Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is coming our way later this year. That was quick, since I swear it’s only been a few months since the first game was updated with enough new content and fixes to be considered playable by the vast majority of fans. But with dwindling player counts and the viral success of the original under its belt, developers Ludosity and Fair Play Labs are taking another shot at the platform fighter which wants to do more than mine nostalgia.

With MultiVersus being delisted from storefronts as it prepares for a full release in 2024 and all downloadable content for Super Smash Bros having reached its conclusion, it seems the genre is free from competition, and All-Star Brawl wants to capitalise on that empty arena. It is wasting no time by stressing how it is only a few months away but still promises a majority return for its roster of fighters, all of which have been reworked and will take full advantage of new mechanics. We also have new stages, a story mode, and goodness knows what else.

Related: I Started Baldur's Gate 3 In Early Access And Regret It

Part of me hopes this sequel will finally deliver on the unfulfilled promise of its predecessor. It was a mess at launch, with mediocre performance on most platforms and a lack of voices for characters which meant each match devolved into an awkwardly silent bout of punching. A lack of content for everyone except those willing to grind repetitive arcade modes or multiplayer with a couple of friends also made its asking price hard to swallow. Once the nostalgia of its character announcements and hilarious premise ran dry and we actually had to play it, the complete lack of quality became clear to see. I’m not sure a sequel with such a short time in development can address these flaws, and even if it can, will that be enough for us to care?

Given how MultiVersus appeared to set the world on fire before failing to attract even a few hundred players across all platforms has me questioning the appeal of games like this that aren’t Super Smash Bros. It’s a better game both mechanically and visually while offering a more robust live service experience better suited for the modern landscape, but this wasn’t enough to maintain an audience or deliver updates that encouraged us to keep turning up. Nick Brawl was the same, and numbers dwindled into the single digits in a matter of weeks even with the arrival of new characters and stages. We didn’t care because the gameplay is middling and the surface appeal of childhood favourites duking it out isn’t enough to make us stick around when bigger, better games in different genres offer so much more nowadays.

Whenever it comes back, MultiVersus is likely going to fail. Its chance to pursue a full launch and take its passionate audience along for the ride has long passed, and there’s little chance a similar level of momentum

can be recaptured in a full release relying on a freemium model most of us already discarded in the open beta. Speaking of, it was weird to label it so clearly as an open beta despite charging for skins, currency, and full versions of the game. To pull it back so suddenly was a bad look, and likely doomed MultiVersus to its own eventual failure.

Wonder Woman from MultiVersus

Nick Brawl 2’s announcement came as a surprise, with the majority of reactions I’ve seen by fans being ones of equal parts confusion and frustration. It’s been less than two years since the last game, which hardcore followers have invested a reasonable amount of money and time into with the hopes it will be supported for years to come. This was always a long shot, but instead of calling it a day, the developers have decided to pump out a sequel which will reinvent a lot of character move sets and similar mechanics. Or at least, it claims it will be.

It’s a second chance for both this series of games and the genre it inhabits, and likely the last shot of success it will have before other studios who aren’t already established in the space will take notice and count their losses. A shame, because it does feel like there’s a place in the world for games like this that combine our love for nostalgic properties with a game that lets us beat them senseless, but the balance just hasn’t been found, and with such a rushed development cycle I’m unsure it ever will be.

Next: Please Don't Go Into Armored Core 6 Expecting A Souls Game