Skullgirls Mobile is the Perfect Example of Mobile Ports Done Right

Mobile games are important. Getting ports right is more difficult than it looks. Skullgirls Mobile does mobile ports justice.

Mobile gaming is a big deal. While most "hardcore gamers" might scoff at the idea, it's not a market to take lightly. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, so the potential is huge! But there's a certain feel mobile games have to achieve to be especially successful. They should be easy to pick up, play, and put back down again whenever you need to.

A lot of indie developers port their games onto mobile because the market is so lucrative, but not all of them do so with this mobile-friendly aesthetic in mind. Most just take the game, add touch controls, and throw it onto the App Store, hoping to make some sales. But not all of them do this -- and Skullgirls Mobile definitely doesn't. In fact, it takes mobile ports to a whole new level.

Skullgirls Mobile brings the original game's traditional 2D fighting mechanics to pocket devices, and successfully turns this console fighter into an addictive pick-up-and-play mobile game.

Complex Characters for Endless Fun

The most important part of any fighting game is obviously the fighters. And Skullgirls Mobile turns its roster of fighters into a collectibles system to keep players coming back for more -- similar to gacha games like Fire Emblem Heroes or Puzzle and Dragons.

Each fighter has a level, stats, power number (based on their overall stats), element, and energy meter. While most of these features are not unique compared to other gacha games (except for the characters having individual energy bars), there are a few things that set them apart -- which is where the adaption from 2D traditional fighters comes in.

Streamlined Controls for Rewarding Mobile Play

The controls for the game are simple. You execute various swipes and taps for attacks, grabs, blocks, and air combos. But how are special moves and finishers pulled off? How do you translate quarter-circle heavy punch into a mobile game?

In Skullgirls Mobile, these attacks are also gacha collectibles. The equipped moves appear as buttons on the bottom corner of your side of the screen. When you use special moves, they're put into cooldown. Finishers build up as you hit and get hit. This approach is not only a great way to integrate these moves into a touch-based control scheme, it also makes a complex battle system simple and easy to use, so the game is more accessible to casual mobile players.

The Campaign Offers a Sense of Progression

Instead of the usual arcade mode, Skullgirls Mobile features a campaign that goes through several maps with branching paths -- though beating every fight on one map is recommended, because you get more loot for fully completing a map. This gives players a clear demarcation between goals so they they can step away from the game and come back whenever it suits them.

This is a sharp contrast to classic mode, where you go through a number of fights in a row. It also imparts a sense real progress, as opposed to just just fighting in traditional classic modes. Both these factors play into the increased accessibility of this game for mobile players. 

Skullgirls Mobile is a shining example of mobile games done right. By making the game quicker, simpler, and more accessible -- even to those who are not very into the traditional 2D fighter genre -- it's offering an engaging experience for smartphone owners that sets the bar high for other developers.

If you're looking for a new smartphone game to play, I seriously recommend giving Skullgirls Mobile a look on Google Play or the App Store. And check out our Skullgirls Mobile guides here on GameSkinny if you want some extra help getting started with the game!

Published Jun. 6th 2017

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