SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash – Review
Follow Genre: Card game
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Platform: Switch, Neo Geo Pocket
Tested on: Switch

SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash – Review

Site Score
Good: Both versions of the game combined into a comprehensive edition
Bad: Shoddy audio quality
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s been a while since we last took a look at a Neo Geo Pocket Color title on the Switch, but we knew more games were on the way, as the previous batch of individual titles saw release as a collection subtitled “Volume 1”. Ahead of the inevitable “Volume 2” bundle, we’re now taking a look at SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash, which debuted back in 1999. Has this bout between the two legendary franchises stood the test of time or was it better off left forgotten?


We wouldn’t go as far as to call the events that unfold in Card Fighters’ Clash an actual story, but it works well enough as a framework for the series of card games. Players take on the role of a rookie card player that is taking their first steps on the SC tournament scene. They need to travel to various locations around the world to defeat six card leaders and earn their SC coin. Once all SC coins are collected, the player can then take on their rival and defeat them to claim the title of SC Champion. We should point out that, although various enhancements were made to the game for this port, SNK’s team didn’t bother cleaning up the in-game text, and it is riddled with awkward phrasings and full of spelling errors, which is a shame.


Just like the previous titles we’ve reviewed, Card Fighters’ Clash comes with a selection of Neo Geo Pocket frames in various colors as well as a zoom function. The game’s visuals are crisp and clean. Fans of either one of the featured franchises will enjoy browsing through their card collection to get a good look at the super-deformed but still recognizable sprites of their favorite characters. Outside of the card battles, however, Pokémon fans are very likely to have a feeling of déjà-vu, as the overworld map looks like a carbon copy of the one seen in the Game Boy Color version of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, a title we wouldn’t mind seeing ported to the Switch at some point. In any case, Card Fighters’ Clash’s visuals have stood the test of time very well, and the game looks appealing and crisp, both in handheld and in docked modes.


Unfortunately, the game’s audio doesn’t share the same fate as its visuals. Part of this is due to the limitations of the original hardware, but we couldn’t help but feel like the audio in this game wasn’t as good as that of the previous titles in the series. The music itself is catchy enough, but the quality simply wasn’t there. We can’t directly compare the quality of the Switch port to what it sounded like on an original Neo Geo Pocket as we don’t have access to the hardware, but we can’t imagine that it was impossible to improve the sound quality here.


The title already indicates that Card Fighters’ Clash isn’t a straight-up fighting game, unlike the previous SNK vs. Capcom title we reviewed. Instead, what you’re getting here is a strategic card game with a layer of RPG gameplay lovingly slathered on top. The similarities to the classic Game Boy Color version of the Pokémon TCG aren’t just visual -this is an experience very much akin to that more famous title, and other similar trading card games, like Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!, albeit less complex. Card Fighters’ Clash sees you summon characters from either the SNK or Capcom universe and duke it out against both your opponent’s summoned characters or directly against their hit points. Whittle your opponent’s HP down to zero and you can claim victory.

Of course, this is easier said than done, and the key to victory lies in finding the right combinations of characters and Action Cards. Certain characters can combine and team up and unleash devastating attacks, but you need to collect the required cards first, of course. It’s a task that’s easier said than done -while some cards are guaranteed rewards from specific Card Leaders, there is of course a random element to acquiring others, making for a game that increases its longevity by making specific cards difficult to obtain. Given that Card Fighters’ Clash is a relatively short title in the first place, we don’t mind the padding here.

The core mechanics are easy enough to pick up, but we were impressed by the sheer amount of potential combos and strategies that are available to players. While the game doesn’t carry the same scope as something like Shadowverse, this is less because of the complexity of the ruleset and more because of the limitations of the system. Granted, the in-game explanations of the mechanics aren’t very clear and we had to resort to looking up a more in-depth guide online, but once it all clicked, Card Fighters’ Clash cemented itself as the best of the Neo Geo Pocket titles we’ve reviewed so far.

The ported version of the game also received a significant overhaul compared to the original releases. Yes, you read that right, releases, as the game originally came in two flavors: you’d either buy the SNK version or the Capcom version, each of which offered exclusive cards. If you wanted to obtain the complete set of 300 digital cards, you’d have to track down someone with the opposite version and engage in some digital trading. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here, as both versions are included here and you simply choose which one you want to play as you start a new game.

You can trade cards between both versions on a single Switch and you can even engage in multiplayer card games using one system. These QoL improvements come on top of the features we’ve come to know and love from previous releases. You are able to remap buttons, rewind the game should things go awry, and of course browse through a digital version of the manual -which provides a slightly more in-depth explanation of the game’s mechanics but doesn’t really provide more clarity. Unlike the more action-focused previous titles, we would’ve loved seeing a save state option here as well, instead of a rewind function, as this is a game that is less about quick reflexes and more about strategizing and thinking ahead.


If you can make it past the game’s rougher edges, including the obtuse explanation of the mechanics, the numerous text errors, and the shoddy audio quality, then what you’re getting here is surprisingly good. Combining the two separate releases of the game into one comprehensive version was a stroke of genius as it removes the hassle of finding someone else to trade digital cards with. Keeping the age and hardware limitations of Card Fighters’ Clash in mind, what you’re getting here is great stuff and definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of digital card games.

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SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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  1. […] will eventually end up in the as-of-yet unannounced NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 2, just like SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash. For now, however, you can pick up this wrestling game by itself. Before you do so, read on to find […]

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