I am not very good at fighters.
That is not to say I don’t like them. A bit of video game violence never hurt anyone, and the genre sure has plenty to offer. I just find myself unable to wrap my head around them. “Skullgirls,” a cartoonish slugfest from Lab Zero Games, is no exception. Although I very much like the game, it feels like there is something I am not getting.
“Skullgirls” released on consoles last year, but after facing some financial issues and undergoing some publisher drama, it finally made its way to PC on August 22 of this year. The move came with a promise for more downloadable content and continued support. And, dear Lord, does it need it.
There are only eight playable characters in the base game. This prevents some issues that other fighters have, such as characters who are identical in appearance or in move sets, but the lack of variety is still noticeable. Frankly, the roster is disappointing in an age in which rosters numbering in the 20s are standard. The aforementioned DLC promises to help this by increasing the number to 13.
As I said before, I am not very good at fighters, yet the game is simple enough at entrance. It helps that there are extensive tutorials, something that is a welcome inclusion missing from most fighters. You have punches and kicks in light, medium and heavy flavors. These are combined to form different special moves. Combos are formed, and barrages are finished with capstone attacks used by sacrificing your tension meter. Pretty standard fighter stuff. If you’re looking for anything groundbreaking in gameplay, you should look elsewhere.
What is groundbreaking is the art. This game is just gorgeous. The visuals are anime-inspired and strikingly beautiful, and all wrapped up in a post-World War II setting.
A fair warning, though, Skullgirls is very anime-inspired and takes hints from some of the less savory tropes of the medium. Some critics have levied claims of sexism against the game. Admittedly, the entire cast is female, and there is a fair share of pandering to male fans. In my opinion, this does not detract from the potential fun, but it can certainly be off-putting to some.
If that fails to make you shy away, give this game a shot. At $15, you probably will not regret it.