Skip to main content

Punishing tragicomic RPG Lisa: The Painful is getting a definitive edition

It'll tear you apart

Adam (RPS in peace) once described Lisa: The Painful as "Earthbound by way of thecatamites", but that was back in 2014 and there's a decent chance those references mean little to you. That might be part of the reason why Lisa has remained a cult classic, even if it has overwhelmingly positive reviews from those who persevered with the punishing, deranged, tragicomic RPG Maker game.

Now it's 2023 and Lisa: The Painful is getting a Definitive Edition re-release, and I'm lucky that I can draw on better known references. It's like Undertale by way of... Uh, thecatamites?

Damn. Anyway, here's a trailer for the Definitive Edition:

Watch on YouTube

Lisa's original release ran either in 620x480 or blurrily stretched to fit your screen. The Definitive Edition bundles together the DLC, Lisa The Joyful, and features HD graphics, an updated UI, and new enemies and bosses and music and party dialogue. It's even got a "painless" mode for those who just want the story without all the brutal setbacks.

Rachel summed up the spirit of the game well with a recent Have You Played:

"Many of the decisions you have to make focus on the gang of weirdos you’ve recruited. Members of your party can get permanently killed by bosses who have - totally unfair - perma-death moves. You’ll pay out a pretty penny for an item that’s actually completely useless. Your entire party might get captured and forced into a game of Russian roulette for shits and giggles by the militia. Based on your choices as a player, Brad can lose one or both of his arms making his attack stats plummet. Pumping your party with the drug ‘joy’ will boost their abilities but also potentially turn them into human bean-bags of flesh and crushed bones. It's all about sacrifice, but at what cost?"

You can also get a pretty illustrative picture of Lisa by noting that John bounced off its first fifteen minutes, furious.

It remains a game that deserves a larger audience, and hopefully the Definitive Edition brings it that when it releases on July 18th. Me? It's just made me want to return to the other Lisa.

Read this next