Why do we like to see people hurt themselves? Simple, because it’s not happening to us. Shows like Jackass and its various spin-offs are hugely successful, and all because we get to see halfwits hurt themselves for our entertainment.
The closest the gaming world has to an equivalent of Jackass is Pain (let’s for our sake forget that Jackass did actually release a game). Pain is essentially a rag doll physics demo gone mad, available for download from the PlayStation Store. The task in hand is to launch Jarvis; our on screen character come idiot, from a slingshot across the city, causing as much damage to himself and the environment as possible; much like the party game modes in the FlatOut series. Alter the slingshot’s pitch, power and direction to navigate Jarvis through the level, or once mid air manoeuvre Jarvis to change direction, grab onto objects or even pose for extra style. He can also be controlled once he hits anything and fills up his “Ooch” meter, enabling the player to guide him in the direction of more chaos. The more damage caused the more points earned, which can be increased by stringing together combinations of stunts. If your not happy with the amount of damage caused, simply press R1 and Jarvis is instantly positioned back in the slingshot. Likewise you can also press select to instantly reset the level to its original state.
There are other modes to explore which all use the same basic principal of flinging our hapless hero around. There’s “Mime Toss” which sees Jarvis grab a mime mid air and throw him through as many panes of glass as possible, and also “Spank The Monkey” where Jarvis is required to hit monkeys which are scattered across the environment. Offline multiplayer is catered for in the form of “Bowling” and “Horse” but they wont hold your attention for long as the single player experience.
Currently there is only one environment to choose from, but more will be available after release, along with extra game modes and characters including online multiplayer. At the time of writing there are six extra downloadable characters, each costing 69p. Frankly, it’s a little annoying having to pay for minor additions such as this. I don’t know about you but I don’t fancy paying an extra £4.14 after paying £4.99 for the game. Still they have the decency to offer a free expansion pack, that offers an extra game mode called “Fun With Explosives” where you simply throw Jarvis into exploring crates, which can be enjoyed in both single and multiplayer modes.
All in all there’s not really a lot to say about Pain other than it’s an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Some may not like the lack of direction; other than the tutorials it’s pretty much free reign. This gives the game a somewhat shallow experience, but the fun comes from setting yourself targets, and seeing what everything does when hit. And because of the Havok physics engine used in the game, everything does something when hit. For instance I spent five minutes repeatedly throwing Jarvis into the hand of a billboard doctor, removing his fingers to make various gestures. There are also a wealth of hidden areas to explore, like the subway, and various drainpipes, you could easily spend a few hours just trying to find them all, and then days trying to string them all together, the game is just so addictive. If your like you games over the top, then you can do a lot worse than download this.