Painkiller Purgatory Review

By , on March 11, 2011

Painkiller Purgatory
Download on the AppStore
2 out of 5


  • Some recognizable tropes from the series; notably your melee blade.
  • Epically sized boss encounters.


  • Hard to feel in control; twin-stick lacks stability and fidelity, single-stick is prone to numerous glitches.
  • Automatic horizon leveling; makes looking up or down an impossible chore.
  • Excessively sensitive auto-aim; impossible to aim without it.
  • Drab, washed out visuals and nearly unrecognizable 3D models.


It's hard to shake the feeling that Painkiller Purgatory is still a work in progress and gamers who pick it up will pay the price for having their time wasted; if you must play it, wait until it's given a serious update first.

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Never has a title felt so entirely appropriate as it does for 'Painkiller Purgatory'. Despite its theme, playing the game is easily one of the more numbing, soulless experiences you could have that not only manages to poorly represent the series it comes from, but also the genre of classic over-the-top First Person Shooters.

The Painkiller series has typically been defined by two factors that add up to huge amounts of fun - clever and varied weaponry and power-ups that provide a multitude of ways to dispatch creatures in any way that takes your fancy; and a multitude of creatures willing to throw themselves at you with abandon while attempting to overwhelm your firepower with sheer brute-force. The addition of various beautiful Gothic environments that run the gamut of dark and brooding to airy, open and exposed only manages to emphasize the different strengths of your weapons and your enemies, adding a further dimension to the gameplay that helped to prevent it from feeling stale.

While it's unfair to expect all or indeed any of these elements in the iOS release of the franchise, the game players are give is more akin to a tech-demo in its early stages of development than a truly playable game. Without even taking in to account the bland, gray/brown visuals and amateurish special effects, the game itself lacks life as players simply spam their attack button while wrestling their player through doors to each 'new' area.

Two control variations allow players to either move and shoot with dual virtual sticks or via a single stick and swiping to look around, however both control setups utilize a console-like acceleration system that makes your view slide around uncontrollably. Strangely the need to even bother to look around is made almost entirely redundant by an auto-aim system that only requires a vague direction to result in a dead enemy. The end result is a complete lack of confidence in the controls that only works against the player when facing off against larger 'boss' creatures that require some level of agility to out-maneuver the massive attacks sent your way.

When the basic, core elements of being able to move and shoot can't be done without feeling labored, it's a safe bet that the rest of its gameplay is going to fall flat on its face. Recognizable elements of the Painkiller franchise may exist in 'Purgatory', but you're better off avoiding this title and sticking to the 2004 original.


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Espekayen 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad I tried the free lite version first because this game is embarrassingly bad. The controls are shocking. I hope future updates sort this out.

mrhappy1 10 years, 6 months ago

After looking at the reviews and the new "Bug fixes" it seems as they fixed it.

talugo 10 years, 6 months ago

It's too bad sir. You were on a roll of reviewing decent games, you are bound to hit a clunker. It is too bad that this title didn't work out. I remember the original Painkiller breathed new life into an enviornment saturated with military shooters (no complaints, I always enjoy a good military shooter). It was nice to play a game that took the fun and interesting parts of Quake and attempted to inject some Duke Nukem style humor. 
Hope they have better luck with the next release.

andrew 10 years, 6 months ago

What really has me scratching my head is two of the 'sequels' on the PC started their life as fan-developed projects tha were picked up by the publishers for official release. I keep wondering if this was a similar situation and they finally got burned or if this was a commissioned conversion.