Girl Fight Exclusive Hands-On: Flashy moves and no dudes
Girl Fight is the kind of game that elicits groans and eye rolls by virtue of its name alone. Take into account that it’s also an all-girl fighting game, and it’s easy to see how almost anyone would disregard this project from publisher Majesco and developer Kung Fu Factory. I spent some time playing a preview build of Girl Fight, and I’d dare say that it actually isn’t all that crass. Sure, there are scantily clad women, jiggling body parts, and, well, more scantily clad women, but the overall purpose of the game seems to be to provide fast-paced 3D fighting.
Now, I don’t fancy myself some kind of fighting game expert. I’m much more of a casual fan of the genre, but I’ve spent countless hours (and a few hundred dollars) playing different titles from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter to Dead or Alive and SoulCalibur. Girl Fight maybe isn’t as refined as those major offerings, but from what I played of it, it’s actually pretty fun. In fact, if you play fighters for the same reasons I do — for their sheer wackiness and dumb entertainment — you may find quite a few things to like about this one.
In terms of its gameplay, Girl Fight won’t be the deepest fighter on the market when it launches, but that doesn’t mean it’s poor from a mechanical standpoint. Each of the characters can dish out a bevy of combos and grapples, and while the game is more accessible than a lot of other fighters, it pays off to learn its intricacies. Sure, these intricacies aren't very hard to learn, but as a combo-based fighter, there's plenty to get the hang of.
The core fighting in Girl Fight reminded me a lot of Dead or Alive. Two characters duke it out on a 3D plane, dodge by sidestepping and shifting backward, and deliver their own offense to chip away at each other’s health bars. This is very much a button masher-friendly offering, but like a lot of other contemporary fighters, you’re rewarded for learning different combinations. Not only do these moves look cool, but they also have the biggest payoff damage-wise.
As far as grapple attacks are concerned, there are some truly devastating moves taken right out of professional wrestling. Headscissors takedowns, enzuigiris, armbars, and German suplexes are just some of the many brutal grapples that you can deliver. These require you to get in close, though, so they’re not always easy to pull off. That said, if you can perform a grapple, you’ll manage to deal some major damage on your enemies.
What really sets Girl Fight apart, and the element that I had a lot of fun with, is the addition of psychic moves. Every time you connect with an attack, you fill up a small chunk of your Psi meter. If you’ve got at least three sections filled, you can trigger a special Psi ability that enhances your character during battle. One such Psi ability is Steel Skin, which causes you to absorb less damage from enemy hits. Other Psi enhancements allow you to fill your health bar with every hit you dish out, reduce the Psi meter of an opponent, or deliver high-powered flame attacks.
The build I played included the types of modes you’d expect from a fighting game. You’ve got Arcade, which is your traditional ladder-based mode. This particular component allows you to play through each character’s story. That said, this is a fighting game about women beating the crap out of each other in a virtual world while wearing revealing outfits, so you can throw any semblance of a serious or meaningful plot out the window. What it all boils down to is that Arcade mode is more of a training ground to prep you for the other modes.
Versus lets you take on the AI or your buddies in quick match-ups. This mode is ideal for when you have a friend or group of friends over and just want to have some good, clean (read: jiggly) fun. There’s also an online component, so you can battle other players at any time. Last is the Training mode, which lets you learn the characters’ different moves at your leisure. Along with Arcade, I’d say Training is a good option to learn the ins and outs of the fighting gameplay on hand.
During my time playing Girl Fight, I immediately recognized that this game isn’t meant to compete with other fighters the likes of Dead or Alive or Tekken. Instead, it’s an intuitive game with fast-paced fighting and flashy moves created for folks who just want to have some fun with their friends. Ideally, I could see Girl Fight being more of a party game as opposed to an intense online multiplayer offering, but that’s okay. If you play fighting games because you enjoy how ludicrous and over-the-top they are, you’ll be glad to know that Girl Fight is right in line with that mentality.
The dude-less arcade-style brawl will arrive sometime this fall on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network for $9.99.
Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.