Monday 21 February 2022

SNK VS. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash Review (Switch)

Of all the Neo Geo Pocket games to be ported to the Switch, Card Fighters Clash is arguably the most high profile and the most sought after. While many of the Pocket games are designed to be enjoyed in short bursts befitting of a handheld, Card Fighter Clash will likely see you lose hours of your life.

It’s a simple concept, you pick either the Capcom or SNK version of the game to start your game and you are off in a Pok√©mon style collecting cards and then using them in battle against other players. Handily, both of the versions of the game are included in the switch port and you can trade between them in order to create a complete collection of cards. Sadly, the ability to play against other human players is incredibly limited as there is no online mode which may limit the games appeal for some.

The single player campaign is enjoyable enough and the setup is simple. Players are initially charged with winning six coins from six locations around a small map. In each location you need to defeat three or four players before challenging the area boss. Each player you defeat gives you more cards to play with. Won cards are randomised so you can try and farm them if you wish, though the rarer cards can only be gained from the best players or by completing specific criteria. Once you have the six coins a few more areas open up with ever increasingly complex decks of cards to play against.

The card battles themselves are deceptively complex. Battles play on out on a table where players can lay a maximum of three cards down. When played, cards add whatever special points they have to the players total and also present a battle point value to attack and defend with. The special points then allow for things like dual attacking and launching special abilities. Once cards are down players can either attack with them or hold them back to defend. Once an action has been taken the card in question is then frozen. This is important as you have to weigh up how likely you are to be able to defend against incoming attacks and if an all-out strike by your team is worth leaving yourself defenceless for.

The key here is that you aren’t trying to eliminate all your opponent’s cards but instead knock down their health bar. If they are unable to block an incoming attack with a card the battle points value of the card will be removed from their total. Once it reaches zero, they lose. The same goes for you of course so the balance between attack and defence is key. The only frustrating thing here is of course that there is always a certain random element to how cards come out so some games can be lost very early on with little the player can do about it. Of course, when you get hold of a few better cards to add into your deck this also works the other way as you can destroy your opponent very quickly if they start with a bad hand.

Overall, SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighter Clash is a welcome addition to the Switch library. It’s perhaps the Neo Pocket Game that has aged the least and remains the most relevant. It does take a few hours to really get into but once you do, you’ll be losing hours of your life without realising it.

 Overall 8/10

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