Summary: Skullgirls is a downloadable fighting game in a world brimming with big-budget, disc-based games from the same genre. Holding it to the same standards might seem unfair, but expectations from fighting game players are the same regardless of how the game is delivered. That being said, Skullgirls nails some aspects that the big names seem to have overlooked while simultaneously overlooking others.
Excerpt: Lights! Camera! ACTION! Fighting games has been bringing out our aggression since the early days of gaming. Women in revealing clothing, muscular men and special attacks have been delighting us since Street Fighter. What sets Skullgirls apart from its predecessors? Quite a bit it turns out. The first thing I noticed when I started this game was the animation. It's crisp, clean and tight. The character designs are refreshing and unique.
Excerpt: We’re sick of Ryu. Sick to death, in fact. No, it’s not like we’re saying that stock characters that wander around picking a fight aren’t still fun, but it’s starting to get stale. The fireballs, the uppercuts, the stoic main character; yes, we’re sick of the archetype, and the reason for that is because 2D fighting games have gone back to the well too often for its own good to make it fresh anymore.
Excerpt: The barrier to entry for high-level digital pugilism is bloody tough to break down. The jargon used to describe how these games are played and how they're discussed is like an alien language to most, especially those who stepped away from 2D scrapping when Tekken arrived. If you returned with chunky Chun Li and company in Street fighter IV, you've probably been left in a wilderness of cr.HKs, supercancels and chain links. It's a scary place to be.
Excerpt: As with the beginning of all great love affairs, I first laid eyes on Skullgirls in a dimly lit bar in downtown LA. She was tucked away in a corner attracting the attention of other guys but I knew we would soon be alone together. I made my way over there and quickly learned how to press her button; she was a fighting game, just like any other, yet there was something different about her, something special.
Summary: Skullgirls has almost everything going for it. Fantastic art, fantastic net code, and a near-perfect fighting game engine. As such, it's a shame such a polished game was shipped missing an in-game moves list and no multiplayer lobbies.
Pros: The crazy attention to detail, GGPO net code, Glorious hand-drawn artwork
Cons: No multiplayer lobbies, No in-game moves list, Annoyingly hard final boss
Conclusion: It is hard to believe that this game is produced by a small developer, only costs $15, and is downloadable. Not only does it contain most of the features of a full retail fighting game, but it does almost all of them better. Most critically, the online is perfect and the tutorial actually teaches you how to play fighting games. The whole package has some minor flaws, but it does so much right that they are easy to overlook. Really, you need to buy this game.