Switch version tested
Review code provided
Agony is a first-person survival horror game where you play a martyr that has been condemned to Hell. Amraphel, or my personal favourite name for him Nimrod, has been damned to Hell by the Red Goddess for his actions in the real world. Agony is steeped with religious iconography and was originally released in 2018, there are now multiple versions released including an uncut or censored version. This is all you need to know story-wise as most of it is incidental until you get to the big reveals which, naturally, I won’t detail here due to spoilers.
Now, I am trying really hard to stay away from puns in this review but playing either version of the game makes it very hard not too. What Agony manages to nail is the atmosphere and tone surrounding the description of Hell as put forward in many religious texts available. Sadly, this is the only positive thing that I can say is about the game.
Gameplay is extremely tedious and shallow there isn’t a lot to keep you interested past the jump scares, unlike the excellent Amnesia or Penumbra. Both of which are great examples of the genre and both help you along with the story by showing you how and where to go, in a fashion. In Agony to discover where you are going next, you use a guideline of sorts but the problem is it takes you to the main objective without providing any explanation of what you need to do next. The signposting for key events and item collection often just ends in guesswork. Everything in the world seems overly sparse and the placement of penis’s and breasts are very prominent, although they haven’t done a good job of modelling the figures. The females have been given completely smooth crotch areas with no noticeable features and nipples like Barbie dolls, while in contrast, the male genitals look like they have had a lot of time spent on them. They are at the forefront of the visual in the first hours of the game. The sound effects and music are incidental and not that noticeable either.
I really wanted to like Agony but unfortunately, there were just too many bugs on both the PC and Nintendo Switch versions tested. For instance, on the Switch when you move between areas there is a good 20/30 second wait while the area loads in which becomes frustrating. Whereas with the PC version there are problems with the cinematics, the sound is consistently running about 10 seconds behind the game and this syncing issue goes on for a while becoming more distracting each time.
This is one of the hardest scores I have ever had to give, I wanted to like Agony but it was so painful to play that after finishing the Switch version I just couldn’t bring myself to fully go through the PC version again. The points that I am giving are solely based on the depiction of the levels of Hell, and while not as good as something like Dante’s Inferno, it is still atmospheric and horrible. It’s a shame that Agony can’t be recommended, there’s certainly potential but it’s simply not fun to play and the glitches will frustrate you.
TBG Score: 3/10
Platform: Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 31/10/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Shooter
Developer: Madmind Studio
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Download link: eShop