On paper it all sounds good: You control a rogue battle android named A.D.A.M., and you clash with other androids, increasing in power as you fight, as well as attaching the weapons of felled enemies to your own robotic chassis. It's nothing too original, but the potential's there for a fun, fast-paced experience that's brimming with robot death. Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory all but completely botches the execution, delivering an experience that's clumsy, repetitious, and, thankfully, fairly short-lived.
There's a loose narrative thread in Rengoku, but the game relies more on a particular strain of Japanese quasi-spiritualism--the kind that prompts anime robots to spout five-minute monologues about the essence of the soul and the meaning of life--to establish atmosphere. Thankfully it's used quite sparingly, manifesting itself mostly in short bits of poorly translated dialogue before a boss fight. All this freshman navel-gazing takes itself rather seriously, but whatever. You're here to murder robots, right?
Then we've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is: You will murder plenty of robots while playing Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory. In fact, aside from customizing A.D.A.M.'s weapon loadout, murdering robots is all you'll do in Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory. The bad news is: Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory all but completely fails to capitalize on the promising prospect of murdering robots all day with its awkward controls and a tedious overall design. Each level in Rengoku is made up of a series of interconnected, randomly generated rooms, and each room encounter goes something like this: Enter a brown room, lock on to the nearest robot, and mash on your attack buttons while double-tapping the D pad to circle-strafe the enemy robot until one of you is dead. Then rinse, and repeat.
The game never throws a large number of opponents at you at once, but you'll regularly encounter other androids that are simply tougher than you. Then you'll either die, at which point you'll have all your equipped weapons stripped from you, and you'll be returned to the beginning of the level, or you'll run back to the start with your tail between your legs. The combat doesn't rely too heavily on skill, so when you do find yourself outmatched, the only real option is to backtrack to an earlier level to grind out more experience fighting weaker opponents. Combine this with the fact that neither the levels nor the enemies you encounter ever change in an appreciable manner, and the whole game becomes a grind.