SNK has a wide roster of characters from throughout their long-running history they can draw from, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that they’d pull together a fun roster for a female-only fighting game. That they’d opt for doing that right after their recent success with King of Fighters XIV is perhaps a little surprising though but that’s what we have with SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
From the off it’s clear that SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy isn’t a game that takes itself too seriously, seeing the roster of female characters whisked away to a strange pocket dimension after the events of The King of Fighters XIV and falling unconscious at the hands of the mysteriously perverted antagonist Kukri.
SNK Heroines is a two on two fighting game where you choose an attacker as your primary fighter and a supporter that you can swap in at any point. The initial roster consists of fourteen female characters from SNK’s long lineage of games, all of whom have also appeared in The King of Fighters series, including Leona Heidern, Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury, Yuri Sakazaki from Art of Fighting and a female version of Terry Bogard also from Fatal Fury.
The story is pretty flimsy and details Kukri’s abducting the ladies to his pocket dimension where he forces them to fight to generate enough energy to merge his dimension with the real world enabling him to capture many more “mesdemoiselles” as he puts it. The few story cutscenes that play out in story mode are basically of him ogling the fighters before finally getting his comeuppance at the end.
SNK Heroines has simplified fight mechanics compared to The King of Fighters, with controls consisting of light and heavy attacks with special moves assigned to a single button in combination with a direction. This makes it a great title for newcomers to the fighting genre to pick up and still be able to perform moves without a lot of initial investment. Along with attacks there is also a guard button that allows you to roll, the tag button that lets you switch fighter and the Dream Finish button.
One major difference the game has with its contemporaries is that just getting the opponent's health to zero isn’t enough to win the fight. Once the opponent’s health is in the red you can attempt to connect with a Dream Finish to end the match. Pummeling your opponent enough that their health drops to zero will stun them making it a lot easier to get the all important Dream Finish in.
Another wrinkle is the fact the game includes items that you can hold one of at any time, using them with a flick of the right stick. These range from giant wrecking balls to a mosaic item that blurs out the whole screen. These are a fun addition and add a bit of unpredictability to fights and fit the silly tone of the game well.
All in all the systems work well and whilst they seem simplified to some degree there are advanced elements like being able to move cancel or juggle opponents for folk willing to learn the intricacies. It includes the standard game modes you expect these days like regular battle and survival modes as well as online functionality including a room-based option for spectating. I’m not sure it’s complex enough that it’ll end up at tournaments but it’s a fun fighting game nonetheless.
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is a goofy, silly game that focuses on fanservice above almost everything else, each character has three costume variants to unlock along with a ton of individual elements you’d probably expect like a variety of animal ears and tails, ribbons, bows and the like. It will take a decent chunk of time to unlock all these things if that is something that appeals.
All in all SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is a fun little fighter wrapped in an over-the-top fanservice heavy skin. It might not have much long-lasting appeal to hardcore fighting game fans but for the rest of us it’s an entertaining time while it lasts.
SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
SNK’s female-only fighter lacks the complexity of its older brethren but can be a glitzy over-the-top fun time if you let it. Fanservice hides a fun, simple to grasp fighting system that is deeper than you think.