Mixed or average reviews - based on 50 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 50
  2. Negative: 1 out of 50
  1. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank is the freshest, most unequivocally rewarding beat-em-up game to come along in almost a decade.
  2. Oct 21, 2010
    The gameplay is exceedingly simple.
  3. Oct 21, 2010
    What I'm saying to you is that Shank is so fun that it's actually a cure for murder, and if that's not worth 4.5 stars, what is?
  4. Oct 21, 2010
    With its incredible art and entertaining gameplay, Shank stands near the apex of what downloadable gaming is all about.
  5. 90
    Aside from some minor control annoyances - like the same button used for multiple actions (such as blade attacks and item pick-ups) - Shank's craftsmanship is largely impeccable. It's one of 2010's most memorable and exciting action games. For $15.
  6. Oct 21, 2010
    If you are looking for a high action, blood splattering, combo driven game that you can enjoy alone or with friends, Shank is definitely the game for you.
  7. Oct 21, 2010
    Overall Shank is one of the best beat 'em up titles to come out in a long time
  8. Oct 21, 2010
    Its sometimes aggravating difficulty might not be for everyone, but anyone looking to bring back that warm, pit of your stomach feeling of playing Double Dragon for the first time needn't look any further.
  9. Oct 21, 2010
    This is the Saturday morning cartoon your parents wouldn't dare let you watch, the closest thing to Venture Bros. becoming a video game, and one of the highlights of this year's downloadable titles. The only thing it's missing is a lot of limbs falling off and decapitation, but that's what sequels are for, right?
  10. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank's unassuming style and blatant old-school influence make it a must-have for fans of games like Gunstar Heroes, Double Dragon, and Contra. No matter what, vengeance must be yours.
  11. Games Master UK
    Jan 20, 2011
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  12. Jan 20, 2011
    There's also a value question around Shank. Before spending the $15, you really need a qualified co-op player on hand locally to help you get your money's worth out of the game.
  13. Oct 21, 2010
    I have to credit Klei for putting together a game that pretty much superseded my expectations all the way around. Violent, brutal and fast-paced action, enjoyable platforming, fun bosses and a fresh ambiance that kept my controller glued to my hand from start to finish.
  14. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank is one of those games that will either be loved or hated by the masses. I for one think it is a steal at fifteen bucks, and if you enjoy classic action titles like Contra or Ninja Gaiden (NES style) then you should not hesitate picking it up.
  15. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Oct 21, 2010
    The digital equivalent of a stress relief ball. [Issue#63, p.98]
  16. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank, combined with its well thought-out combat and artistic style is a game that certainly appeals to fans of classic side-scrollers and gory romps of gaming mayhem, and earns its worth at 1200 Microsoft points; more so if you're able to experience both modes of play.
  17. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank is absolutely worth the time, money, and effort, though perhaps it's not the paragon of innovation I expected.
  18. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Oct 21, 2010
    Don't expect it to last longer than a good book. [Nov 2010, p.121]
  19. games(TM)
    Oct 21, 2010
    It's never unfair. [Issue#100, p.124]
  20. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank suffers from too much repetition, even for a brawling fighter, but it gets high points for style and its gritty, dark subject matter. This is a game you can sink your teeth into and bask in its wild aggression.
  21. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank is a 2D beat'em up with a great style and gameplay; on the other hand, a poor replay value and a short main story don't make it one of the tops.
  22. Oct 21, 2010
    If you try the demo, and you're having fun it's worth playing through it, just realize the game isn't going to give you much more than that outside the story, its just more of the same.
  23. Oct 21, 2010
    Most of the game is actually pretty fun, although the loading times are damned long for a downloadable title. It's a colorful, violent cartoon with some of the best music of any game this year. It's simply that any time a boss shows up, I want to go play something else.
  24. Oct 21, 2010
    Still, the art, design, and action go at least some of the way towards making this game worth your money, so if you've blasted your way through all of those and are yearning for more, then you should definitely check out the Shank demo on XBLA or PSN.
  25. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank succeeds at what it sets out to do, giving you funny action, foolish humor and great visuals.
  26. Oct 21, 2010
    Despite my gripes, Shank is a badass game. It could've done with a little more content (maybe a boss rush mode?), but it's a hack-and-slash murderfest that can easily stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim.
  27. Oct 21, 2010
    The fundamental level design issues later in the game, combined with the eventual tedium of the combat it relies on, makes Shank a good game for a particular audience rather than a great game worthy of everyone's attention.
  28. Oct 21, 2010
    It's fast, merciless and brutal, but it's not a lot of fun to play. Unless you're out of other options for 2-D brawlers and have money burning a hole in your pocket, hold off on Shank. It's still a decent title, but for 2 GB and $15, there are better ways to spend your hard drive space, money and time.
  29. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank's main problem is that all the game's positives (and there are quite a few) are either undone or over-shadowed by the lasting impression that it's too short and just too tedious.
  30. Oct 21, 2010
    As a platform-hopping back street brawler, Shank succeeds in carving its very own niche, earning a place on the hard drive of anyone looking for a brutal treat with which to stave off the remainder of the gaming drought.
  31. Oct 21, 2010
    The best 1200 Microsoft Points you can invest right now. Shank plays on the same league as Limbo, Trials HD or Braid: it's short and simple, but fun and refreshing.
  32. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank ends up being a pretty decent game, but it didn't excite me in the end as much as I hoped it would.
  33. Oct 21, 2010
    It's a shame that under this awesome dress, Shank can't stand up with a equally good gameplay. Repetitive, short and expensive, this is a game that could have been much better with some more game design skills.
  34. Oct 21, 2010
    With no online play, replay value is a reverse skyrocket, burrowing deep into the Earth's crust.
  35. Oct 21, 2010
    Striking visuals aren't enough to save this shallow brawler from being monotonous and frustrating.
  36. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank is too short and easy for a 1200 points Arcade. It sports very nice graphics and an immediate gameplay, but after a couple of levels it rapidly wears out becoming quite boring even with its offline co-op.
  37. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank is a classic 2D beat'em up. The style is great, but level design and AI aren't perfect. Probabily, you can try Dishwasher instead.
  38. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank does sport a co-op mode in addition to its single player portion, but it doesn't add much to the game. The levels form a prequel to the storyline of the main game, but the prequel is a rather short story indeed and can only be played on the same console – there's no Xbox Live support should you be short a friend to share your couch with.
  39. Oct 21, 2010
    While Shank can be fun, it is also repetitive, inconsistent, and over far too quickly.
  40. Oct 21, 2010
    There are some incredible peaks in Shank that I think are entirely worth experiencing, and it can be a pleasure to play, at least for a while. There are far worse ways to spend $15 for three hours, but it's those very highs that really make Shank's shortcomings that much more disappointing.
  41. Oct 21, 2010
    Mindless entertainment is all well and good but, at its worst, Shank's gameplay is as ugly as the underworld of thugs, drunks and violence that make up the game's universe.
  42. Oct 21, 2010
    If you can overlook the control issues and often totally uneven difficulty (the second boss should under no circumstances be way easier than the first, in any game, ever), and turn a blind eye to the asinine plot and characters, Shank does have its moments.
  43. Oct 21, 2010
    Shank could have become an instant classic but its flaws make it simply one among others that stands out just for visual interest.
  44. Oct 21, 2010
    Like the movies that doubtless inspired it, Shank ultimately has more style than substance. It looks fantastic but it's hardly a lengthy game, and it does little to trouble your brain. As throwaway entertainment goes, though, it's solid popcorn stuff.
  45. Oct 21, 2010
    Sadly, Shank is a nice but short action game. The combat system is well studied but doesn't have the right balance, and the entire experience ends in three hours only. The offline only multiplayer game is also a crazy choice.
  46. Oct 24, 2010
    Shank is an old school side scrolling beat 'em up with a new lick of paint. The main character seems to have stepped out of a comic book. Shank has enough style, but unfortunately comes up short with substance. The game is short and doesn't offer any replayability next to the hard modus.
  47. Oct 21, 2010
    It looks the part, but this 18-rated Final Fight suffers from a repellent script and the usual descent into monotonous, skill-less button-bashing.
  48. Official Xbox Magazine UK
    Oct 21, 2010
    It's three hours you won't want back. [Oct 2010, p.106]
  49. Oct 21, 2010
    If Shank was an animated short, I'd happily roll a fat one and sit hurgh-hurghing on the sofa at the dumb grisliness of it all. But as a game, it just feels pointless and irritating, and about as engaging as repeatedly attacking the sofa with your own face.
  50. Oct 21, 2010
    The only leg it has to stand on is its cartoon style that will certainly attract less demanding gamers as well as the merely curious. If that's worth $15 to you, more power to you.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  1. JET
    Sep 11, 2010
    Whats with all the bad reviews? Ignore them this is up there with the best games on Xbox Live Arcade. Go and get the demo and find out forWhats with all the bad reviews? Ignore them this is up there with the best games on Xbox Live Arcade. Go and get the demo and find out for yourself! Great combat, one of the best artstyles, whats not to like? The length isn't that bad. It's longer than most arcade games. It's even better if you have a friend to play the co-op campaign with. I played it with my brother and its one of the best co-op experiences ever. The difficulty is perfect as well. So with the co-op, you can double that 3-4 hour length. Throw in all the collectible costumes and you've got more than your moneys worth! What are you waiting for, buy it! Full Review »
  2. Sep 11, 2010
    this Game is Brilliant! the one player campaign has some of the best fighting i have seen in a long time. If you only play through it oncethis Game is Brilliant! the one player campaign has some of the best fighting i have seen in a long time. If you only play through it once then maybe you'll see it as being too short but you can go back and get costumes which make multiple playthroughs a must! The best part for me though is the co-op campaign which must be played. Don't trust the negetive reviews buy this game! Or at least download the demo. Full Review »
  3. Jan 4, 2012
    Good game. The art and design of the game really stood out as a strong point. The combination of the single player and co-op modes gave theGood game. The art and design of the game really stood out as a strong point. The combination of the single player and co-op modes gave the game more replay-ability than most arcade games. This game was highly under rated and totally worth the money. Full Review »