Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has quickly risen as a fun-filled alternative to Smash Bros. It takes itself a bit less seriously and allows you to play from a wide variety of characters spanning decades. Whether you want to fight as Toph from The Last Airbender or Spongebob Squarepants himself, you can do it. Add in support for up to four players, and it’s a romp anyone can enjoy.
The problem is, with so many characters to choose from and a wide variety of styles to experiment with, it can be hard for newcomers to know how they should be playing. These tips and tricks will get you started and give you the edge you need to succeed.
Note: Before we get to the gameplay, keep in mind that settings like health, lives, and so on can be changed in settings. Feel free to adjust game modes to where everyone feels comfortable with them.
Master your air recoveries
As with Smash Bros., this platformer is heavily focused on staying grounded — one of the most dangerous events for your character is getting knocked off a platform or bullied over an edge. There are a couple of things you can do to deal with this, and the most important is to master your air recovery moves. This is generally a bouncing or floating move specifically designed to help you get back on a platform right after you get off (usually a jump combo of some kind, but sometimes attack moves as well). Recovery moves and their behavior, distance, etc., can vary widely between characters, so when you pick up a new character start jumping and spamming dash moves for a bit to get a feel for how it works.
Second, most stages have a primary platform(s) that will stay the same even if the rest of the map changes. Always be aware of where the primary platform(s) is, so you know to get back to it if you are ever in trouble.
Don’t underestimate blocking
Blocking is a lifesaver in more ways than one in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. First, blocking against attacks will greatly reduce the amount of percentage damage you take. If you see someone winding up a strong attack, you can block to help save your life. Second, blocking has the unique ability to put you into fast fall mode. If you just got knocked into the air or are floating along a little longer than you wanted, you can hit your block button to shoot down to a nearby platform instead. That helps dodge devastating aerial attacks that can knock you off the screen or put you at a real disadvantage.
Practice your strong attacks
As a game goes on, strong attacks become more and more important. These attacks — along with some kinds of special attacks depending on the character — have the ability to “kill” other characters entirely by blasting them away…as long as their health percentage is low enough.
Practice with your strong attack button and combo it with different directions to see what the strong attacks are like. Have at least one strong attack ready to go when your opponents start to reach low health and become vulnerable to a kill move.
Know how to air dash and wave dash
Air dashing (jumping, then aiming in a specific direction with an attack) allows you a lot of control over where you fall (especially when combined with the shield drop). Get used to air dashing with purpose, choosing a specific platform or angle of attack — just spamming air dash every time you jump or fall could leave you in more danger than you started with. But air dash at the right time, and you could doom an incautious opponent that’s now in a poor mid-air position.
If you jump and then immediately dash at an angle toward the ground, you will perform a wave dash, a sort of quick roll along the ground. This is very useful for getting around enemy attacks and surprising them from behind, although it takes a little practice to get right. It’s a way to help end the “dash dancing” that sometimes goes on if you time it correctly.
Confuse opponents with special moves
Every character has their set of special moves, often powerful attacks, projectiles, or evades that can give them an advantage. For example, Sandy Cheeks can use Rocket Pack to jump extremely high, and The Sheriff can lasso and draw in a nearby enemy for the next attack.
Specials can be very powerful, but it’s important not to spam them. As you learn how to use your specials, mix them in with normal attacks to keep people guessing. Otherwise, other players will quickly learn how to dodge or counter your specials, and you’ll find them more disappointing than they should be. Over time, you’ll learn which specials take advantage of the situation.
Pick a character to master
When you are ready to master a favorite character, start combining their dash moves, recoveries, specials, and attacks to see what works best. You’ll quickly see that some characters are strong at a range, some are strong up close, some work well at mid-range, and some are simply much weirder than others. If a character isn’t working for you, you may be using them too far away or too close up — or not taking advantage of some of their more unique, nimble moves. For example, every character has at least one or two dashes you should know once you’re comfortable.
Get aggressive with projectiles
In All-Star Brawl, the best way to deal with projectiles is to get in their face. Attack a projectile at the right time (your basic stationary quick attack is good at this), and it will ping back in the opposite direction. Or you could use your throw move to catch it and then unleash it at a certain opponent. This can only be done twice, after which the projectile will be boosted and invincible, so watch out.
When confident, uppercut
Uppercut moves are a great way to start a juggle against unexpected foes, and even new players will be able to use this to their advantage. Find which moves uppercut, and be ready to use them against an unwary opponent for the best results. Once in the air, you can quickly hit them again, grab them for a mid-air throw, or set them up for an attack from another player.