Sometimes you need to cleanse your palate after you’ve played a number of games, especially as a reviewer. You lose sight just what makes a bad game bad, or a good game good. Thank goodness we have Stained by RealAxis Software to help find the lower end of the spectrum.

Stained is a side-scroller where you play a character who looks very much like Death. This faux-Death has a scythe that is used to both smash stained-glass objects and attack enemies. Smashing glass has a range of effects, which you don’t control the effect, to do such things as create a ledge to walk over spiky death sticks, force a chandelier to move up and down to reach ledges, or to unknowingly unleash a glass monster upon yourself for beating up.

stained02Out of all of these platforming tropes, Stained succeeds at none of them. For instance, the thing about side-scrollers is that they should have sharp controls if they want to be taken seriously. Moving and jumping faux-Death feels laborious in how stiff and awkward it moves from ledge to ledge. Attacking is like watching someone lock up their body and swing a stick around, hoping something comes close enough to hit it.

This leads us to another platformer trope that must be adhered to. If there is something that needs to be attacked, players must both feel like they have a chance and that their attacks aren’t useless. Hit detection in Stained for both faux-Death and enemies is poor. While the scythe you attack with always moves in the same manner, it feels sluggish and weak, and hitting foes feels like a chore.

With enemies’ hit detection both in hitting you and being hit by you, the inconsistent rules make for a frustrating experience. Losing health rarely feels like it’s deserved and I was screaming such things as, “There’s no way that spider was even near me!” frequently. Other times I’d be perplexed how moving through an enemy caused no damage at all. You also never quite know where to attack an enemy. Allegedly there are some kind of indicators on bosses that indicate where you should hit it, but I found the old-fashioned flail about and press attack method works quite well.

stained01Controller support is straight out of the late 90s. In order to make any adjustments to the control scheme, you have to edit a config file outside of the game. Some areas outside of the game proper still required a keyboard to do anything, a number of menus refused to close when I was done with them and sometimes the game would pull up a black screen when I tried to unpause, which crashed on me about two out of five times. The other times, mashing the Esc key would thankfully bring back the display.

To be frank, Stained just isn’t fun, it’s an exercise in frustration and boredom and feels like a beta game early in its life. It has a long way to go before it should have been released.

Review: Stained
An adventure in not having fun that should be avoided.
  • Glass effects kind of look neat.
  • Buggy.
  • Poor controller support.
1Overall Score
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About The Author

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Sabriel Mastin writes about and creates videos about video games, enjoying the indie side of things most of all. She has many aspirations in life, one of those being sharing the games and the stories of independent developers from around the world.

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