Reader Review: Deathspank

Reader Review: Deathspank

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Jason does, as he is a dispenser of justice and hero to the downtrodden.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Jason Imms. If you’ve played Deathspank, or just want to ask Jason more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

DeathSpank (XBLA)

From the mind Ron Gilbert of Monkey Island fame, DeathSpank is a RPG-lite title in the vein of the Diablo series, utilising a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard (until it arrives on PC and PSN anyway). Our hero, the titular DeathSpank, dispenses Justice through the use of magic, crazy weapons and utter heroic stupidity.


Humour: This is a funny game. Everything from item and quest descriptions, monsters and regularly respawning/teleporting via a system of outhouses exude a Gilbert-esque charm. Fans of Monkey Island will welcome the familiar tone.

Voice Acting: The game is entirely voice acted. Every character DeathSpank meets along his journey is full to bursting with one-liners and innuendo.

Action: DeathSpank’s penchant for meting out painful Justice upon pretty much everything in his path provides many opportunities to hit X enemy with Y weapon. Melee attacks are supported by some ranged damage via the use of crossbows and magical abilities provided by Justice Attacks.

Co-op: Drop-in/drop-out co-operative play is supported through the use of DeathSpank’s sidekick Sparkles the Mage. Sparkles is equipped with a stock set of unchangeable abilities which level up with DeathSpank including a magic bolt, heal spell, exploding clones and flamethrower-like attacks. A one-choice character select screen implies that further co-op characters will be available in the future via DLC.

Phat Loots: There are a huge number of items available to DeathSpank throughout the world. Armour sets, weapons, potions, limited one-shot powers and even a poop hammer are at your disposal.

Locales: The world of DeathSpank is a colourful 3D environment populated by numerous quest givers, monsters, treasure chests and 2D pseudo-sprite features. The entire area is presented with an exaggerated curvature to give the impression of distance. I suspect this is also an attempt to limit the amount of terrain displayed at any one time for the sake of performance.


Voice Acting: As welcome as full voice acting is, it can become wearisome, especially in the case of DeathSpank himself. Luckily, all conversation can be skipped through liberal use of the B button.

Abilities: Despite the sheer number of items available throughout the game, most players will find themselves sticking with melee attacks. Most ranged weapons are woefully underpowered compared to level-appropriate melee weapons and all other abilities are provided through rare one-shot items. Some non-item based magical ability would be welcome.

Lite: This is definitely RPG-lite. Steer clear if story and character development are an important factor in your purchase.

Length: The game is only 6-8 hours long, depending on your patience for side quests. This is ameliorated by the $US15/$AU19.80 price tag.

DeathSpank is a title well worth the asking price if you enjoy a light-hearted RPG romp through colourful locales littered with fragile enemies to dispatch with wild abandon. Playing with a friend makes Ron Gilbert’s particular brand of lols all the more lolable. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Jason Imms

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    • You’ll get more for your money with Torchlight. Unless you buy it instore overpriced compared to Steam.

    • Torchlight will capture your attention for a far greater length of time, but lacks the character of DeathSpank.

      If you had to choose, Torchlight will provide more hours for your money. But then, why choose? 🙂

  • Your story makes….my prostate weak…my bladder…is full to bursting.

    Sorry…when you wrote the phrase “full to bursting” it just reminded me of a certain old man…

    • what do you get… when you cross an owl… with a fishing pole???

      MY ASS!!

      haha awesome movie!

      • DeathSpank sounded like soiethmng Mark would come up with that for a while, I was asking whether there’s some technology that makes speech regnition based on the name enter. I am Lord Karnage! Hero to the downtrodden I am Windsquid! Hero to the downtrodden

  • This is a very accurate review. While the game IS fun for the most part, and hooked me over the weekend, by the end I was sick of the often (subjectivity alert) pretty weak humour and Deathspank’s grating vocal delivery.

    Still, I’d say it’s one of the more rounded XBLA releases, and up there with Shadow Complex; you certainly feel like you got your money’s worth by the end.

  • Good review…I grabbed the demo from the US PSN store (couldn’t find it in the Oz one, just the game itself) and it’s definitely got that old Lucasarts *thingness* to it.

  • Yeah I got my money’s worth out of this for sure, but it’s not a title to revisit. A bit of extra content down the line might not be a bad idea.

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