SkullGirls 2nd Encore is a phenomenal fighting game that was selected for the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) 2022 from 5th to 7th August. This game is only recently getting the spotlight it deserves and now stands alongside veteran fighting games series like Street Fighter, Smash Bros, Tekken, Guilty Gear, DragonBall Fighter Z and so on. Below we’ll discuss why Skullgirls is objectively one of the best fighting games in the current market.
The Passion in SkullGirls
SkullGirls is a game that is made by the fans and for the fans of fighting games- and in its initial stages has struggled a lot with funding and bad publicity. That said, it has pushed through and currently stands in a much more stable position thanks to its publishers Autumn Games, Lab Zero Games, Skybound Games, M2 and Marvelous Inc. Its developers- Lab Zero Games, Reverge Labs and Hidden Variable Studios have done an almost impossible task with their attention to detail and keeping the game relevant, fun and interesting even to this day. Below are some of the key aspects that I believe make this game so loved by the community and even newcomers to the fighting game genre.
Art Style & Character Design
Skullgirls is a hand-drawn game. The stages and characters and their character animations and movesets are all hand-drawn and the passion shows. The 90s cartoony characters with bold borders and exaggerated movesets make for a fresh gameplay experience. Additionally, the SkullGirls character design is flawless as it integrates the character’s personal story and motivations along with popular character tropes which are twisted and played around with for a fun and fresh taste.
For example, as per its original concept of having an all-female cast, it takes all the popular tropes associated with women and introduces new twists that make them more interesting and fun. Parasoul is a princess who demonstrates the classic shy parasol carrying damsel-in-distress but in this game she’s the leader of the nation’s military and leads an army all by herself including training them. Since women are also associated with cats, SGM also has Ms. Fortune who’s a cat-lady with dismembered limbs. SkullGirls Second Encore also introduced male characters who also take on popular tropes either of men or of the era when it was released. Beowulf is an exaggerated alpha male who comes from a background of wrestling arena tournaments and Big Band is a police officer who exemplifies the Jazz movement of the 1920s and so on.
Despite its rather small roster compared to other fighting games, the attention to detail and the unique and original character design and art style sets its apart from other games in the genre.
SkullGirls has an amazing personality to itself to the point it has different background stages that correspond to the part of the story you’re playing. As you progress through the story of this game you’ll unlock more stages and the best thing is: each of these stages have their own soundtrack. SkullGirls is praised for its jazzy rock soundtrack that gets most of its players grooving and jazzing through the fights thus making the experience not only thrilling but also fun and enjoyable.
SkullGirls is set in a steampunk-esque world where several individuals seek the Skull Heart which is said to grant one wish to any woman. This artifact appears once every seven years and in those seven years several factions seek the Skull Heart either to destroy it, change the world or more personal reasons too. The Skull Heart however corrupts a woman with an impure heart- leading them to become a Skullgirl and their wish to be corrupted. A Skullgirl is an immensely strong evil entity that is set on wreaking havoc and destruction. The story’s last boss is the current or last Skullgirl whose name is Marie. The character roster includes characters who want to defeat Marie, have the skull heart for their own desires or destroy the artifact from further bringing destruction into the world.
With a compelling story like that and distinct characters, SkullGirls becomes not only an interesting game to play but also to follow and invest in.
This game is ver accessible as it can be played both on console and pc. Apart from that, one of the biggest things it does right is Tutorials. This game is extremely friendly to beginners- not only of the game but also of the genre. The Tutorial section of this game teaches you everything from Hit Boxes to Tag Team synergy and Combo Movesets. Additionally, since it has a small roster, each character has their own tutorial which explains the basic gameplay and combat mechanics of that specific character.
The game also has a balanced scaling in the sense that early game bosses and fights test your basics and as you keep playing the difficulty gradually increases. Unlike some other games, the early bosses aren’t too hard and the endgame boss Marie is not one bit easy.
Wholesome Online Community
The SkullGirls online community on Reddit and Discord is vast yet accessible and wholesome. Even though most of the game’s player base has been playing it for a long time and are thus veterans, they don’t gatekeep newer players which makes newbies feel welcome and heard. The SkullGirls Discord servers have pro-players of the game who are ready to guide newbies at any turn and teach them new tips and tricks. The developers of the game also listen to their players and puts out routine patch notes of their updates so that players know what bugs exist and how they are fixed and so on.
Recently Umbrella was released as part of a new DLC update and Black Dahlia is also scheduled to be released soon so the game is by no means dead and with more support and public spotlight, it’ll only get better. Watch out for its games in the EVO 2022 Tournaments in Las Vegas and decide for yourself if this game is for you.