A lot of times people get caught up in what something should and should not be. This was a massive problem for The Surge. A lot of people criticized it for being too similar to Dark Souls, only to criticize it for not being similar enough. This can make it difficult to build a unique experience, but that isn’t going to stop SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy from trying. With multiple characters, some DLC on the horizon and an interesting concept, is it enough to stand out or is it a lackluster fighter?
There really isn’t much of a story in SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy. You pick two characters, with specific pairs having a unique storyline, fight through the other fighters and then defeat the person running the fights. The main story itself isn’t anything interesting, with the conclusion often being the best part. They include some amusing visuals and a cute side story, one that often links with the characters’ history in King of Fighters, and then a pretty final image. After doing a couple there isn’t enough to make it more interesting than just the final moments, leaving gameplay to do the heavy lifting.
Unlike your usual fighting game, SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy is a party game. Every fight starts with characters at reduced health and a special bar making up whatever is missing. This means taking damage isn’t an outright disadvantage, though it isn’t an advantage either. The idea is to use combos to decrease your opponent’s health and then use a special to finish them off. It really isn’t too different from PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
Less skilled players will likely notice combos and moves are not that complicated. Specials are just a direction and a button, most combos are simply stringing single button inputs and/or a special/tag and so forth. Where SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy starts to stand out is the party elements.
Since you have to hit your opponent with a finishing move, there is plenty of time to collect items and either increase your health or stop their advance. This can be done with a variety of items, ranging from a pan to bombs, allowing less skilled players a chance to change momentum. The downside is the mechanics favor anyone who understands them.
When playing against others, it’s important they understand they need to save up special, either by not using specials or tagging and then waiting for the opportune moment. When facing against others online I noticed a lot of people would senselessly waste them, resulting in them bringing me to critical faster, but never having the opportunity to land the final hit. Since my tactic was all around landing the final shot, I won a lot of matches by simply having someone implement the wrong tactic. I imagine this will be a common approach with newcomers and something that needs to be stated upfront.
Those looking for a lot to do will probably be underwhelmed by the amount of depth and content. Story can be completed in about 30 minutes, meaning it might take a couple hours to see every story, leaving versus, survival, training, tutorial, plus a couple online modes.
Most of these modes are pretty straightforward. Versus is an offline battle mode; survival is seeing how long you can last; training is versus a dummy and tutorial explains the mechanics. The last one is actually pretty comical, since some of them are so simple that it goes without saying. For instance, the one for tag is essentially push this button to tag, try it, push it, and boom, you win.
Online suffers from similar issues. Players can pick from normal or gamble matches, with the only difference being reward. While a normal match is basically versus, gamble is all about deciding how much gold to bet against someone else. Even if it’s a fun change, it isn’t different enough to change the experience or justify splitting players into two different pools.
If there is one upside to SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy, it’s gold can be redeemed for endings, alternate costumes and accessories. So, if you love Yuri, you can buy her traditional costume or a cute new one. Every costume also comes with four different palettes, making them a little more interesting. From there you can buy headbands, tails, wings, shackles and more. These items also come in multiple colors. Finally, players can change a character’s voice. Once you find the fight look, simply save and use it in a future match.
SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy isn’t a bad game; it just isn’t noteworthy. Characters retain their most of their iconic moves and costumes, though none of the depth. The average match can end in seconds and is little more than pushing the same button, maybe tossing in a special attack and then waiting for the right time to use an item or special. It will be fun at first and make for an okay party game, it just doesn’t have enough of anything to make it stand out in the long term.
[Editor’s Note: SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]