As much as I would like to pretend that I’m a master (mistress, I guess) of All Things Geek, I have to confess: I’m not very good at video games. In fact, I’m pretty awful. I must lack a key hand-eye coordination gene, because I just can’t time jumps and movements to save my poor little character’s life, be it Sonic the Hedgehog, the dwarven fighter in Baldur’s Gate, or a sack monster in Little Big Planet. Driving games make me dizzy, and I’m not even going to try a first person shooter. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that there wasn’t a video game out there for me to be good at.
But then I found PAIN, a great little game for the PlayStation 3 (yet another cool thing my little brother introduced me to). And while it may be a stretch to say I’m good at it, I do have my moments. More importantly, it’s a lot of fun, regardless of how well you do.
Let me preface everything by saying: PAIN is a lewd, somewhat (OK, quite) immature game, filled with pointless violence (though there’s no blood or gore). It’s just big dumb fun. If this isn’t for you, you may want to quit reading right now.
The premise of PAIN is, well, kind of twisted: you fling your ragdoll character from a slingshot with the goal of doing as much damage to them and their surroundings as possible – the more damage you do, the higher your score. It goes far beyond the initial impact of whatever they hit coming out of the launcher – by sliding and flopping them along (“ooching”), you can hit many more objects, and potentially tip them over or destroy them. When you can’t get your character to move anymore, you have 15 seconds to hope something hits them to get them moving again, or you’re done.
There are many characters you can choose from, from generic scantily-clad hot girls and unfortunately not-so-hot guys (shouldn’t games have equal opportunity eye candy?), to celebrities – including Flavor Flav, George Takei, Elvira, Andy Dick, and David Hasselhoff (most of whom, if not all, provided their own voice recordings) – to Fluffer the cat and Ivan the astronaut monkey. The different environments, all rich with targets to aim your character at, include a ski lodge, a downtown area, a space science lab, a movie set, and the Stiffstonian Museum. (I said it was lewd, remember?)
While the game can be played in a single-player mode, my friends and I have found it’s a ton more fun in multiplayer mode, so someone else can witness your epic skills (or complete ineptitude, whichever). There are several modes you can use with multiple players, such as Fortress, where you partner up to destroy the other team’s fortress, and PAINalympics, where you attempt to best your competitors in events like taking down a tower of boxes by flinging your character at it repeatedly. Our favorite mode is Fun with Explosives, which is basically a version of Horse: the first player aims and hits a specific target, then everyone else has to hit the same initial target and beat the previous player’s score. If you either miss the target or fail to get a better score, you get a letter (we usually pick naughty words instead of “HORSE”). Once you’ve gotten every letter in the word, you’re out, and the last one standing gets to gloat.
Well Worth The Money
Visually, the game is beautiful. It uses the Havok physics engine, which probably means as much to you as it does to me (nothing), but whatever that is, it gives the game its amazing 3D imagery and realistic collisions. The characters’ sounds and exclamations of pain as they hit things and are run over by cars and snowmobiles add even more humor to the game (the “meerrrrrrrrroooooooooow” of Fluffer pretty much defines the game for me). And you can capture and replay especially epic moments, like the time my cowgirl got caught in the tracks of the snowplow. No two sessions ever play out the same way, so the game has lots of replay value (making it an excellent entertainment investment!), and when you play it with a group of friends, it makes for a great way to spend an evening.
PAIN is produced by the Idol Minds game studio, and is available for download in the PlayStation Store. Check it out!
Have you played PAIN?