A Grand, Gory Time With Dishwasher: Vampire Smile
Today at the Microsoft Games Showcase in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of getting my hands on the blood-soaked sequel to Ska Studio’s Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. Titled Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, this 2D action game follows the exploits of the Dishwasher’s sister, Yuki, as she attempts to free herself of her prison sentence and mental instability.
The campaign starts off with the battle between the Dishwasher and Yuki, as he kills his brainwashed sister and thusly frees her from mind control. The game then flashes forward as she’s locked in prison, all the while her brain plays tricks on her as she flashes in and out of reality. Armed with nothing but her claws, this introductory level has players tear through guards on the orbiting space prison. Before she can avenge those who blamed her for the atrocities of the first game, she must first find an escape pod and flee her confines. Yuki unlocks the ability to Blood Warp, which is similar to Dishwasher’s Shift Blade teleportation. Flicking the right stick to fly through the air is great in combat, and allows you to pass through grated doors. My time with the single-player mode concluded in a duel with The Gaoler (pronounced Jailer), in which she eventually takes his life and his sword.
I also spent time with the arcade Blitz mode, in which two players try to destroy all the enemies in a map before a two minute timer runs down. The Dishwasher returns with his familiar arsenal in both single-player and arcade, and picking up the cleavers and shift blade feels just as good as it did, even with Ska’s newly implemented engine.
Yuki’s new arsenal is the real star of the show. One vicious tool she wields is a gigantic pair of scissors to slice and dice her foes. She also has a huge syringe she shoves into her enemies and uses to extract her guts. She’ll eventually gain access to wicked chainsaw arms she can use to dismember her enemies. My favorite was a gigantic razorblade-like hammer wrapped in barbed wire, which absolutely decimated large groups of enemies with slow but powerful swings. The over-the-top executions from the first game return here, and enemies can no longer gang up on you mid-animation, so that means you’ll want to be as sadistic as possible.
Though the weapons and gameplay are just as smooth, there may be some who find the game too much of a challenge. Ska Studios is happy to offer Pretty Princess mode to less battle-hardened gamers. In it, the entire world takes on a soft pink hue, hearts appear as Yuki rolls, and streams of blood are replaced with rainbows. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek poke at gamers wary of a challenge, but the visual variation may be welcomed by those who become wary of the black and white art style. The game is also playable in 3D, which creates two distinct visual planes, and causes particles like the aforementioned hearts to pop off the screen.
Dishwasher: Vampire Smile will include 13 campaign levels, 50 arcade levels, Dish Challenge mode, and the ability for a second player to play a cat or crow sidekick in the campaign. Vampire Smile is shaping up to pack a huge bang for 800 MS points ($10), and though Ska won’t say exactly when it’s releasing, they promise it’s soon.