Developed by SNK, Abstraction Games Published by NIS America Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Nintendo Switch)
With its exaggerated antics and experimental tag team action, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is one of the most unique takes on the fighting game genre in 2018. Its post-release DLC characters are no exception as each character is compelling and fits well with the base cast. These DLC characters provide new surprises and strategies, and they will undoubtedly entertain players who enjoyed the game’s eccentric hybrid of fighting and party mechanics.
As SNK Heroines’ first crossover character, Thief Arthur hails from Square Enix’s Million Arthur franchise. Thief Arthur encapsulates Million Arthur: Arcana Blood’s hyper-stylized anime-inspired action, and her seemingly bizarre design brings dynamism and liveliness to the game. She specializes in aerial movement as the only character able to double jump. Some of her moves can be performed both on the ground and in the air, which creates all sorts of tricky pressure situations. One of her supers requires her to be in the air, and it deals hefty damage to a nearby airborne opponent. Her versatility and maneuverability meaningfully provide a new way to experience the game.
Hailing all the way from Arika’s Street Fighter EX series and currently representing Fighting EX Layer, Skullo Mania has been a fan favorite character for decades. Skullo’s design and moveset derive inspiration from tokusatsu superhero tropes such as utilizing high-flying antics and exaggerated attacks to achieve victory over foes. These moves include slide attacks, dynamic mid-air dives, and other dramatic antics that can easily catch opponents off guard. In this way, Skullo Mania suits the game’s wacky nature. Despite the character’s off-the-wall nature, the moves are fairly easy to pick up and learn.
As a throwback to SNK’s history, Miss X originally appeared in the spin-off fighting game SNK Gals’ Fighters and had a handful of cameo appearances. Miss X is a not so well disguised take on a certain beloved fan favorite King of Fighters character. The striking part about Miss X’s implementation in this game is that the costumes actually include both female and male designs. The hit effects and an alternate costume blatantly refer to Miss X’s rival, and it is pretty amusing seeing the game run wild with fanservice-laden jokes. SNK Heroines’ simpler inputs also mitigate the need to perform half circles and multiple consecutive quarter circle inputs, which works pretty well.
While these characters are worthwhile and fun to use, they also operate ever so slightly differently from the rest of the cast. Each character has a single story intro, and picking a DLC character plays the respective voice rather than the announcer’s. Thief Arthur and Skullo Mania have one costume, one VS portrait, and one set of voice lines, which feel a little different from the others’ multiple options. Miss X is unique in that some voice lines are actually locked to certain costumes. However, these points are relatively minor, and the characters are seamlessly built into the rest of the game.
SNK Heroines’ DLC characters are fun to use, and they certainly warrant revisiting the game. Even though the game largely represents SNK’s previous material, the guest characters suit the game’s quirky aesthetics and mechanics. We can certainly recommend all of the characters regardless of players’ familiarity with their source material.