Painkiller Purgatory Review
Game: Painkiller Purgatory
Available on: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (Reviewed on iPad)
When Painkiller came out on the PC back in 2004 it was one of the most impressive games that would be available in the first person shooter genre for quite a while, people couldn’t get enough of impaling the hordes of enemies that were slowly shuffling towards them with a 6 foot wooden stake through the chest. Who could get bored of that?! Given the cult following of the original game, and the fact that Chillingo would be publishing it, there’s no way that a Painkiller game for the iOS devices wouldn’t be enjoyable right?
The first problem that people will run into with Painkiller Purgatory is the control scheme. First person shooters are notoriously difficult to control on the iPad due to the fact that there’s no tactile feedback from the on screen analog sticks. You could accidentally slide your thumbs off of the usable area and not know. Unfortunately the default control method is on-screen dual analog sticks and this is by far the most difficult way to control the game. The easiest however, is using a single analog stick, moving the character with the analog stick and controlling where you’re going to fire by moving your finger anywhere on the screen. This is a much more intuitive method of using the touch interface of the iDevices, but it’s still nowhere near enjoyable to control.
The main gameplay of Painkiller Purgatory revolves around the player attempting to survive as long as they can in a series of dungeons filled with enemies. The further you progress into the dungeons, the more enemies there are. The more enemies there are the harder it is to survive. The game ends when the player dies and their score is calculated based on how many enemies they killed and how long they survived. There is no story to speak of in Painkiller Purgatory, this survival style gameplay is all there is. If you’ve got a few friends that also have the game then the Crystal integration lends itself to attempting to beat each other’s high scores, which can add a little bit more fun to proceedings. If you don’t have friends playing, however, there’s no reason to try and get a better score, other than to beat yourself, and then the survival mode gets very dull very quickly.
The integration with Crystal and the addition of achievements to Painkiller Purgatory is the only reason to play this game on any kind of a regular basis. Sub par graphics coupled with a terrible control scheme make playing it feel like a chore. It’s a shame that something like this, which is very difficult to enjoy, has the Painkiller name attached to it. Such an iconic cult game deserves much better than an iOS game that feels rushed and not very well thought out. If it wasn’t for the title screen and the weapons, most people wouldn’t even think it was a Painkiller game at all, and that’s probably the best way to think of it.