Console, Games, Reviews

SNK GALS’ FIGHTERS is a classic portable game you can take portably all over again

The portable cult classic fighting game is now on the Nintendo Switch, and SNK GALS’ FIGHTERS brings a load of retro charm with it. Does it hold up to modern standards? Check the rest of the review to find out.

Remember SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy? Yeah, that wasn’t the first game from SNK to combine all of their female characters and have them fight it out in one game. In the ancient year of 2000, SNK released SNK GALS’ FIGHTERS on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, and… that’s pretty much it. There was no re-release, no remaster, nothing for the next two decades, not until now.

If you’ve played Pocket Rumble, then you’d be stoked to know that it’s pretty much a modern reinterpretation of those old Neo Geo Pocket games. From the simplified movesets, to the stark color palette, to the lovingly-rendered pixel art, it’s a total love letter to the Neo Geo Pocket games of old, since for a long time there was no way to actually play those classic games on modern consoles.

But you can play the real thing now.

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When you boot up the game, you’d even see the game in its original aspect ratio, rendered in the middle of a Neo Geo Pocket mockup. You have the option of switching between multiple faceplates to remind you of which particular one you used to rock. If you hate fun, however, you have the option to not have any Neo Geo Pocket renders at all, and have just blackness covering your gameplay on all sides. You can also choose to zoom in and out depending on how much of a pixel-peeper you are.

The gorgeous pixel art with a style that was unique to the Neo Geo Pocket is preserved. I mean, it’ll actually take some effort to ensure that pixel art doesn’t translate well. You have an option to view the game as it is, or with a CRT or a Neo Geo filter. As with any retro game filters go, they’re middle of the road. I’m glad they’re there for those who want to reminisce, but there’s no way I’m doing those sprites any injustice by looking at a filtered version on my modern TV.

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You get a choice of 9 initial characters, with 3 unlockable fighters. Which is pretty generous for a portable game, if you ask me. The story is actually quite funny, with the dialog boxes peppered with witty lines and jokes that would probably be funnier to an SNK fan, which unfortunately I am not. But I enjoyed it just the same.

If you want a deep dive into the game and how it was revolutionary for the time, here’s a great retrospective.

Since the Neo Geo Pocket had two buttons, that carries over to the Switch port. We just need to punch and kick, and I blazed through my first playthrough – which is funny, because I was just trying to get my bearings around the controls at that point. Also, I am notoriously horrible at fighting games. Turns out it’s set at the easiest difficulty mode, a fact that embarrassed me when I checked the options after I defeated the mysterious Miss X and was quite triumphant about that victory.

You also get the original manual buried in the options menu, which is more than I can say for the NES and SNES games that Nintendo periodically releases with their Switch Online service. SNK also included a Training Mode, so if you want to be the Queen of Fighters, it’s the perfect time to do so. And finally, there’s also a versus mode that’s perfect for the Switch’s Tabletop Mode.

For $7.99, getting SNK GALS’ FIGHTERS for the Nintendo Switch shouldn’t even be a question. It’s a great fighting game, available for cheap, and is packed with loads of humor and personality. Go pick it up.

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