Try not to throw any controllers (or keyboards). Prepare to get beaten quite a lot. Fighting games are a rarity in the indie community, which leaves a lot of room for them to rise up. Skullgirls is that fighter.
Skullgirls is an indie fighter by Lab Zero Games, a developer formed from the ashes of Reverge Labs who, in 2012, laid off the entire development team of Skullgirls. The new team established their Lab Zero name and continued to support Skullgirls, even working on a PC port that, after some major complications with Paypal, was released in late August.
While it’s mostly the same game as before, there are few changes that are worth noting. The biggest being the inclusion of crowdfunded DLC character number 1 (of five!) Squigly. A whole new character adds a lot more content to the game for the die-hard fans, and offers another option for newer players. Other than that, there’s not much difference here. You’ve got four more free characters to look forward to, though.
There’s a pretty intricate story mode that’s worth a play, the classic arcade mode, and of course, online and offline versus modes. There’s plenty to keep you busy, but nothing special like Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower or extra modes. Luckily, there are over 20 different tutorials you can do to learn the mechanics of the game and the various characters. While a lot of them were really hard, they did help a lot. Everything in Skullgirls is very tightly knit; it’s concise and precise, which you need to be if you want to succeed in the game.
I played Skullgirls back when it came out in 2012, and I still hold the same opinion of it on PC. It’s a great, well-made, technical fighting game, but the learning curve is just too steep for people to jump right into. This is a game for players with patience, time, and energy to spend on learning characters, timings, moves, specials, and everything in between. I played the game’s multiplayer with a lot of people that just didn’t really understand the game and couldn’t grasp it very easily. Compare this to a similar fighter like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, where most people can learn a character’s moveset in a large handful of matches. In Skullgirls, it takes a handful of matches just to understand the mechanics of the game, let alone apply them to a character and learn those specific moves.
I’ll give Skullgirls one thing: Reverge Labs is very, very dedicated to the games they make, and their fans are even more dedicated to those games. The Indiegogo campaign they started shows that better than anything, and these developers have been through hell and back trying to satisfy their fans. While they’ve put a lot of time and effort into Skullgirls, it’s still very hard to get into as a new player. If you’re a huge fan of fighters, I would recommend it. New players: persevere and you’ll be kicking butt in no time.
Skullgirls is now available on Steam for $14.99. You can follow the developers, Lab Zero Games, on Twitter for updates about the game and more.[review pros="Lots of depth and characters, nice and crisp, theater motif is consistent" cons="Very steep learning curve " score=75]