SNK Gals’ Fighters review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: SNK
Developer: Code Mystics
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

Neo Geo Pocket never really took off as a portable platform here in the United States (or anywhere, really) but that?s not to say that it wasn?t a system with a few hidden gems. One such gem was SNK Gals? Fighters, a 2D fighting game focused on the female cast members of SNK fighters such as Fatal Fury. Unfortunately, there?s been no ?legal? way to play the game up to this point, unless you were willing to shell out a couple of hundred bucks for the original. Thankfully, that?s no longer the case with the recent Switch port that landed on the eShop last week. 

SNK Gals? Fighters on the Nintendo Switch is a really solid port too. The game comes over intact, no missing features, fighters, and so on. It features the option to switch between the Japanese and English version of the game, has the original instruction book scanned in for your perusal, features local 2P versus while both docked and undocked (more on that in a minute) and honestly looks surprisingly good blown up on the big screen. 

As fighting games go, SNK Gals? Fighters might feel a little too straightforward compared to modern fighters, but I found myself appreciating the return to a slightly more simplistic approach. SNK Gals? Fighters still features some modern hooks too, a fair number of unique specials for each character, detailed sprite work despite the chibi style artwork, super meters, a decent combo system, and a story mode with unique endings for each character. Priced at $7.99 on the eShop, I think you?re getting a good value for the level of content present here.

I also dug the presentation for this release too. In order to fill the screen, the background image is rendered as an actual Neo Geo Pocket, which actually has multiple designs to pick based on the different colored hardware variants that were produced 20 years ago. Yes, there?s even a Neo Geo Pocket translucent skin if you want it. I also thought it was pretty neat to have a portable versus mode on one system by turning an undocked Switch or Switch Lite vertically. It can be a little clunky control-wise when set-up like this, but I still thought it was a neat option to have.

My only issue with this release is that I wish the move list for each character was easily accessible outside of the digital instruction book. Yes, you can bring that book up at any time from the pause menu, but you?ll still need to flip through it to get to the character section each time. It?s hard to hold this against the game much though, it?s clear that this port was meant to be as true to the source material as possible, but I wouldn?t have minded a convenience option or two tossed into the mix either. 

Still, as it stands, this is a great port of a unique, obscure fighting game that I?m happy gets to see the light of day again. Hopefully, this will pave the way for more Neo Geo Pocket content on the Switch, which seems to be a perfect fit. Definitely check it out when you have a chance, you won?t be disappointed. 

Note: SNK provided us with a SNK Gals’ Fighters Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-