Hands On with SNK Heroines @ NISA Press Party 2018
As a casual fan of the SNK fighting games such as King of Fighters and their various mash-ups with Capcom, I’ve always thought the series to be known primarily for the use of its combo system and specials. While I’m admittingly not the best fighting gamer around, the series’ fun and colorful cast has always stayed with me throughout the years. So when I first saw the trailer for SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy I was a bit perplexed. I immediately asked myself, “Is this just a quick cash cow, along the lines of DOA Volleyball, or was it going to be more of an in-depth fighter that the series has been known for?”
I initially approached the game with a cautious eye without knowing fully what to expect. When the website promised simplified special moves and scandalous costumes I figured that it wasn’t going to be anything fun. Thankfully after having a chance to play it at the NISA Press Party 2018 in San Francisco this past weekend, I will be more than looking forward to playing this on my Switch this Summer as I prepare for the Chicago Marathon. And while it does utilize a simplified version of the more complex SNK controls, it has enough quirks and individuality to stand out from other games in the company’s previous titles.
For example, unlike other tag-team fighting games where each character has their own unique life bar, characters share their HP bar making for some rather interesting management decisions. One thing that I liked in particular was that you needed to end each match with a “dream finish” or it’ll go on continuously. This one-button finisher can be blocked, dodged and countered - meaning that there’s always an opportunity for the opponent to turn the tide. Switching between characters during the match allows the player to refill the gauge if they use the technique during the battle and really is the only real way to do so. Additionally, there are items that drop during the battle ala Super Smash Bros. that can help change the course of battle. While I didn’t get a chance to use them, as we weren’t provided with any real tutorials, I look forward to playing them in the future.
Along with these and the simplified control scheme, the game plays fast. While only about half of the game’s 14 player roster was available, characters play as you expect them to - from Mai using projecticles to Kula Diamond being more agile.
While I have my doubts that this will be featured in Center Stage at Evo or in the Olympics eSports push anytime soon, it’s a very nice change of pace from the rest of the fighting games that’ll be fired up consoles within the near future that’ll leave SNK fans more than satisfied.