Developed By: Code Mystics Published By: SNK Categories: Retro, Compilation Release Date: 11.09.22
They did it! They finally did it a year and a half later! A second volume of the NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection compilation. There’s even some games I was requesting and even a few more. I loved Code Mystics’ work on the previous release and each of the solo game releases and I love this one too…though I have a few more issues than I did last time.
Volume 2 has a another ten games, with only four of them being released solo this time around. Those four being Big Bang Pro Wrestling, Biomotor Unitron, Mega Man Battle and Fighters, and SvC: Card Fighters Clash. I reviewed three of those, so go read the reviews for them if you can. Exclusive to this set, at least so far is Puzzle Link 2, Pocket Tennis Color, NeoGeo Cup ’98 Plus Color, Baseball Stars Color, The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise, and Ganbare Neo Poke-Kun. Some sports games, a simulation game, a puzzle and and…a board game? There’s no lacking in variety here, but this is where an issue lies. Much like Mega Man, a few games in this set are not translated. Those being the simulation game and board game. I’m sure you can gather why this is an issue, even if a little. That said, lets dig in.
First up is Puzzle Link 2. It’s a matching block game…wait don’t leave! Puzzle Link 2 has you making a link to one block to another. Of the same type or color, once that’s done, they’ll clear with more close to them if between. Say you clear a space, then if you drop a color into the same color, it’ll clear those too, making a combo, which can really clear that screen. You get the standard modes like a vs. mode a limited move puzzle mode, and a single player mode. This mode “Card Game” has you doing ten rounds in one of five levels, with a sixth unlocked at the end. If you can beat a round fast enough, you can unlock a card to use in it’s own mode, which plays a bit like War. I like Puzzle Link 2 quite a bit. Even if you never do the card stuff, it’s still a fun puzzle game.
Next is a bit of coverage for the sports games. If you’re looking for more chibi, scaled down versions of SNK sports titles that were in arcades, look no further. These are full fledged sports games, so if that’s not you’re liking, you’re most likely going to not enjoy these, as cute as they are. I like retro sports games. Not a huge fan, not enough to go crazy over them, but I find them fun. So I don’t mind them. However, the design philosophy seems to go against how handheld games usually work. As you can imagine as well, some of these games might get some screen crunch. I don’t have an issue with it for Baseball Stars and Pocket Tennis, but it becomes terrible in NeoGeo Cup. Something that did disappoint me as I was all for NeoGeo Cup’s story mode. The characters in it are so cute!
Ganbare Neo Poke-Kun is an odd game. About an odd creature. It’s less of a game honestly and more of a “mess with this guy in his tiny Japanese apartment” simulator. It’s confusing and it’s menus not being translated can make it more so. Thankfully the manual is translated so you can get some understanding. I personally think it’s one of the better looking games in the collection.
Last up is The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise. I’m sorry, but there is absolutely no way, manual or otherwise you can convince me to. I did try to get something out of it though. It feels like a handheld Mario Party clone alright, even with those red and blue sports to earn or lose coins. Minigames are fun at least, but this and most party games aren’t really made for single player. Music is really good too, I caught that Psycho Solider remix.
I’m mixed on this collection. As a bundle and what it offers, it’s more or less the same as the original, which is good. Boxart and manuals scans? Yes please! Wait, not even just boxart scans, but actual remade models of the boxes and cartidges. Love it. You have the overlays that are themed like the consoles themselves, even letting you play some of the Black and White editions of games, or the error screens of others. I couldn’t ask for more. My issue is that three of the ten games are unstranslated and I feel outside of Mega Man, it really does hamper the enjoyment. That all said, I was so excited to see Code Mystics and SNK porting more and more of these games. Especially ones that were 3rd party releases. Please give us a Volume 3 with games like Sonic or Card Fighters 2, even Cotton.
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*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review