Extreme Exorcism has a deceptively simple premise. Eliminate the phantasms appearing on the screen, within your 3 allocated lives, to reach a set score and unlock the next arena in which you must eliminate further phantasms: simple, concise, deceptive.
You see, Extreme Exorcism utilises a mechanic which, although similar to certain indie games, is utilised in a new and unique way.
Picking one of four individual pixel based protagonists, you are dropped into the first arena with a poltergeist infected chair. Dotted around the level are pick up zones, where randomly generated weaponry spawns, anything ranging from a sword or a baseball bat up to automatic machine guns, rocket launchers and a special Exorcism ability. From this plethora of destruction you can equip up to three of these items simultaneously.
Despatching the phantom furniture resets the level but now, instead of hunting an armchair apparition, you are instead hunting yourself. While you were battling the first spectre, the game tracked all of your movements and any attacks you conducted. So now you must eradicate with extreme prejudice your earlier embodiment while avoiding any attacks that you previously performed.
With each new ghostly version of yourself recounting each movement and attack that you have performed in your previous attempt, things get complicated as you manoeuvre around multiple incarnations of yourself to hunt down your very last spawn. This is made possible, as the phantasm of your last run is topped with a distinctive crown.
Furthermore, as you may imagine, once you get beyond 10 runs, your screen becomes overwhelmed with ghostly apparitions of your former selves, which is where the Exorcism ability comes into its own.
This unique and infrequent ability not only kills anything that comes within its large radius of attack, but also wipes them clean from history. Position yourself correctly, where you know previous manifestations will pass, and you can reset your enemies back to a handful of paths, or if you are extremely tactical in how you approach each successive attempt it is possible to reset back to a single adversary.
Progression is achieved by racking up a sufficient score to unlock the next level and with 5 levels per stage and 8 stages in the game; you have 40 levels to conquer in total with each successive stage having a more complex layout than the last. If you are like me though, you will continue until all 3 of your lives are lost which will place you higher on the leader boards associated to each stage.
Alongside the Arcade mode, which can be played with up to 4 players local co-op, you also have 50 increasingly difficult challenges, imposing trials that will test every ounce of your ghost hunting skills. Finally there is also a local team deathmatch which pits you against your friends to find out who reigns supreme in their ghost hunting skills.
As you rank higher and higher for each stage, new weapons are unlocked, and while these weapons are typically more powerful, they also tend to have unique and more complicated firing paths which tend to make each successive incarnation more perplexing and fraught with dangers.
Extreme Exorcism is first and foremost a platformer, but Golden Ruby Games have managed to lock in a mechanic that, while simple, is completely addictive and fun.
If you enjoy platform action puzzlers, I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Thanks to Xbox and Golden Ruby Games for supporting TiX
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