The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny – Review
Follow Genre: Fighting Game
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Platform: Switch, Neo Geo Pocket
Tested on: Switch

The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Good implementation of versus mode
Bad: Feels overpriced
User Score
5.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Earlier this year, we took a look at SNK Gals Fighters, a Neo Geo Pocket title that was ported to the Switch. While we weren’t particularly impressed with the pocket-sized brawler, SNK is now bringing The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny to the table. Beyond the Destiny is a chibified version of the beloved Neo Geo title The Last Blade. We took Beyond the Blade for a spin to see if it had more to offer than SNK Gals Fighters. 

Story

Beyond the Destiny initially follows the same story as its Neo Geo predecessor. The story involves Hell’s Gate, which is the barrier between Ushyo, the world of the living and Tokoyo, the world of the dead. Hell’s Gate is normally guarded by four Gods, but now the barrier has been opened and things quickly go south. The Last Blade tells the stories of individual characters and how they deal with this disaster. What’s interesting here is that there are various character endings that can be unlocked by purchasing them from the shop, allowing you to see the story play out in different ways depending on the ending you purchased. 

Graphics

We were pleased to see how crisp the port’s graphics were this time around. Animations are very basic of course, and while the backgrounds are nicely detailed and colorful, they’re also static, allowing you to easily focus on the on-screen action. Character sprites are crisp and really show off the personalities of the cast, even if they are extremely chibified. Once again, the ability to fill out the screen with a Neo Geo Pocket frame is a nice touch and we imagine it puts a smile on the face of those that owned one of these handhelds, especially since you’re able to choose from a variety of styles. 

Sound

Beyond the Destiny’s soundtrack is one of the game’s highlights. The chiptune tracks sound fantastic, and while we’re admittedly not familiar with the original The Last Blade game, we did some research and found out that Beyond the Destiny’s tracks are simplified renditions of the tunes that formed the soundtrack of its bigger brother. The sound effects are basic, of course, but that’s something that shouldn’t surprise you given the limitations of the original hardware. 

Gameplay

As you’d expect based on the screenshots, you’re looking at a pint-sized fighting game. Surprisingly, there is more to Beyond the Destiny than meets the eye, however. Apart from the expected modes, which include the main story campaign, of course, as well as versus, training and survival modes, you are also able to unlock a pair of mini-games. As you play through the campaign, you’ll earn money which can be used in the in-game store to buy scrolls. Apart from the aforementioned mini-games, available scrolls include additional characters, items, endings and background stories. Completionists might get some mileage out of the title, as unlocking everything will take you a few hours. 

Given the original hardware’s limitations, it’s impressive to see how much SNK managed to cram into Beyond the Destiny’s two-button setup. Not only are you able to choose between speed or power mode for your character, but there is also a combo system in play. Granted, the standard difficulty isn’t too high, but tweaking the settings does allow the AI to put up a decent fight. The implementation of versus mode is worth a mention. In the original version of Beyond the Destiny, playing versus mode involved linking two Neo Geo Pocket systems together using a link cable. While link cables are a thing of the past, you’d expect SNK to get people to wirelessly connect two Switches together, but instead, the displays of both consoles are presented on the single screen. While this feels a bit clunky in handheld mode, it works like a charm while docked. 

Controls are responsive but do take some getting used to. There is no in-game explanation as to how combos work and while there is a manual available, controls are lifted directly from the original Neo Geo Pocket release meaning they don’t line up exactly with the Switch port. While the price tag for Beyond the Destiny isn’t outrageous, you’re still looking at a port of a 20-year-old Neo Geo Pocket game, and there are much more impressive fish in the $7.99 sea, so we’d expect SNK to put in the bare minimum effort. Adjusting the manual would have gone a long way in showing dedication to the customer. 

Conclusion

While there certainly is more meat on Beyond the Destiny’s bones than there was on SNK Gals Fighters, it’s still little more than a curiosity. We imagine nostalgia will be the main driving factor for people to pick this one up, but if you have no affinity for the original version, there is very little here that can justify the price tag. 

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The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Sebastiaan Raats


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  1. […] Contact. The 1999 Neo Geo Pocket Color title arrived as a bit of a surprise drop on the Switch. We’ve taken a look at previous Neo Geo Pocket titles on Switch before, but when it comes to brand name recognizability, this is arguably the biggest title to make the […]

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