It’s already eaten up more hours of my life than I’d care to admit to
HairyArse about Pac-Man CE DX
So far, Apple's gaming platforms are having a stunning year with a whole stack of innovative games hitting the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. With each new release, my aged iPod Touch 2G is looking like a three legged greyhound, trying to keep up with games that are designed for the higher end of the IOS spectrum.
I've avoided most first person shooter titles like the plague until now. For me, a first person shooter should be buttery-smooth with no frame drops or glitches just pure unbridled action. Though touch devices aren't exactly suited to the genre, there are some cracking examples around.
I wish I could say Painkiller: Purgatory was one of them. PC gamers might remember Painkiller's debut quite some years ago (2004 to be precise). The team behind recent FPS smash Bulletstorm (Polish developers People Can Fly) produced a game that felt like an updated homage to classic PC shooters like Doom and Hexen.
Mixing together the supernatural, the hellbound and a goodly dose of crazy weaponry, Painkiller: Purgatory (this time released by Chillingo and developed by Machineworks Northwest) looks promising at first. Slick loading screens and excellent presentation set the scene for players to once again take up Daniel Garner's quest to free himself from Purgatory.
On the dinky screen of the iPod Touch, Painkiller's controls take the traditional IOS model of twin on-screen analogue touch zones to control both your movement and lookspring. It works fairly well, and the zones don't interfere with the main action too much, but I still found it difficult to get my thumbs into a comfortable playing positiong (naturally those of you plumping for the full fat HD version on iPads will have less of a problem).
Painkiller's array of weapons range from a toggled whirling blade staff to heftier firepower available later on. Enemies range from hulking great big misshapen blobs to slightly faster and more nimble twisted misshapen blobs but at least they turn into meaty chunks of debris quite satisfyingly once you get to work on them.
As with their conversion of Duke Nukem 3D for IOS, Machineworks Northwest have done the best they can with the platform's limitations and fans of the original Painkiller games will easily identify with the recreation of several key PC levels here.
The reason it didn't quite click with me was mainly because of the way things rapidly descended into a grind. Without the (sometimes) spectacular visuals of the PC version, and the gory visceral thrills on offer being extremely diluted, Painkiller: Purgatory can't quite compete with other more technically solid and impressive FPS games available for cheaper prices on the iTunes store. So many elements feel half finished. Bludgeoning or chunking baddies while waiting for the door to the next area to become unlocked rapidly turns into a chore, and even some of the meatier weapons began to feel a bit ineffective as the enemy count ramped up.
Thankfully you don't have to rely purely on my words for an opinion on the game. Both iPhone / iPod Touch and iPad versions are avallable as 'try before you buy' lite versions and I'd definitely advise giving the game a go for free before dropping £2.99 on this.
Painkiller: Purgatory could have been better. It doesn't quite offer enough variety or spectacle compared to the rising standards in FPS games like N.O.V.A 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies, which is a shame because the original game was excellent no-brainer action fare.
Grab the lite Painkiller and call me in the morning if you feel any different.