by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
Shoot. Die. Rage. Repeat.
I've met my match. It didn't come in the form of the latest throw-your-controller 'souls' style RPG masterpiece. It didn't even come in the form of a realistic tactical shooter where one wrong move spells an instant death. It came in this unassuming top-down shooter that looks straight out of the early 90's, when it's actually straight out of the depths of Hell itself. Tormentor X Punisher, from E-Studio and Raw Fury, has incited a rage in me I've never felt in all my years as a gamer. There was no joy, there was no laughter, there wasn't even the gratification of a job well done.
The way I was forced to play was in 5 minute increments. Every now and then I got lucky and survived for almost 10 minutes before I died and was forced to start over. My experience could be compared to Tom Cruise’s in The Edge Of Tomorrow, except that there was no hope of victory ever for me. I'd shoot, I'd die, I'd rage, I'd repeat. I repeated as many times as it took to force this review out the door, with my head aching and my mouse lucky I didn't smash it repeatedly against the wall.
Seeing Through The Rage
Okay, deep breath here Johnathan... Tormentor X Punisher is not a badly made title. It functions, it's visually appealing in its presentation and it sets itself up rather well as a mindless Bullet Hell where only the most skilled players and the most lucky have any shot at progression. This time around, I was neither.
The game begins with a cutscene at a bar in outer space, with animation that reminds me of something along the lines of Rick and Morty. At the mention of demons, a ragetastic woman armed to the teeth learns that they are on the planet Fuck You (yes, really, otherwise I wouldn't use that kind of language in a review). Flying through space, she makes it to the planet's surface and begins decimating demons left, right and center. Then, when it comes my turn to take over, I'm nowhere near the awesome killing machine I'm supposed to portray.
In Tormentor X Punisher, everything can be killed in a single hit if they don't have a way to defend themselves. While that sounds like it would make it easy, it actually makes it insanely hard. Enemies rush from all directions, even cannon fodder is a substantial threat as their attacks fly all over the screen. With every milestone in your score, a boss spawns… And they killed me every time I was actually lucky enough to get one to spawn. You read it right, I couldn't even down single one.
Gameplay is simple. Kill everything you can, get a higher score, get recognition the higher you get. Your weapons are a two-in-one death dealer combining a rifle and a shotgun. To reload one, you have to use the other. You'll be putting your mouse through paces and, if you get angry enough, taking some of your frustration out on it as well. Other than that, there's not much I -can- say. I'm all about difficulty in games, but this is nuts. Either I just can't hang with top down shooters like I used to, or this is the hardest game I've ever played.
Not Fun (For Me)
I want the readers to take this score with a grain of salt. I went with what I thought was fair without letting my complete lack of fun butcher the score. It's functional, and I can see how those who have run out of challenges would love to run through this gambit. But it's just not for me. It's not fun for me at all, not due to poor design but due to there being only so much I can take before I throw in the towel. Tormentor X Punisher, you win. You brought out the anger in me. Now please, get off my computer.
Entirely functional, I enjoyed the artstyle and early 90's aesthetic
It's the most rage inducing thing ever to enter the videogame world