Charlie Murder is the newest game from Ska Studios, developers of Dishwasher Samurai. Like the music it portrays so well, the game itself can be described as something that isn’t perfect but relishes in its rough edges. Those rough edges though are pure and lead to personality and a true passion for the vision. It may look like it but Charlie Murder is the multiplay side-scroller we’ve been waiting for since Castle Crashers.
The story of Charlie Murder is one of break-ups. Charlie and his friend once had a band together but after disbanding, Charlie hits it big with another band. Filled with anger and jealousy, the friends devolves, or evolves into a monster called Lord Mortimer and out to get some revenge on Charlie.
To stop him though, you can choose between Charlie and his five band-mates. Each character you choose have pretty much the same basic attacks but each character have special attacks, based on their position in the band. Charlie can send shockwaves using his voice and microphone whereas another in the band can send out fireballs using riffs on their guitar.
In what seems like a basic 2D beat em’ up quickly gets a little bit deeper when you start killing some enemies. As you defeat enemies, you’ll notice they’ll drop plenty of goodies. These goodies range from body parts that can be used as weapons, to clothes and apparel that can be used to increase Charlie and the band-mates’ stats. As you kill enemies, you also earn followers which act as the games XP. As you gain more followers, you can unlock special moves like creating a most-pit to cause some wide-spread damage or have the ability to mash in an enemy’s skull but subsequently doing the same with the X button on your controller.
The controls are simplistic using X for light attacks, Y for heavy, A to jump, and holing left trigger and a face button to unleash special attacks. It’s fun and totally serviceable on its own but the true extent to how fun this game is is when you play with somebody else. Up to four players can play at any one time and even though madness doesn’t even describe it, it fits perfectly for the punk aesthetic.
The world you traverse is filled to the brim with personality. From characters to assets in the environment, everything is hand-drawn and it’s in that imperfect hand-drawn design that the game truly stands out. From towns, to dark caves, every inch of the land you move across has so much detail and personality that you understand almost instantly the direction the developers went in.
In what simply begins as a bare-bones side-scroller quickly becomes a loot-driven, personality-driven, multiplayer madness that should be shared with friends. For only 800 Microsoft Points, Charlie Murder is sure to make you Xbox 360 sing.