I didn’t expect to like Shank n’ Bake, a game about murdering healthy foods, as much as I did. In fact, I don’t know that I like what that says about me. But, I think it says a lot about Mega Dwarf Inc.’s Shake n’ Bake; they can take a graphic, silly premise and turn it into a hilariously fun runner. This is our review of Shank n’ Bake.
Of Muffins and Murder
The main story of Shank n’ Bake revolves around Miff Mufflon, a muffin that’s been pushed too hard, too fast, too close to the edge. Humanity has started a movement to put an end to the consumption of all unhealthy foods. Naturally, we can’t let that happen, because that would be the end of us.
Miff takes this burden upon himself and sets off on a fast-paced journey to end The Four, the core leaders of all healthy foods, and drive their followers to the brink of extinction. To do this, you’ll need to arm yourself to the paper liner with some stylish digs and pokey weapons.
Let me preface this section by saying that Shank n’ Bake is extremely violent, and it embraces that wholeheartedly, leaning into the gory graphics and hilarious side-dialogue. Shank n’ Bake is a runner game, and you’ll be running at full speed without stopping until you conquer the first boss.
After that, you can slow the side scroll speed just a tad to get your bearings. Until then, you’ll be hurdling muffin top first over shelves, egg beaters, and dangerous traps designed to thwart your ultimate goal: punishing the vegetable and fruit evil-doers.
Those Aren’t Chocolate Chips
As with most runner games, there are some collectibles that you earn along the way. Chocolate chips are dotted across the level for you to snatch up, alongside bags of icing. These items will give you an edge when it comes to fighting back the berry gang and deadly avocados. As you collect chocolate chips, your rainbow meter will fill up, which can be activated for a brief period of invulnerability. It only lasts for a few seconds though, so you’ll want to save it for the sprint full of enemies you can’t avoid.
With every kill, you’ll earn points that can be used to purchase clothes to style your muffin. That’s right. Style your muffin. There are tons of costumes and weapons with plenty of quirky references to other games and movies that you can buy with your points. Want a cannibal mask? Yup. Bondage outfit? Sure. There’s plenty of accessories to mix and match and decorate your stud muffin murder machine. Other than that though, there’s not much you can spend your points on, so it never quite feels like you’re making a lot of progression.
Death is Only the Beginning
I’m bad at this game, like, really bad. But, Shank n’ Bake is so dang fun, that you keep wanting to play it over and over to get better so you can push on to the next boss. Each level is procedurally generated, so it keeps the run fresh and new. You’ll actually need to hone your reflexes to get past the obstacles. Memorizing won’t work here. There are so many ways to die and be killed in Shake n’ Bake, and I’ve probably seen every one from how much I’ve died.
Each time you die, there’s a graphic mini cutscene that shows Miff Mufflon dying in a creative but gruesome death related to whatever you ran into. If you run into the berry gang, they’ll eat you alive. If you land on a spike, you’ll become skewered and try to pull yourself off of it until your eyes eventually fade to gray. With each death comes some pretty humorous voice-over comments from Miff as he dies, making you want to sit there and listen until he breaths his last breath. It’s sick and delightfully entertaining.
Shank n’ Bake excels at giving the player doses of shock humor with challenging gameplay. Seriously, once you start running, you don’t want to stop. It never feels like a punishment when you have to start all the way over because the randomly generated run with quirky ways to die keeps a lot of the gameplay fresh and entertaining. I only made it through to about the second boss of the game because I am genuinely awful at it, but I had a helluva fun time playing it. It’s a great game to pick up when you need to blow off some steam, but maybe not when you want to wind down. The constant running keeps you on edge, and Shake n’ Bake will definitely test your Mario skills and quick reflexes.