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Game Info:

Joint Pain
Developed by: Hybris Studios
Release Date: Feburary 7th, 2014
Available on: iPad, PC, Mac
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Price: $1.99
(Amazon affiliate link)

Thank you Hybris Studios for sending us this game to review!

Joint Pain is the first game developed by Hybris Studios and it is powered by the Unity engine.  The goal of this 2D action platformer is to survive the waves of skeletons to make it to the next level.   The skeletons come in various colors and are equipped with different abilities and attacks.   Some have shields and swords, while others hurl magic orbs in your general direction.  To make matters worse, most levels have environmental dangers like fires and volcanoes, or flying arrows to dodge.   

Fortunately, you can and often have to use the environment to your advantage.  The enemy AI isn’t very intelligent and blindly follows your character’s position.  It’s not very difficult to lure them into fire, shooting lava or off the level completely.

joint pain
Highlights:

Strong Points: Unique and challenging game play; inexpensive
Weak Points: Dumb AI; graphical glitches
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; magic

To compensate for their stupidity and make this game challenging, the nameless hero only has one life.  When he perishes, the game saves your progress and lets you resume from the same level.  He starts off with 14 hearts and can max it out to 16 by collecting hearts that appear throughout the level.  Each time he is touched by an enemy or object, he loses a heart.

Hearts are not the only dropped power ups; there is also a powerful hammer that can appear.  Unlike the hearts, it will explode if not collected quickly.  With this hammer, you can take out foes in one hit for a short amount of time.  Without the powerful hammer, you’re limited to sword attacks and shield bashes.

The default controls use the WASD keys.  The movement is not fluid, especially when it comes to jumping.  For example, when enemies surround your character, jumping becomes difficult to do.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 68%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 90%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

While the hero and skeletons have a fair amount of detail, the levels are a bit basic in comparison.  Joint Pain has multiple themes for the levels including colorful jungle, volcano and sky themed ones.  I’m not sure why, but the text is all hand drawn and doesn’t look professional.   To make matters worse, when you press the escape key to quit the game, the text jumbles up and is hard to read.

The sound effects are another mixed bag.  The background music was nice, but not seamlessly looped.  The enemy noises sounded like distorted baby sounds and were odd to say the least.  

My kids enjoyed watching me play (I think the silly sound effects drew them in) and kept track of how many hearts I had remaining.  While there is cartoon violence, there is no blood.  Magic in this game is minimal and not used by the player at all.

Despite its flaws, Joint Pain is still a fun and unique game and is worth looking into. I look forward to future titles from Hybris Studios.  If you’re interested in Joint Pain, the price is a reasonable $1.99 and it is available on iTunes and Desura.    

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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