Hamster Corp's dedication to mining the back catalogue of the Neo Geo on Switch is commendable, but it does throw up some issues - namely that as time goes on the company is going to have to dig deeper and deeper into the library of the system, and that means having to endure some less-than-classic titles. While we wouldn't say that Sengoku is a complete and utter stinker by any means, it's certainly not a Neo Geo game that you'll spend a massive amount of time with.
Sengoku is a scrolling fighter in the same vein as Final Fight and Double Dragon, with the twist being that you can transform into different characters on the fly once you've rescued them in the game. Another neat touch is that you can grab different coloured orbs to gain new weapons, such as swords and fireballs; hordes of monstrous enemies present an obvious means of putting these unique talents to good use.
The variety introduced by the additional characters and special items goes a long way to making Sengoku enjoyable, but sadly the core gameplay is so painfully simplistic that it becomes repetitive after a while. You only have one attack button and you can twin this with the jump button for aerial moves, but there's little else to do other than hammer the keys until you're the last man standing. Compared to the leading lights of the genre - like the aforementioned Final Fight and Streets of Rage - this feels rather regressive.
Sengoku's visuals are a mixed bag as well. The sheer variety on display is often quite stunning; the action shifts from cityscapes to mythical lands at the blink of an eye and there's always the desire to see where the game will take you next. Sadly, Sengoku's status as a very early Neo Geo release is plain to see; the visuals lack detail and many of the sprites appear to have stepped out of a crude Mega Drive or SNES release; animation is also choppy and the music - despite some neat sampled voices - doesn't really stick in your memory.
Sengoku would go on to establish a franchise which improved drastically over time, but this debut title is one that should perhaps remain in the past, despite some neat ideas. It's not that you won't gain any enjoyment from it - in fact, with two players, Sengoku is a perfectly pleasant way to spend an evening - it's just that there are so many other superior examples of this kind of game available. Unless you have a strong nostalgic bond with the game from your arcade-going youth or you're a huge fan of side-scrolling brawlers then we'd recommend you save your eShop credit for one of the other ACA Neo Geo titles, or wait for the far superior sequels to arrive.