THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny brings weapon-based fighting to the Nintendo Switch, but it’s my least favorite Neo Geo Pocket Color game currently on the eShop.

I’m not saying it’s an outright subpar release because it isn’t, especially for a handheld game that’s over 20 years old. But, it’s just not for me in several key ways. Some of these may seem ultimately small, like a bad plot, but others impact the gameplay in less than ideal ways.

One of the first things I noticed was that the character movement felt a bit sluggish. I thought this was because I selected the “Power” ability. Still, I didn’t notice a sizable difference in replay when selecting “Spee.”. Compared to a game like GALS’ FIGHTERS, this one just doesn’t feel as fluid, quick, and smooth.

Another aspect sticking out (and not in the best way) is how easy the default difficulty is. I certainly don’t mind an easier game (so long as it’s fun), but Beyond the Destiny gave me a reason for pause. Should I beat it on my initial run without losing a single match? I admit I’m decent with 2D fighters, but I’ve never played this game (or any in the series)  before. A couple more difficulty settings would’ve helped.

Beat the game, which won’t take long, and you can browse the Gallery for unlockables. You’ll need to grind for points, though. Story mode wasn’t the way to do it for me. Unlike other fighting games, where I enjoy mixing it up, I found it best to find a fighter I like and stick with them. Many of these fighters simply don’t do it for me. Whether it’s a limited range or weaker moves, I prefer not to be bothered with them.

Points can come from extra modes, should they connect with you. But both survival and time attack were one and done deals for me. I saw what they had to offer, and they didn’t keep me engaged. Two-player mode would’ve if my wife were into these types of games. Maybe once shelter-in-place restrictions lift, I can find a friend who’s into this type of older game. I suspect it won’t be near the top of my multiplayer choices, though.

As an audio/visual package, Beyond the Destiny is pretty uneven. With a few exceptions, I found most of the similar-sounding music on the shrill side. This game also lacks catchy tunes. The graphics fare better, with some great looking backgrounds. 

Where things wobble is the sporadic animation. Some scenes appear like they’re half-finished. For example, the burning building level has a few flames moving, while others are altogether static. Some locations have no apparent animation.

In my KING OF FIGHTERS R-2 review, I said, “While I’m certainly hoping to see further Neo Geo Pocket Color games eventually come to the Nintendo Switch, maybe pick from a different genre for the next release.” I stand by that, especially since Beyond the Destiny not only has to compete against earlier NGPC fighters but even other weapon-based ones like Samurai Shodown! 2.

While Beyond the Destiny ends with a “TO BE CONTINUED…,” I won’t be continuing with this series. I think this dated entry, in particular, will have narrow appeal. On a system like the Switch, early impressions are incredibly important. That said, if you’re interested and don’t feel like hunting to overpay for an original, this eShop version is much, much cheaper. The gameplay may connect with you more, and the great-for-their-time graphics hopefully will too.

Although I still get a kick out of seeing these Neo Geo Pocket Color games on the Nintendo Switch, some fare better than others. THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny is my last choice. The combat’s a little too sluggish, the presentation a little too uneven, and the overall package a little too dated. I’d check out one of the prior NGPC releases instead.