I found this game when it was still in its Beta stage on steam, with the help from my friend David, and played it relentlessly in that time. This was one of those indie games that got sufficiently crowdfunded and made its way towards a broader public and is now even available through the Playstation and Xbox store. I even bought it a second time for my PS4 since I spend more game time on there than on my pc these days. Rebuying it didn’t let my expectations down since they added more character content and more storyline animations to the game from the time I played it on Beta via steam.
Skullgirls is a fighter game in a 2D cartoon style animation and some of the mechanics in the game can be closely compared to another fighter game called “marvel vs Capcom”. There are different modes like in mostly every fighter game story mode, arcade mode, versus mode, training mode, tutorial mode and an online mode. Story mode offers you a view of the background story of every playable character in the game but you will also find many more background characters that could possibly be future playable characters. In story mode you will take control of the character you chose and you fight through the stages with some cut scenes in between to tell the story about why they’re fighting for the Skull Heart. They all try to obtain this Skull Heart because once every seven years any woman can have her wish granted by it. Mighty fine deal you might say but there’s always a catch isn’t there? Any woman of impure heart instead of her wish being granted gets corrupted and becomes the next Skull Girl. This story mode is nicely backed by the jazzy songs composed for this game, that makes it fit in with the setting of the what feels like a 40s post war America (inclusive some mafia drama). Once you’ve completed each character you can puzzle everything together from every sad story you encountered.
In Versus mode and online mode you get to battle each other, what’s more fun about a fighting game than to punch your best friend out in here after all? You can choose to battle with one, two or three characters and each player can decide a different amount of characters in each match. When you pick a different amount than your opponent this doesn’t immediately give you an advantage since they programmed it to balance out through the health and damage output. The game creators put several other dynamics in the game like making sure there’s no infinite combo possibility or being able to block those otherwise impossible to block team combos. They programmed it this way to ensure no fight could become too one sided and you get a very fast paced enjoyable match, there’s always room for recovery in a match given if you don’t utterly suck at it. All of this makes the game very approachable for both casual as hardcore fighter game players.
When I first played it many years ago the character roster consisted only of 8 playable characters, which isn’t a lot, fear not though because since then they have extended the roster a bit. The original line-up consisted of Filia, Cerebella, Peacock, Parasoul, Painwheel, Ms. Fortune, Valentine and Double. The later added characters are Squigly, Big Band, Eliza, Beowulf and Robo-fortune and later on they even added a sort of evil clone character of Filia named Fukua to the game as an April fool’s joke. The players were however so happy with the joke character that the developers just kept it in the game. So even now it doesn’t have the greatest roster of characters in its game type, it does offer enough to go by in my opinion as you can see that this game has evolved over the years and the developers have listened to their public.
The reason why I think people would like this game, if you’re even into fighter games to begin with, is that these elements together make a very thought out game that really is aimed for greater gameplay and not just fancy looks. The game artist in myself also relishes in these simple but oh so elegant and powerful drawings that make up the game, even the menus stay true to the game’s setting by giving you this entire art deco and “film noir“ crime vibe. Also keep in mind that all the sprites made for the frames of the fighting animation were all each hand drawn and since this game even has the highest amount of frames per second for a fighting game that is no small task. Some of the designs might seem a bit sexist for some people but in all honesty I say bollocks to that nitpicky politically correct nagging overemotional pansy ass approach. You can feel all the effort that has been put into this game and that they actually listened to the feedback of their audience during their development, what in my eyes is worth a whole lot. The gameplay itself is really smooth, the moves never feel sluggish, what is really necessary since the AI you can be up against can be pretty aggressive and therefore efficiently kick your ass. This does give you a greater challenge while playing the game so you never feel like you’re just strolling through this.
If you do decide to purchase this game I hope you enjoy it and for those who have already played it feel free to give us your own opinion on this game, because after all to each their own and everyone will think differently so nothing is set in stone and we can respect those differences of one another.