Tormentor❌Punisher is an extreme, top-down shooter that doesn’t give any fucks, and will gladly let you know it. This is like a more violent and brutal Smash TV. To say that Tormentor X Punisher is challenging, but there’s a nuance, and flow to TxP. Aside from a cartoon introduction that takes the playable character to Planet Fuck You, there’s little in the way of the action, which is at the forefront of what Tormentor X Punisher is – a non-stop thrillride of a top-down shooter.
“LET’S FUCKING DO THIS!” the unnamed female protagonist shouts at the top of her lungs. And from there, you are playing the game. The controls are simple, yet the art of evasion and shooting is a skill to be learned over time. The default controls are left mouse for shooting an assault rifle, and the right mouse for firing a shotgun blast. The shotgun is used to reload your assault rifle, because of course it does. There’s not much UI to speak of, and rightfully so. There’s a lot of things on-screen at once, and minimizing that is to the game’s benefit. So thankfully, if you run out of primary ammo, there’s an audio cue to reload the shotgun as well as some text that gets lost against other text. The game does try to help you where appropriate.
Pentagrams light up on the ground for a few seconds before demons materialize. You can walk over them to close them for some quick points, and while that kept me surviving longer, it didn’t have me earning more points as a whole. Kiting enemies around a level for combo kills are what’s best for your overall score. When there’s a large group of enemies amassed behind you, the screen-shake gets in the way – something I wish could be disabled.
There are power-ups in the game, but I honestly haven’t seen many of them, mainly due to not surviving as long as I would have liked. There are multiple power-ups, but the only one I’ve seen frequently is wallie, which bounces shots off walls. This helps with crowd control and if you accidentally kite yourself into a corner, this gives some breathing room. I’ve noticed that you can set enemies on fire in groups and this helps earn crucial points.
The bullet penetration in this game is like no other. Everything dies in one hit: you, the regular enemies and even bosses. But there’s a caveat to that, while they can be killed in one hit, there’s a trick to getting them to the point at which they can be killed. Sometimes you figure it out, sometimes you flail until you do. This trial and error is downright harrowing as you are shooting, avoiding projectiles and enemies while discovering the boss’ weakness.
Like Geometry Wars if it were made of flesh and bone, Tormentor X Punisher is an excruciatingly difficult, yet highly satisfying top-down shooter. It begs to be replayed but will beat you down for doing so. Yet like a masochist, you come back for more still thanks to the fast, frenetic, and fun gameplay loop. Tormentor❌Punisher‘s vulgarity and brutality might not be for everyone, but it is one of the most clever and chaotic top-down shooters I’ve played.
A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes