Fighting games are an exclusive genre, requiring weeks of practice to learn the fundamentals of game mechanics. As such, they often fall under the average gamer’s radar. Similarly, indie games often get overlooked for more blockbuster titles.
“Skullgirls” falls in both these categories. The product of an indie studio and a 2-D fighting game in the style of “Marvel vs. Capcom 2,” it’s gained major traction in the fighting game community due to the experience of lead designer Mike Zaimont. A well-known tournament gamer, Zaimont focused on eliminating many of the issues players see with current fighting game engines, like infinite combos, unblockable attacks and the “sameness” present in many of more popular fighters’ character designs. Only eight characters currently exist, but each one has a completely unique play style and move set, borrowing nothing from other characters. Zaimont also made sure that netcode for online play was airtight, considering recent issue with “Streetfighter x Tekken”.
Alex Ahad spearheaded the other side of “Skullgirls,” designing the game’s characters and setting. Loosely art-deco in theme, the game features sentient hairstyles, violent muscled hats, a Lovecraftian monster and even a character based entirely around cartoon violence. Unlike all current popular fighters, “Skullgirls” sticks to hand drawn frames, translated into high definition 2-D sprites. Just as appealing as the artwork is the musical score composed by Michiru Yamane, best known for her work on the Castlevania game series.
While stunning even in comparison to big name studios, “Skullgirls” is missing out on a few things that a team with a larger budget could have included. Although planned as free downloadable content (DLC), the move list for characters is not included — nor are controllable dummies in training mode. Also, although not egregious, the sexualization of a few characters may alienate some players.
“Skullgirls” has a paltry eight characters, but three additional ones are confirmed for DLC release and many more could be possible with the success of the game. With a better engine, art and score than any other game on the market, and a fraction of the costs, it’s
well worth your money.
FOR FANS OF: MARVEL VS CAPCOM 2, BLAZBLUE, GUILTY GEAR