So, DeathSpank is a big hoity toity hero with a dialog stream and speech pattern resembling the mighty Tick from the early 90’s cartoon. How does such a big ego have room for anyone else? Well, his sidekick Sparkles doesn’t take up much space. We mean that, he’s a small character with no dialog - but he still has a certain charm about him. Maybe it’s the glasses.
Or, maybe it’s the way Sparkles casts fire, flings magic, heals DeathSpank, or creates little dopplegangers of himself. Handy sidekicks deserve a bit more screen time and a few more lines than poor Sparkles gets, and here’s the issue.
Sparkles has no menu, no leveling up, no change of powers or upgraded weapons (or in his case, wand implements), no real growth at all. His character is static, handy as he may be. Sparkles also cannot interact with primary quest items like collecting certain items, bashing the poo out of demons with a special weapon, or talking to a completed quest patron.
Shared screen co-op means Sparkles is limited in how far away from the battle he can stay, or where he can explore. Sticking to the outskirts of the screen is the best policy to avoid losing DeathSpank’s health at double the pace. The tethering seems to work fairly well though, I never lost my co-op partner off screen, though Sparkles got stuck on landmarks a few times. The ability to teleport quickly keeps Sparkles in the game, so at least they didn't forget that keeping up with DeathSpank is a challenge sometimes.
Yes, you read right Sparkles doesn’t even have his own health bar. His health is linked to DeathSpank which is okay because of his reliance on ranged magic spells, but it’s still an annoyance. From what I could tell, the better armor DeathSpank wore, the less damage both players took - but without stats, I have no idea if Sparkles kept up or not.
The co-op in DeathSpank adds a lot of enjoyment to the game, but really makes the player two feel like a bit of a tacked on afterthought. Sparkles does not have any dialog, inventory slots, or the ability to interact with most items and people in the game. The upside to having him with you is the ability to heal a bit of DeathSpank's health, as well as an extra hand in the battles you face.
Here we have the producer of DeathSpank, Hamish Millar explaining how the co-op in the game works.
Just a hint for the final battle sans spoilers: use the specialty weapon you receive for that battle, and nothing else. Sparkles can still cast his spells (the healing is especially helpful, but his magic doesn’t cause the last boss to regen), but any other melee damage will cause the final boss to regenerate health.
The Co-Op Experience: DeathSpank will feature local co-op gameplay, so friends can team up to play both DeathSpank and his trusty sidekick, Sparkles the Wizard.Player 2 is more of a "helper" than a full featured co-op partner.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.