Whenever a fighting game with an all-girl cast, or nearly all-girl cast, is released, concerns arise. Is this game just about delivering fanservice? Is there quality gameplay here? Are systems actually refined? People might especially be wondering about that now that SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is launching in 2018 and one of the main talking points for the title seems to be about the different costumes that may or may not show actual damage as you fight. While these games certainly cater toward people and try to look as appealing as possible, people should never dismiss them.
These are games that can offer a lot of depth. The Arcana Heart series is an example. Let’s use Arcana Heart 3 Love Max!!!!! as an example. Before a match even starts, people have to pick one of the 23 female fighters and one of the 23 different Arcana to go with it. This means you need to be aware of what kind of role each character has and their moveset, as well as know how Arcanas work, which ones might complement the skillset of the character you choose, and how to properly employ them. After all, the Arcanas provide passive bonuses, Extend Force atributes, and special moves to the character who possesses them. Since someone like Heart is balanced, you could use really any Arcana well with her. But for someone like Mei-Fang, going with Thunder is a good idea to help her deal more damage and keep up the pressure on an opponent.
All-girls fighters also serve as a means to highlight female characters. Take a series like Street Fighter or even The King of Fighters. Most of the cast members will be male. By giving people a game like SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, people get a chance to appreciate these other fighters and their capabilities. An all-girls fighting game could force people to work outside of their comfort zone and consider using characters they may have ignored in other titles, due to there being options they have known about for a longer period of time or been more familiar with. SNK Heroines and SNK Gals’ Fighters both put other characters in the limelight.
Another positive thing about fighters with all female casts is that sometimes they are designed in a way to be a little more friendly to newcomers. The aforementioned Arcana Heart 3 Love Max!!!!! has a Simple Mode where you have four major buttons, each tied to a certain sort of attack. SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is going to have a simplified control scheme, not unlike Super Smash Bros, where special moves can be pulled off by pressing a single button. Skullgirls does not offer an easier version, but does have a rather extensive tutorial mode to educate players. It takes the time to teach newcomers how to play properly, trigger combos, and make the most of special attacks. These games give people an opportunity to jump in, then maybe eventually grow into better players.
Not to mention, all-girls fighters gives people a chance to just be silly. SNK Gals’ Fighters has heroines from different SNK series fighting for a chance to have a wish granted. Mai Shiranui’s dream is to marry Andy Bogard, Shermie wants a larger cage for her hamster, and Athena wants her short hair to be long again after regretting a haircut. Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel has odd characters mixed in with super serious ones. Like Super Sonico, a teen idol, is there for some reason and fights by calling in her bandmates or cats for attacks. In hat game, Ouka, the original Nitroplus mascot, is fighting to regain her former position as the company’s representative. We get to cut loose and just enjoy!
It is easy to brush games aside if they do not seem to meet your particular standards. And all-girls fighters could be easy to disregard. But those who do not give them a chance could find themselves left out. More than a few all-girls fighters have merit to them and could provide an opportunity to enjoy a solid and enjoyable game with deep mechanics and goofy stories.