Beautiful graphics don’t redeem God Penalty’s boring play

Sep 8, 2010
Games

It’s unfortunate the iPhone game God Penalty is so shallow, because its traditional Chinese art style is quite beautiful. But being pretty doesn’t make up for a boring, slow experience that lacks much in the way of challenge. God Penalty’s weird name describes the game: You’re a god, and you have to avoid penalties. Sounds […]

It’s unfortunate the iPhone game God Penalty is so shallow, because its traditional Chinese art style is quite beautiful. But being pretty doesn’t make up for a boring, slow experience that lacks much in the way of challenge.

God Penalty’s weird name describes the game: You’re a god, and you have to avoid penalties. Sounds strange, and it is. Sitting on a cloud above oblivious Chinese peasants below, your job is to purge the evil from the peasants. You do this by inflicting pain on them.

There’s a button in the top right corner of the screen. When you put your thumb on it and hold it down, a symbol moves along the floor, all the way to the left, then all the way to the right, back and forth. When you lift your thumb, the symbol stops and zaps the peasant standing on it. You use this target, like a really simple carnival game, to try to hit the evil peasants without hitting the good peasants, who will turn evil if you zap them inadvertently.

That’s the whole game. Some different peasants show up, and you get some different methods of zapping them, but it all boils down to timing to zap the evil peasants, over and over.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the game wasn’t also partially broken – trying to load a previous game crashes the app, without fail. Despite a great look, God Penalty fails to live up to its cost.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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