It's a result we had previously only dared to hope for. When SNK Vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium dropped on Switch almost a year ago, the fruits of the two fighting game companies' all-too-brief alliance were once again deemed "potentially in play". But when the labelled "Volume 1" of the wonderful Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection came out, we were a little cut up that the opportunity hadn't been taken to feature what is arguably the best game on the system, Card Fighters' Clash. We were sceptical that the professed first volume would ever be followed up by a second — as much as we love the Neo Geo Pocket Color (and we do, it's brilliant), it doesn't have the biggest library and most of the already-localised essentials were in that initial batch. Now, though, all bets are off as — thank god — Card Fighters' Clash has made it to Switch. Calloo callay, 'tis a frabjous day!
Originally released in 1999 (sufficiently close to the Japanese release of Pokémon Trading Card Game to allay any concrete accusations of style-biting), it's a card-battling RPG par excellence, with incredibly simple mechanics making the game — yes! — extremely easy to get into, but with depth enough to make it a long-term commitment to attain mastery.
Indeed, it's not dissimilar to the perennial Magic: The Gathering, with each side allowed to place a maximum of three Character Cards, drawn one at a time. Cards will attack each other first, then the "player" behind them (you, or your opponent). For example, say you played Terry Bogard against your opponent, who played R. Mika. That face off would see your 1000 BP Terry remove the 200 BP R. Mika from play, but her 200 BP would be subtracted from that thousand leaving Terry with 800 BP, which would then be subtracted from your opponent's overall health. Once said health hits zero, you win, so it's all about keeping the pressure on.
If it were just this Top Trumps stuff, then of course it would be too simple, so wrinkles are introduced with certain cards packing special abilities that can activate on play, during your turn or after playing another card. It's also possible to combine ("Unite") related Character Cards to really press the attack at the potential disadvantage of leaving you open to a counter.
Additionally, drawing and playing a Character Card from your hand grants you SP, which can then be spent to use Action Cards that will help you turn the tide. Think of Trainer Cards from Pokémon TCG, or — er, Community Chest. It's in judicious spending of your limited SP, clever application of your different Character Cards' various abilities and BP scores, and a strong line of defence from which a thoroughly enjoyable, profoundly tactical and incredibly addictive game emerges. The only downside is that games can sometimes drag on a little due to the extensive countering, and sometimes, if you don't manage to get a decent foothold (so to speak) on the match, it'll be a frustrating, losing battle of attrition.
Of course, it helps if you're a fan of SNK and/or Capcom — with 300 cards to collect, each brilliantly illustrated with classic super-deformed manga art that's rich with character and colour, while also communicating everything you need to know as concisely as possible. It's all rather marvellous looking, actually, with clean visuals and superb conveyance. All the information you'll want is always available. Picking cards, modifying decks and simply moving around the map are all intuitive and enjoyable.
Ah yes, the map. The RPG side of this card RPG is, again, simple — and familiar as heck to Pokémon fans — but it's packed with slightly wonky Neo Geo charm. The translation is exuberant and a bit strange, but in a way that's thoroughly nostalgic and quite charming. Travelling to the various Capcom and SNK themed areas, challenging other players to card battles and winning boosters... it's simultaneously chilled out and compulsive as you build your deck up with fan-favourite SNK and Capcom heroes and villains.
A brilliant game, then, but we should also talk about the port. Originally, there were two versions of this game — Capcom and SNK, natch — and here, you're able to play either. Even better, though, you can trade cards between the two versions, making collecting all 300 of them far less arduous than it used to be. You can also play versus mode using a single system — each player holds one end of the Switch, which is obviously not ideal but the fact it was included at all is a bit of a testament to how strong the port is. Other Neo Geo Pocket Selection features are here too, of course — rewind, manual, customisable display area.
As good as it ever was and now incredible value, SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash is still essential. Obviously the card-based gameplay isn't going to appeal to everyone, but at this asking price we'd say it's worth a go even if card games usually turn you off, especially if you dig SNK/Capcom's extensive character rosters. Many, many series are represented here and everything you need to learn to play is available in the scanned manual as well in-game via tutorials. Let it get its hooks into you and you've got a bit of a masterpiece here, and we're absolutely delighted that it's graced the Nintendo Switch with its excellence.
Fantastic game, excellent port that hopefully gives us some new version in the future who knows, having online vs would’ve been killer.
Great review btw!
Downloaded it because of its cult status and even after watching the tutorial thing I have no idea what's happening lol
I’m just glad I finally get to play this game.
Yeah been playing this weekend, it is quite addictive and I'm not even a card game guy, I am a Capcom and SNK super fan though.
I recommend starting with the SNK version of the game as I think you get better cards to start. I started with Capcom initially and was struggling quite a bit. Had an easier time on the SNK side of things.
First time playing. I started with the SNK version and collected the first 5 coins. Instead of grinding for cards, I decided to start another save file on Capcom side and already collected the first coin with unmodified starter deck in the third match of the whole game. SNK started deck had more synergy but the Capcom deck has some strong cards from the start, like Sakura. The AI makes some questionable decisions at times but overall it's challenging enough.
It's a lot like Pokémon Trading Card Game for GBC, except not. And by that I mean, the card game itself plays nothing like PTCG but the progression, overworld style and menus are going to feel very familiar.
9 seems a bit high..Nostalgia bonus point or two by the sound of it.
cool! i had a neogeo pocket color in the day, and i played MOTM to death on summer family vacation that year, but before i could this or any other game, it all went up in smoke!
in those days there was a thrill associated with investing in "the other guy." GBC was successful, underpowered, consistent, whereas NGPC had almost a completely exclusive library of exotic looking games, and ambitious arcade ports. if you were an SNK or arcade fan, you were best served by dreamcast and NGPC, for a sweet, brief, wonderful time
this and MOTM were the "killer apps" back then and obv i missed out on this one! thanks for the good review.
why does someone say this every time?
why shouldnt it get a 9?
have you personally played the game?
why shouldn't nostalgia be as legitimate of a factor as personal preference, or taste?
do you propose a strictly objective system for reviews?
how would it work?
edit - i never bother reading this stuff, but:
9 - Excellent
A game that scores a nine should be considered a must buy for fans of the genre. Of course if we give a nine to a racing game and you only enjoy RPGs then this probably won't change your mind."
do you believe SVC:CFC is not a must buy of the RPG card battle genre? I suspect that it is. No nostalgia needed.
True gem! Having so much fun and the bit size playing is great on a handheld device. The card art is great and looks stellar, an art gallery would have been the perfect addition!
Some matches can drag on for sure, mostly in the beginning when you're still on your starter deck, if you get a bad shuffle, or if your deck balance is off (not enough synergy, too many Action Cards, not enough SP generating characters, etc.). Once you get stronger cards like Terry, Akuma, Wild Iori, and Guile (he negates any Triangle abilities, the ones that activate when you put them in the field, which is really useful against late-game decks) the game really starts opening up. Pretty soon you’ll be 3 to 5-round K.O.-ing the 20-player gauntlet for fun!
@UglyCasanova The game needs to be played to be believed. As card games go, CFC is very streamlined and has enough depth to keep the game interesting and fun. Personally, I’d dock a point for the early game grind for cards. Maybe 5 cards for wins against normal opponents and 8 for site leaders would be better instead of 3 and 5.
Article doesn’t say but it’s $7.99 USD so whatever that is in funny money.
@UglyCasanova Why does 9 seem high? Not only is it a strong port of a classic but a high watermark in a genre that has never been more popular. I’d give Pokémon TCG high marks as well.
For every “point for nostalgia“, there are also points for recency bias. The whole media enterprise is predisposed to wanting new things to be better than old things.
@UglyCasanova 9 for an NGPC game isn’t the same as a 9 for a completely new game in 2022.
I feel the love for SNK exploded with Terry's inclusion in Smash. Such a rich history of games I would have never been exposed to!
I bought into the Neo Geo Pocket from day one. While I had no interest in card games back then, actual cards or in video-game form, I gave this a shot because most games for the NGP were very good and I was willing to try anything. It didn't take long to get hooked. It's a great game. I even managed to complete the card collection due to a friend from the opposite coast being in town for a weekend. Good thing he remembered his link cable.
a great game a bit overpriced
I think I shall get this!
Well seeing that I absolutely love card games I’m gonna have to check this out.😃
@Anguspuss No, you get a lot of game for its price, plus you get both games in one unlike a certain Pokemon series.
I want to buy this, but I imagine they are going to include it on a NGPC Volume 2 collection.
Incredible game! Biggest Surprise jan-22!! 2 Days playing and i put 10 hours!!!
@JayJ Almost certainly!
There was a sequel on the NGPC which sadly only released in Japan. There are english translations which can be played on original hardware using flash carts. Stay away from the DS ‘sequel’. It uses a whole new system which makes the game painful to play.
This is a definitive release. Let’s hope Code Mystics release the sequel in english for everyone which would be just stellar.
If you think this is a game you might enjoy, even just a little, buy it. You will absolutely love it.
You'll also be getting two games for an astonishingly low price.
SNK showing us the proper way to do a retro port!
Ok, guess I'm sold. Seems like I can finally leave the trauma that the DS version gave me behind.
Card Fighters Clash along with Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission are some of the most fun I've had with card games in a long time being that they're both easy to understand, matches aren't decided on the luck of the draw (at least not in world missions' case) and don't require a 12th lvl intellect to understand the mechanics like some card games where a match can end in one turn all because you didn't draw the right card you needed on your turn or even worse, you didn't win the coin toss. cough Yugioh cough
So, this means a Collection Vol. 2 is on the way?
Does it include both versions of the game? They did Pokémon-like dual release: one focusing on SNK characters and the other Capcom.
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