The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360

A sequel to a award winning indie beat 'em up game, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile screenshot
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile screenshot

Despite the relative success of the original, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is still primarily the work of one man: James Silva, winner of Microsoft's 2007 Dream Build Play contest, but most well-known for creating indie channel darling I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1. Silva has, once again, managed to produce a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up of enough quality to put entire studios to shame.

The game juggles its mixture of extreme hyperviolence with a charming art style and brooding themes of revenge, and in the meantime you juggle swathes of bloodthirsty cyborgs in the air with a trusty mix of blades, shotguns, and a giant hypodermic needle you can use to skewer people to death. You can switch your arsenal on the fly, though mixing and matching two loadouts with two weapons each means this is often easier said than done in the midst of the game's rough-and-tumble battles.

Most of the game is spent progressing in one direction while stabbing everything in your way, but levels often branch into large, multi-storey affairs that encourage you to stray from the beaten path and explore for extra goodies. There's a bevy of collectibles to pick up, too, with the game knowing just as well as you that you'll probably resort to a FAQ for the locations.

The majority the game is solely focused on frantic combat, with enemies having no hesitation to clutter the screen, but much of The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile has been reworked to bring out the best in the combat engine. Enemies still drop a manageable string of audio and visual cues before launching their offensives, but no more do your adversaries feel like near-invincible damage sponges - my enduring memories of the original is the phrase "fire in the hole" and having to basically set up a standing order for continue hearts from the in-game store.

Often with The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai I felt like the only way I'd be able to see it to conclusion was to mechanically augment my eyes and hands - which seems somewhat at odds with the game's anti-cyborg vibe. Now necessary features like continues aren't limited by item stock, and your health bar takes less of a battering after making silly mistakes. This means you've got enough currency left over when running into the various robot vendors to actually invest in upgrading your weapons and abilities, thus making the game passable on normal difficulty by regular human beings.

Even relatively high concept inclusions have been tweaked. Warping, handled by flicking the right stick in the direction you want to go, has been specifically attuned to naturalistically lock-on to enemies while avoiding attacks and, while you'll still curse it when you come up against some of the hulking end of level behemoths, there's generally little frustration outside of lamenting your own incompetence.

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User Comments

xboxlive's Avatar


Yes Yes Yes ive finished the frist one :) Now i can get this,cant wait,i love the games and SKA.
Posted 08:49 on 08 April 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar


First impressions are highly positive. Everything seems to have been improved in the successor. Bigger and badasserer weapons and enemies, a funky companion, a heavy metal violin for Yuki, kill moves that make you wince, and an opening sequence/segments (trying to remain spoiler free here) that are very well done.

A very good game, that I am truly surprised Microsoft isn't capitalising more on the exclusive status of.
Posted 14:57 on 07 April 2011
xboxlive's Avatar


will have to finish the frist one,thats if i can lol.
Posted 07:54 on 07 April 2011
squidman's Avatar


If anyone's interested, we're giving away three codes for the game over on our Twitter account:
Posted 13:42 on 05 April 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar


Every Ska Studios release is a sight-unseen purchase from me. The whole techno-gothic visual, musical and 'old-school hard' gameplay style ticks all the boxes of what I look for in a game.

As exclusive to XNA development as James Silva is, I am honestly surprised that Microsoft haven't snapped the team up and put him in charge of a bigger project. Not that I'm complaining - The Dishwasher and other indie games are true gems for the 360.

Nice review, Martin. I'm glad this seems to build on the success of the original. I have heard that The Dishwasher is planned for a trilogy - here's hoping!
Posted 16:11 on 04 April 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile
Out of 10
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile
  • More forgiving than the original
  • Intensive combat
  • Too difficult for casual players
  • Movement can still be fiddly
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Release Date: 06/04/2011
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Ska Studios
Genre: Beat 'em Up
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 936 114
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