August is traditionally a desert of new game releases. A month where it feels as if the game industry has gone into hibernation.
But beyond the retail shelves, this summer has broken the mould with a trio of great console games to download. We’ve already covered the spooky platformer Limbo, but there’s also DeathSpank and Hydro Thunder Hurricane (more on that another time).
DeathSpank is a rare thing: a comedy role-playing game.
Think Diablo crossed with the children’s cartoon Roger Ramjet and you’re almost there. The action is fast-paced hack ‘n’ slash monster-slaying and treasure-collecting – simple, joyous mindless fun where you take on swarms of beasties single-handedly.
The scenario and setting, meanwhile, is all chaotic cartoon humour – puns a plenty with a healthy layer of slapstick amusement (that Ron Gilbert, the designer of The Secret of Monkey Island, directed the game should tell you all you need to know in the jokes department).
Indeed the game’s pompous hero DeathSpank could well be a reincarnation of the hubristic Roger Ramjet.
While the game does rely a little too much on fetch quests, its combo of instant thrills and deft comic dialogue makes DeathSpank a welcome respite from the po-faced serious that pervades so many games.
DeathSpank is available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.