After several patch delays, fights with Microsoft, development hold ups, developer changeovers, and one incredibly successful crowd funding campaign, Skullgirls has finally, FINALLY, made it to the PC. But what does the PC version of this game offer that the console version doesn’t? We take a look at Skullgirls Squigly Edition to find out.
As you could expect, the biggest new feature in Skullgirls Squigly Edition is the addition of a brand new character, Squigly. Squigly is an opera singing kung-fu zombie with a dragon parasite stuck through her head. The game certainly gets points for character design there. As for her playstyle, Squigly is a Guilty Gear style stance character. What that means is that she can enter stances in order to charge up her attacks and then release them at full power at a later date. A lot of Squigly’s gameplay revolves around staying away from the opponent long enough to charge up all of her stances, before going on the assault. Some intelligent players have also found ways to charge stances in the middle of combos using long lasting assists.
Squigly’s other power is the ability to control space. Normally when you say “control space” in a fighting game, this means filling the screen with projectiles or using normal with a lot of range to limit the places the opponent can go. Not so with Squigly. Instead, she controls the space of the battlefield itself. She has a special move which resets the camera to focus on her. This creates a temporary “corner” situation, even if the opponent is in the middle of the screen. She also has an ability to put a damaging fireball on the screen which follows the screen position rather than her own. The result is that it basically creates a “no go zone” on the screen which can be used for some devastating setups. She also has a particularly damaging level 3 which fires off a huge fireball on a 45 degree angle. If this misses the opponent, don’t worry, it will come back and hit the opponent, homing in until it is hit or blocked.
Of course, it’s not just Squigly that makes the PC version worth getting. The online mode has been given a huge overhaul. Lobbies have finally been integrated into the Skullgirls online system. Now you can set up your own rooms with your own names, sizes, private slots, and more. This is a huge advancement over the previous version, which basically just matched you up with random players looking for a casual match. It also has a new innovation called “All Play” which hasn’t been done in fighting games before. Essentially, if six people are in a lobby, instead of two people playing and four people watching, all six people will play in separate matches against each other. The lobby members will then be shuffled and all six people will play again. No one has to wait!
The game has also had a few of its core system mechanics changed as well. For example, a brand new undizzy or “exaggeration” system has been added. This basically allows the opponent to burst when a single combo or string of resets has gotten too long. It basically punishes over aggression and prevents players from being “corner screwed” until death. There are ways around it, however. For example, utilizing sweeps causes the opponent’s undizzy rating to reset, in exchange for giving them a chance to tech out of your combo. It adds some interesting wakeup/oki game to Skullgirls that didn’t exist before.
There are a lot of interesting graphical improvements that have also been made. There is now a counter hit indicator which flashes your character red any time they get counter hit. Counter hits don’t actually DO anything in Skullgirls, so it’s not like this is telling you when to go for your character killing combos like you can in Blazblue, but it’s still useful to know why you got hit when normally you would complain, “I was blocking that.”
There’s also a new character flash that happens whenever your character returns to a neutral state after getting hit. What does this do? For you, it tells you when you can start doing stuff again, making it easier to reversal your opponent. It also allows you to see where your opponent's resets were, and lets you look out for them in future gameplay.
Finally, there are a couple of non strategic graphical enhancements as well. For example, character portraits are now palletized, making them accurately reflect the costume your character is currently wearing. Superflashes have also gotten swankier, cutting in to the screen with a character portrait Marvel vs Capcom 2 style. Also, menu transitions have been snazzed up, flowing in to each other much more smoothly.
However, for all the new features the game has there are plenty of flaws as well. It’s actually quite hard to tell what button is “accept” and what button is “cancel," even after you set your controls. Also, if you set your controls wrong there is no easy way to unbind them, making you fiddle with menus endlessly just to be able to reset your controller to default.
While lobbies have been integrated the PC, netcode seems to suffer from problems. Slowdown and jittering are far more common here than they are on the console version. This is likely something that will be fixed in short order but it’s worth mentioning.
Despite whatever flaws you can find, the PC version of Skullgirls, i.e. Skullgirls Squigly Edition, is easily the definitive version of Skullgirls out there. It’s patched early and often with new characters, new balance fixes, and plenty of new features. If you want to be on the cutting edge of the Skullgirls universe, then this is the version for you.
This version of Skullgirls Squigly Edition was purchased for review for the PC.