The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile | Review

Developer: Ska Studios
For fans of: The Itchy and Scratchy Show and old school arcade games.
Reviewed on: Xbox 360 Live Arcade
If we had to give it a numerical score: 7/10

In short: An old school side scrolling high paced arcade slasher with a style all of its own.  As the press release says: “Seek retribution as you slash your way through 13 unique campaign levels as Yuki or The Dishwasher.”  What it doesn’t say is retribution is slashing your enemies to shreds – in a completely cartoon-like way.  Of course.

What I liked

  • Over the top cartoon violence.
  • Nice change from FPS.
  • Arcade mode for greater replayability.
  • Unique graphic style…

Not so much

  • …that starts to hurt the eyes after a prolonged session.
  • Didn’t really ‘get’ it.


Having not played the first Dishwasher game we dismissed it as a kid’s game on receiving the review code, so much hilarity ensued as straws were drawn to decide who would have the ‘misfortune’ of reviewing the game.  It was me.  The oldest guy, with no kids to get an opinion from.  At least that meant I remembered the good ol’ days of arcade.  Well, yes, but this is nothing like it and everything like it at the same time.

Gameplay, Graphics, Sound and Features

Simple game mechanic?  Check.  Side scrolling platform style?  Check.  Colourful cartoon like graphics?  No.  Safe for kids?  No.

The game does play like the old school side scrolling platform games of old, but it is rendered in a black/white/grey palette with colour used to emphasise…well, violence.  The controls are pretty simple and easy to get to grips with.  Fighting – which is weapon based – is pretty much finger bashing of the X button, but those with more finesse than yours truly, will discover that there are some combos.  There are also a variety of weapons which are different depending on the campaign you play, but the good old samurai sword is all one needs to dispatch the general enemies.  The Boss battles need a little something heavier with a mix of dodging, slashing, shooting (yes, there’s a gun or two) and magic attacks proving my only real tip.  The game can be tough at times, and thankfully, the developers put in an unlockable ‘Pretty Princess’ difficulty mode for game reviewers…not that I tried it of course.  *cough*

I’ve mentioned the graphics enough (and you can see for yourself with the attached screens), but the sound is, well, erm, there.  The sounds of the slashing, killing and goring disappear a little beneath the admittedly atmospheric music.  Or maybe those were the sounds.  Voice-over is non-existent, with the cutscenes that drive the story being like paging through a comic book, but the style is rather beautiful.

During the game there are a few mini-games, but the only one I truly remember is the Guitar Hero-esqe mini-game.  Match button pushes with the scrolling notes and you get a reward.  Yuki plays violin and the The Dishwasher jams on guitar.

Speaking of the differences, for me the campaign featuring Yuki is far more engaging than The Dishwasher’s (himself) campaign.  In Yuki’s incredibly unhinged mind which jumps between reality and memory (I assume), you get to witness the darkness that appears to chase here.  The Dishwasher has none of that.  He’s a killing machine, who while probably as unbalanced as Dahmer, is essentially out to save the world.  And in case anyone is new to the series, he is not an actual dishwasher.  Unfortunately.  Oh, and did I mention Yuki has a chainsaw?  On her arm?  Well, she does.  It’s awesome.

The game does feature an Arcade mode which allows you to “climb the Xbox LIVE leaderboards” – something my poor skills did not actually allow me to do, so I call false advertising and intend to tear the next Microsoft PR person I meet to shreds in a blood rain style effect.  Along with my co-op partner.  Yes, the game does offer other friend based fun.  Two player local and LIVE co-op is supported, but I will refrain from saying too much about it, as no-one wanted to play with me.  Maybe screaming with utter glee at the carnage made me appear to be the unhinged one.

Final thoughts

Completely unhinged, and mixed with such over the top violence, I couldn’t help but fall for its ‘charm’.  But, it will certainly not appeal to everyone – grab the trial before you spend 800MS Points on it.  And no.  It’s not for kids.

Zombiegamer rating:



Read about our ratings.

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile official site.