Every Extend Extra Extreme Review

It’s not easy trying to review a game like Every Extend Extra Extreme (E4). Like Space Giraffe, it’s not about the somewhat traditional gameplay elements; it’s about the way in which the audio and visuals blend together with the gameplay to create an experience rarely found in videogames. Taking this into account and the words of "Tycho" from Penny Arcade, "…how much you derive from it is often a function of how open you are to its audiovisual synergies," let me tell you, the reader, that I am a longtime fan of these types of games and if my review seems slightly skewed, you now know why.

E4 is a rather simple game to play, until you start adding the different layers. Essentially, you have to blow up your cursor or "ship" near the objects flying in to get some points. Cause a chain reaction and you get more points. Initially, there is a basic beat in the background and if you time your explosions with it, you gain a multiplier. Keep it up and the multiplier will grow. It seems easy at first but just wait, there’s more to do and keep track of. Some objects that you explode leave behind different kinds of powerups that either add time to the countdown clock, increase the rate at which objects enter the screen and thereby make chains easier, increase the bonus multiplier that’s separate from one that I previously mentioned, or give you a shield so that you can remain in ship form for a longer period of time and gather more powerups. It all sounds insane, and it really is.

Each explosion you cause triggers a drum machine sound of some kind and regardless of what song you are on, you are dynamically creating the soundtrack to the game. If you feel really creative, you can even press the left and right triggers to change the sound of the explosions so you can, as the game describes, become a DJ as you play. This feature seems fairly limited and being an audiophile, I wish they would have fleshed this out into greater detail. Oh well, maybe in the sequel. In some songs, moving the cursor up will cause a different sound to trigger than if you were to press left or right. With this type of player involvement in the audio of the game, it could be said that no 2 songs are the same, and because of that, it’s possible to repeatedly play the same level with the same initial backing track and not get tired of it very quickly.


Every Extend Extra Extreme


The different gameplay modes keep the fairly limited gameplay fresh. Unlimited is pretty self-explanatory as are the time-limited modes. Multiplayer pits you against another player in a way that has both players working with separate playing areas competing to strategically be ahead in points, as indicated by the counter in the top-center of the screen. I say strategically because sometimes it’s good to end your chain early by pressing the B button in order to prevent your opponent from gaining too far ahead and reaching the goal of "100." It all seems rather odd on paper but when you get into actual gameplay, you’ll know what I’m talking about. To be honest, I came into this mode not expecting much and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of strategy involved.

Wiz ur muzik is a pretty cool feature that allows for soundtrack customization using your own music. You play a song in the dashboard and E4 analyzes the song and figures out how it would work during gameplay. You can manually tap out the beat or have the game auto-detect it. What you get out of this mode is reflective of what you put into it, quite literally. Don’t put some soft piano music in there, it just doesn’t work. It’s not the game’s fault, so don’t get mad.

E4 is really one of those XBLA-defining titles in that it represents a profoundly divergent experience but still has that pick up and play feel to it that people (want to?) associate with a Live title. It has quickly become one of my personal favorites on XBLA, and if you’re like me and you’re into these kinds of games, there is no reason for you to not go out and buy this right now. If you’re not really a fan, download the demo and try it out. Maybe you’ll like it. Even if you don’t, do me a favor and keep it on there so you can show it to people and show them just how far videogames have come, and how divergent from the norm they can be.


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Author: Kyle Stallock View all posts by

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