Fighting games are quite far from my comfort zone. In fact, I’m always overwhelmed by the amount of combos I’ll never be able to memorize, resulting in short-term frustration. Still, it was with optimism that I ventured into SNK Gals’ Fighters – the latest port of a Neo Geo Pocket Color game originally released in 2000.
The game brings together many of the female fighters from SNK’s various games and focuses on the Queen of Fighters Tournament – a tournament organised by the mysterious “Miss X”. Obviously, although this offers a small narrative, it is far from being something that will leave invested in the characters. It’s more about having a good time. Besides this “campaign”, the game also offers the training mode, always essential for those who like to dominate all the combos, as well as the usual quick matches.
As for female fighters, we have 11 at our disposal, where three of them are initially blocked, including the mysterious “Miss X”. For fans of the old SNK classics, know that you will find female fighters who are part of games like The King of Fighters 96 and 97, Samurai Shodown, Fatal Fury 2, among others. If you are included in the range of people who have played some of these titles, then certainly nostalgia will be part of this trip.
When it comes to gameplay, there is a considerable number of combos for each character. Everything gets even more incredible when the game only has two attack buttons. Nevertheless, the learning curve is far from accessible. To fully master the different combos, a few training sessions will be required.
For a 20-year-old game, it’s easy to imagine the graphics that SNK Gals Fighters presents. The combat scenarios have some variety, with a simple but effective design. The fighters themselves are presented in a chibi / anime format, although with few details. All this is obviously a result of the time when the game was first released, but it will certainly delight retro fans. Regarding the soundtrack, nothing special to mention except that it becomes a bit repetitive quickly. Of course this can change depending on one’s ear.
Something I found interesting in the title was the possibility of changing the looks of the handheld console. In addition, we can also change the screen filters, being able to switch between something older, with “reduced visibility”, or something cleaner for the eyes. It is also possible to increase or decrease the size of the console on the screen, almost as if you were putting the handheld closer or further away from the eyes. Just like we did when we were all younger. Well, we don’t need to go any further. Surely a lot of people still do the same thing today with their mobile phones… Sorry, I’m drifting away from the main point.
I confess that I was surprised by the presence of a digital manual, which gives some information about the game and the characters, but also shows how to do some combos. I found the detail quite interesting and all that’s left is to be able to smell the paper to be as good as it used to be. However, the surprises don’t stop there. The game has an interesting mechanic that allows you to go backwards in combat, or in the menus themselves. It’s something I don’t know if it was part of the original game, but I’ll assume it wasn’t. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen such a thing before. It may even take away some credibility in combat but, at the same time, it’s an option to make the title more accessible to people who are less capable in this type of games.
SNK Gals’ Fighters is not exactly a game that presents problems, beyond its acceptable limitations imposed by other times. In fact, the game works “wonderfully”, although it is clearly a product with a very defined market. If you’re looking for something innovative with a lot of content, then this is not your game. Now if you’re a fan of old school products, or if you played the original game and want a more accessible version on current platforms, then SNK Gals’ Fighters is for you.
The game allows you to retreat during combat
Console and image filters customization
11 characters available
Allows 2 Players
Essential for fans of the original version
Not many game modes
Its age ultimately limits in several respects
Release Date: 29 April 2020
Developer: Code Mystics
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by TheoGames.