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PAX Preview: Charlie Murder – the next Castle Crashers?

Charlie Murder is the latest game from Ska Studios, those guys that made those Dishwasher games and the super profitable and popular XBLIG I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1.   Ska Studios was recently acquired by Twisted Pixel (who was acquired by Microsoft Studios last year), so it’s questionable whether Charlie Murder is really an indie game. That’s really another debate entirely.  Charlie Murder and Ska Studios were part of the Indie MegaBooth at PAX and I played their damn game so I’m going to tell you about it.  You can discuss the “indie” nature of the game and yell at me  in the comments section below.

Charlie Murder is about a punk rock band that must fight off the evil minions of the rival death metal band Gore Quaffer.  This game is a side-scrolling beatemup with RPG elements and features the signature art style of Ska Studios.  It’s an homage to the coin-eating arcade beatemups of yesteryear (Damn you Simpsons Arcade!), but features level progression, magic, and RPG mechanics found in dungeon crawlers and the recent indie behemoth (get it) Castle Crashers.  Of course, Charlie Murder features more violence and a better soundtrack.

Charlie Murder is already a really fun and polished 4-player brawler, but I guess that’s to be expected when the game was originally planned as an XBLIG set to release in March of 2010.  The controls are what you would expect and very reminiscent of Castle Crashers ( you even hold the Right Trigger to map special abilities to the face buttons).  If you were one of  the millions that loved Castle Crashers, this game is for you.  Don’t get me wrong, Charlie Murder isn’t a clone.  It has its own unique feel, demented humor and grittier visuals.  There’s a puzzle where you have to throw food ingredients into a vat which creates a guy in a hamburger suit.  He commits suicide by jumping into a grinder when you defeat him.  If that’s not original enough for you, Charlie Murder also features a slew of weapons and items strewn about each level that can be picked up and used.  There is a ton of variety here and this really helps keep the carnage onscreen fresh and violent.

For more screens and information on Charlie Murder, check out the game’s official website.