|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Idol Minds||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 28, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda Kondolojy
Pain has an awesome formula: A character + A giant slingshot + A stage filled with hazards. And what do you get at the receiving end of this formula? Pain. Yes, it's a very simplistic concept. I will be the first to admit this. But the developers at Idol Minds have done something truly amazing with Pain by taking such a simple concept and turning it into a downloadable game that is worth putting some time into. The game looks great, controls ridiculously great, and, surprisingly, has enough modes to keep you interested.
One thing it is important to note right off the bat is that the PlayStation Store download of Pain is incomplete. There is only one stage with six basic modes and a very small amount of unlockable content. However, Pain is going to be one of those titles that continually builds on itself and offers new content every once in awhile to keep itself fresh. So if you're expecting a huge game with many hours of gameplay, this initial version of Pain may not be for you. You may want to wait for the catalogue of downloadable content to beef up. But if you are a fan of simplistic-yet-fun gameplay, and don't necessarily require a huge amount of gameplay hours for each title you pick up, then Pain will suit your needs just fine.
Although at this point in time there's only one stage, there are several ways to play through it, both in a multiplayer setting and a single player setting. But before you get to any of these free-play modes, you are put through a rigorous training mode. This mode essentially introduces you to the controls and how to put your character through the most pain. The controls for this game are surprisingly complex, and feature several ways you can fine-tune your character's descent into sheer pain. The basics are mainly centered on your slingshot and have you using the left thumbstick to aim, the right thumbstick to pull back, and the X button to fire. But to be truly successful in Pain, you'll have to master grabbing, throwing, drifting, posing, and the Ooch move. Each of these different facets of control help you to guide your character towards his doom all the more effectively, and get him in just the right position to inflict the most amount of pain. It really is almost a little disturbing how much control you have over your character's painful fate, but then again, to relish in the pain of others is why this title is worth downloading, isn't it?
After you hone your pain-inducing skills, you can start really playing. There are three main modes to play solo: paindemonium, mime toss, and spank the monkey. Paindemonium is your typical arcade mode and has you hurtling yourself at different things in the environment and seeing how many points you can get. This mode is where you can unlock most of the bonus content, which is tied in most cases to the point system. Of course you may be wondering how this point-system works. It's very simple: cause the most pain. Bonus points for things like destroying of certain body parts, decapitation, and getting run over by vehicles. The game is really about planning and executing the most cruel and painful route for your character imaginable, plain and simple.
The remaining two single-player modes, spank the monkey and mime toss, are less about your physical pain (although it is a big part) and more about your ability to aim your hapless hero into certain situations with both accuracy and efficiency. In mime toss you'll have to slingshot yourself into a mime, grab it, and then throw it into several panes of glass. In this game, there are no points; it's all about speed. The strategy here is to build up enough momentum when catching the mine so you can toss it at full force towards the glass panes. Do it fast enough, and you'll unlock some bonus content! Spank the monkey also uses the speed principle and challenges the player to (very quickly) search and destroy various monkeys around the stage. You have to hit them accurately and quickly enough to unlock content, and of the three single-player modes, spank the monkey is probably the most challenging.