SNK Heroines ~Tag Team Frenzy~ (Switch) Review

The Queen of Fighters

SNK is a Japanese company best known for the Neo Geo gaming system and a flood of fighting games. Its latest creation, SNK Heroines ~Tag Team Frenzy~, answers the question: what if you gathered only the developer’s female characters, put them in silly fanservice outfits, and forced them to fight against their will? Okay, that sounds creepy, but this game doesn’t shy away from doing what it takes to achieve its appeal.

Check out the leading ladies in action in my Video Review!

SNK Heroines is a spinoff of The King of Fighters series, which itself is a crossover game of SNK’s franchises. With only 14 playable female fighters, not including DLC, the roster is slim. It’s a quality cast, though, featuring notable classics like Fatal Fury’s Mai Shiranui and Psycho Soldier’s Athena as well as fresh faces from The King of Fighters XIV. There’s also a gender-swapped version of Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard, which is as unsettlingly captivating as it sounds.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy Terry Bogard

The girls find themselves trapped in a mansion and dressed in revealing costumes, all the handiwork of one creepy mastermind who is trying to leech off their fear and despair. As light and ridiculous as the plot is, you see enough of this crazy fourth-wall-breaking voyeur that you’ll wish your own fist could go through the screen and knock his lights out. The story mode is essentially a brief arcade-like affair with short cutscenes that alter slightly depending on the girls and their costumes.

Matches are two-on-two fights with simple controls. Weak hits, strong attacks, and throws are each mapped to different buttons, but what makes the girls distinct are their special moves. Unlike most fighters, you don’t have to memorize a plethora of lengthy button inputs. Instead, you initiate special combos by pressing a button, along with a specific direction on the control pad, similarly to Super Smash Bros. The combos are well-suited for controller play, and you don’t need an arcade stick to fight effectively. Despite the simplicity, fights can get intense in the hands of hardcore players, with potential for multi-hit strikes, cancelling, and juggling. My biggest gripe is that the movesets are fairly limited, and most characters have only four special attacks. It’s a decidedly more casual experience, solidified by the random items that can hurt your opponents or buff you up. Although I didn’t mind gaining an edge with surprise blasts, I appreciated that I could turn items off.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy Panda Mui Mui
Panda costume, I’m in! PANDAAA!

The tag team element provides some diversity. You choose two characters going into the match, and you can switch between them at any time. I enjoyed utilizing different team match-ups, although there aren’t any exclusive benefits in using any one character combination. Interestingly, the two characters share a life bar, which means no tagging out to conserve your health. However, each fighter has her own Spirit Gauge, which is used to activate the aforementioned special attacks.

The Spirit Gauge replenishes over time, but what most fascinated me was that the lower my health was, the higher my maximum spirit became. The power boost can be game-changing. Aside from performing strong specials, you need enough spirit to use your Dream Finishes. These final attacks are akin to finishing moves and fatalities in other games. Depleting a fighter’s health will only stun them. The only way to win is to pull off a successful Dream Finish, which can be blocked. As a result, battles are more heated, less predictable, and genuinely exciting when two players are down to the wire, with one carefully timed move determining victory. On the flip side, allowing matches to depend on a single move feels a little cheap, and I would have liked an option to play with a more traditional system.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy Dream Finish.jpg
Dream Finish or J-Pop idol concert?

The game runs smoothly offline, and I didn’t experience any slowdown or lag, whether on the TV or Switch tablet. The mansion-based stage backdrops look nice, albeit generic. The music ranges from regal overtures to bouncy pop, as if a Japanese idol group were performing it. Speaking of which, there are also some annoyingly catchy J-Pop songs.

The 3D character models look fine in battle, though they really shine in customization mode. Indeed, SNK Heroines knows who it’s marketing to, as this is one of its most in-depth sections. You can dress up your fighters in customizable costumes, three for each character, and an extensive amount of accessories. You can then use your glammed up girls in battle or pose them in photoshoots. In-game coins earned through battles are necessary to purchase the numerous items and photoshoot options, and it will take many hours just to grind enough currency to obtain everything.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy Customization.jpg
As close as I got to making a playable Bayonetta.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many fighting modes besides story—only versus and survival mode. Survival is a fair challenge, in either single-player or two-player co-op, asking you to fight until you drop. It’s not groundbreaking, but it really tests your limits as the battles get harder. Versus is more satisfying, specifically in multiplayer with up to four people in teams. Even with just two players, it’s fun to go head-to-head or partner up against the computer, which you can do either with one system or multiple Switches. SNK Heroines’ greatest strength is its utility as both a fighter and a lighthearted party game.

The frenzy truly shines in online rooms, where you can hang out and match up with up to eight players. There are also decent options for matchmaking with friends or randoms in quick matches. You can even bet coins on your victory. My experience so far with online multiplier has been laggy, dipping in frame rate and occasionally freezing for more than a second. Hopefully, the developers work out this issue as a healthy online multiplayer is what will greatly increase longevity for players who fall in love with the femme fatales.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy Review.jpg
Pose for the fans!

Conclusion

SNK Heroines ~Tag Team Frenzy~ doesn’t hide the fact that it’s an obvious appeal to fans of female fighters underdressed for battle. However, under the surface, there are enjoyable Dream Finish mechanics and a tag team system that offers engaging combat. And with simple button combos, it’s an accessible fighter that’s easy to learn and fun to master. Gameplay isn’t as shallow as it seems, but the package is. Its small roster and limited modes, combined with a fairly high asking price, make it a hard sell, except to those willing to go all in with multiplayer. But for fans craving more from SNK’s universe, or anyone seeking a casual fighter with glamorous character customization, SNK Heroines can fulfill those desires.

Score: 7/10

Note: A review copy was used for this article.

What do you think of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy? Do you have any favorite SNK games or characters? What are your favorite fighting games? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

 

9 thoughts on “SNK Heroines ~Tag Team Frenzy~ (Switch) Review

  1. Great review! Girls just wanna have fun…right? You’re right that this game is not ashamed of what it is: fanservice. And fighting too. Maybe simpler than most fighting games, but it’s actually perfect for me, as someone who can’t handle the crazy combos. I’m pretty bad at fighting games, but SNK Heroines seems accessible since the button inputs aren’t too complicated. I like the flashy Dream Finishes and being able to play co-op tag team too. I didn’t expect the evil mastermind to be so ridiculous, but I think it lends well to the over-the-top silliness. The costume customization and photo shoot modes actually look pretty fun, and I liked the picture of Terry Bogard at the SNK building haha! I wish I were more familiar with SNK franchises so I could appreciate the characters more. Wanna know more about these super glammed gals!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you as always for your kind words and support! I guess you’re right about the girls just having fun hahaha, although I wouldn’t call being trapped in a mansion by a creepy mastermind my idea of fun. 😛 I liked SNK Heroines ~Tag Team Frenzy~ more than I thought I would. I didn’t mind how simple the combos were, even though I thought other parts about the game were shallow, such as the movesets and modes. It works as a fun party game, sort of like Super Smash Bros. except with more niche SNK female characters instead of established fan-favorite Nintendo characters. Also closer to a traditional fighting game. I loved playing co-op too, especially in survival, and the Dream Finishes are so flashy and stylish. I liked customizing and taking photos too, though it felt weird after a while. Ahem… Anyway, thanks again! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah, though I think it would have had a hard time even without Spider-Man releasing on the same day. But I’m sure the niche has its fans. People who wanted to pick up SNK Heroines will probably pick it up anyway. Same goes for the opposite, especially for people who don’t want this level of fan service in their games.

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  2. This game has kind of a creepy vibe to it, as though it were designed by Master Roshi, but the fighting system sounds cool. I’ve always been terrible at old school, combo heavy fighters like Street Fighter and Tekken (hitting diagonal on a cross-shaped game pad is a special sort of torture), so it’s nice that this seems more accessible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha! Yes, I believe Master Roshi was lead developer on the team for SNK Heroines. 😉 Seriously, though, Tag Team Frenzy is a great fighting game for people who want to get into fighting games but have trouble with the crazy combos. I’d definitely say it’s hard to do all those button inputs in games like Street Fighter or Tekken without an arcade stick of some sort, but that problem isn’t in SNK Heroines! In a sense, it’s like Super Smash Bros. with the simple controls, although it doesn’t have the all-star Nintendo cast (or Pokefloats). Thanks as always for your support man! 😀

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  3. “…it’s an obvious appeal to fans of female fighters underdressed for battle.” That line made me laugh for some reason, haha. I enjoyed reading and seeing your opinion on this game, even though I have absolutely no interest in ever playing this game 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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