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NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 review for Nintendo Switch


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

We recently covered the latest title in the NEOGEO Pocket Selection series and as someone who has a bit of a completionist mindset, I was mere days from putting some money into the eShop and buying the other 5 titles in the series. However my tendency to procrastinate had served me this time as SNK decided to smile upon us and offer a way to score all the titles which have been made available so far and some new titles in a singular package that would actually cost less than buying the previous releases. This package is the NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1.

The lineup of the NEOGEO Pocket Collection so far has been all fighting games and the 4 titles added to the mix in volume one includes a sports title, 2 side scrolling shooters and an action RPG. It confuses me to say that the one I had enjoyed the most was the sports title. Big Tournament Golf is a portable entry of Neo Turf Masters which was a title which started on the MVS. The reason why the title was the most enjoyable of the four was because of its simplified controls and removal of some of the complexities of golf (I seriously couldn’t tell you the difference between an iron and a wood in terms of clubs).

Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999 is an action RPG that spun off of the rail shooter Beast Buster. You kill the undead, collect and feed their souls into your weapon to further enhance its power. Conceptually interesting, if only the gameplay didn’t feel like an action RPG from the NES era. Rounding off new titles are two entries of the Metal Slug series in the form of 1st mission and 2nd mission. They play like any title in Metal Slug series, as in you’ll die frequently and in typical joycon fashion, shooting diagonally consistently is a nigh impossible task. 1st Mission runs smoother, although 2nd Mission has the voice samples commonly heard in the Metal Slug series.

The presentation of the collection is somewhat lacking, there’s no title screen, menu music. It feels oddly sterile compared to other SNK compilations (Samurai Shodown Collection and SNK 40th Anniversary Collection specifically). The usual features found in single releases are present and these features include customizable frames, zoom, gameplay rewind, digital manuals and cocktail versus modes. The new features in this collection include the ability to change the language of the game and manual via a menu rather than the emulator’s language settings, the ability to view the game box and rotate it to your heart’s desire. Unfortunately there are 2 jarring features that are missing, each game has to be configured individually and saves from the standalone releases do not cross over into the collection, meaning all the characters that I’ve unlocked in the standalone SNK vs Capcom Match of the Millennium release does not transfer over to the collection’s version of the title. This is a major sticking point given how annoying unlocking things are in that specific title.

The collection is a great entry way to get some underrated portable fighting game, however the genres being represented are a bit lopsided. The presentation is somewhat underwhelming but you can’t deny the value of the collection versus buying these titles piecemeal. That said there’s still some gems in the NEOGEO Pocket library and let’s hope volume 2 will include a certain crossover card game, that’s all I ask!

Note: SNK provided us with a NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B