Shank 2 for Linux Review

very good
key review info
  • Game: Shank 2 for Linux
  • Platform: Linux
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
  • Show system requirements
Shank 2 gameplay

Shank 2 is a beat 'em up 2D platformer that aims to combine modern technology and concepts with a genre that populated the arcade more than 20 years ago.

This type of gameplay was really big, back in the nineties, but when 3D really kicked in, games such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight lost their appeal.

There wasn’t anything wrong with them, but the genre evolved. This is a type of process that is not that common for most genres. They usually remain mostly the same, with various improvements, or they disappear.

In the case of 2D beat 'em games, there was a way for the genre to evolve naturally in what we call today third-person shooter or adventure.

As it turns out, a lot of people were quite fond of the original format of the games and have tried, over the years, to revive 2D fighting games, with little success, I might add.

This was the case until the first Shank. When it was first showed, it created uproar, especially because it addressed a mature audience.

The developers understood that the same people who played all those fighting games 25 plus years ago are now well in their thirties and they might enjoy a more brutal experience.


We installed the game in Steam for Linux, on Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit edition. The game is still in the beta stages, at least on Steam.

If you already have the game on other platforms, accessing the game in Steam is simple. Access the Properties menu via right-click and go to the Betas tab. Select to opt-in the Beta and the game will begin to download.

Shank 2 was initially launched on Linux with Humble Indie Bundle 7 and the developers have provided a single archive for the buyers. Inside you will find all the necessary files to run the game on the fly, without having to install it.

If for some reason the game does not launch, you can always start the game from a terminal in order to check for any missing dependencies.

Story and Gameplay

The developers haven’t strayed from the gameplay of the original Shank, so if you have played the first one, the second title in the series only brings some new mechanics leaving everything else in place.

This is not actually a problem, even if most gamers today want innovation and new ideas when sequels are involved. This is one of the reasons why beat 'em up games almost disappeared from the market.

The gamers required more features and new ideas from the studios and the developers complied, transforming a simple concept in a blockbuster genre – the third-person action game.

The main character, Shank, is returning home, probably very cranky and tired after killing a gazillion people with his knives. While approaching his home, the bus he’s riding is attacked by a militia force which is under the command of Magnus, a very bad general, as you could imagine.

The writers at Klei entertainment didn’t bother with a complicated story in which the player is forced to reimagine his whole life because of the small but powerful insights into the human psyche, cleverly placed into the narrative.

You arrive in town, you kill a lot of people, stopping from time to time to kill some local bosses, then you kill people again. The story ends when you finally kill Magnus because he wanted to replace his failing heart with the one from your mentor. Didn’t’ see than one coming, did you?

The gameplay is fairly the same, but the number of combinations has been enhanced by introducing a few new moves, including a counter-kill that varies depending on the attacker’s weapon.

Another difference is the addition of new weapons and that includes throwing knives. Even if they sound cool, you will soon find them inadequate.

The Bad

There’s only one problem with Shank 2 and that is the lack of story cooperative mode. The first one featured cooperative gameplay, so it’s actually a mystery why they’ve chosen to ditch it.

To be fair, there is a cooperative mode available, but only as a survival arena in which players have to resist against wave after wave of enemies.

The Good

The maps are now larger and can hold a lot more enemies at one time, a feature reflected by the fact the camera has been placed further away. This also means that huge combos can really rack up the final score.

The game developers also added some environment hazards such as giant meat grinders, falling shipping containers, and huge sharks on rotating hooks.

Another point worth mentioning is the graphics quality, which hasn’t changed. Some games need an overhaul when switching from one version to another, but the first Shank already looked as good as possible.

The Good

  • Amazing gameplay
  • More moves and combos
  • Challenging Bosses

The Bad

  • It lack a cooperative story mode
  • It's too short


If you are past thirty years old and you used to invest a small fortune in arcade games when you were young, Shank 2 will fill a void in your heart. If you’re young, you should play Shank 2 just to understand why your father lived in the golden age of gaming.

story 7
gameplay 9
concept 10
graphics 9
audio 8
multiplayer 6
final rating 8.5
Editor's review
very good

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