The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Skullgirls

Fighting games have a weird history on the App Store. Big names like Street Fighter and King of Fighters are present, and mostly looked to emulate their arcade counterparts by way of a smattering of virtual buttons on the touchscreen. The original Injustice (and to an extent, Infinity Blade before it) was the first to try to take the elements that make fighting games great but adapt them to touchscreen friendly taps and swipes. Many of these "streamlined mobile fighters" have come in its wake, trying to expand upon and hone in on the formula. While I've enjoyed many of those games for years now, I feel like Skullgirls [Free] is the one to have nailed that streamlined formula the best thus far.

For a quick history lesson, Skullgirls originally launched on consoles in the spring of 2012 and stood out for its largely female cast of wacky characters, its postwar setting and jazzy soundtrack, and its gorgeous hand-drawn sprites and incredibly fluid animations. In a world of 3D polygonal fighters, Skullgirls was a throwback to the classic fighters of the '90s. The game was highly acclaimed and spawned a few different versions over the years across a variety of platforms. Skullgirls on mobile is very true to its older siblings and carries over many of its unique characteristics, which already makes it stand out from the pack of similar games on the App Store.

What really gets me about Skullgirls on mobile though is its fighting mechanics. Other streamlined mobile fighters get the timing and anticipation aspects of traditional fighters down well, but the actual back and forth fighting typically feels more robotic and canned. There's some essence of that in Skullgirls too, just by nature of it being stripped down, but it also retains a ton more of the strategy and the organic feel of traditional fighting games. You have a lot more choice in how you attack and chain together combos, and they've even found a way to include important elements like throwing and air juggling into the more compact form. It's just damn fun, and makes it hard to go back to Injustice, et al.

My main knock on Skullgirls is that the difficulty balance is a bit all over the place. This is lessened by the fact that there's so darn much to do in the game, between the multiple branching paths and multiple difficulty levels of the Story campaign, to the Daily Events, and especially to the Prize Fights which are more or less the PvP arenas in the game. You'll no doubt hit points in any of these modes where you're up against an absolute beast of an opponent and get your knickers handed to you, but it's easy enough to shuffle off for a while and find some other things to do in the meantime before approaching that opponent again with a different strategy or a more leveled up team.

Another neat aspect, and something that's worth noting when facing off against any opponent, is the whole elemental system. Each character is a certain type of element, and there's the typical rock/paper/scissors effect with fire/water/earth elements plus a light and dark element which are strong against each other. It is imperative that you pay attention to this as it can easily make a seemingly impossible fight practically a cakewalk if you have the right elemental balance towards your opponents. If you haven't been paying attention to this and feel like you've come across some absurdly difficult opponents out of the blue, then check the elemental matchups, as that could very well be the issue.

Anyway, I've written a bunch about Skullgirls already leading up to and through its release, and I feel like I could just harp on forever, but you're all probably anxious to get your weekend started. Hopefully I've made the case as to why I think Skullgirls is such a standout in this crowded mobile fighting genre, and with its unique look and wonderful mechanics, I hope that fighting game fans and non-fans alike will give the game a shot and drop their impressions in the forum thread. Hopefully, like Injustice and Marvel CoC before it, Skullgirls will be a hit and go on to see many years of life and fantastic updates.

  • Drewskii

    I love this game. I came into it thinking that it would be good for five minutes but I am seriously hooked.

    • Gegoben

      Ok, u talked me into it.

  • YaoYao

    Skullgirls has the best controls for a mobile fighting game I've ever played, and by such a huge margin. I don't feel like I'm fighting the controls, it's responsive and quick, and you can actually pull off well-timed juggles. This is the first fighting game on mobile that feels like a fighting game to me.

    • boydstr

      That's one of the satisfying things in a fighting game to learn how to pull off difficult combos juggles etc and become more and more experienced in fighting games but these moves can be pulled of by anyone in this game.

  • GalDrogo

    I dont like the app icon though

    • boydstr

      Sorry but this is something that says nothing at all about how good/bad the game is the app icon is the last thing that I based an post on.

  • Aschealth

    Blazblue RR could've been the best mobile fighter if they made the game like this instead of that lame action scroller smh

    • 7lilwhitewolf7

      Now that'z a thought Yo!
      I still think that the Devs played Guilty Gear: Judgment & based it off that wonderful #1. I juz wish they included the OriGinal

  • Illuminati Potato

    Anyone know why this isn't available in South Africa?

  • JindoFox

    I appreciate the comparison to Injustice. That game seems popular, but it's so grimdark and not much fun. I'd love a cartoony Super Friends take on it instead. Skullgirls seems even better.

  • 7lilwhitewolf7

    🎼🎵🎶🎙🎧🎷🎺🎸🎻🏆
    ❤️Michiru Yamane🌻

  • Slusho

    This is a lot better than Injustice 2 even though it seems very similar at first. The fighting mechanics are so much better. It'll probably be super overshadowed by Injustice though.

  • Space Chief (Iron Sharp)

    Tried it. It sucks. Could not win a single fight and the way to win is obviously to pay big $$$, which would prefer to pay upfront and then never have to pay again except for maybe new content. I prefer premium gaming, and Dead or Alive Last Round is my fighting game on PS4. This sucks.

    • Ninja

      dude you couldn't win? even with the assistance Ai turned on?

      i find that impossible. You would have to legit put the phone down and not touch it to come anywhere close to losing.

    • boydstr

      When I play a fighting game one of the satisfying things is the feeling that through the right moment of a tap or block/counter you can try to win the game and that is the reason that I play fighting games but the abundance of real buttons on touchscreen makes that almost impossible I try to play this but the only thing that I was doing was tapping like crazy and had the feeling that the AI didn't react on my actions in such a way that I was playing against an adversary the graphics style of the game looked a little like "Darkstalkers" on the PS2 I hope that the upcoming SF can bring a real fighting game experience.

      • bluspacecow

        AI isn't ten best right now. The devs are working on a balance patch to make it so the AI is a little easier to work with.

  • Weisse

    The controls really work well for a touch screen fighting game. Very tight controls compared to most other mobile fighters. the only issue is the stamina drain per battle gets absurd later on. Once the grind sets in with the amount stamina you'll need to continue will mostly keep whales returning to the game.

    If they could do a standard premium version of this, like SF Volt it would be a massive welcome.

    • Ninja

      i'm sure by the time Hidden Variable gets around to season 2 of SkullGirls Mobile those issues will be addressed. plus they will most likely add in more characters to keep people drawn in.

      • HotHamBoy

        There aren't any more characters to add. All of the characters from the the console/PC game Skullgirls Encore are here and development on that game is finished. Each character has 1200-1500 hand-drawn frames, they can't just flop a new one out.

        Shame, too, because Lab Zero has like 50 more character concepts drawn up.

      • Ninja

        no... currently in the mobile there is Filia, Peacock, Painwheel, Big Band, Parasoul, Valentine, Cerebella, and Eliza.

        Season they will add in Beowulf, Robo Fortune, Double, Fukua, and Squigly.

        as for any NEW characters due to how the mobile only uses a fraction of the frames that the original cast has, it is possible for the animators to make a new character for the mobile version only. standing at around oh... lets say... 600-800 frames.

        Does that mean that there will be new exclusive characters for mobile? most likely no because Lab Zero is working on their current game Indivisible so they don't have people to spare for the mobile. how ever if there is a free spot after 2018 and mobile is going strong...

        maybe. who knows.

  • Amenbrother

    Rogue Wizards is my game of the week!

  • boydstr

    Every time when I try games like this I asked myself for witch age group the developers are aiming I think that the gamers that played on the SNES or PS don't like this type of steering and there is a younger age group that are use to play games on touchscreen and I think that these games are made for those gamers.