Having a crazily unified aesthetic has always been the respectable move, and man, here it is. The characters can’t really be described second-hand; the title of the game is probably about as much of a hint as I can give you. They’re all girls! One of them has angry hair, and another has an angry hat, sort of. They are at least remarkable, and seeing them in motion is enough to get anyone to give the game an extra 3.4 points (out of 10). (“The graphics are the same quality you’d expect from a full-price retail release,” blah blah blah, “current-gen,” blah blah.)
“Skullgirls” is one of the only times that I wish a game was a little more polished. That’s kind of a dirty word in my book, but I only mean it in a couple really specific senses: I wish it was easier to get into games online; I wish I could spectate matches; I wish I could access an in-game movelist (though yeah, it’s not the end of the world).
Anyway: Here’s a high-five for being steampunk in a way that makes it clear that the developers roll their eyes every time they play a game that calls itself “steampunk;” here’s another one for the cute tutorial that tries to teach new players to understand fighting games, even if it doesn’t quite make it; here’s a third for listing “Styrofoam sounds” under Painwheel’s “Dislikes” on the website. (Painwheel is the best.)
The bottom line is that “Skullgirls” understands a lot of stuff that other games don’t understand, though maybe you won’t see it unless you already understand it yourself. That would take too many words to explain, so I guess I better stop typing!
three stars out of four