SNK has released another NEOGEO Pocket Color (NGPC) fighting game to the Nintendo Switch eShop, The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny, alongside the previously released Gals’ Fighters, King of Fighters R-2, and Samurai Showdown! 2. Like these other fan favorite fighters, the NGPC edition of The Last Blade features approachable gameplay for all skill levels but also depth for those who want to master the dual fighting style mechanics.
The Last Blade has a couple differences that make it stand out. First are the fighters themselves. Instead of fighting with fists and feet, everyone uses a weapon. Weapons range from a variety of swords, to pikes, to an old fighter that attacks with a fishing pole and sea creatures. This is important to note because of the parry system. When weapons strike, the clash results in a parry, bounce-back system. Even though it might sound a little complicated, worry not as players can button mash their way through the Story mode on the easier settings. The highest difficulty provides a significantly steeper challenge, so skill will be required to defeat the often cheap AI tactics. Finishing the story mode on the highest setting is the only way to obtain the best endings, however.
The other big difference comes from the quantity of unlockables that are available. Each successful match rewards the player with points. These points are then used to unlock endings, scrolls (which can adjust fighting capabilities), and even a couple mini games. Having so much to unlock means the carrot is always dangled in front of the player but the problem comes from the speed in which anything is unlocked. Not only does the difficult story mode need to be completed with each character to have the opportunity to unlock endings, the number of points it takes to open the best content takes a ton of time and grinding. The hidden baseball and shooter-like mini games are some of the best content available but having it locked behind a timed paywall is a steep price to pay.
To keep players engaged to earn those precious unlocking points, there are additional modes besides the typical Story campaign. Survival challenges the player to defeat as many enemies with a limited life bar, providing additional objectives along the way at a chance to increase score. Outside of the Training mode, this is a great way to really experiment with the two different fighting styles of each character and hon those parrying skills. Time Attack is also unique as the player has an unlimited life bar but is stacked against the clock. The higher number of take downs in 60 seconds, the more points that are awarded. These modes are great short-burst time wasters to help grind for points.
The same quality of life features in the other NGPC Switch releases continue here too. There are numerous border options, the ability to zoom the screen, high res scans of the instruction manual, and even an option to rewind are welcomed features. Easily the best feature, however, is the ability to play 2-player VS mode using one console. This originally required two NGPC consoles, two copies of the game, and a link cable when played on original hardware. Unfortunately, one feature was cut from the original release – the ability to trade scrolls. This option was probably rarely used with the original release so it isn’t a huge deal but important to mention for fans of the original release.
The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny is of similar quality as the other NGPC Switch fighting game releases. The chibi art style is just as adorable and the overall mechanics have that NGPC familiar flavor. The good news is, SNK is now running out of other fighting games to port to Nintendo’s console. This hopefully means that The Match of the Millennium is coming soon/next.
Also Check Out: the other NGPC Switch ports
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