It's day 317 of OSUBoarder's 365 Days Of Gaming; the blog where our intrepid gamer explores a different title every day to bring you a daily dose of game reviews. Today it's the turn of 2D fighter Skullgirls to go under the magnifying glass.
You can check out the entirety of OSUBoarder's excellent 365 Days Of Gaming blog here.
Skullgirls is 2D fighting game developed by Reverge Labs and published by Autumn Games and Konami. The game takes heavy inspiration, including the engine and mechanics, from Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and thus there is an emphasis on high scoring combos and team combat where each side can have combinations of fighters.
Despite it being a fighting game, there is little bit of a backstory to go along with the characters and the setting. The game takes place in alternate version of 1940s, post-war America where there is also a little of the mysterious and paranormal mixed with reality. The world has slowly fallen apart as many organizations and powerful people are pining for an ancient artifact called the Skull Heart. This special object grants a wish to a woman every seven years but, if that women’s heart is impure or evil, she is transformed into a monstrous being with immense power called a Skullgirl that can threaten the city with destruction. Now, after a massive war, the new Skullgirl has arisen and is starting to wreak havoc on Canopy Kingdom. The fighters in the game are all trying to chase down and claim the Skull Heart for themselves. While some are noble minded and hope to destroy it, others have their own nefarious plans. Each character has a little biography on the website, which I thought was a nice touch for a game where they could easily have said, “Here are some people, now fight because we said so.”
Each fight can have from 1 to 3 characters on each side in a team-swap style combat. Howver, you can both choose different numbers of characters though which I think is kind of cool. One player can choose to play a single character while the opponent will have three. The tradeoff is that the one will be much stronger and have more health than any one of the individual three, whilst the opponent will have more people to sub in and will be able to perform teamwork combos with multiple characters. From what I can tell, the system works fairly well and the winner will ultimately be determined by skill. As with any fighting game, there is the possibility for big combos where you can juggle enemies in the air or loop a large combo over and over again to decimate the other player. The developers clearly thought of this and have put some cool features into place that account for it. One such feature has the computer tracking the player’s movements, so if they are performing a combo over and over again, it will give the other player a chance to break it. The possibility to continuously juggle opponents is there, but so is their chance of countering.
I was never big into fighting games when I was little and thus I have always had a hard time being even slightly decent at them. My strategy has always been some combination of button mashing and jumping which can give you a win here and there but is usually not a good attack plan. However, the controls for Skullgirls seemed to be pretty intuitive and similar to other PC fighting games, which was nice to see. For example, you have movement left and right, jump and crouch, and two rows of three buttons that correspond to kicks or punches. Given the fantasy setting of the game and the unique characters, the moves themselves are a little more impressive than a simple roundhouse kick and some of them are absolutely incredible, especially when you manage to pull them off correctly. Mix in all of this high flying action with the beautifully done artwork and you have quite the fighter on your hands.
Although I am traditionally bad at these types of games, I rather enjoyed playing Skullgirls, though I was a little confused as to what the heck was going on when I just randomly joined an arcade game without knowing anything about the game. All of a sudden these very stylistically drawn female fighters are pulling all kinds of crazy moves and I’m just hopping around the screen. If you are interested in the game you can find out more here, as well as on Steam which is currently showcasing this game for its free weekend. I recommend checking it out while it is free. Who knows? You might just like it.