Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 review - the fighter Nick fans have been waiting for

Are ya ready, kids?

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2
(Image: © GameMill Entertainment)

TechRadar Verdict

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a significant upgrade to the original that transforms this sequel into the game the original had the potential to be. Featuring a lovely visual overhaul, tighter mechanics, and substantial new modes, it’s an easy recommendation for fans of Nickelodeon or platform fighters.


  • +

    Superb visuals and cartoon-like animations

  • +

    Moreish campaign mode

  • +

    Slime meter adds depth to combat


  • -

    Some fighters have been dropped from the roster

  • -

    Annoyingly frequent performance hiccups

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Review information

Platform reviewed: PS5
Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: November 7, 2023

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a refreshing and feature-rich platform fighter that should be on your radar if you’re looking for your next party game mainstay. With gorgeous cartoon-accurate visuals and a helpful serving of modes and surprisingly deep combat mechanics, it’s essential play for those after a new Super Smash Bros.-like experience.

This sequel substantially builds upon the original’s foundations with plenty of compelling new content. The star of the show is the all-new campaign mode - complete with boss fights - which incorporates fun roguelite elements that kept me coming back for more. The further addition of items and a new Slime meter also helps to spice up the action on a moment-to-moment basis.

Some frustrations do linger, though. The game’s overall performance can be very inconsistent even when there’s not much happening on-screen. At worst, this led to fumbled inputs and mistimed jumps. This is a shame, as Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2’s mechanics lend it the capacity to become a fun competitive fighter, but these performance hiccups will need to be ironed out post-launch. 

Bring it around town

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

(Image credit: GameMill Entertainment)

If you want to get a grasp on just how much of an improvement Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is, you’ll want to jump head-first into the brand-new campaign mode which is surprisingly brilliant. The campaign is fully-voiced and includes simple-but-charming cutscenes to string you along.

In the campaign, you’ll begin as SpongeBob, who chases after Patrick when the starfish gets sucked into a mysterious wormhole. What follows is a series of challenges where you’ll typically fight waves of enemies (including the jellyfish from SpongeBob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Foot Clan henchmen) or other combatants on the roster to add them to your side. 

Best bit

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

(Image credit: GameMill Entertainment)

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2’s campaign is a real treat, featuring neat roguelite progression and no shortage of fun nods to Nickelodeon franchises throughout. The addition of voice acting from original cast members only serves to add to its authenticity, too. 

In between missions, you’ll be able to spend earned currency on perks to give you an edge in battle, heal damage dealt to you, or stop by the hub which you'll populate by unlocking fighters.

The best part about the campaign, though, is that you won’t get it all done in one attempt. That’s because there’s a roguelite formula applied here that’ll take you right back to the beginning upon death. However, any perks you unlock can carry over between runs, so there’s always an element of getting stronger as you progress.

There are some pretty creative boss fights sprinkled throughout the campaign, too, which serve to add even more Nickelodeon rep to the game. Each boss is pretty varied in terms of moveset and how you should be approaching them. King Jellyfish is a solid introductory boss, blasting the arena with electrical projectiles. The Flying Dutchman, meanwhile, is a little more interesting, occasionally summoning barrels that must be destroyed, or else they buff his attack power.

Slime time

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

(Image credit: GameMill Entertainment)

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 brings a slew of compelling fighting game-adjacent mechanics to the table. Overall movement is very responsive, and you’ll quickly get into the flow of chaining together standard and charged attacks in combo-like fashion, with the occasional special sprinkled in to keep enemies on their toes.

This time around, there’s a new Slime meter, segmented into three chunks. Accrued by dealing damage to opponents, you can spend one of these to add more power to charged and special attacks. Save up all three, though, and you’ll be able to unleash your characters’ signature move for massive damage. These are all wonderfully animated and call back to the fighters’ series of origin. 

Patrick, for example, repeatedly smashes his opponents with his own rock-shaped house. Then there’s Jenny Wakeman - star of My Life as a Teenage Robot - who adopts a meditative pose before slicing enemies with a variety of sharp utensils. These finishers are especially charming additions that not only add an element of risk-versus-reward to Slime meter management (if you fail to hit with it, that’s your whole meter gone for nothing), but the references themselves never failed to put a smile on my face. 

Hopping across worlds

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

(Image credit: GameMill Entertainment)

One of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2’s best aspects is its awesome visuals. Stages both look and sound exactly as you’d expect from the source material, and there’s an impressive level of depth and detail to each and every one. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rooftop stage, for example, has a lively New York skyline backdrop. The Wild Thornberrys Safari stage is wonderfully unpredictable, too, seeing the titular family’s wagon caught in vines before shooting down a rapid ravine. Elsewhere, the Rocko’s Modern Life stage is delightfully chaotic, featuring rather unconventional stage design and a painfully 90s aesthetic.

The game’s roster of fighters match this level of quality, with a high degree of expressiveness and lively animation. The developer has done an incredible job recreating their TV likenesses, with a special shoutout especially going to 2000s-era characters like Jenny and Ember, as well as classic characters like Ren and Stimpy and the Angry Beavers. They both look and animate like they’ve been ripped straight from a grainy CRT screen, and it’s brilliant to watch in motion.

It’s just a shame that even on current-gen hardware, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 suffers from fairly frequent performance dips. Even when there's not much action happening on-screen, it was common to witness the framerate buckle slightly, taking much of the fluidity out of matches. Roughly once or twice per round, I noticed slight framerate hitches that sometimes threw off a combo, or made jumping across the stage a touch more difficult. It’s a notable blemish on what’s otherwise a highly polished package, and I hope it’s something the developer is able to iron out via post-launch support.

Another slight issue is with the game’s roster of fighters. While strengthened by the addition of characters like Hey Arnold’s Gerald and Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Azula, it’s seen some confusing omissions. Several iconic fighters from the first game, including Shredder, Oblina, Toph, and Powdered Toast Man, haven’t made the leap to the sequel outside of the odd cameo appearance. I’m hoping these can be added in through future updates to help the already excellent roster feel that much more complete. 

While frustrations exist in regards to performance and a wonky roster, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a fantastic platform fighter and a game that Nick fans both old and new should have on their radar. 


Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

(Image credit: GameMill Entertainment)

At launch, there’s a complete lack of accessibility features. There’s nothing in the way of subtitle customization or colorblind options, for example, which is pretty poor showing for a game that’s aimed at both kids and adults.

How we reviewed Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

I played roughly 10 hours of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2, which included playing through the new campaign and several fighters’ arcade mode ladders. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the game’s online suites ahead of launch, but the use of rollback netcode bodes well for stable matches and the game fully supports cross-play.

Interested in more games like Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2? Consider checking out our list of the best fighting games and best Nintendo Switch games, many of which will be discounted over the upcoming Black Friday gaming deals sales period.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.