down, or forward at any time, so yes, you can jump off the stage and throw characters downward to attempt a spike.

It’s also worth noting that you can grab in the air in All-Star Brawl. Combine this with the ability to grab in hit-stun and chain grab combos become a massive part of the game.


Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

While Smash has a positional shield, All-Stars Brawl has a more traditional block. Blocking makes you immune to all attacks except grabs. However, each attack you get hit by causes more and more pushback. If you get pushed back to a ledge, you will enter a temporary vulnerable state called “teeter.” You can be attacked as normal in teeter, making it extremely dangerous to block near a ledge.

There are a few other elements of Smash in the blocking system. For example D.I. persists in the form of directional blocking. Pressing in the direction opposite your pushback will reduce it. In addition, blocking at the exact moment of getting hit will also reduce pushback. Doing both (blocking at the last second while pressing against the direction of pushback) will cause you to parry. Similar to Third Strike parries, you will flash blue and can act immediately, punishing whatever your opponent did.


Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Projectiles are not particularly safe in All-Star Brawl. First of all, they can be grabbed out of mid-air with the grab button. After a projectile is grabbed you can walk around with it, like you can with an opponent, and throw it in the same three directions.

Secondly, they can be reflected. Simply hit a projectile with a normal and it will go flying back to your opponent. Reflected projectiles get stronger and stronger each time they are reflected. Combine these two systems and you can eventually grab a projectile that will deal a killing blow, and fire it off at will.

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