LISA: The Painful, sometimes known simply as Lisa, is an indie, surreal, dark-comedy, post-apocalyptic, turn-based RPG developed and digitally published by Dingaling Productions for PC, Mac, and Linux computers on December 15, 2014.
Based on the lead developer's earlier freeware game LISA (later known as LISA: The First), LISA: The Painful puts players into the role of an ex-martial arts instructor Brad Armstrong as he travels through the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Olathe to rescue his adoptive daughter Buddy, who is believed to shape the future of Olathe. Along the way, he encounters a variety of enemies, allies, and situations that are often bizarre, comedic, and/or melancholic, and sometimes has to make difficult decisions regarding his health and his allies.
The game is built with RPG Maker VX Ace and, unlike the original LISA (which was an adventure game similar to Yume Nikki), combines traditional JRPG combat with a unique overworld system based on side-scrolling platformers. Along with the overworld system, the game is known for its unique soundtrack, numerous recruitable party members (up to 30, all of whom can be killed off in different ways) and its wide variety of status effects (such as sadness, drunkenness, and withdrawal from a drug known as "Joy").
The game later received a sequel DLC campaign on August 25, 2015, known as LISA: The Joyful. Both The Painful and The Joyful later received an updated revision on July 18, 2023. Released by Serenity Forge as LISA: The Painful - Definitive Edition and LISA: The Joyful - Definitive Edition, this update features updated graphics (including widescreen HD support), updated difficulty settings, and new content. While this revision was released as a free update for computer platforms, it was also released on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, with both campaigns available as separate games (or bundled together as LISA: Definitive Edition).
Gameplay in LISA is split into two parts, overworld exploration that controls like a side-scrolling platformer and turn-based battles not too dissimilar from EarthBound.
Brad Armstrong, the Nobody
The game's protagonist and permanent party member. He is a master of many various martial arts and uses them to his advantage in battle. Over the course of the game, the player may choose to sacrifice any of Brad's limbs to save the life of his party members. If the player chooses to do this, Brad suffers an injury both visibly and in battle through a loss of stats and abilities. Brad is one of the various playable characters who is addicted to Joy, a fictitious drug that exists in the world, and will sometimes experience withdrawal in battle.
Ajeet Mandeep, the Playboy
An extremely tall man who is free to join Brad's gang. He has many abilities at his disposal but his strengths lie in his powerful poking techniques that inflict status effects on enemies.
Beastborn, the Wildman
A man of the wilds who has been raised by animals. He uses a whip in battle and can call various animals to his aid if need be.
Birdie Hall, the Drunkard
A drunk who hangs out at one of the many bars scattered across the wasteland. His main attack allows him to get drunk, making him stronger but less accurate. He follows it up by violently stumbling into enemies. He can also share his drinks to heal his friends or get them drunk as well.
Bo Wyatt, the Bard
A travelling musician wandering the wastes in search of his brother. Bo wields a Guitar and can play it during battles to debuff his enemies and heal his teammates or cure them from their ailments.
Buckets, the Pistoleer
A silent, gun wielding party member who wears a bucket on his head. His skills in battle are centered around the dual pistols he carries with him. He is one of the many party members who is addicted to Joy and will sometimes experience withdrawal in battle.
Buffalo Van Dyke, the Sportsman
Buffalo is a patriotic former pro football player who leads a gang of like-minded footballers in the wasteland. His rough playstyle on the field is what caused him to lose an eye but it has also made him a resilient, hard hitting ally in battle.
Carp, the Cutthroat
A Fishman who hangs around the surface in the wasteland. He wields a blade in battle and can strike foes multiple times without stopping. He is also addicted to Joy and will sometimes suffer from withdrawal during battles.
Clint Olympic, the Casanova
One who is often hailed as the most handsome man alive. During battles, Clint uses his well-built legs to kick enemies into submission and his dashing good looks to render opponents useless. Although, he does have an addiction to Joy and will sometimes experience withdrawal during battle.
Crisp Ladaddy, the Swordsman
A swordsman who carries his signature bundle of blades across the land. In battle he masterfully uses his swords to cut down enemies and make them bleed.
Dick Dickson, the Party Boy
A former member of the Salvation Rangers who left the group to get his party on. Dick uses his party expertise to attack enemies by using hip thrusts, cool backflips and other party tricks. His love for partying has lead him into the arms of Joy, he sometimes experiences withdrawal during battle.
Fardy Hernandez, the Truck Driver
A man who was 'stripped of his masculinity' due to a misunderstanding. He is constantly depressed during battle and isn't very strong. He can, however, ram his truck into enemies.
Fly Minetti, the Cart Racer
A shopping cart racer with a foul mouth and an even fouler stench. In battle, Fly can slam into enemies with his shopping cart or vomit on them to elicit a reaction.
Garth, the Artist
A masked artist who gets by drawing dirty images. In battle Garth uses his pencil to poison enemies and can draw pictures to increase his allies' stats temporarily.
Geese Thompson, the Avioon
One of the stranger party members available in LISA, Geese Thompson appears to be half man, half-bird. In battle, he utilizes his height and beak to his advantage by falling onto enemies using extreme force. He only seems to speak in a series of riddles and rhymes.
Harvey Alibastor, the Lawyer
A Fishman who helps Brad when he encounters legal trouble in the land of the Fishmen. Despite being one, he cannot speak or understand the Fishman language but can speak English fluently. His skills in battle allow him to heal or harm characters with water and use his legal training against his foes.
Jack, the Magician
Jack is a simple, travelling magician. Unfortunately, he isn't very good at magic. His inability to correctly perform magic tricks make him a very powerful, but unreliable, ally in battle.
Mad Dog, the Barbarian
A silent giant available for hire. In battle, Mad Dog uses his spiked club to make enemies bleed and can taunt enemies so he becomes their target.
Nern Guan, the Orator
A self-proclaimed historian of his time. He has a tendency to ramble on and can ramble off during battle to increase his allies' HP/SP/TP or malign enemies.
Olan Hoyt, the Bowsman
An archer after a good drink. In battle he uses his trusty bow to take shots at enemies from afar.
Ollie Nickels, the Greaser
A very sweaty man and business owner. He has somehow put himself into crippling dept and suffers from constant depression. In battle, Ollie uses a submachine gun to spray wildly into crowds as well as various different powders to cause distractions.
Percy Monsoon, the Pushover
A man who willfully joins Brad's crusade after he saves his life. He has no real specialty but has a variety of useful skills in battle.
Queen Roger, the Queen Bee
A crossdresser and leader of a gang of escorts known as the Bees. In battle, he wields a baseball bat and is able to stun enemies as well as threaten them. He also has a Joy addiction and will suffer from withdrawal in battle because of it.
Rage Ironhead, the Luchador
A wrestler who uses his head offensively with his signature brand of headbutt attacks.
RT, the Wildcard
A very smelly man who carries around a duffel bag with 'everything' in it. RT uses his bag, as well as its various contents, to his advantage when fighting enemies.
Rooster Coleman, the Chanticleer
A man who cares very little about the world outside of his coop. His most prized possession is his golden hen, Goldie. He can summon his chickens to his aid in battle.
Shocklord, the Pro Wrestler
Wrestler extraordinaire. He is the other half of the EWC tag team 'Arm-Shock', Brad being the main half. His signature move is 'The Big Shock' which is described as 'the most electrifying entrance in all of sports entertainment'.
Sonny Backluwitz, the Schizo-Wrestler
Former EWC wrestler who was banished for his violent tendencies in the ring. He specializes in clotheslines and body slams.
Terry Hintz, the Hint Lord
Terry is known as 'The Lord of the Tutorial'. He prides himself in his ability to leave helpful tips across the wastes for those who need them. Terry is the very first party member Brad can recruit into his gang. Unfortunately, Terry isn't as strong as he is helpful.
Tiger Man, the Dojo Buster
A mysterious man who wears the head of a tiger. He wields a spear into battle and uses it to masterfully tear into his opponents. He is also addicted to Joy and will sometimes suffer withdrawal because of it.
Yazan Barghouti, the Cat Shepard
The Cat Shepard of the wasteland. Together with his cat, Kat, he travels in search of the legendary Cat Haven. In battle, Yazan uses his blade to cut down enemies while his companion Kat distracts them.
The game was Kickstarter Funded in December of 2013. The game's goal of $7,000 was reached and by the end of the campaign the game raised a total of over $16,000. The game reached 2 stretch goals; the first being an additional campaign with Buddy as the playable character (which released as DLC on August 25, 2015) and an additional in-game area titled the Beach Resort.