Title: Skullgirls: 2nd Encore
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Lab Zero Games
Publisher: Autumn Games
Genre: Action, Fighting
Official Site: Skybound Entertainment
Release Date: Oct. 22, 2019
Where to Buy: Nintendo eShop
The acclaimed 2D fighter has returned, and this time the fight is on the go. Skullgirls: 2nd Encore, from Lab Zero Games, brings the complete fighting experience to the Nintendo Switch.
Skullgirls was first released over seven years ago, and over the years has gone through multiple revisions and content additions. This new version makes it the most up to date version, with all downloadable characters and content in the game.
The game is a 2D fighter that harkens back to the golden age of fighting games like Marvel Versus Capcom. You can select multiple fighters to play as or select one stronger fighter to go against your opponent.
The game is a six-button fighter with a heavy emphasis on character assists and combos. At first, the action might seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of tutorials for new players.
Skullgirls Includes In-Depth Tutorials for Beginners and Pros
Even if you are new to fighting games, Skullgirls does a lot to bring in new players and teach the fundamentals of fighting games. There are tutorials for the basics like how to block, but it also demonstrates how to do more expert maneuvers like special moves and recoveries.
Instead of telling you to do a move just to do it, Skullgirls explains why it is important to learn these skills in a way that never seems to pander. There are also tutorials breaking down combos for each character to help you drill down devastating moves for your favorite character.
The story revolves around a group of fighters looking for the Skull Heart, a relic that can grant someone’s wish. Taking place in a war-torn country with a 1940s style, each character hopes to acquire the heart and are willing to fight to do so.
The story has animated cinematics with fights in-between, much like how your classic fighting game story would be. Each story takes around 30 minutes or more depending on your difficulty setting, so it works great as a pickup and play experience. The story is also fully voiced which adds a lot to charm each of the characters.
The art style will immediately jump out to new players, a mash-up of 1940s art deco and anime. The characters are each intricately detailed and are fun to play for both beginners and expert players.
Outside of the art, the characters are a refreshing take from what normally comes in a fighting game. Whether that is a revisioning of the character Beowulf as a pro-wrestler or a demented take on early Walt Disney art, Skullgirls really captivates with its characters.
Another highlight is the score, which is done by composer Michiru Yamane, who previously did the soundtrack for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The score has high-paced energy that aids the gameplay but is still a treat to listen to on its own.
Portable Action for Players on the Go
The standout feature in the Switch version of Skullgirls is definitely its portability. The game is made to be played in small chunks, and having it be accessible at all times makes it fit better into a busy life versus the standard console versions. Even with the Joy-Cons which can have issues with some games, there were none while playing and it worked well for combos.
Speaking of portability, the Switch version runs at a stable frame rate in both the docked and undocked versions. The art looks great on the Switch screen, and it is easy to parse the action on the small screen.
Given this is the complete version, the game is filled with content. The game features 14 different characters to play as, and loads of single-player content. For multiplayer, there is local, online and a tournament mode to go through.
The only fault in the package is the games online mode, and the lack of players. After trying multiple times I have yet to find a match to play online, so if you are looking to get this for online fighting you might want to reconsider.
If it is a content-packed single-player or local multiplayer game, Skullgirls has more than enough to keep you going. For the price of $25, it is a steal for how much is in the game.
However, if you already have Skullgirls: 2nd Encore there is not much new to come to in this version. It really would be if you are looking for portable Skullgirls, which does its job extremely well.
Verdict: Skullgirls: 2nd Encore is a fantastic version of the game that is full of content and works well with the versatility of the Switch. However, not being able to find online matches does limit it but there is more than enough single-player content to make up for it.
- Easy to pick up but tough to master gameplay
- Works well for portable gaming
- A boatload of content for the price
- Hard to find multiplayer matches