The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny (Switch)

The NEO GEO Pocket Color was a handheld game system that SNK made in the late 90s to compete with Nintendo’s Game Boy Color.  I loved SNK’s handheld and for a while I enjoyed it even more than Nintendo’s.  So I’m really glad they’ve been releasing some of their games on the Switch.  SNK is mostly known for their 2-D one-on-one fighters, so a lot of their series got entries on the handheld.  One of their lesser known series is The Last Blade, which only got a couple of entries as opposed to other ones like King of Fighters or Samurai Shodown.  I’ve even read that some say that The Last Blade is like a spinoff of Samurai Shodown, since they are both weapons based 2-D fighters set in medieval Japan.  But I don’t really know if that’s true.

For a fighter on a handheld with only two buttons, you can still pull off a lot of complex moves like in a regular brawler game.  There is a Story Mode where you pick a character and see them through the end, as well as survival, time attack, and training modes and Vs. mode.  In the original handheld, you did two player by using a link cable between two NGPC handhelds.  But here they just split the screen and have the other person pick their character on a second NGPC!  So that’s neat.  As you play, you’ll earn points which you can use to unlock and buy scrolls.  These scrolls give more information on the characters, and sometimes you can even unlock new characters and story sections by purchasing them.  There are even a couple of mini-games you can unlock this way, like a baseball style game and a 2-D shooter.  You view the action on a mock up NEO GEO Pocket Color handheld (which is weird when you are playing the handheld on the Switch handheld mode), but you can choose to zoom in on the screen to make it much easier to see.  You can also toggle various screen filters, rewind, and view the game’s original instruction booklet.

Really the only problem I had with this one is that it’s way too long and cumbersome to unlock anything in this game.  Plus you fight nearly all the same characters in Story Mode, no matter who you pick.  And on a more personal level, I didn’t find any of the characters as interesting as other SNK fighters.  It’s still a good game, it’s just my least favorite in the list of NGPC games ported to the Switch.  I do like that the last boss isn’t cheap, and I can actually beat this game.  My favorite is still Gals Fighters, though.


Kid Factor:

It’s a fighting game, so you attack other players with punches, kicks, swords, and magic blasts.  But defeated players just fall down and about the worst thing you see are cartoon dizzy stars.  The shorty, squatty cartoony “chibi” design of the characters and graphics also negate a lot of the violence.  Reading skill is helpfufl for the text.  The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny is rated E for Everyone.

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