Exit Review

Another week, another PSP port. Wait, let me rephrase that. Another week, another glorious PSP port. There, much better.

This industry is constantly being bombarded by rehashes, sequels, and shovelware to the point that innovation has been shed in favor of the almighty dollar. This isn’t a radically new observation and it obviously isn’t exclusive to this industry. I’m bringing up this often talked about (but never enough) topic because sometimes there are games that, although they may not be directly on the other end of the spectrum, you can tell the creators strived for something different and really put their heart into their work. Exit is one of those games.

Exit is a highly stylized noir-ish puzzle game where you play as the red scarfed yellow fedora wearing “escapologist” named, what else, Mr. ESC. You job is simple: get everyone safely out of the buildings as fast as you can. Of course, if it were that easy we wouldn’t exactly have a fun game on our hands, now would we? Each series of levels is introduced with a quick comic book style opening that explains why/how Mr. ESC got himself into another position that requires his expertise. They are so simple in design but so well executed that it makes you wonder why other games can’t do the same. Fittingly, each series of levels is also littered with its own share of unique obstacles and like any game, they build upon what was previously presented. In one series of situations you have to help people escape flooded areas, so you have to find ways of preventing your “companions,” as they like to call them, from drowning. In another series of levels you have to help people escape alien spaceships while avoiding the big-headed, slightly comical, abductors. It can sometimes not make sense but there is no denying that it fits the overall feel of the game.

Moving Mr. ESC around each arena can feel, at first, a little unresponsive until you learn the “rules” of the game, which mostly relate to the precise nature in which simple moves such as descending and ascending ledges must be executed. It’s not exactly the hardest thing in the world to do, but it definitely takes some getting used to. Although, even after becoming fairly accustomed to the controls I still found myself wishing that our stylish protagonist would take some yoga classes to increase his overall agility.

The biggest problem with Exit may be directly related to the possibility of it being too hardcore for its own good. Initially the levels are fairly short, but as you progress through the levels, they sometimes scale and may even take you 6-7 minutes to finish. Those 6-7 minutes doesn’t include the multitude of runs of trial-and-error that it takes to actually figure out the right way to complete the level and the few random times where you will make a dumb mistake right at the end and have to start over. The trial-and-error aspect is both equal parts frustrating and, ultimately, awarding, but there is nothing satisfying about having to begin the entire level over because you made one tiny mistake. Is it too much to ask for a checkpoint system?

While it may not be the most innovative puzzle game of all-time, it’s still a fantastic marriage between classic art style, traditional game design and a healthy dose of fan service in the form of the 200+ levels that can be found in the game. Exit costs 800 Microsoft Points and is a fine addition to anyone’s library who is interested in puzzle games and/or is looking for something different.


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Author: Kyle Stallock View all posts by

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