is based on a very simple premise; load a guy into a giant slingshot and launch him in hopes of inflicting harm to both his body and environment. The idea is similar to the recently released Jackass: The Game
, only there's only one event to take part in and the thrill is short-lived.
This premise is the basis of several of Pain's gameplay modes. PAINdemonium is sort of the default "main" mode. Here you launch your human bullet into the city and try to rack up as many points as you can. As your character flies through the air, you can grab objects and control his trajectory as well as perform various moves that give you bonus points, as well as allowing you to injure specific body parts. Once he hits something, you can nudge him around it and try to keep his flight going a little longer.
The two other modes are a little more focused. In Mime Toss, you grab a mime while flying through the air and try to crash him into panes of glass while in Spank the Monkey, you're going after monkeys who are scattered around the city. Both modes are extremely challenging and add some replay value, though most of the game's fun stems from simply finding new and interesting ways to ricochet your character around the city. However, the fun doesn't last very long - especially when you consider the game's asking price. There's only one city (and two characters to launch around it), so you'll run out of places pretty quick.
Even with the more focused gameplay modes, there really isn't that much to Pain. In many ways, the game's unstructured nature feels more like toyplay that gameplay. There are numerous in-game goals that you can try and accomplish, namely in the form of trophies you can earn, though you have to be a self-starter if you want to milk the game for all its worth.
Pain is a fun premise and, unlike some other one-shot ideas I've heard (and believe me, I hear a lot on a near daily basis), it actually has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, Pain's structure and gameplay only scratch the surface about what the idea could offer. After the first few launches, I felt like I was spending more time thinking of ways to improve it rather than enjoying the experience. For instance, Pain seems like it would be ideal for some sort of user-generated mode similar to Halo 3's Forge. Seeing as how important the physics engine is to the game, I would love to see the number of intricate Rube Goldberg devices players could come up with. I could also see a big market for Pain replay videos.
Multiplayer adds a little more value. Although the explosion-filled bowling game type is entertaining, I had the most fun with Horse. The mode plays just like the basketball game it gets its name from; one player launches a character and the second has to match the shot while attempting to get a better score. Still, multiplayer is only entertaining if you have someone to play with, so the lack of online multiplayer is a bit of a downer.