Title: Skullgirls 2nd Encore
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC, PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developer: Revenge Labs
Publisher: Autumn Games, Marvelous (PC and Xbox 360), Skybound Games (Nintendo Switch and Xbox One)
Release date: Out now
tl;dr:: Fighting in the 50s
Price: £19.99 / $19,99
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore is a 2D fighting game which was first released digitally on PSN and Xbox Live way back in Spring 2012. Japan players got the PSN version in February 2013 while PC players got theirs in August 2013. After Autumn Games severed ties with Konami, the game was re-released as Skullgirls Encore; still for PS3 and Xbox 360. The game was also ported to PC, PS4 and PSVita in 2015 as Skullgirls 2nd Encore. Developer Hidden Variable Studios worked on a spinoff which was published by Line on mobile devices in May 2017. Which brings us to October 2019 where Skullgirls 2nd Encore launches on Nintendo Switch.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore takes place in the fictional world of the Canopy Kingdom; a country reminiscent of 1940s post-war America. In a time of corruption, several individuals and organisations are on the hunt for the Skull Heart artifact which can grant a woman one wish. Unfortunately, if a woman with an impure soul tries to use the Skull Heart, her wish will be corrupted and she’s become a Skullgirl. Seven years after the Grand War, three nations have launched a war against the newly transformed Skullgirl, Marie. The game’s story mode tells each character’s motive to obtain the artifact.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore is a 16 bit fighter with 6 attack control scheme: Low, Medium and Hard Punch and Low, Medium and Hard Kick. Thankfully, considering the Hard attacks are defaulted to the triggers, players can remap the controls to their liking. Using the various buttons, players will be able to generate combos and mixing it with quarter circle forward or backward mixed with a punch or kick buttons, players will also be able to perform stronger attacks. Depending on the strength used (low, med or hard), the damage will vary.

One thing noticeable is that button mashing won’t get you far in this game. While certain games like Tekken, Soul Calibur and even Street Fighter allow players to fight their way through victory with button mashing, Skullgirls 2nd Encore requires a bit of dedication and knowledge of the characters’ moveset in order to get ahead and win battles decisively. Newcomers who just want to dip their toes can still win with button mashing, but it feels a bit more stiff. Especially against the story’s mode Marie boss. She’s harder and takes less damage while she can do an insane amount of damage to your character with a few blows; figuring out combos will help you greatly against her.

One of the game’s strongest points is definitely the quantity of content. Alongside the story mode, players can play against friends and the CPU, test your might with Survival mode, challenge a harder variation of Marie, and a tutorial. Most modes will let you select one, two, or three characters from the diverse cast of fighters. Once a fighter is knocked out, the next one jumps in. You can call upon your teammates for a quick support attack.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore also features a unique and interesting presentation. The game looks great in 16bit and also features a 40-50s era visual ambiance. The cutscenes are beautifully drawn and told like a comic book storyboard; there’s no voice overs, so you have to read the various interactions between characters. The loading screens are peppered with black and white hand drawn characters; almost looking like initial sketches of the fighters. The game’s soundtrack has a big band 50s feel; it’s a nice touch and change from the traditional hard rock tracks found in most fighters.

Casual and hardcore fighting fans alike have something new and substantial to munch on with Skullgirls 2nd Encore. Considering the Nintendo Switch lacks in the traditional fighting genre, this game is a welcomed addition. Despite its steep learning curve, the gameplay is addictive and rewarding. Don’t miss this one.

The Good

  • Surprisingly deep fighter.
  • A lot of bang for your buck.

The Bad

  • Cheap story mode boss.
  • Steep learning curve.

Family Focus

Skullgirls 2nd Encore is rated T for Teen and PEGI 16 due to the presence of blood, partial nudity, mild language, tobacco use and violence. Let’s face it, they are not gonna solve their issues over a cup of tea.

This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the developer