There is no denying the fact that SNK have been incredibly prolific in their development of fighting games. With their most notable franchises in the genre being King of Fighters and Fatal Fury. In fact KoF has an impressive 14 mainline titles under its belt. With such pedigree and experience on offer one could argue that their interest in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is purely for the gameplay and nothing else. Of course the fighting isn’t the only hook going for this latest release from SNK. It features a roster of 13 women, as well as one man who has been turned into a woman.
When a raging pervert casts his eyes on the ladies of multiple SNK series, he decides to use his vague powers of sand and other things to teleport them to his ‘pocket dimension’. As they awake they discover that not only have they been kidnapped, but their outfits would make a stripper blush. So they must fight their way to the evil mastermind and escape from his voyueristic clutches.
Not only is the story simple to understand, but so is the combat. SNK Heroines titles itself as far less of a serious fighting game, but more of a party fighting title. The battles are 2v2, but with a bit of a twist. The characters movesets and inputs are very easy to grasp and the amount of attacks on offer are far less than your average brawler. On top of that you can also make use of items in battle. So does this streamlined approach work?
The actions on offer for the most part are your typical selection found in a fighting game. Light, heavy, special, grab, guard, and the right analog stick is used to activate items. What makes the game so accessible is that the light and heavy attacks make no use of directional inputs at all. They do however change depending on your spacing as well as used in the air or dash attacks. I felt mixed feelings toward this approach at first. However as I invested more time I discovered that even with limited options there was an enjoyable amount of depth to the fighting on offer. Characters could combo opponents and well timed use of items could tip the scale of the battle.
As well as its simplified control scheme SNK Heroines also features a fairly unique tag team mechanic as well as a way to finish off opponents. Your typical 2v2 brawler will have each character have their own health bar, but SNK Heroines has their fighters share one and have their own separate special meters. After sinking a fair few hours into the game I must say I am not sure what this approach brings to the table. You are encouraged to use your special attacks and should swap when out of meter, but I often forgot and didn’t need to. Also you don’t win by finishing off your opponents health bar, but instead must use a dream finish when their health bar reaches red. What makes this system an odd choice is that when they hit 0 health they get stunned for a considerable amount of time. Meaning it just seems like a way to reinvent the wheel.
Boasting 14 characters, SNK Heroines’ selection seems to want to tick two boxes. First of all their utility and second of all their visual appeal. Whilst no character seems like a flat out zoner, you do have grapplers like Shermie and others that are more adept at keeping foes at bay. The second aspect has the contenders picked for how aesthetically pleasing they are and for the most part, if you like video game females you are bound to find one of the characters attractive.
SNK Heroines sadly lacks a good amount of modes to take part in. Story, training, online, posing mode and a few other smaller things to take part in. First of the story did feel underwhelming. Characters don’t have their own unique story, but rather they follow the same template and have bits of their own dialogue added for scenes. It was a good way to introduce yourself to the mechanics, but felt underwhelming. Survival is just as you’d expect and so is versus. Online gives you the option to gamble your money and even watch other people play, but sadly I’ve struggled to find opponents to fight.
Your Girlfriend will hate this mode
It seems like the main appeal outside of fighting in SNK Heroines is its “Customize” mode. Here you can spend your hard earned cash to buy outfits and accessories. Each character has three costumes total and for the most part they are all quite revealing. Once you’ve dressed your favourite heroine as you like you can then choose a pose out of 30, choose a background, add stamps and even alter her facial expression to pose for you. This can then be saved and even used as your in game avatar for other people to see. It really was impressive how many options were on offer. I will say this though, I did find it a bit underwhelming that each character only had three outfits. As the accessories don’t exactly make a robust difference to their appearance.
It is also worth noting that their is a gallery mode where you can view movie clips, listen to music or voice clips and view the artwork unlocked for completing the story as a specific pair. Then finally their is a way to play with other Nintendo Switch systems locally. I haven’t been able to make use of the mode of course, but I felt like it was an admirable effort to add the option as many titles do seem to just gloss over the possibility.
With such a focus on visual gratification it is no surprise that the character models are pretty top notch, coupled with matching physics for particular assets. The menus and stages match the heroines and it is visually pleasing game. The music is great as well and I have to admit I have had “Cresc” stuck in my head since I started playing as it is incredibly catchy.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy was provided by NIS America.