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A Spooky Indie Experience - Extreme Exorcism Review
Since the rise in popularity of independent developers during the last generation, games similar in gameplay and style to Exorcism Extreme have been plentiful. A simple gameplay idea suited well for multiplayer settings and parties, accompanied by basic environments and pixel art is able to flourish in the indie environment. Extreme Exorcism jumps on this train with its fun and crazy bouts of gampelay; and it's not half bad.
Platforms: Wii U [Reviewed], Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PC, Mac
Developer: Golden Ruby Games
Release: September 23, 2015
Press Copy provided by Ripstone
Extreme Exorcism offers a few different game modes. The first option, Arcade mode, is the single-player "campaign" of sorts. As with all game modes, you'll start out as one of four exorcists on a quest to rid a huanted house of the ghosts that reside within. There's one catch: the ghosts never stop coming. Everytime a ghost is killed, a new round will begin spawning a new ghost that follows the exact path you took to defeat last round's ghost. As the rounds continue, the 2D room will fill with ghosts that follow your previous actions, including attacks, exactly. After exorcising a certain number of ghosts and raking in enough points, a new level or room can be unlocked.
To actually defeat the ghosts, you'll need to pick up one (or more) weapons that will spawn randomly at certain locations of the stage. Weapons include a variety of guns, a harpoon, and a staff that consumes all ghosts in a nearby area. The gimmick here is that you can actually pick up three weapons at once, and all three will activiate with a single button press. Although it might seem like a good idea to simply spam the large hitboxes of weapons at first, it must be remembered that the next round the new ghost will do the same. The strategy in this game comes from figuring out how to accomplish the current round most efficiently, whil still making it easy for yourself to accomplish the next round. Arcade mode will take you through various rooms in a haunted house (the different environments don't really change that much) to an eventual final boss.
The couch competitive aspect of Extreme Exorcism lies in it's deathmatch mode. The gameplay in this multiplayer mode (up to 4 players) is very similar to the arcade mode. The gimmick this time around is that the winner of a round gets a ghost that imitates their previous round, creating a large obstacle for oppenents. The same stages and weapons unlocked in arcade mode are available in deathmatch. Although deathmatch can lead to to a lot of fun with the right crowd, the hectic nature of the game can be confusing at times. Dissapointingly, I also didn't feel compelled to come back to deathmatch after a few hours of gameplay. Although fun initially, the constant rounds start to feel stale and this mode is not particularly groundbreaking in terms of indie couch competitives.
The final mode in the game is another single player exprience: Challenge mode. Each round in Challenge mode chalks up a clear objective that must be met before clearing the challenge. Examples include using only the harpoon gun or killing a large number of chair ghosts with a limited number of lives. There's a total of 50 challenges to complete. Although the first few will probably be accomplished on the first go, later challenges really ramp up the difficultly. Challenge mode is definitely another highlight to Extreem Exorcism, and the goals presented in each level made the gameplay feel less stale than endlessly slaying ghosts in other modes.
There's certainly not any major flaws with the presentation of Exterme Exorcism, but there's also not a whole lot that sets it apart. The 2D environments are accompanied with an 8-bit pixel art style. Although colorful, it can sometimes be confusing to tell which ghosts belong to which player in multiplayer modes. The four playable characters are cool in concept (see official artwork) but underwhelming in execution. The game's soundtrack and background tracks do work well for the type of gameplay, but are again nothing to write home about. Although the atmosphere, graphics, and presentation don't detract from the expirience, it feels like the developers just played it safe and some visual and audio aspects could have been improved.
Extreme Exorcism is certainly a fun expirience and should not be written off. The challenge mode was difficult enough to leave me satisfied upon completion and deathmatch has led to some memorable gameplay. The unique element of creating your own enemies as you play is awesome, but it could have been executed better. It's also quite dissapointing that no off-TV gamepad support is available. If you're bored with your current library (seems doubtful) then this game might be for you. I'd recommend it to anyone if it goes on sale, but it's hard to call it a must-buy at $12.99 with so many great multiplayer games already on the Wii U.
- Fun and unique gameplay
- Up to 4 players and multiplayer mode
- Perfectly difficult challenge mode
- Limited gameplay variety gets old
- No off-TV play
- $12.99 is a steep price for amount of content
Good games are simply that: good. They are generally fun to play but might be lacking in longevity, replay value, or presentation. These games might be good buying decisions for some people but not for others. Some otherwise great games may fall into this category if they are priced unreasonably high. The devil is in the details.
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