We’ve already done a bit of a talking about what our impressions of Skullgirls are. Matthew Kim wrote up a nice little review in what feels like a lifetime ago which echoed a lot of what I experienced in my earlier preview. For most games, these two articles are all that really are necessary to explain what is going on with the game.
The team at Lab Zero Games however have decided to keep improving this little fighting game and the current release on Steam kicks off the second phase of Skullgirls. This review will cover the DLC and Steam release. For more on the mechanics, check out the above two articles.
The biggest new addition from the team’s successful Indiegogo campaign, Squigly, is now a part of their newest installment. I had my hesitance over whether the team would be able to balance the character out before the steam release, but it seems like they had fully realized what they wanted with Squigly. Squigly is like an aggressive Scorpion with a focus on mid range offensive strikes with some really good aerial attacks. Her main gimmick however focuses on forcing an opponent closer by, of all things, singing to them.
She is a mechanically quirky character that has a more focused story mode than what I’d seen through the normal 8. The story still hasn’t impressed me, but they tried to put some real attention on Squigly and it was certainly a solid attempt. You can apply fighting game logic to justify this by saying that stories don’t really matter, but it is nice to see the developers trying to put a bit more behind these characters even if they are being offered up free for a limited window. If the effort was not there, it would be a black mark on Lab Zero after crowd funding collected $828,768 in support. Fortunately, Squigly is a solid foot forward which I’m quite satisfied to have amongst my team. Her ability to bring opponents closer pairs exceptionally well with the team format..
I’m as shocked by this as most players because I’m honestly not a huge fan of her design.
All the original characters each had commanding personality traits and designs. Looking at Squigly in comparison to any other character left me with the impression of a fish out of water. I’m not sure design-wise that they ever settled this, as the whole design really looks to bring her in as more of an asexual entity than anything else. Her dress is clearly a dress in design, but when viewed frame by frame, it could easily be misconstrued as pants simply because the character rarely carries a visibly wide stance, always appearing with one leg over another. It honestly just feels like there isn’t a great personality driving the conception of her design as she has nothing more defining than her snake-like partner to add to the ensemble.
The execution is hit or miss, but the focus on expanding the character persevered. Her partner Leviathan is voice acted superbly by Nier‘s Liam O’Brien, which is notable since Squigly has had her mouth sewn shut.
The PC version is just as pretty as you would expect. Everything flowed fluidly and it’s not so taxing on hardware that my lower mid-range laptop could run it flawlessly. The GGPO works very well and I have yet to come across a match that stuttered. I wish it would, as I’ve been getting dominated by people that are just a step above me in terms of fighting experience.
Since we are talking about a new Steam release, the game incorporates 12 collectable trading cards, which I’m not entirely sure of the point of. I’m also not sure how this game will be received in the coming months and years, but I’d like to think that the PC version will end up being the definitive version. With the systems that are in place here, and the ability to add any control stick you own into the mix, it’d be hard to see why it wouldn’t.
I rarely like to talk about backgrounds because rarely do you sit back and look at them while you are trying to combo your way to victory, but there are a few new backgrounds added as part of the Indiegogo campaign that just look fantastic.
I’ve said it before, but the animation in Skullgirls is the best I’ve seen. This is a fighter that needed a bit more depth in the areas that were probably the least important in order to round it out, and adding a character like Squigly goes a long way to comfort those that felt the roster wasn’t padded out enough. She’s unique and fits well in a team for those that need her fighting style, but more importantly, she was handled well enough to be something more than an honorary Skullgirl.
This is a positive sign, as we have 4 more DLC combatants coming our way in the future. For those looking to own the PC version, make sure to check it out before September 5th to get the full color palette content. You wouldn’t want to miss Filia dressed as Scanty from Panty & Stocking. Squigly will be free until November 22nd.
[+GGPO] [+Free (Temporarily) DLC] [+Still Sexy] [+Squigly Fits Right In] [+More DLC On the Way]