SNK Gals’ Fighters Switch Review – Classic Chibi Fun

The Neo Geo Pocket Colour is the real console that never was. It was only given 1 year of support before it was dropped outside of Japan, but in that year it saw some amazing handheld games unlike anything that had been seen before thanks to its 16-bit processor. That was until the Game Boy Advance came and stole the show. One of these games was SNK Gals’ Fighters, originally released in 2000. Buying a physical copy of this game will set you back £150 making it quite the bargain on Nintendo switch at £7.99. 

I love the art style of Neogeo Pocket Colour games.

What really made Neo Geo Pocket Colour games stand out was their distinctive graphical art style, much like the large sprite chibi style games on the original Gameboy, only thanks to the 16-bit processor they look a lot nicer and more crisp, still looking fantastic today. As such SNK Gals’ Fighters chibi all female cast of 11 fighters (3 of which need unlocking) look great blown up on the Switch’s screen still in it’s 4:3 ratio. 

Or maybe not all female.

The graphics aren’t the only thing that still holds together today as the fighting is every bit as good as a console game with all of the same techniques and mechanics. It really is quite astounding for a handheld that only used two buttons. You have special attacks using quarter and half circles movements, dragon punch movements and more, all easy to pull off thanks to a very forgiving input mechanism. Special meters used for push blocks and supers as well as 1 unique easy to do super per character. There’s dodge rolls, high jumps, grabs, air grabs and hidden special moves not in the manual with each character having a vast selection of moves. In fact there’s so many moves per character I’d suggest looking up a movelist online, you’ll be shocked considering it’s a two button handheld game. I’m sure the original clicky microswitched stick of the Neo Geo Pocket Colour worked better than an analogue stick but SNK Gals’ Fighters plays well enough with analogue or face buttons, though it really shines when you attach your trusty Hori Joy-Con with its D-pad. 

Super are visually flashy.

The story is very light with SNK heroines being invited to the Queen of Fighters tournament where the winner gets a talisman that will grant any wish and that’s it really. Fight through eight stages ending with Miss X. What’s an extra interest is you randomly unlock items with helpful effects such as starting the battle with a full super meter. Apart from the Queen of Fighters there’s training mode and two player Vs on a single console. This isn’t one of those impossible fighters nor does it have a massive difficulty spike for the boss as there are 5 difficulty settings and 4 game speeds.

Change those crucial moments with the rewind.

The new options for this port allow you play the game on a Neo Geo Pocket Colour sized screen with a static skin of the console round it or zoom right in so that the 4:3 is as large as can be, this is the best option as you can see clearly and the graphics still look charming. You can play with clean, crisp graphics or a Neo Geo overlay filter to really recreate the classic experience, with both styles looking great in their own right. The best new feature is the ability to rewind frame by frame for a short amount of time allowing you redo those small costly mistakes that always crop up in fighting games. 

Shoryuken!

The soundtrack is your standard chiptune affair typical of the time. Some songs blend into the background, others I was happily humming along to after hearing a few times.

The digital manual is a welcome addition.

Unfortunately the Neo Geo Pocket Colour didn’t get a look in when I was younger because it just happened to release during the height of the Pokémon craze. Being able to come back and play this classic game is a breathtaking and worthwhile experience that any fan of handheld games or fighting games should take advantage of. SNK Gals’ Fighters is fast paced footsietastic fun with incredible mechanics that really do put later handheld games to shame right up until the time of the PSP.

German suplex with a nice finishing thrust.

A huge thank you to SNK for providing the review code. SNK Gals’ Fighters is available now on the Nintendo eShop for £7.99.

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