If you're anything like me, when you dig into a new fighting game you go for the female fighters. They're usually lithe, quick on their feet, and clad in amazing outfits compared to most of their male counterparts. I need to be speedy, zippy, and stylish. So when faced with a lumbering dude or a flighty girl in fighters, I know who I'm always going to pick. It's been a personal preference of mine ever since my dalliances with Chun-Li in Capcom's Street Fighter and Sheba in Argonaut Games' FX Fighter. That's why I'm so delighted that SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is an all-female two-on-two fighter that's coming to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 this summer. Well, that, and its triple dose of girl power.
NIS America dropped the announcement on the Switch side of things with a mention during the latest Nintendo Direct Mini. SNK and NIS America are bringing the tag team fighting game to North America with a roster packed with 14 playable female characters, all compiled from the King of Fighters and Art of Fighting games released over the years. So far, ladies like Mai Shiranui, Athena Asamiya, Leona Heidern, Yuri Sakazaki, and Kula Diamond have been confirmed as playable fighters, marking a fantastic selection of women chosen from fighting game classics.
Unique to SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is a special fighting style that utilizes one button, and coup-de-grace moves known as Dream Finishes. They're special fatality-like finishers that eschew gore (unfortunately) for cute, girly ultimate techniques, and they're absolutely adorable. You can also use special items in battle, though it isn't clear what kind will be up for grabs.
Like all other fighters out there, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy will include online multiplayer as well as a special spectator mode. This way you can bet on others' matches with in-game currency, and win big to purchase cosmetic gooodies. From the early screenshots it looks like there are special masks, "hats" like a mushroom on the head, clown noses, and loads of other silliness that wouldn't feel out of place in a shoujo anime series.
All of these mechanics go a long way in confirming SNK Heroines' aesthetic and purpose, and it's clear it's aimed toward women and young girls with its feminine charms. There's a distinct "magical girl" look that permeates SNK Heroines, and I'm really into the aesthetic. I suspect it will also push other young women to get interested in the fighting game community, with what seems to be a low barrier for entry in terms of difficulty, fun female characters, sparkly logo, and magical girl-like transformations sprinkled throughout. As a big Senran Kagura fan, there's a lot of shared content between the two franchises I see here, like the goofiness and upped anime aesthetic quotient, and I'm here for it.
Further, Mai Shiranui is one of the most popular characters from both the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters franchises, and she can more than hold her own when it comes to the art of ninjutsu. Bringing iconic setpieces, as it were, together in one fighter is a great move, especially since there simply aren't female fighter-centric titles out there save for games like Skullgirls or the Dead or Alive Xtreme series. While those are fun spinoffs from the main Dead or Alive games, they're not "typical" fighters, so this game scratches an itch that quite honestly I didn't know I needed.
Unfortunately, there isn't a specific release date beyond just "summer" for the sparkly, shiny fighter. Hopefully it's sooner rather than later, because this is exactly the kind of game I'd like to see more of. It could totally use some real Mortal Kombat-style fatalities for the interesting juxtaposition between cutesy and extreme violence, but hey -- I'll take this. It's not often you see girl power as the uniting force behind fighting games.