Rengoku Tower of Purgatory: review

Rengoku title

  • Format: PSP
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Hudson (PSN, as reviewed)/Konami (retail)
  • Developer: Hudson
  • Players: 1 – 4

Well, well. Where do we start? Rengoku (Tower of Purgatory) is about a robot called A.D.A.M (they must’ve been awake all night thinking up that one) that starts to question why he’s around and much like Hal from 2001 Space Odyssey, he feels the need to kill anything that stands in the way of the answer to this question. Unlike Bicentennial Man however, his acting is rubbish and so is the script. In fact, if you took a bunch of geckos and stuck teeny tiny pencils to their feet and let them run all over a bouncy castle while a fat man bounced around in the middle, you’d probably get a better script than the rubbish that’s spouted from this game. We all know that even the best of the PSP collection can have trouble with the control layout and Rengoku’s controls are nothing short of fiddly (yet not so much that finger strain is an issue) but they’re not exactly honed either. This the least of Rengoku’s problems though, because it’s the mechanics of the game that lets it down entirely. Any kind of decent advancement means bashing your way through enemy after enemy after enemy. In the first stages this is a relatively simple procedure – use your macho-mechanical arms to punch the castor oil out of anything that happens to look like another robot, and job’s a good un’. As you go you’ll pick stuff up that they drop and here’s the ‘fun’ bit: acquiring other bits of robot allows you to add them to your body. So guns, swords, hammers and crossbows (yep, robotic crossbows) among other things can all be attached via stop-gap stations between levels after you’ve cleared the rooms. This is where the menu systems come into play, and as menus go it’s all fairly normal stuff. There’s the bit where you add or remove bits and bobs and a nice little rotatable avatar that allows you to see your robot’s upgrades.

Rengoku 2

Hrmm, I swear I've seen that box before

It soon becomes obvious though that this is all just an elaborate way of making the player stat-bash, and that’s the whole game in a nutshell. You’re not going to stat-bash so you can be an all powerful beast to the nasties around you, you’ll be stat-bashing because that’s how you progress. Every new level you enter will be filled with bad tempered dustbins that happen to carry fire-power that’s just a bit better than yours and it’s your job to jab at buttons till they drop their bits. There are no other redeeming features to Rengoku. The playing fields or ‘floors’ are bland grey/blue interiors filled with boxes, dull boxes. Imagine if you were lost in a hospital, and imagine if it had no windows. Now imagine that you can only see five feet in front of yourself, got it? Good, because that’s what every level in Rengoku looks like; every level. There is no imagination in this game, everything from the level layout to the upgrades are just regurgitated junk-parts from substandard games.

Rengoku 1

It's a good job robots only see in black and white, we think

Normally we try to find the good points in a game (that’s our job right?) even when we’re given a tedious, life draining, fart-bandit of a game we look hard into its eyes and stare at it until we see just a shimmer of ingenuity. The unfortunate truth is that Rengoku is nothing more than a bad excuse to take money out of your hand; in fact the junkie that asked you for a pound for his “bus fare home” is more worthy of your pennies than this poor excuse for a game.

Stay. Well. Away.


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Written by R.Furie

Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He's what we now refer to as "Old Skool" because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he's sure VR can't be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

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