REVIEW: SNK Heroines

Allright folks, so a bit of an absence (as usual) but today we have a pretty big review, to share with you all.  The folks over at NIS America were nice enough to provide us with an early review code for SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, and last night I spent a few hours diving into, to kinda give you a glimpse of it, and my thoughts, before it officially releases tomorrow.

Let’s get to it!

So, to start off, the premise of the game is that a Mystery Man, has whisked away many of our favorite femme fatales from the SNK universe, to observe and play with in his own little uhhh, perverted project.  Okay it’s not as sinister as it sounds, but it’s VERY fan service-y, if you didn’t already pick that up from the advertising and other promotional materials the last few months.  I won’t spoil too much more of the story, but essentially you team up with another Heroine and fight your way out of this tricky situation.  Also, as seen in the above picture, longtime SNK favorite, Terry Bogard, is in fact NOT OKAY.

Aside from story mode, you have your usual fighting game options, as far as online battles, two player versus mode, a tutorial, a training/sparring mode, and a survival mode.  I haven’t tried out online matches yet, but that’s probably because it’s not officially out yet.  By this weekend, you should have no problem finding some online matches to play.  As with most fighting games, you have the option doing quick matches, or setting up a room with some friends.

As for online play, you have two different Battle Types, regular matches, or Gamble matches, where you can put up or shut up, by making bets from your coin purse.  If you win, you can stack your paper, to go buy more accessories and outfits to customize your favorite SNK waifu to your liking.

When it comes to the Tutorial mode, it’s pretty straight forward and short.  I think its about 22 tutorials in all, give or take a few, I lost count.  It’s not the most robust tutorial I’ve seen in a fighting game, but it covers your important bits, such as cancels, items and launching your Dream Finishers.  Overall, everyone’s move set is pretty short, with only 10 or so moves listed for most characters, including their Dream Finishes, so it’s nowhere near as detailed of move sets, as you’re used to seeing with say, King of Fighters.  So, some hardcore fighting game players, may find it a little barebones, in terms of substance.

In regards to the actual fighting itself (yeah, I almost forgot to actually talk about fighting in a fighting game), each match is a tag team battle, thus the subtitle, Tag Team Frenzy.  Now, with that said, don’t go into this thinking it’s a tag battle like Marvel vs Capcom, or DragonBall FighterZ, where you have to beat all of your opponents team members to win the battle.  Heroines operates a little differently when it comes to how you must beat your opponent, in that you don’t actually defeat both of their characters to advance.

In essence, both characters on your team basically share a life force, but they both have their own spirit power.  As you both deal and take damage, your spirit meter for each character fills up.  As the meter fills up, you can use your Dream Finish moves, the more meter you have, the stronger the move is.

Where the Dream Finish comes into play, is that you have to use it, to beat your opponent, so instead of just pummeling your opponent’s character until their life gauge is empty, and moving onto their next character/winning the match, you put them into a brief stun once their health gets so low.  At that point you must unleash your Dream Finish move onto them, to defeat your opponent’s team and win the match.  If you don’t have enough spirit gauge to pull off the Dream Finish, you have to juggle tagging in and out your partner, as their gauge replenishes when they’re on the sideline.

Now, let’s actually talk about our Heroines for a second.  As of now, or at least for my playthrough, there are 14 characters to choose from, including Mai, genderbent Terry Bogard, Kula, Athena, Zarina, and a handful of others.  There seems to be a lot of empty spaces on the character select screen, so I’m hoping that means we get some more characters later down the line, either as DLC, or characters that unlock if you complete specific tasks in the game.

The real fun comes with the customization that you can do with your favorite Heroine.  As you fight, you gain more coins, that you can then use to buy new outfits and accessories, as I’ve mentioned before, so let’s dive into that a bit here.

Every character comes with a couple of different outfit options that you can buy and equip.  Where you get into the fun is changing other aspects, like things they can wear on their heads, like Zarina here sporting a shiny nice rotary phone.  Of course there’s some more enticing things, like giving your favorite Heroine a tail, or demon wings.  You can also change their voice style.

There’s other features, such as changing their pose and facial expressions, and there’s quite a few options there, so you should have plenty of opportunities to make your character look as serious, as scary, funny as you want, or even a tad lewd, if you’d like.  There’s also a ton of background images you can use, to just make some silly imagery with your favorite character.

Overall, it’s a fun game, and it definitely brings the goods to satisfy your SNK fan service itch.  The load times are pretty quick between matches and different screens, which is nice, at least on the PS4 version.  The “jiggle physics” are also definitely well done, so if you love that, then go ahead and grab this game.  Overall, I’d like to see some more characters added to the roster, and a few more stages added.

I figure the game will be more welcomed by hardcore SNK fans, but I think it’s also probably geared more towards those looking for the fan service.  If you manage to snag the collector’s edition, it has a lot of neat goodies in it too.

Final Score: I give it a 3.5 out of 5.

The game does what it was intended to, give you some fun…..bouncing…. brawling times. Fighting game players may find it a little lacking in terms of gameplay, but we’ll see for sure in the coming weeks.  The number of empty spaces on the character select screen, leaves open the possibility of some paid DLC down the road which can be kind of worrisome, but time will tell.

We’ll be at CEOtaku later this month, where Heroines is part of the tournament lineup, so we’ll see first hand how competitors feel about it in a competitive environment.

If you want to hit me up on PSN, my gamertag is Doftastic.

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, is available on September 7th, on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.