Rotating, tilting and adjusting the power of the catapult comes first, but to help you optimise the agony you have a few extra moves at your disposal. First you can use aftertouch to steer your poor protagonist in flight. Secondly, he can grab objects and throw them - useful when you want to pick up that sucker in the cow suit and send him flying in the path of traffic, or when you grab a special bomb crate and want to toss it at the struts supporting that large, spherical tank. Thirdly, you have a limited amount of ‘ouch' power, which you can use to scoot your just-about-to-be-hospitalised hero around with the digital D-pad when you hit an object or the ground. Shake the controller after impact, and you can even get a little boosted super-ouch. Finally, you can also get your guy to throw poses while he's in the air, pointing him head-first, bum first or (eek) crotch first at that upcoming immovable object. You just know it's going to hurt (but be glad it's him and not you).
In case you haven't noticed by now, this is all pretty nasty, boyish, juvenile stuff. Well, yes, but like a lot of pretty nasty, boyish, juvenile stuff, it's also highly amusing. Be careful who you show it to. Some people won't get the point. They will see the cartoon violence and destruction, say you shouldn't be chuckling quite so much and suggest that they think it should be banned. Others will just think it's hilarious, and will sit there with you while you play the game and watch the action replay of your last bone-crushing, glass-shattering, mime-wrecking combo, practically helpless with mirth. Some misery-guts may also point out that Pain is basically pointless. Bar a few characters and costumes to unlock, the only thing that keeps you playing is a handful of unlockable costumes, characters and trophies, and the lure of an even bigger high score. Oh, and the fact that you've just spotted some interesting structure or explosive crate in some unexplored area of the district, and wouldn't it be good if you could hit it then ouch into that promising catastrophe-in-the-making over there…
I guess it's the sort of game where you only get out what you put in. Well, for those of you who prefer something with a bit more structure, Pain does have a few more options. There's a mode where cheeky monkeys appear in the city, waggling their simian behinds in your direction, and you have to smack them from their little perches. There's another where you have to grab a floating mime and throw him through a series of glass panes in as little time as possible. Meanwhile should you have your friends around you can play with them too. In the best you take it in turns to nominate and then rack up high scores on specific targets until one of you spells out the word HORSE (or any vulgar alternative you can think of). In others, you can either chain together explosions or have a slightly PAINful game of bowling.