Review – SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy

We have all enjoyed The King of Fighters XIV a lot in 2016, haven’t we? It was easily one of, if not the best fighting games I’ve ever seen from SNK, boasting a mammoth-sized roster, a good amount of modes, and excellent gameplay like you would expect from one of the most important fighting game developers of all time. I was obviously looking forward to their next big thing and that turned out to be SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. Well, it definitely isn’t as epic as KoF XIV turned out to be. It didn’t even turn out to be a game that resembles KoF in terms of gameplay. Between its gameplay and its overall aesthetics, this is truly something else…

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Fangirling much?

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, shall we? Yes, SNK Heroines appeals to the same demographic who would enjoy the Dead or Alive volleyball spinoffs or the Senran Kagura games. SNK Heroines calls itself a “moe fighter”: it clearly takes advantage of its occasionally bodacious, often chibi female fighters in a way that makes the Dead or Alive games feel conservative in comparison. In a bold move against most fighting games out there, the girls come equipped with their sexiest outfits right off the bat and with their original arcade outfits acting as easy unlockables. Heck, they even gave poor Terry Bogard a pair of big boobs. That probably appeals to… someone…

All thematics aside, I’m here to judge if SNK Heroines is a good fighting game and it is a good fighting game. It plays differently from SNK’s classic fighters, however: games like KoF, Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting are well-known for not being exactly the easiest fighters out there. SNK Heroines ditches complex combos and button prompts in favor of a very Super Smash Bros-esque combat system. You have a weak attack button, a strong attack button, a grab, and special attack button. Just like Smash, the special attack your girl will perform solely depends on the direction of the analog stick or the d-pad when you press the circle button.

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Is that you Terry? You look… different…

You can also grab items and use them against your opponent, change characters with the R2 trigger, and activate an ultimate strike with R1. The R1 button attack is how you end a battle, as you need to pull a finishing move in order to properly knock down your foe. Think of it as King of Fighters meet Smash Bros at the end of the day: it’s very easy for both newcomers and veterans alike, even if the latter might find this fighting style way too simplistic. To be fair, even though I prefer the complexity and the combos other SNK fighters have to offer, I really enjoyed the easy and fast-paced combat in SNK Heroines.

Technically-wise, SNK Heroines gets the job done. Not only is the fighting system decent enough, but the visuals are competent, making up for its less than impressive graphics with tons of color and a rock-solid framerate, plus the sound design truly stands out. The game features a ton of voice acting to a point I definitely wasn’t expecting, as the developers made sure to include lengthy dialogue exchanges between every single character pair possible, ensuring you’ll want to play the game’s short but sweet story mode multiple times. That being said, this also leads to one of my main gripes with the game.

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That cat outfit doesn’t look very… protective…

SNK Heroines features a very scarce roster: the game comes with fourteen fighters right off the bat, with no in-game unlockable fighters. You can also fight the male boss, Kukri, at the end of the story mode, but he’s not available as a playable character. For a 2018 fighting game, this is a bummer. For a follow-up to KoF XIV, a game that featured a whopping 50 base characters, it is an even bigger bummer. Several noteworthy SNK female characters such as Last Blade‘s Hibiki and KoF‘s Vice and King are nowhere to be seen, for instance. I know the fact the game aims to solely include female characters reduces the overall availability of fighters in SNK’s catalogue, but I feel a bit more should have been included.

Thankfully, the game does try its best to promote replayability in other ways. As previously mentioned, the story mode is slightly different depending on which character combination you have chosen. Not only that, but SNK Heroines also features a very extensive customization mode, allowing you to pretty much design your outfits with tons of accessories. The amount of items you can use during fights is also pretty high. Even though it doesn’t fully compensate the overall lack of fighters, it does make the wound hurt a lot less than other games, such as Street Fighter V when it first came out.

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Imma build a wall!

SNK Heroines might be an occasionally cringy experience, especially if there are people watching you, but it’s still a very competent fighting game with a unique combat style. It compensates its minuscule amount of fighters with lots of customization possibilities and a very replayable story mode. This is not exactly a true successor to the excellent KoF XIV from 2016, but it can easily please not only those into moe games, but SNK enthusiasts in general.


Graphics: 7.0

It doesn’t exactly ooze with detail and the backgrounds are somewhat simple, but the game is extremely colorful and boasts an excellent framerate.

Gameplay: 8.0

The odd mix between King of Fighters and Super Smash Bros controls can make veterans question themselves, but the control scheme is extremely easy to learn and very responsive.

Sound: 8.5

There is an impressive amount of well-performed voice acting, as well as a soundtrack comprised of classic SNK tunes and some J-Pop.

Fun Factor: 6.5

“Unusual” themes aside, SNK Heroines boasts unique gameplay and a lot of fanservice, but it really suffers when it comes to roster size.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Reviewed on PS4.
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is available now on PS4, Switch.
A copy of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy was provided by the publisher.