Reader Review: Deathspank

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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.


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