By Steve Baltimore / November 4th, 2020
|Title||THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny|
|Release Date||October 28th, 2020|
|Age Rating||E10+ – Everyone 10+|
THE LAST BLADE is one of the few SNK Fighters I’m not very familiar with. When I got the chance to check out their latest Neo Geo Pocket Classic, THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny, I decided to jump on it. I’ve enjoyed all of the other releases, so I went into this one expecting to have a good time. Let’s see if things turned out that way!
The story here starts out as basically a retelling of the first THE LAST BLADE title, but this can be changed into the sequel as players unlock scrolls in the gallery. At the end of each match, players are rewarded with points. You can use these points to purchase scrolls in the gallery. Doing this will unlock things like mini games, extra characters, and even power ups. I thought this was a very unique way to present the story, and it gave this game a lot of replay value.
Graphically, THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny, is on par with the other Neo Geo Classic titles. The character sprites look fantastic and all of the backgrounds are well represented. Some of the scrolls you unlock in the gallery have some great bonus artwork as well. The animation is very slick and the game runs at a very solid framerate. Like always, you can resize the screen and add some scan lines if that’s your cup of tea.
I say this every time I review one of these Neo Geo Pocket games, but the chiptunes are amazing. I’m just super impressed with what SNK was able to do with such meager hardware. I’ve found myself humming along several times while slicing my foes into pieces. However, the sound effects are nothing to write home about. They get the job done, but there is nothing that really stands out about them either.
The game modes here are pretty much what you’ve come to expect in a fighting game like this. You have Story, Time Attack, Survival and Versus. You can gain points to unlock scrolls very quickly playing Survival mode. Not only are you awarded points for each match you win, but at the front of each map the game will request you pull off a variety of moves. This can range from countering attacks to getting a three hit combo. You gain extra points at the end of the match if you complete this task, but if you fail you will lose points instead. Time Attack is a little different as well. Just like Survival, you will gain points for each foe you slay, but you will not take any damage when struck by enemies. This will delay in you beating them which will reduce the number you can beat in just 60 seconds.
I was a little worried going into this, fearing the combat would feel very weighted like it did in the Neo Geo Pocket release of Samurai Shodown 2. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny feels very responsive and is very fun to pick up and play. Each character has a variety of special moves and ultimate attacks at their disposal, and this makes each one feel quite a bit different. You can choose between Power or Speed type attacks, and there is a hidden EX type as well.
THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny gives you a lot of game for a small $5.99 price tag. It will take you quite a few hours to grind out all the unlockables, and the mini games are always fun to pick and play for a few minutes. The graphics and sound are top notch, but most importantly, the game is a ton of fun to play. While I think some folks will be turned off by its retro look, gameplay is king here. I think fans of the series and folks that love fighters will find a lot to love here.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Neo Geo PocketReviewSNKSwitchThe Last BladeTHE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny