SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy fails as both a fighter and fan-service game. Its mechanical simplicity prevents it from engaging for extended sessions while the overwhelmingly limited character customization and costume selection inhibits the extent of its fan-service. Its $50 price tag across PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch adds further insult to injury.
SNK Heroines‘ story is about as anime as anime can get. The King of Fighters 14‘s Kukri has somehow managed to merge his dream dimension with the fighters’ real dimension. In this newly merged mishmash of dimensions, Kukri forces the women to fight against each other before he’ll allow them to escape.
An amorphous statue slowly absorbs each felled heroine, culminating in the final confrontation. As each woman loses, she’s added to Kukri’s collection of fetishism. That’s the extent of SNK Heroines‘ gripping narrative. Surely, a fan-service game doesn’t need good storytelling, right?
Try Harder, SNK
You can have the most nonsensical plot, but with high quality presentation, it skirts by. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus has a dumb plot about ninjas competing in some festival on a beach. It doesn’t appear any more thought-provoking, but its story mode is filled with high quality cinematics, art work, and context for every scene.
Players even explore each character’s background and motivations for competing in the festival as the story progresses. It may still be just another macguffin, but it gives the impression that it’s so much more. Even with heavy-handed writing that sometimes overstays its welcome, Senran Kagura: Estival Versus feels like a full-fledged package.
SNK Heroines sadly can’t live up to that example. Containing only seven fights, the story mode can be completed in under twenty minutes even with all the cutscenes. Each fight is usually only broken up by a 10-20 second clip of Kukri perving on the girls. Nothing more. Nothing less. Estival Versus had an entire, fleshed-out pantie eating scene. SNK Heroines‘ story lacks creativity in both its premise and ability to expose its anemic cast of characters.
If SNK Heroines‘ lazily hashed-together story mode didn’t put you off, its core gameplay will. Items, the most noteworthy differentiation between it and KoF, are about the most exciting element SNK Heroines brings. Throughout battle, capsules show up on-screen behind the fighters. You break the capsules to acquire items.
Most items exhibit the same level of creativity as its uninspired story mode. It’s a sad day when a filter that pixelates the screen is the game’s most exciting item. Bombs, springboards, shields, health pick-ups, tornadoes, and the list goes. None of it will surprise you or impact the flow of battle enough to be a game-changer.
It’s when you sink your hooks into its core systems that you begin to understand how depressing it all is. Like many fighting games, SNK Heroines features four distinct actions mapped to single buttons. It has light attacks, heavy attacks, special moves, and dream finishes.
Dream finishes are the only way to win fights. When the opponent’s health bar turns red, a successful dream finish ends the fight. These, along with special moves, consume the dream meter. Because of this, don’t even consider dream finishes until the very end of battle.
That only leaves light and heavy attacks along with special moves. Each heroine has 4-5 special moves, all activated with a single button or directional input along with the button press. Unlike special moves in proper fighting games, directional inputs won’t test your dexterity. Left, right, up, and down are the only directional inputs for special moves and dream finishes.
Where’s My Fighting Game
Light and heavy attacks seem like a decent starting point, but with limited combos, there’s not much to do. Most combos stem from a light attack. Four hits is the longest light attack combo. Each light combo can be finished with a heavy attack, though that heavy attack always knocks the opponent to the other end of the screen.
There are special move cancels, meaning you can cancel a normal combo into a special move, but even cancels require no skill because of the simplified inputs and single-digit move lists.
As a tag team fighting game, tagging in another fighter mid-combo does give it extra legs it might otherwise not have, but with such a simplistic foundation, it’s not enough. Each character is still limited to the same basic light combos that can be finished off with a heavy attack to send the enemy flying. Heavy attack combos do not exist.
Special moves provide the only substantial variation as some characters’ special moves contain different properties. One character’s special moves act as grabs, for example, leading to satisfying combo-finishers after a tag-team string. However, even then, with only so many special moves per character, combat quickly loses its luster.
Where’s my Content?
With only 14 characters and 7 stages at launch, players can exhaust SNK Heroines within hours. If combat encroached upon the depth of a BlazBlue or Guilty Gear, that content would feel meatier. As it stands, though, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is an empty shell that exists for no reason other than to sell breasts and butts.
Speaking of breasts and butts, SNK Heroines can’t even do fan-service properly. Each of the fourteen characters only has three costumes. Is this a demo or a $50 product? Customization items are broken into categories ranging from face to legs.
Only one item can be equipped in each category and their size or more precise location can’t be manipulated. It’s so limited that the arm band options limit players to the same bracelets on both arms. You can’t choose one arm or mix-and-match. A predefined selection of about five colors for each item is the biggest bone its customization menu throws at customers.
The diorama feature, which involves placing characters in poses set to a backdrop, is admittedly pretty cool. In fact, this diorama menu features more advanced customization than the actual customization menu.
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is one of the laziest games I’ve come across all generation. Plenty of compelling games feature exorbitant amounts of fan-service.
- Onechanbara Z2: Chaos
- Senran Kagura: Estival Versus
- Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
- Moe Chronicle
- Dungeon Travelers 2.
And the list goes on. If you’re really desperate for virtual breasts and butts, spend money on anything but this egregious cash-grab. It’s an empty shell of an experience that’s about 2.5X’s too expensive.
DISCLAIMER: Review code provided by publisher