at its finest with the latest PSP game from Taito
21, 2006 - Exit
is literally an escapist game. You play as Mr. ESC,
a hero that is intent on saving people from a variety
of disasters from blazing buildings to collapsing
subways. Finding escape routes requires puzzle solving
skills, but since this is a race against time you
must also be able to think fast under pressure. There
is action and some platforming elements but at its
core Exit is a puzzle game - and an excellent and
unique one at that.
has a very cool look to it. Mr. ESC is almost a silhouette,
concealed by his trench coat, yellow tie and over-sized
hat. As a cartoon figure he's outlined with a thick
black line which gives him a striking vintage comic
book appearance. The backgrounds all have an artistic
hand-drawn interpretation that would make Andy Warhol
proud. The colors are bright and primary; the objects
and models are simplified and presented in 2D. If
this game just relied on platforming, the impressionistic-style
graphics and repetition of textures and forms would
by a serious detriment but since most of the action
takes place in your head you really don't want to
be distracted by an abundance of detail and animation.
ESC is not a superhero. He has human limitations that
you must exploit and protect in all situations. He
can get hurt very easily. You have be careful not
to put him into harm's way. With basic platforming
abilities such as running, jumping and climbing, you
can get him close to his objective and help him escape
pitfalls such as fires, floods, open pits, electricity
and falling objects.
a rescue mercenary of sorts, Mr. ESC is hired to help
people that are trapped in dangerous situations. Locations
of trapped subject include a hotel, hospital, subway,
mall and office complexes just to name a few. There
are more than 100 different scenarios, each one more
complicated than the last. Each mission lasts between
five to ten minutes. If Mr. ECS gets injured during
the mission or runs out of time, the mission is over.
The last quarter of the entire game is very challenging.
You really have to play this game from the beginning
to become comfortable with all the different techniques
that you can employ.
you arrive on the scene you will immediately begin
to look for the trapped people. With the press of
a button you will access a map that will locate them
for you as well as point out the exits. The interface
won't devise an exit strategy, that's where you come
in. Similar to Elevator Action, these locations have
multiple levels with many of them being connected
via elevators and stairs. You will also use ropes
and ladders to execute your escapes but often there
will be obstacles in your way that need to be eliminated,
moved or otherwise bypassed altogether. Here you will
employ standard puzzle-solving elements such as switch
flipping, puzzle jumping and crate moving.
of the most interesting and complex elements in the
game is the ability to direct those that you are trying
to rescue. There will be different characters with
different strengths and abilities. You could direct
a youngster to crawl under a small opening to gain
access to an area that you or another adult cannot
get into. Other times you will need the full weight
of an adult to set off a trigger or push an obstacle
out of the way that is beyond your strength level.
The youngsters can't jump as far as the adults but
they can walk on ledges that would otherwise crumble
under the weight of an adult. Injured survivors are
your biggest liability. They can't move under their
own volition and therefore must be carried which seriously
reduces your speed.
must be careful to use these characters in a specific
order as they can block the escape route if they get
caught up in something that a character behind them
could have opened. Sometimes they won't be able to
work elevators and other times they don't seem to
understand commands and will get stuck when they come
to a crossroads between a vertical path and a stairway.
In some ways you could chalk this up to a panic or
hysteria situation which is a very real variable that
occurs in real-life rescue attempts. It may be annoying
but you can't just leave them there - even though
they will obey your command to walk right into the
flames of a fire if so directed.
are no multi-player modes but you can download another
11 challenges online which contain 10 levels each.
That's a lot of extra bonus games. I only managed
to do a few before this review was due and I can tell
you that they are not easy. These puzzles blend action
and platforming to such a degree that you cannot make
any mistakes. One slip and the mission is over. The
controls aren't exactly buttery smooth. They are a
little clunky, kind of like trying to hold a butterfly
with a pair of pliers. Okay, that might be a slight
exaggeration but as a poor carpenter, I absolutely
must blame my tools.
reminiscent of the James Bond theme comprise the soundtrack.
The music is thematic but with seemingly endless variations
it's never in danger of becoming repetitive. The voiceovers
are another story. The survivors whine and bellyache
the whole time about wanting to go home and being
hungry. At time it makes me want to change my name
from Mr. ESC to Mr. DELETE as I direct the mouthy
bastards back into the flood, flames or rubble.
is recommended for everyone. There's no sex, no foul
language, nudity or violence - and despite all those
shortcomings, it's still a great game. Even if you're
not a big fan of puzzle games you'll enjoy the structure
of the puzzles that are anything but obtuse or arbitrary.
action puzzler: Players use decision-making skills
and wits to escape various obstacles while rescuing
people from more than 100 different emergencies.
Additional levels are also available for download.
whatever it takes to get everyone out in time: Rescue
people and find the fastest way out while braving
exploding factories, burning buildings and flooding
subways. Players will climb ladders, move objects,
slide down ropes and collect numerous rescue devices
to assist them in their missions.
victims into allies: Saved characters can be enlisted
to help move heavy objects, master tricky obstacles
and help each other.
stylish character design and movement: Accompanying
the intense action are some of the most stylish
graphics to be seen on the PSP system, allowing
for a viscerally and aesthetically satisfying experience.