The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai

The poster boy of going from XNA to XBLA, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai comes to the 360 amidst hype and hope. Can it live up to the superlatives heaped on it and can it help show the other small developers that they can make it into the big time through Microsoft’s indy gaming initiatives?

You play as a dishwasher who is thrust into avenging his own death through samurai skills and rock skills. Utterly bizarre but plot is irrelevant, hell even the comic panels that provide narrative are blurry and poorly written. It’s all just a set up for two things, the gameplay and the style. Gameplay wise it is a 2d side scrolling action game in very similar style to the likes of Alien Hominid. Many enemies, many bullets and many deaths of both you and the enemies. There is a reasonable combo system to give you some leeway as to how you kill the enemies and the choice of cleanly or messily finishing them off.

The problem is that the combo system is irrelevant as you often get hit out of combo’s and hammering the basic attack button often gives you the most success. You’ll find that flicking the right analogue stick about to constantly dodge enemies and hammering x is all there is to gameplay despite the variety of weapons and enemies. For ten minutes this is great fun, for an XNA game this is fine but a full XBLA title needs more depth and this simple doesn’t have it. It’s broken up by very embarrassing guitar sections where you do simple button presses to have a rock solo and you can upgrade your weapons but with little discernible change on how you play the game.

Being a 2d scrolling action game on XBLA the immediate yardstick upon which Dishwasher is the seminal Alien Hominid and unlike many comparisons made early in reviews this one actually has some merit to it on several levels. It’s definitively a title born of the indy spirit behind Alien Hominid, entirely created by one man and wreaks of the freedom of style that indy games inherently have. It’s certainly a striking game, lots of blacks and reds giving a faux-emo feel to things with a definite tongue in cheek reference to the dark endeavour the dishwasher finds himself in. Violence is over the top with lashings of blood and all in all the visual style will without a doubt get you interested in the game, it’s up there with Braid in the “wow” stakes of XBLA.

There’s a decent length of story mode, arcade mode and multiplayer stuff for you to play with along with challenges to complete but at the end of the day Dishwasher Dead Samurai falls short of expectation. Gameplay is just not deep enough and far too repetitive to make any kind of longer term gameplay worth while. It’s sad because perhaps too much was expected of a game created from XNA and by one man. We have here a gorgeous and lengthy if not repetitive and one dimensional game which if it appeared in the community games section I’d have no hesitancy in recommending, but sitting as an XBLA game it’s just not diverse enough for me and gives me nothing I cannot get from other XBLA titles.


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5 responses to “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai”

  1. RinoaTakako avatar
    RinoaTakako

    I always trust your reviews. It looks nice though 🙂

  2. Jake avatar

    I’m still torn. I think I want more out of it than I’ve gotten so far. It is pretty to play though.

  3. Mike Mason avatar
    Mike Mason

    Nice one John. I was impressed by the XNA demo last year but it didn’t feel right to me when I played the trial again this week. Not buying.

  4. […] You can read Ready Up’s review of The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, here. […]

  5. Darach avatar
    Darach

    Yeah, me too. Lurrrved the visuals, didn’t get hooked by the gameplay, and your review helped me decide that this isn’t for me.

    Nice to see something this indie get the backing it’s had tho, and I’ll be interested to see what Ska Studios goes on to do next. 🙂

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