Developer: Revenge Labs > Publisher: Autumn Games > Systems: XBLA, PSN > Rating: T+
When I first saw Skullgirls at E3, I fell in love with it. It's a collaboration between a competitive tournament fighter who made his own fighting system, and an artist who created the characters and world. The result is a stylish game with tons of personality and a real-deal fighting engine. Well, it’s been a long wait, but it’s finally out and I’m happy to report that, aside from a few complaints, it’s a lot of fun.
One of the biggest draws of the game is the outlandish cast of anime-inspired cartoony gothic girls. Girls with living hats for heads, ones that can be cut into pieces and still live, a cartoony psychopath—there’s no shortage of imagination here. And although they’re all new, you’ll find shades of Animaniacs, Guilty Gear, Darkstalkers and more here. Oh, and there’s a good measure of fan service and Interwebs jokes thrown in as well.
Visually, the game is cool. The art deco design of the world is a lot of fun to look at and makes for some spectacular backgrounds. The fighting is well-animated, smooth and the variety of outlandish attacks keep the matches entertaining. Even the music is amazing! It's full of fun jazzy ensembles and some pretty mean xylophone numbers.
The game is a little schizophrenic in that the characters are wacky and their attacks humorous, but the fighting system is deadly serious. Button mashing won’t get you anywhere, and you’ll need to spend some time in the Tutorial mode if you even want to beat the game on normal. Heck, even the Tutorial mode is hard! This is not a game for the casual fighting fan.
One of the most interesting aspects of the game is the versus match set-up. You can choose to fight with one super-powerful character, two medium-powered characters, or three weaker ones. It’s a cool idea, which definitely adds a lot of variety to matches.
And now time for the complaints. Having no in-game move list is pretty rough. Sure you can look up all the moves online or download a PDF, but that’s not the same. Also, the load times can be pretty punishing. You’ll really feel it in the Training Mode. Having to sit through the load times between each accomplishment can drive you nanners.
But if you’re a hardcore fighting fan, I'd definitely recommend it. And if you enjoy wacky weird brawlers (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, etc.), I’d say pick this one up. Everyone else, I’d at least give the demo a try to see the art and hear the music.
by Urian Brown