I have to be honest with you. Personally, I have a problem with the “main attraction” of SNK Heroines: only female characters, dressed with suggestive outfits, fanservice, stupid and offensive jokes here and there. I love fighting games, I’ve played tons of them all my life, and it’s probably my favorite genre along with first-person shooters. Tag Battles are not my preference, but I am excited to play a nice 2vs2 from time to time. It’s a shame SNK Heroines has many aesthetics decisions I can’t stand. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is the point of the game and it’s an entirely subjective issue I have with it. I will get there in a minute. If you like any of the characteristics named above, relax, you are good to go. In fact, you will have a fantastic time. Let’s get deep into this SNK Heroines Review.
Is This Real Life?
Fourteen characters are ready to use, none of them are unlockable, and additional DLC characters have been confirmed. All of the females are known faces from The King of Fighters series, classic characters like Mai and Athena, and some of the new challengers from KoF XIV, like Luong and Love Heart. They all have their iconic movesets, adapted to the more friendly controls of SNK Heroines. There is a special appearance of Terry Bogard, long time Fatal Fury favorite, re-designed as a woman. I actually liked the idea, but when I started seeing “monkeys” coming out of Terry’s fists instead of fire, I was worried.
Look, I don’t have any problem with a game trying to be “sexy,” when it’s displayed in a clever, interesting or appealing way. This is not the case; it is constantly rubbing brainless sexuality in your face and that’s it. There isn’t any charm on it. I will say it again, I’m sure it’s the game idea and you of course you can like it, even love it. I just don’t. It makes me feel uncomfortable, and it’s everywhere. At least, the game does look correct (a bit old but still okay), with a graphic style similar to KoF XIV.
Who Is That Challenger?
The story. The damned story. A mysterious male character—pretends to be shocked—is creating a pocket dimension with all the roster. The place is a castle, and it will “merge with reality” with the suffering of the women who are being defeated and captured. The “evil” plan is to make his fantasy land with all the beauties of the world a reality. He is a generic final boss, a weirdo who went to the same clothes store as Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts. He attacks with sand, and it gets everywhere. Between fights you can see how your characters are being observed by this pervert, and they also express it.
Every duo story starts the same way, waking up in this strange place, with amnesia, and ends with the exactly same odd sequence when the bastard is defeated. In fact, there is no difference who you play this arcade mode with, but there a few “unique” dialogue exchanges if you pick specific couples. And a provocative wallpaper, I almost forgot.
Show Me Your Fists
But hey, who plays fighting games for the story, right? Maybe Blazblue players, but those are probably playing Blazblue Cross Tag Battle. Lucky bastards. So, what about the core of any fighting game, the combat? I wanted to remain as optimistic as possible before actually playing this game, but previous trailers and footage prepared me for the worst. A button masher without any kind of strategy or depth was my concern. Nevertheless, I was wrong.
SNK Heroines actually has decent, solid, and, above all, fun gameplay. It also has pretty basic controls: weak attack, strong attack, special move, guard, grab, and tag. The special moves change with any direction, and you can tag-in your partner while making certain combos to perform an extended combo. There are cancels, evasions, and fast wake ups. Everything seems normal around here. But we also have one button for Dream Finishes and one for items.
This Is How You Hadoken!
Oh, yes, I didn’t tell you—you don’t win by just depleting your rivals’ shared HP bar. Next to HP, you have a special bar that charges over time and is dedicated for the special moves. When you perform one, you spend a portion of that bar. As it gets shorter, your special attacks will get weaker. Interestingly, as your HP bar is being reduced because your enemy is kicking your ass, this special gauge gets bigger. When the gauge is half full, you can perform a Dream Finish. These are the “ultra” special attacks that do a good amount of damage. Winning a fight requires hitting landing Dream Finish when your opponent’s HP bar is red. Dream Finishes can be used as a combo finisher, guaranteeing a successful hit. There are also ways to stun your opponents to ensure a landing blow.
Items on the other hand, are a clever addition. There are some yellow “balls” you can hit during battle to obtain one. They go from bar chargers to objects you can throw in various way and some power-ups. You can use them for combo extensions and it’s the only tool you have for breaking your enemy’s combo when you are eating too much dust. A simple but effective mechanic. To sum up, gameplay is effective and genuinely fun but it isn’t distinctive enough to keep you engaged and away from other games in the genre.
Get Over Here!
Finally, let’s speak about multiplayer. Well, there isn’t much to say. You can play normal matches, gambling matches where you can bet gold, or you can be a spectator for other players’ matches. Quick Match and Rooms (up to eight players) are the options available for searching/creating encounters. Unfortunately, I was not able to review the netcode and online functionalities, because I couldn’t find any matches. There probably weren’t enough players since the game hadn’t released, or perhaps there were server issues. If it’s the latter, I hope it’s fixed with a day-one patch. Overall, the multiplayer portion offers pretty standard modes in a title that could have innovated a lot more. Offline there isn’t much more; story, arcade, survival, and training don’t feel enough.
The Last Hit
While I can’t say SNK Heroines is a bad game, I cannot recommend it to you unless you love its aesthetics and fanservice. Because, what is the point of recommending a gameplay-wise average fighting game at this time? 2018 has already treated us to EVO’s new favorite Dragon Ball Fighterz, Blazblue CTB, Fighting EX Layer, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. This year was fantastic for fighting games, and it hasn’t finished yet (Soul Calibur VI and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are still coming!). There isn’t any strong reason why you should pick SNK Heroines before any of these other high-quality games. But you will have some “sexy” fun if you do, and I know this can be a dream game for a lot of players.
SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy review code provided by NIS America. Version 1.00 reviewed on a standard PS4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.