SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash
Genre(s): Board Game
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 12/01/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
What’s in the Cards Today?
SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash is a card fighting game like Hearthstone or Plants Vs. Zombies Heroes. Though it takes inspiration from these titles, instead of focusing on multiplayer elements, SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash features a story campaign like traditional Pokémon games. Do the gym fights pair well with the card battling? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Before I began my journey, I could select between two separate games. I could play either the SNK or Capcom version of the game. Though there are only minor differences between the titles, it was a great inclusion to add. Not only could I play the game through another time with a new starting set of cards, but I could trade cards between my accounts, building an expansive collection.
Learning the Rules
After I had selected my starting cards, I was introduced to the main gameplay mechanics. Unlike many more recent titles, every option was available to me at the beginning of the game. Surprisingly, for a card game with one win condition, there were a lot of things to keep track of. It took me a while to understand every mechanic fully, as the only way to learn more about mechanics was to read a manual given by one of the in-game characters. This was helpful, but it was not an exciting way to learn about the mechanics. I found it much more fun to learn by playing the game. Though the information at the beginning of the game was a bit overwhelming, learning all the mechanics in the game was very rewarding.
Moreover, each card had multiple properties to master. The cards featured BP, which equated to both health and damage output, and SP points for special moves. Some of the cards also had abilities too. Though there were a lot of mechanics regarding some of the cards, learning how to use each card was self-explanatory because I could read a summary of the card before playing it. Some cards had abilities that synergized with certain strategies too. The cards were well designed.
Though learning the game took a lot of time, I thought it was worthwhile. There are a lot of interesting strategies and combinations of characters to leverage in SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash. The developers encouraged building multiple decks by introducing a backup mechanic. Since only one new character could be played each turn, some characters had synergies with others, allowing them to be used to increase the overall statistics instead of being played as a new character. This “back-up” mechanic was powerful when used correctly. However, though focusing on synergies did enable some interesting strategies, in my playthrough, I was able to put my most powerful cards together instead of focusing on synergies.
Another reason the synergies did not make a substantial impact on my playthrough was that collecting cards was difficult. At the beginning of my playthrough, almost my whole selection of cards was objectively worse than many of the cards in the game. Though each battle awarded new cards for me to experiment with, only a few of the cards were genuinely helpful, and I constantly got cards that did not make my collection better. Though obviously, some cards will always be better than others, obtaining many of the cards was underwhelming because they were completely overshadowed by objectively better cards.
The game was dragged down because some of the cards were unviable. The cards had rarity ranks ranging from S to D. Instead of saving the lower-ranked cards for potential uses, many of them were completely overshadowed, and they felt useless. To make use of these cards, I could exchange ten D rank cards for a random card in the game. Having so many useless cards was frustrating, even if it makes sense. I would have liked it if each of the cards was useful or had an ability instead of having this ranking system. Though many of the cards had unique abilities, most of the interesting abilities were only placed on high-ranking cards instead of balancing out low statistic characters.
Moreover, the game has huge difficulty curves. There are five mini-bosses in SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash that grant access to fight in the final tournament. Unfortunately, the final tournament was substantially more powerful than these fights. Instead of having more opponents to face and interesting locations to interact with, to better my collection, I needed to rematch these characters multiple times. I understand that sometimes I would get unlucky after a match and get useless cards, but I spent almost as much time rematching these characters as I did fighting them in the first place. It felt like I was not progressing, even though I was completing my collection. I would have liked to see an intermediary league between the two leagues that would not only give me new non-playable characters to combat but make the grind of collecting viable cards less noticeable.
Despite the many grievances with the card selection and the randomized allotting of cards, I had a lot of fun playing in each battle. Though I got tired of the repetitive nature of revisiting the same opponents, the game was innately fun, and I enjoyed learning the strategies and fighting against all odds to win. The strategy was rewarding, the cards were interesting, and there were many ways to improve my technique as I continued playing.
In addition to the rewarding gameplay, SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash featured an intriguing world design. Though the levels themselves were not particularly exciting, there were secrets in many of them and each world felt like a place where this card game could be played. There was no substantial story, but there were plenty of things to like about the world. I thought the story elements and the campaign for the tournament wrapped the game up nicely.
The music and visuals were also stellar. The chip-tune soundtrack was upbeat and kept me energized despite having to use my brain while playing this game. The visuals were sharp and colourful, looking great on the screen. There were different options to select too. I could choose between different borders and filters, making my experience tailored to me. All combined, the game looked and sounded great.
Overall, SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash was a lot of fun. There are so many things to enjoy about this title, especially considering how inexpensive it is. However, it was a bit tedious at some points, and I was disappointed by the lack of viable cards. Still, I had a great time and enjoyed getting to play a card game with some very recognizable characters.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.