So I was scanning through the PsN store the other day, looking for a cheap micro-game to fill my time with, and I believe I stumbled across the haystack’s needle: Skullgirls. It’s the kind of game you want to buy without anyone else knowing because of the gratuitous amount of boobage and half-naked female fighters. Don’t think that this lovely cut of cartoony 2D fighter is all about the flash and femmes, au contraire. Skullgirls is a hardcore fighter game made by hardcore fighter fans to suit hardcore fighter fans. Each character offers a unique fighting style familiar to the other mainstream fighting games. I’ll give each of them a quick run-down.
Filia fills the role of the easy-to-play rush-down combo-face. All of her specials are down roll forwards or back, and she’s well equipped to turn aggressive fighters into defensive ones. Also, she has a big black hair parasite on her head called Samson, and he’s capable of transforming his black mass into tentacles, blades, scissors, and other things that you really wouldn’t expect hair to turn into. So yeah, Filia. Pretty basic.
Next up is Cerebella, the heavy grappler of Skullgirls. Anyone who plays her will note that her movement speed is particularly low, so using the threat of high-damage throws as your defense and keeping some distance is your best bet. With several good stagger and off-the-ground combos, she’s pretty scary when on the offensive.
Peacock. I have a particular love for the Skullgirl who incorporates the gags and gimmicks of old cartoons into her fighting style. She can lock down an opponent with vectoring, or send them reeling with a mixup of close and far. Her teleport is quintessential if you want to play a high mobility rush down or poke game. She’s also got her fair share of knockbacks, so don’t hesitate to use them if you’re feeling too close to your foe.
Parasoul takes on the role of the hold-command battlefield controller. She uses napalm with knockdown as her main means of field manipulation, and if played correctly, she can use this to make sure the gaps in her attacks aren’t used against her. While I personally detest characters that need to hold directional buttons in order to perform special moves, I can’t deny her incredible prowess. One for gimmicks, she can summon her soldiers to grapple enemies, block a single attack, or even interrupt her current move.
Ms. Fortune is my favorite, and you’re about to find out why. She’s a catgirl th- HEY. It’s not because she’s a catgirl! It’s because she’s been fully dismembered, but cannot die. She can fall in battle, but my point is, she can pop her head off and use it as an attack amplifier. Her head can perform a low-damage combo setup grapple, headbutt enemies, or just rocket around the stage by spewing blood from her neck. She’s fast, versatile, and capable of dealing scary damage if she corners you with her head.
Painwheel’s the S&M portion of the game. She’s got good battlefield mobility, and almost all of her attacks give her armor if she charges them. Who doesn’t love being able to shrug off one enemy attack whenever you feel like it, right? She also has a move called Hatred Install that drastically improves her combat performance. She doesn’t move a lot faster, but she’ll beat the crap out of you if you underestimate her.
Finally, Valentine. She attacks ludicrously fast, is mobile, and is brimming with low-damage high hit combos. She’s the captain of lockdown, if you will. She also specializes in enemy debuffs and ally resurrection, something that makes her invaluable if she can hold onto her HP. I recommend playing defensively when dealing with a Valentine, because she can really, REALLY punish you for making the tiniest of slip-ups.
There’s one more character, but it’s not the kind I think I should tell you about. It’s not quite a boss, but it’s certainly… interesting. Anyway, as a fifteen dollar game on the PsN, I think you’ll find that the only blaringly negative aspect about Skullgirls is its small character roster. Even then, what’s to bitch about? All the characters are really fun to play, and regardless of which mode you choose, you’re bound to enjoy yourself.
Jordan Mallory of Joystiq finds Skullgirls to be all but complete because of its small roster and grab bag of familiar moves taken from other characters in other fighter games. According to him, Skullgirls feels more like a cover album than an original work, and I can certainly see where he’s coming from. I’ve played Guilty Gear and Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat and BlazBlue, and I can see the tick and pick of moves shuffled between Skullgirls. However, I don’t think that makes this game a flop. It just makes it a little less original, but enjoyable on the whole. http://www.joystiq.com/2012/04/13/skullgirls-review/