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Touchscreen gaming is either a hit (see Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja) or – bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, strike three – a miss. Nothing rings more true than first-person shooting games. The lack of buttons and joystick forces developers to put virtual ones on the screen, conveniently blocking half the view in process. We’ve made a bit of progress, however. Games like Modern Combat 3, while not perfect, managed to ease up the pain for FPS gamers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Painkiller: Purgatory HD.
If you’ve enjoyed the original 2004 PC classic then take everything you love about the original (tight controls, engaging story, multiple environments) and imagine the opposite. Yes, mobile games get a little leniency due to lack of graphical prowess and controls, but it seems like developers Machineworks Northwest LLC have boarded the ship and sailed far, far away.
The controls are, for the lack of a better word and befitting the subject matter, hell. You’ll be struggling with them as often as you steady your vision. The slightest touch will send your view barraging out of control. Even after you catch up and slow your view, prepare to see one of the most bland environments in mobile gaming.
Taking place in what appears to be a castle, you’re tasked with defeating Lucifer. While locating the fallen Angel, you’ll traverse through the castle from room to room. Like a terrible nightmare, the developers created the rooms almost identical, leaving you to backtrack a number of times to make sure you’re going the right way.
Painkiller: Purgatory HD is incredibly short, and after wrestling with the controls, I’ve managed to clock in 18 minutes. The game ended incredibly quickly, and to add insult to the injury, a small text note appeared asking to replay the game in a higher difficulty. Sadly my 15-minute refund was up. Well played.
In short Painkiller: Purgatory HD succeed in what they promised: dark, gripping, and a nightmare to play. Swallow pill before engaging.