Painkiller Purgatory has the distinction of being both incredibly bad and incredibly short. While we’d normally refer to the old joke about the restaurant that has both terrible food and small portions, Painkiller for iOS is more like ten pounds of crap stuffed into a five pound bag.
There’s just so much awfulness spilling out of the sides of this shoddily-made, buggy, unambitious game. The entire game can be beaten in about 20 minutes, and that’s ten minutes of shooting demons in small, similar-looking rooms, and ten minutes of a boss fight where all you have to do is circle-strafe around the room.
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The first ten minutes of Painkiller Purgatory are promising, before the game shows its full hand. Your goal is to kill Lucifer and his minions in Hell, but apparently Hell consists of one crummy castle. You’ll move from room to room, using typical first-person shooter controls with fire buttons above the right analog stick. There are a total of four weapons to use, and you’ll encounter about six different bad guys to shoot.
As you clear each room of demons, a red mist will indicate which door in the room you can travel through. We liked that the game never forced us to explore, because the environments are extremely bland. We seem to remember the original PC game having a lot more exciting locations to explore.
Before too long, you’ll encounter what you might expect is the first boss battle of many to come. This winged beast is huge– so huge that it breaks the very confines of your iOS device. This monster (Lucifer? Who knows?) quickly spazzes out with jerky animation and causes every rocket you fire to lag behind by about a second. The lag in this boss fight is so bad that you’ll think you’re playing an online opponent with a dial-up modem.
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Besides the way it breaks the game, this boss fight isn’t interesting or challenging. You simply have to run around a circle of columns, firing constantly to make a dent in this creature’s crazy-high health bar. During this time, you may wish you had just stuck with Angry Birds.
When you blast the last sliver of life out of this creature, Painkiller Purgatory abruptly ends with a scrolling text message. You’re encouraged to replay the game on a harder difficult level, but when we tried that, we found ourselves stuck in the first room with no bad guys to shoot, and as a result, no way out. This happened to us in both the iPhone/iPod Touch version and the HD iPad version. Yes, we played through this entire awful game on two different systems and found the same devastating bug.
Clearly Machineworks is not to be trusted with iOS ports of PC first-person shooters like Duke Nukem 3D and Prey. Shame on Chillingo, too, for allowing this wretched rip-off to be sold for five and eight dollars with the App Store description’s bold lie: “PC Games Magazine BEST SHOOTER OF THE YEAR is now on your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.”
Painkiller on the PC was a fun game, but this iOS abomination deserves to rot in Hell. Don’t buy it, and if you did, see if you can get your money back.