I just got my review code for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, the Smash-like brawling game featuring Nickelodeon characters from the last 20 years. I was super excited to check it out, so I downloaded it and hopped on during lunch for a quick cursory session. And one thing immediately jumped out at me as soon as I started playing. See if you can tell what it is:
Where are the sound effects? More specifically, where are the character voices?
I'm not sure what happened in the development of this game, which is clearly a lovingly-made brawler with a ton of cool characters. Somewhere along the line, either the budget or the timeline got cut, which led to All-Star Brawl releasing with no recorded dialogue, making the game feel very, very lifeless.
I want to hear Spongebob howl when he is blasted off the screen. I want to hear the Turtles yell "Cowabonga!" while delivering a blow from above. I don't need fully voiced lines of dialogue, but at least a few grunts and battle-cries being present would bring the game up to the standards that one would normally expect from a title like this.
Obviously, I'm just getting started with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl - a full review is still at least a week away. But my first impressions - while positive on the character design and gameplay - are that a very crucial element is missing from this game. Animated characters are made up of both the moving image on the screen, and the voice performance of the folks bringing the characters to life. The lack of character voices is making these beloved Nickelodeon heroes feel like animated husks as opposed to living, breathing characters.