All of us remember how prominent the fighting games were back in the ’90s. Back then, the internet was a myth, and most of the games were played either on consoles or at the arcade. One of the most popular fighting games franchises at the time was SNK’s King of Fighters. It brought some unique innovations to the fighting genre, not seen in other such games, and generally, it was very well received. From there on, it spawned a series of games, consisting of over 20 titles. Now, more than 25 years later, The King of Fighters ALLSTAR is available for all mobile gamers to enjoy.
Development and Reception
The Development of the game was handled by Netmarble, South Korea’s largest Mobile Gaming company. It was first released on July 26, 2018, in Japan. Following its success there, and due to the large demand by South Korean gamers, it was released on May 19, 2019, for the South Korean market. Finally, on October 22, 2019, it was released internationally. On Google Play, The King of Fighters ALLSTAR was installed over 1 million times and it currently sits at 3.9 out of 5 stars rating from over 75k votes. On App Store, The King of Fighters ALLSTAR has an astounding 4.8 out of 5 stars rating with over 8.6k votes.
The gameplay is more of Action RPG, beat-them-up style-oriented than a typical fighting game. You control up to three fighters in a team, and you can freely swap them around as you like, although, swapping a character out will start a cooldown during which you can’t play as that fighter. Stages are mostly designed in a typical beat-them-up side-scrolling fashion. In each stage, you need to defeat a certain number of enemies before the boss appears. Defeating the boss will end the stage, and based on your performance, you will receive appropriate rewards. As you progress, you will unlock additional game modes and quests.
There are many different characters available to play as, and pretty much all of them are from the previous KoF titles, ranging from KOF ‘94 all the way up to KOF XIV. The characters are collected via ‘gacha’ system, present in many other popular games of today. Every character can be leveled up, evolved, and each of them has special moves, some of which are obtained by equipping battle cards suitable for the character.
The game also features limited crossover events with other popular franchises, such as Gin Tama, Samurai Shodown, and Tekken. During these events, players can obtain characters from those franchises, and needless to say, this immensely increased the game’s popularity.
The visuals in the game are simply said, astounding. Every character is modeled in the spirit of their original counterpart from various KoF games. The attention to detail is worth every praise, and overall, the visuals were done incredibly well. It can boldly be said that the graphics are nearly on par with The King of Fighters XIV. However, this does come at a price. In order to fully enjoy the visual extravaganza, you really need to own quite a powerful phone. Most of the average smartphones of today won’t be able to run the game smoothly, and more often than not, players will experience choppy gameplay, lags, and even crashes. Even if you tone down the graphics settings, those problems will still persist, which can often be very frustrating.
Hopefully, the developers will do their best to better optimize the game, since most of the beforementioned issues can very negatively impact the gameplay experience. However, for those lucky enough to own a powerful gaming smartphone, it will deliver quite an enjoyable experience.
The atmosphere of The King of Fighters ALLSTARS is freakin’ amazing! Every hit, every special attack, every combo you unleash upon unfortunate enemies will give you that sweet sense of satisfaction that can’t really be described with words. Every time you hear the sound of your character punching bad guys will bring the joy to your ears, and kudos to the development team for nailing this perfectly.
Still, not all is sunshine and rainbows, sadly. In some cases, especially on low-end phones, frequent lagging and choppy gameplay can lead to you getting the beating of your life, and when you can’t do much about it, the sheer frustration can ruin the entire atmosphere.
While ‘gacha’ system may not be too appealing for everyone, it is undeniable that The KoF ALLSTAR managed to bring the franchise’s essence to smartphones, although in a slightly different fashion. Despite all of the technical flaws and poor optimization, this game is definitely a gift for all the fans of the KoF series.