Summary: Charlie Murder is a game that aims incredibly high. In addition to presenting an truly unique and fluid art style, it adds a compelling soundtrack to the mix, as well as a whole host of gameplay mechanics, on top of an RPG-like stat and inventory system. Not everything works out exactly how Ska Studios hoped it would, but beneath all of the questionable design decisions lies an incredibly interesting beat 'em up that makes quite an effort to break the mold.
Excerpt: Indie developer Ska Studios has put out a bunch of great titles over the years, with The Dishwasher and its sequel being superb beat-em-up titles and I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 being one of the most successful Xbox Live Indie titles to-date. Now, for their fourth Xbox Live release and second appearance as part of the Summer of Arcade, Ska Studios keeps the side-scrolling action going with Charlie Murder , a fully co-op RPG brawler hybrid infused with a totally...
Excerpt: Charlie Murder is the newest release from developer Ska Studios--the same company that brought the world The Dishwasher video game series. Charlie Murder takes noticeable inspirations from its predecessors but features an all new storyline based around a punk rock band and their battles against undead hordes of enemies and a rival band. The game features a unique art design and combo filled combat that works together well with a campaign full of heavy metal inspirations.
Conclusion: Charlie Murder is a competently made and often funny brawler that has fun with a wide range of inspirations. But when you're not battling evil IT engineers or grotesquely illustrated zombies it can descend into a repetitive slog of mashing the X button, particularly when played solo. Dull minigames don’t do the Charile crew any favors, but the RPG elements give us something to fight for.
Summary: In line with the anarchistic vibe and punk rock aesthetic it emulates so well, Charlie Murder gets right in your face and starts up a flailing mosh pit of chaotic game mechanics even before the dissonant ring of the opening power chords fade from memory. No, ripping the limbs off your zombified foes and blissfully beating them to un-death with their own bloody appendages isn't enough for this ambitious and gory 2D brawler.
Pros: Great art style and gritty punk aesthetic, Chaotic combat hits a high note with its absurdity, Great co-op experience
Cons: Checkpoint system is unforgiving, A few minigame elements feel tacked on
Conclusion: Concept: Lead a ragtag gang of musicians through the punk rock apocalypse
Graphics: Doesn’t stray far from The Dishwasher’s look, but the punk influence works well
Sound: A fitting and catchy soundtrack accompanies the band’s journey
Playability: Combat isn’t particularly deep, but the customization and leveling systems are surprisingly full-featured for the genre
Entertainment: Charlie Murder is at its best when you grab some friends that stay along for the whole ride...