An incredibly peculiar top-down survival game, JJSoft’s The Painful Beauty (out now, $0.99), casts you as a character so drop-dead gorgeous she can’t even step out for a skinny latte and a copy of Cosmo without whipping every guy who spots her into a frenzy and being chased down the street by hordes of lovesick zombies.
In spite of that promisingly unique premise however, The Painful Beauty isn’t all that fun or original. Fast-paced, arcade style gameplay involves you attempting to hold onto three lives for as long as possible while outmaneuvering and avoiding coming into contact with never-ending waves of crazed, googly-eyed would-be suitors. Naturally, the longer you last, the harder it gets.
Tilt controls take care of zig-zagging around the screen, while snagging various powerups (explosives, speed boosts, extra energy, etc) that intermittently appear around the level can help give you an edge over the opposite sex. Oh, and just in case the game wasn’t weird enough already, every so often an ice-cream truck inexplicably trundles onscreen removing any enemies it ploughs into from the equation.
Disappointingly, The Painful Beauty doesn’t give you much to do beyond repeatedly trying to top your own best score – there are no unlockable characters, environments or bonus modes – meaning this title runs out of puff pretty quickly. Openfeint integration goes some way to softening the blow, but this is still woefully light on content and lacks any real incentive to keep you playing.
Now, I do appreciate the fact that JJSoft tried to do something a little out of the ordinary with this game, however a few intriguing ideas, cutesy presentation and retro charm fail to gloss over the fact that The Painful Beauty is too simplistic and repetitive to appeal to anyone other than the most hard up of casual gamers. One to avoid.
iFanzine Verdict: Quirky and cute, but sadly The Painful Beauty is too shallow to hold your attention for long. At a stretch, it just might appeal to casual gamers looking for a mildly entertaining five minute fumble.