When I first saw Skullgirls in action I thought it looked like a mediocre port of Marvel v Capcom 3.

A few hours (and a couple of beers) later I was playing what I believe is one of the most promising fighting games on the horizon, featuring attention to detail and playability like no other.

Tournament veteran Mike ‘Mike Z’ Zaimont and his now close friend Alex Ahad have teamed up with Reverge Labs to develop a fast paced fighting title with an emphasis on control and precise actions instead of overpowered moves and exploitable game mechanics.

Due to Zaimont’s interaction with both fighting game communities and tournaments, he knew what needed to be done to sculpt a competitive and high level gameplay experience for the masses, and that’s what he set out to do.  Some time later he was introduced to Alex Ahad, who had already come up with a setting and fictional backstories for the characters. The two merged their projects and Skullgirls was the result.

The first notable and awesome feature is the character scaling and selection process.  Want to roll deep with three characters?  You can, but keep in mind they will only be 33% as strong as if you opted to use one singular character.  However, if you use one character you lose access to assists whilst gaining improved strength and power.  It’s a rewarding pay-off mechanic and it really gets you thinking about how you will form your team and how your matches will play out.

You’re also able to sculpt custom assists, which is a first for the fighting game genre.  By inputting the motion of the attack you’re able to customize your assists and tags to really give your team a fighting edge or boost a combo juggle you’re trying. Whilst it’s not a groundbreaking addition, it’s another point in the favor of this new and intriguing game.

Watch as Mike Z talks a bit more about it while he lays down some moves:

While we’re on the topic of combos and juggling, Skullgirls features a unique and intuitive combo breaking system.  Many games have been plagued by hard to detect infinite combo issues.  In Skullgirls, if a player is exploiting an infinite loop, the game will change the color of the hit sparks and the opponent can end your combo with a single button.

Whilst this may sound foolish, it’s not.  Say for example you’re backed into a corner and your opponent works out a method to hit you over and over through a repetitious combo.  The in-game detection system will work out that it’s an infinite combo and give you the chance to end it.  Better yet, this will not interfere with regular combos no matter how long they are.

The hit sparks aren’t the only graphical feature that makes Skullgirls easy on the eyes.  A lite yet powerful dynamic lighting engine and three layer animation process makes Skullgirls visually impressive as well. Moving into lighting only partially will make the color on characters stand out in the dark, as will the hit sparks.  Needless to say, the game’s visual style certainly will help it stand out.  Check out this next video which details how the team puts it all together:

There’s a real attention to detail in the characters and backgrounds which gives this title a more polished and appealing look – something that will be needed to contend with the likes of Mortal Kombat 9, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and Marvel v Capcom 3.

With Skullgirls being a digital download title, we can expect online multiplayer to be a heavy element when it comes to replaybility, and thanks to the new “Good Game, Peace Out” fighting game netcode, you can expect literally lag free gameplay when playing online.  That’s music to my ears.

With a seasoned tournament veteran leading the development team and a real desire to produce a game that isn’t susceptible to the various balancing issues that seem to plague most modern fighters, Skullgirls is aiming to deliver an authentic arcade experience… and so far it’s doing exactly that.

I’ll leave you with some screens as well as gameplay from the latest character who has been revealed, Peacock.  We messed around with her during the event, but were too busy drinking to remember to film it… Enjoy: