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Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a deceptively serious fighting game

Seemingly out of left-field. Nickelodeon announced a new Super Smash Bros-like fighting game Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl. The surprise announcement immediately caught the eye of Smash Bros. Twitter, which exploded with reactions.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl - Official Announcement Trailer

At first, that reaction was due to the sheer hilarity of a Nicktoons fighting game. Upon further inspection, those laughs became genuine excitement. Serious players in the fighting game community are thinking that the cartoon brawler may be a deceptively legitimate competitive experience.

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The developer’s history

One of the first things that opened the competitive eyes to All-Stars Brawl is the game’s developer: Ludosity. Ludosity is the team behind one of the many Super Smash Bros Melee-inspired clones, Slap City.

Slap City is a platform fighting game in the vein of Super Smash Bros, namely influenced by Super Smash Bros. Melee. This indie-fighter pulled a ton of technical inspiration from the high-level techniques of the Smash series, making it a hit among genre diehards.

The fighter released to positive reception and that has players intrigued by All-Stars Brawl. Reacting to the trailer, competitive Melee player Hungrybox stating, “The makers of Slap City made this game. And Slap City is, in my humble opinion, the best Melee clone.”

That detail initially grabbed players’ curiosity, but the actual gameplay trailer has demanded further attention. For fans of competitive fighters, the combination of the trailer and the developer’s pedigree teases a legitimate contender in the fighting game scene.

Nickelodeon is adopting Smash’s past

When the trailer dropped, fans immediately began dishing out jokes and comparing it to Smash Bros. On further inspection, however, fans began taking it much more seriously. The developers answered questions about the game through Discord, revealing details that immediately changed fans’ tune.

The devs say it has wavedashing too lol

— BenPaz (@BenTheUltimate1) July 13, 2021

Like a dream, Nickelodeon’s fighter is bringing back wavedashing, a high-level technique constantly used in Super Smash Bros Melee. It’s a complex technique that allows players to cancel a very low air dodge into a ground slide, making them glide along the ground without walking or running. That’s a feature that isn’t even in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (well, aside from Kazuya Mishima, of course). Eagle-eyed viewers even noticed that the technique was sneakily dropped in the actual reveal trailer.

More expert techniques were shown in the clip, specifically a short sequence by Patrick Star of all characters. In the clip, the Spongebob character performs a full-hop, into back waveland, platform drop, back aerial attack. To put that in simple terms, it’s a series of very advanced maneuvers allowing players to slide near-instantly through a platform and attack while falling.

For Smash fans, the trailer proves that this game may be more than another licensed game that’s only good for memes. Could we be looking at a genuine alternative for those wanting another Melee?

That isn’t the only part of the game pulled from Smash’s past. The game gives players the ability to run through characters, which was removed for the first time in Smash history with Super Smash Bros Ultimate. This allows for the return of techniques like shield cross-ups, which the Super Smash wiki defines as “the act of timing an attack such that the user moves past the opponent and ends up behind them once the hitboxes are gone.”

Nickelodeon All-Stars Lincoln Loud and Sandy.

The final piece of Melee‘s DNA that can be spotted in the trailer is Edge-hogging, another tactic from the past that was removed in Ultimate. This entails a character holding a ledge so their opponent can’t grab it while recovering. You can see this demonstrated in the image above where Sandy is attempting to grab the ledge with what may be her side-B attack. However, due to Lincoln Loud already holding the edge, she misses it and simply falls.

Yes, it will have rollback netcode

The mechanics, tournament-ready stages, and more fully put a competitive eye on All-Star Brawl. But what no one was ready for was the big netcode reveal. The developers were asked the big question about All-Star Brawl‘s netcode and immediately responded, confirming rollback will be included on supported platforms.

dev confirmed rollback in their discord

— husky (@huskySSBM) July 13, 2021

Rollback is the best possible networking for fighting games, as opposed to the competition. The fighting game glossary breaks how it works down, defining it as, “An approach to implementing netcode in a fighting game that plays your own inputs immediately, and then rewinds and resimulates (or ‘rolls back’) the game if network delay causes inconsistencies.”

Fans do have some concerns about how the online networking will function across consoles, though. Fans noticed rollback netcode will be available “on supported platforms,” which has Nintendo Switch fans concerned. Nintendo’s history with bad online led many to instantly believe it’d be left out of the equation, which would hurt the game’s competitive viability.

Despite such worries, many are looking at Nickelodeon’s latest trek into the fighting game world as a future home to more competition. I, for one, can’t wait to see Reptar and Powdered Toast Man mains complain about their bad matchups against Nigel of The Wild Thornberries.

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