Girl Fight (XBLA) Review
- Basic controls make learning moves easy
- Lots of unlockables
- Psi Amp abilities are interesting
Not so much?
- Not all that inspiring
- The cast of scantily-clad woman feels cheap
It’s not a bad game, gameplay-wise, but it is simple and the all-girl cast, featuring nothing but scantily clad woman, makes it really feel like the developer went for low-hanging fruit with Girl Fight.
I’ll have to admit, that I was a bit shocked to see the name MicroProse Software associated with Girl Fight. The software publishing giant, who was extremely prolific during the 1990s, behind some of the most popular and influential strategy titles ever, like Sid Meier’s Civilization II, the original X-COM series, the Master of Orion series, and well as many, many more, was responsible for a scantily-clad all-female fighting game.
It’s not that Girl Fight is bad, per se, but it’s like low-hanging fruit, and it’s not exactly the type of title that gets gamers’ (especially adolescent males) attention.
On the surface Girl Fight is like a very light version of Team Ninja’s Dead or Alive (or Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball) series, where curvaceous, well-endowed women in tight-fitting outfits battle it out against one another.
Developer Kung Fu Factory isn’t an amateur studio, either. They’ve been behind some rather well-known titles like Motal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Unchained, UFC 2009 Undisputed, the the recent free-to-play game Spartacus Legends.
Girl Fight isn’t bad, but it’s not the kind of title I’d ever see myself buying for myself. My 14-year-old son, on the other hand, may quietly be thanking me for having reviewed this game. [Note to self: check his gamertag and see if he's unlocked all of the achievements.]
You can choose from 8 different fighters, all of them being — shocker — girls. They’re curvaceous physiques and large breasts will likely be a fan with adolescent male gamers — like my son.
Girl Fight isn’t bad, but it’s simple, and simple isn’t bad either. In a day and age when trying to master a fighting game requires almost a masters degree in Shoryuken, I welcomed a control scheme that focused on only the basic actions: punch, kick, grab, and block. The only time it gets at all complicated is when trying to counter, or trying to figure out which Psi Amps ability would work best — more on that in a few moments.
With specific strikes, you can stagger your opponent, which leaves them stunned for a short period of time, and open to a barrage of attacks. If you’re on the receiving end of this type of beating, the only way out of it — other than standing there and taking your beating like a man (or girl) — is to perform a counter when you’re struck.
Psi Amps are special powers that can be activated by builing up your Psi Meter. You can do this by doing pretty much anything — striking, blocking, or countering your opponent. Once you have enough energy built up, you can activate your Psi Amp, by pressing either the left trigger or bumper, or the right trigger or bumper.
Psi Amps, are essentially a fighter’s special ability. Psi Amps come in several different flavors, some provide a boost to your offense, others an advantage to your defense, while others are a combination of the two. For example, you can set your body on fire, causing extra damage to each attack you deliver. You can drain Psi from your opponent, where each successful blow will leech Psi from their meter and add it to yours.
Girl Fight has unlockable challenges, which are something like achievements, that will award the player with points. Some of them are easy to obtain, like blocking 15 attacks in a fight, while others might be a bit of a challenge, like winning a fight against an opponent who has a full Psi meter. You are also awarded challenge points for performing certain moves while using the various Psi Amps.
When you earn enough points through challenges, you can visit the game’s store to spend them. Purchase items range from new and improved Psi Amp abilities. Bio Entries are essentially background stories for each character.
Skins, of course, will unlock an optional third outfit variation for the girls. For the most part, the skins are basically different colored versions of the fighter’s main outfit. They’re not as varied as I was expecting them to be. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by games with other more elaborate alternative outfits for fighters.
And lastly, in the Extras option, you can unlock additional character pinup artwork, featuring the girls in a variety of… poses.
I played the game with my wife and while she thought the girls were cute, she disliked the game for many reasons. One of those reasons was the cheap objectification of women, which she likened to the pin-up girls on a trucker’s mud-flaps. “I get that we’re never going to have the suit of armor outfit [for the girls],” she stated, but felt that the lack of variety of outfits, and the obvious focus on styles that only exist in adolescent males’ fantasies, would keep real gamers away from this title.
I can’t help but agree with her. It’s not the most inspired game, going directly for a certain demographic — I’m just not sure that anybody in the male demographic would really admit to having purchased it… legitimately, without getting an inquisitive, “are you serious?” eye brow raise from their peers (or — shudder — parents).
That being said, Girl Fight is rated M for mature. One of the reasons cited, is for Partial Nudity, which I didn’t full understand during the matches (other than cleavage and side boob, perhaps), until I saw some of the unlockable character artwork.
One thing that I did like, being an fan of MicroProse’s earlier work, is the MechWarrior themed level.
The one thing that Girl Fight has going for it, is that it’ll only set you back $10.
Girl Fight is available for purchase on the Xbox Live Arcade.