The King of Fighters franchise is probably one of the most important fighting game series ever created back decades ago. Even now, The King of Fighters continues to release fighters but you might be surprised to learn that developer/publisher Netmarble has released a new KOF title that isn’t a fighting game. The King of Fighters: All Star takes the legendary fighters from the series and removes the fighting elements in lieu of a beat ‘em-up style. Is this departure from the series staple set up a good move or does this series falter with such a huge divergence? We here at Honey’s Anime find out in our review of The King of Fighters: All Star for Android!
What to Expect
Unlike the series staple fighting game mechanics, The King of Fighters: All Star leans towards a more classic approach. Acting as a mixture of an action title and beat ‘em-up, you’ll be taking control of various KOF champions as you take to the streets and unleash chaos! Choose from series famed warriors such as Terry Bogard, Kyo Kusanagi, Mai Shiranui, and the list goes on. Use their icon moves and beat various opponents on a 2D plane. Create your three man dream team and/or join with others online to create an unstoppable fighting force! The time has come to prove you don’t need to have a ring to prove you’re the best, the streets will make for a nice battlefield in The King of Fighters: All Star!
For reasons unknown you have awoken from a sleep and find yourself in a rather bizarre situation. Your memories of the past are all gone and you immediately notice fighters all around you itching to brawl! With no other options available you join up with a strange girl and enter a tournament going on. You will soon learn this fighting tourney isn’t just a simple brawling arena but instead a much more profound experience. Welcome to The King of Fighters where champions worldwide have something to prove using their fists and legs!
The King of Fighters: All Star was a bit of a shock to us here at Honey’s Anime when we heard the radical change it made to the fighting series we love and adore. Rather than be a fighter The King of Fighters: All Star is now an action/beat ‘em-up which seems worrisome. Thankfully, The King of Fighters: All Star does suffer from some weak elements here and there but ultimately is a pretty decent experience overall. Let’s dive deeper into The King of Fighters: All Star since this wouldn’t be a review without some good old fashioned analysis!
When The King of Fighters: All Star starts up you find yourself choosing between three famous heroes and immediately learn you’re an amnesiac who can channel this fighter’s abilities/skills. It seems a bit ridiculous—though when hasn’t The King of Fighters been anything but out there—but The King of Fighters: All Star works to give you a means of being able to play as a slew of fighters from the franchise history and use them to your heart’s content. While the system at play work, this is where The King of Fighters: All Star begins to falter slightly here and there.
As a beat ‘em-up, The King of Fighters: All Star hits all the right notes in terms of gameplay. Choose your heroes—up to three that can be swapped out during play—and hit the streets going against random thugs and some series famous villains/fighters. Using your phone, you have three main attacks two of which are special abilities—from the character’s famed move set—and a regular attack button. You can also guard and even do special dodge rolls to evade unblockable attacks or moves you know will drop your HP. This all works quite well and allows for plenty of combos that you’ll need to boost your score up and to take down some of the harder enemies of The King of Fighters: All Star. However, the simplicity of this set up means almost every fighter—and we mean everyone—ends up brawling the same way with just different styles being shown during their combat. The King of Fighters: All Star feels like it was made to cater to all gamers and while we appreciate that concept it does weaken what the franchise is known for. Also, in case anyone was wondering…yes Mai Shiranui still has those famous oppai physics that even shrunk to a smaller screen look amazing.
All jokes aside, The King of Fighters: All Star might be overly simple but we can tell a lot of love went into detailing these famed characters. Visually, all of the fighters from the KOF franchise look amazing and while their art style is clearly different here and there, the overall design of these warriors is truly incredible. The same can be said of the backgrounds. While you won’t see hundreds of different areas, most are very detailed with a lot of small details being focused on. If The King of Fighters: All Star nailed anyone element gameplay wise it would be the visuals which are phenomenal for a phone based title.
Aside from being a beat ‘em-up, The King of Fighters: All Star also is a gacha game which might turn off many of you from the gate. Before you do run for the hills and cry about another gacha game—which we don’t blame you for doing—the gacha elements in The King of Fighters: All Star are pretty fair and well balanced. You’ll still need to grind through the immense story mode and event missions but often you’ll earn enough points to summon plenty of fighters without having to spend any cash. You can obviously spend real world currency for rolls but we noticed that only a few hours of play can earn you enough for at least a few dozen rolls.
Digressing a bit, let us go back to the in-game mechanics a bit, there’s a reason we waited till the end to go more into detail here. The King of Fighters: All Star plays out like most mobile titles where you go through several story mode chapters, fight through events for special items and level up your party with in-game items. That’s the big glaring issue to The King of Fighters: All Star. Everything in this beat ‘em-up feels done before and overly simple. Most of the fights are extremely simple and rarely does The King of Fighters: All Star provide a challenge to a strong leveled up team of fighters. Yes, there are dozens upon dozens of fighters to unlock and hundreds of fights to enter but the whole set up feels…simple. Maybe that’s one thing we constantly felt plagued The King of Fighters: All Star. Compared to the complexities of the fighting games the series has unleashed, The King of Fighters: All Star is so easy to master there’s rarely ever a challenge to be had. This is good for those who want an easy beat ‘em-up to enjoy but for those who want more, The King of Fighters: All Star might not appeal in the gameplay department.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
At its core The King of Fighters: All Star isn’t a bad beat ‘em-up. While the story is…kind of lacking and the simple controls make combat almost too easy, The King of Fighters: All Star is a fun game to play on the go or if you love—and breathe—all things KOF. We loved the character roster and equally loved the amazing level of detail for all the characters. Netmarble has truly shown themselves to be a competent game developer and The King of Fighters: All Star is a shining example of why. Those who wish The King of Fighters: All Star was more focused on the series staple fighting mechanics might dislike this spin off but those who can see past it will enjoy grinding for all the characters and hoping to make their ultimate team ups possible.
Excellent roster of KOF characters
Simple but effective beat ‘em up controls that cater to hardcore gamers or casuals
Great art style with a lot of love and detail in character models/special effects
Lengthy story mode for plenty of fights to be had
Gacha elements are fair and offer a lot of characters more often than not
Combat can be quite simple even on harder difficulty settings
Story seems flat and almost too strange
Can be a bit repetitive if played for too long
Honey's Final Verdict:
The King of Fighters: All Star will no doubt appeal to KOF fans but not for the reasons one might expect. While the fighting game mechanics have been replaced with a simplified beat ‘em-up style, the gameplay is fun and simple for all gamers out there. Unfortunately, due to this simple set up, The King of Fighters: All Star feels a bit underwhelming in comparison to other beat ‘em-ups and die-hard fans will no doubt be slightly annoyed to not have their 2D fighting they love so much from the franchise. Despite the focus on beat ‘em-up action and gacha game concepts, The King of Fighters: All Star works as a competent title and has a slew of fan service thanks to a huge roster of playable characters and some true love for said characters. For a free title, The King of Fighters: All Star is a solid spin off of the main series and will make any long commute a bit easier to handle. Are you playing The King of Fighters: All Star? Tell us who you’re using as your ultimate team and why in the comments below! For all your gaming review needs be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at the beautiful Honey’s Anime!
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!