Charlie Murder

7.8 Overall Score
Presentation: 10/10
Story: 8/10
Gameplay: 6/10

Amazing Art Style | Fun Loot System | Killer Soundtrack

Brutally Difficult At Times | Poor Checkpoints

Written by on August 12, 2013 in [, ]

It’s hard to deny that Ska Studios has been at the forefront of Xbox Live Arcade games for a number of years. From I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 to ZP2KX to The Dishwasher series of games, they’ve made a major name for themselves in the indie gaming scene. They’ve returned to Xbox Live Arcade with the Summer of Arcade release Charlie Murder.

The game stars punk rock band, Charlie Murder, as they travel through a nightmarish version of their town. The story unfolds more from the perspective of the villain of the game, a former human turned demon, who was best friends with Charlie, the lead singer of the band. After Charlie starts a band without him, he feels betrayed and seeks vengeance against those who betrayed him by making a demonic pact. In this manner, the game paints your characters as the villains and it oddly works at creating a base amount of empathy with the villain, even though the game doesn’t use much dialog.


Don’t get fooled by the empathetic, minimal storyline, though. The world of Charlie Murder is one that is truly insane and hilarious at times. The world is full of small references to other media. The game references everything from other games by Ska Studios, to much more obscure references like the recent cult film hit Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Additionally, the fantastic art and wonderful soundtrack all lend themselves to developing a one of a kind style that is rarely seen in these sorts of brawlers.

The style of Charlie Murder is something to behold. The gameplay, on the other hand, can be a mixed bag at times. Each of the characters is a different class and they each have their own unique strengths. For example, the lead guitarist is a mage-type character while the drummer plays like a tank character.


There’s a variety of upgrades that you can unlock for each character. There’s a fairly intricate loot system in place, where weapons and armor have different buffs and attributes. These are not typical pieces of armor and swords, though. These are things like gloves, t-shirts and trucker hats. You upgrade your magic by getting tattoos for your character. Again, the style that Ska Studios added to this game is phenomenal. Additionally, if you don’t like the look of a piece of your outfit, you can make it not visible, a small addition that more loot games should incorporate.

The actual brawling of the game is fairly decent. There aren’t too many massive combos that you can form, so using magic becomes key especially later in the game when it can be downright brutally difficult. Additionally, the loot that you choose can be key to winning a fight as some will have quick jabs that will allow you to attack enemies faster.


However, the most difficult part of the game is not necessarily the individual encounters with enemies. The toughest thing about Charlie Murder, and resultantly the worst, is how the checkpoint system is laid out. If you die in the middle of a stage, you’re going to have to restart the entire area over again. You can have the final enemy in an area down to their last sliver of health, die and have to all the way back at the stage’s beginning. There are occasions, notably around some of the bigger boss fights, where the stage will “end” to let you start close to the boss fight again, but it can be incredibly deflating to die repeatedly in an area, only to have to restart that section multiple times.

If you’re going to play Charlie Murder, be sure to play it with a friend as they at least can revive you. Just having that little bit of help makes all the difference in the world in this game. It’s also important to note that you can buy healing items to prevent you from dying but if you get caught in a barrage of enemy attacks that can take you from full health to no health in a few seconds, they’re nearly impossible to use. The difficulty would be fine if the game just had more checkpoints.


All of that said, though, Charlie Murder is a fairly fun game. Much of the gameplay is reminiscent of a darker version of Castle Crashers and there’s nothing wrong with that. The style of the game helps to propel this game forward in a massive way and even though the game can be incredibly tough, getting better loot keeps you coming back. Charlie Murder is flawed but that doesn’t stop it from still being a lot of fun.

A code for Charlie Murder was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

2 Comments on "Charlie Murder"

  1. Tomaszewski Arek August 15, 2013 at 9:16 am - Reply

    I love 2d games.

  2. Rory Heflin August 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    I loved Dishwasher.. this looks just as fun!

Leave A Response