Friday, July 28, 2023

Here’s What’s New In 'Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2'

A bigger roster, cross-play, and much more

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 logo
Image: Ludosity, Fair Play Labs/GameMill Entertainment

Beloved characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and other enduring Nickelodeon shows will square off, platform-fighter style, in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 later this year. The sequel to Fair Play Labs and Ludosity’s 2021’s Super Smash Bros.-inspired fighting game promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 will improve on the original game with voice acting for all of its characters, cross-play on all platforms, and a visual overhaul, according to publisher GameMill Entertainment. New characters Squidward Tentacles, Jimmy Neutron, and still-to-be-announced additions will further flesh out the roster. There’s something for solo players too: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 will include a roguelike story campaign and a bunch of minigames to keep players busy.

For some insight into what else is new in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2, Polygon spoke with Fair Play Labs studio director Diego Rodriguez via email. Read on for their conversation.

Polygon: Can you talk about what’s new here from a core gameplay perspective? What do you think will surprise players about the change from Brawl to Brawl 2, in terms of updated mechanics?

Rodriguez: This is actually a difficult question to answer because this is an entirely new game! We’ve changed almost every aspect of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 1 in small to big ways and we hope all of them come as a good surprise for players, but to list a few of the changes:

  • We’ve completely redone how movement works by changing to analog inputs compared to digital inputs from the first game, meaning things feel smoother and more responsive when moving around… which opens up a whole new world in terms of gameplay and strategy.
  • We’ve also added more options like horizontal attacks, defensive rolls and dodges.
  • We added something that is not very common to the platform fighters — a meter mechanic. This introduces a more in-depth system to the game in general. Using this meter you can modify attacks, do ultimates, boost damage, slime cancel and much more unique stuff!
  • Finally, something that stands out compared to the first game is the character design. On NASB 2 we put a lot of effort into making each character feel unique so we can cater to different types of gameplay.

Any favorite Supers you can share, just as a taste of what’s to come?

Honestly all of the Ultimate attacks are really cool. I really love Jimmy’s and April’s but my favorite is Zim just because I’m a HUGE Zim fan! Prepare for doom through the ultimate tool of destruction… minimoose!

I hope everyone looks at the move of their favorite characters and thinks, “Wow, that’s cool!”

SpongeBob Squarepants gives a double thumbs up in a screenshot from Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2
Image: Ludosity, Fair Play Labs/GameMill Entertainment

What was your approach to selecting the roster this time? Any surprises you think fans won’t expect? Anyone NOT returning from the first Brawl?

This is probably one of the hardest decisions we made when we started to design the game — a lot of thought came into it. We looked a lot at the reaction on the roster of the first game, what were the more requested characters by the community and also what we can achieve with the vast list of amazing Nick characters, and of course we had Nick input as well.

There were a lot of options and possibilities, but we had to choose and we are very happy with the final roster.

Surprises? Yes! The funny thing is that from all the lists of possible characters the fans are making, none we have seen have guessed completely right. Just wait a bit and you will know who made it and who didn’t!

What’s your approach to implementing VO? Is it all original or do you sample from Nickelodeon shows?

All VO is recorded exclusively for the game. After the character is designed, animated and integrated, we write down the script for every character. This script includes all moves, general feelings, responses, reactions, campaign and single player lines. We try to use lines from the shows or lines that we think that character could say.

After our first pass of the script, a Nickelodeon writer double checks and adds more lines to the script, after Nickelodeon’s approval it goes into recording.

Can you talk about the roguelike elements of the single-player campaign? Anything you can compare it to so folks have an idea of what to expect?

I don’t think we can directly compare it to anything that is out there, at least not that I know of. Of course, if you are familiar with roguelike games, you will understand right away how the campaign works, but we made quite a few adaptations so it could work with the platform fighter mechanic, since first and foremost, this is a platform fighter.

I don’t want to spoil it too much, but basically we have a main storyline and you start with SpongeBob. As you progress, you unlock characters which you can use in the campaign, and each character has his/her unique story lines. The structure is the same on roguelike games — you progress through a series of battles, and if you lose, you keep some of your progress (characters unlocked, currencies, etc.) and use it to further your progress on your next try until you reach the end. And of course, in the middle we have cool opponents, bosses and other elements unique to the campaign.

One of the bigger complaints players had about NASB was the perceived value for the cost — would you say you’ve taken that to heart for NASB2? Is this a game you plan to support beyond the announced season pass?

Absolutely. We’ve put a lot of care into building a much bigger and more polished experience for NASB 2 and we hope players notice. There are quite a lot of changes and additions, for example: more costumes, better animations, better sound, VO at launch, better netcode, campaign, more gameplay modes, and more! But most of all we hope players have fun playing the game and feel they are getting a great value for it.

All I can say right now is that we are very excited about the season pass!

What were some of the bigger lessons learned in developing the first Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl — and in seeing players’ reactions to it?

There were a lot of lessons from the first game. I think the most important one was to have VO at launch, which we do have this time around. But overall, we learned a lot and tried to apply as much as we could to NASB 2 to make it a great game — down to small gameplay changes, crossplay and online, and how we approach single player content.

Players’ reactions to the first game was incredible. Seeing all the people hyped about the game and enjoying it so much on release was amazing. We are very happy with the reception and all the feedback we got on how to make the game better.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is slated to release later this year for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (via Steam). Find out more here!

Stream a Mountain of Entertainment, including your Nickelodeon favorites on Paramount+! Try it FREE at!

Originally published: July 28, 2023.

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