Entangled and disjointed, Grasshopper returns with another left-field action game in Killer is Dead.

'Killer is Dead' is another odd action hack-n-slash adventure from executive producer Suda 51 and the Grasshopper Manufacture team. If you are not familiar with Suda’s previous work then you’re going to be in for a real surprise. "Suda" games are anything from typical and usually involve mysterious themes, imaginative characters and idea. 'Killer is Dead' is no exception from this, but in no way is "Killer" the best way to showcase of Suda-flavour. If you are curious about that "Suda" name you have likely heard about, I would have to recommend something more substantial like the outstanding 'Shadows of the Damned'.

For those familiar with Suda's work, 'Killer is Dead' is along the lines of ‘No More Heroes’ mixed in with elements from his other games. While this sounds like a great way to start out, especially if you are a Suda fan, it's not time to get out your Juliet pompoms just yet. Sadly, “Killer” doesn’t even come close to recreating the magic of the Wii-debuted ‘No More Heroes’ or the rest of Grasshoppers line-up either. "Killer" is simply too unfocused, surprisingly dull, and seeming like it is half-finished. Clearly an idea is present, but it never flushed out.

Slice 'em up, Mondo
The basis of “Killer” is simple; you play executioner Mondo Zappa who is contracted to assassinate a number of baddies. To do this you will be button-mashing and leveling your way up through some very standard hack-n-slash gameplay. The mechanics are reminiscent of ‘No More Heroes’, but lack refinement that we have seen lately in other games like ‘DMC’ or ‘God of War’. Sure the visuals help create the illusion of innovation, although once you melee through your first few levels, you will have the system down to a science.

More so, the characters (especially the villains) all have distinct characteristics, however without proper development their creativity in design feels pointless. Mondo Zappa has a rocking name, look, and vibe, but we simply don't learn enough about him. This follows up with his crew whom are simply placeholders. Interesting and unique is simply not enough to deepening the value of the narrative (not to downplay Vivienne and her gaggle of arms). Tied in with a flimsy explanations of why you are carrying out missions, you will start to create your own story in your head. It's not that 'Killer is Dead' is riddled with plot holes, it's more like plot exclusion.


Look ma, I got Suda-Style
Killer is Dead is dressed in typical “Suda-style", mixing art with gaming to create a unique and strong visual stance. Although not overly interesting as previous Suda games, it sure stands out when classed on its own. These visuals carry into the creature and level design to add another layer of odd. For originality ‘Killer is Dead’ kills it (pun intended), however when you strip away the snazzy look, you’re not left with much.

Off to the Moon
The mission structure is broken down into chapters, which usually consist of you taking down a demon of some sort. Each chapter has its own “vibe” and adds to the visual allure of the adventure, although even with enough variety in the cast and levels, the gameplay doesn’t shine through like its creativity. Aside from linear “kill them all” missions, Mondo can earn extra rewards by doing perverted Gigolo and Challenge missions.

Challenge missions are simple objective based challenges like perform a high-string combo and is the more straight-forward of the extracurricular activities. The Gigolo missions on the other hand are odd and perverted. Here you are tasked with “ogling” a lady while she isn’t looking. Yes, sit beside them and stare at their “sensual” areas. Sure it’s an interesting mechanic to add to game; however it really has no place in the game or narrative, aside from cheap adolescent giggles. The main reason to play through these is for the bionic arm attachments that you can earn. Aside from obvious payload perk, you will most likely back away from Killers’ voyeuristic game mode.


There isn’t much at the core of 'Killer is Dead', which is its main fault. While we might have been able to look past the sluggish and inadaptable combat, "Killer" just doesn't give you enough reasons to drudge through the motions. Mondo and his crew are sadly a shallow group of interesting(ish) characters who have no common thread or reason behind them. Sure, we all love a good mystery, but there is none here. Sadly, even with its good looks, this one goes back on the shelf.

Being a Suda 51 fan, it’s disappointing to give a “thumbs down” to Killer is Dead. There just isn’t enough substance and care to keep it with its slick visuals and off-beat idealism. [5.2]

  • Strong visual style
  • Great imagination in design
  • Bland game mechanics
  • Jumbled up delivery and story-telling
  • Bad-taste voyeuristic mini-game
  • Lack of continuity or reason to advance
  • Short with little replay value
Quote: "There just isn’t enough substance and care to keep it with its slick visuals and off-beat idealism."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 09.13.13 | Platform Reviewed:Playstation 3

Similar Games: Lollipop Chainsaw (6.8) | Shadows of the Damned (8.5) | No More Heroes 2 (8.6) | Devil May Cry 4 (9.3)


Killer is Dead




US Release
September '13


X360, PS3

Players 1
5.1 Surround
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content