PlayStation 4
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Game Info:

SNK HEROINES: Tag Team Frenzy
Developed By: SNK Corporation
Published By: NIS America, Inc.
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Available On: PS4, Switch
Genre: Fighting
Number of Players: 1-4 local, or 2 online
ESRB Rating: Teen for Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
MSRP: $49.99

Thank you NIS America for sending us this game and the DLC to review!

When I first saw that SNK was coming out with another fighting game and that NIS America was publishing it, I requested it without really researching what I was asking for - I know SNK has a great long history of wonderful fighting games, and I was looking forward to getting more familiar with their roster, outside of Samurai Shodown that I played a ton of as a teen and young adult. Well, I was in for a bit of a surprise.

The cast is all female, which is fine, but clearly sex appeal was more important than making a game with a large roster and depth. (One of the characters, Terry Bogard, was a male in the games, and is gender-bent as a female here.) The fourteen characters (plus 2 DLC) isn't bad, but it's nothing special. I have played and enjoyed all-girl fighting game casts before, but the titillation on this one surprised me in how blatant it was. Some games play it mostly straight with a wink and a nod here and there - here, it's all out front. Or on the side, or the rear - wherever skin can be shown, it is. Each character has a default costume, and alternates that cost in-game credits to unlock. Everyone has at least one semi-skimpy costume, or at least one semi-modest one in some cases.

Each character has three costumes, only one of which is unlocked by default. As you earn victories, you gain gold coins, which you can spend on costumes, accessories, and various other things like gallery items and soundtracks to listen to. It's a common mechanic, and works well enough. I played through the game with a couple of different character combinations, tried most of the others, and got through ten levels on survival mode, and got around 18,000 coins, which I could use to buy roughly half of the unlockable costumes and accessories, though the most expensive costumes are 3,000 each, and will take a while to grind for.

This is a 2D side-by-side fighter, not unlike King of Fighters (or Street Fighter, to use an example from another developer). This one has you choose two girls, as each side can switch between them at the press of a button. You would normally play solo or with two players, but you can have up to four players, as each person can be one of the team members. When you are tagged in, you start fighting, and when you tag out, your partner does. For fighting, there are weak, strong, and special attack buttons, as well as block, throw, item, and Dream Finish.

SNK HEROINES: Tag Team Frenzy
Highlights:

Strong Points: Unique win condition; colorful, with smooth animation
Weak Points: Not a lot of content; short; story mode does little to introduce you to the characters; basic features only
Moral Warnings: All-female cast (including a male transplant) that wears ridiculous outfits; boob physics are common; main enemy is a pervert, who is collecting females for his 'fetishism explosion' in his 'occult mansion'; curse words like 'sh*t' and 'd*mn'; animated violence

I'm sure you're thinking, 'Huh what? What are item and Dream Finish?' and that would be a reasonable question. They are unique, as I certainly haven't played a fighting game quite like this one in that way. Items pop up somewhat randomly in collection boxes around the level, and if you break them open, you get an item that you can activate with the appropriate button. It's kind of fun dropping a pan on their head, or setting a trap for them to trigger.

The Dream Finish mechanic is more unique, and an interesting approach to finishing a battle. There are no rounds in this game - instead, you have the chance to recover when you are beaten to the point of stun. But it's best to avoid stun, as a good player will punish you for it pretty quickly. How it works is that if your opponent is stunned (and especially if the game shows 'Finish Chance' on the screen) you can activate your Dream Finish move, which, if it hits, you automatically win. Actually it's the only way to win - you win or lose based on who gets hit with a Dream Finish move.

This means that you can recover at times, or the enemy can do the same. If your meter that allows you to activate the Dream move is not full yet, you can't use it. The nice thing is that often your tagged-out partner will have a full gauge, so if you can't pull it off, often they can. But if you miss, you will have to recharge, which can take what seems like forever if your opponent has their Dream Finish ready to go while you do not (if you even manage to survive that situation).

It's an interesting mechanic, and games can end very, very quickly. Which is a plus and minus I suppose. Earning coins to unlock gallery items and such can be done fairly quickly as a result, which helps. Though I was able to breeze through the story mode, that last boss - the only "true" male, for what it's worth - took many more tries for me to finally get him. Of course, he's a pervert...

The whole premise for the game is that the male enemy/boss, Kukri, has summoned all of the girls to his imagination-controlled mansion so that he can satisfy his fetishes. The scenes in between battles often include security cameras zooming in on inappropriate body parts or other lewd things. In order for him to get what he wants, he has trapped them, which usually happens when they lose a fight. It's not the best plot ever... or even the first time I've seen an all-girl fighting game use something similar.

SNK HEROINES: Tag Team Frenzy
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 70%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 4/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The controls are great, and the battles do work well and feel lag-free. The mechanics are completely solid, as I would expect from a company with such fighting pedigree as SNK. The game modes are fairly bare-bones, with a pretty lame story mode, a survival mode where you keep fighting until you lose, and a versus and training mode. There are some tutorials and such, as well as online modes, though I was not able to find an opponent when I tried. Nothing groundbreaking, but nothing really important missing, either. I would have appreciated a better story mode that actually properly introduces you to the characters. As always, it's quite fun with a friend sitting next to you.

There is obviously violence, as you beat each other up until your Dream Finish. There are a few cases of curse words, but they are relatively minor, including 'sh*t' and 'd*mn'. Obviously most of the issues are related to showing off the girls' many curves (including breast jiggle physics) and the pervy/creepy last boss guy.

The graphics are pretty good, though nothing earth-shattering. They are 3D rendered, despite taking place on a 2D plane. You can see your tag-team partner standing in the background, which is a nice touch. The sound effects do the job, and the music fits - though much of it is super-sweet girly J-pop that so many games seem to have these days. Not terrible, but unremarkable.

I attempted to review the DLC characters, but after redeeming the codes on my phone, the game absolutely refused to recognize my DLC purchase. I rebooted the PlayStation, uninstalled and reinstalled the game, and a whole lot more in an attempt to get the game to recognize my two additional characters. My advice is, if you want the DLC characters, buy them right on the PlayStation, from within the game. Don't do what I did and add them to your account from another device like a phone or PC. The characters are both cameos; one is Thief Arthur from Square Enix's Million Arthur series, and the other is a gender-bent version of Skullomania from Street Fighter EX.

SNK HEROINES: Tag Team Frenzy is a pretty good fighting game that has a bit too much 'fan service' for my tastes to be worth the asking price. I could see many having some fun with a title such as this at a good discount, provided the massive mammaries and crazy outfits don't keep you away first.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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