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Exit PSP

Published by Ubisoft
Developed by Taito
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Exit, an introduction.

Every now and again you get a game that comes along without any kind of fanfare and manages to be a success. Before Exit arrived for review I hadn't really seen anything about the game but I can honestly say it's definitely one of the better PSP games we've seen to date. Like all great games it's more than the sum of its parts and whilst the game's concept may not be that impressive it doesn't take long to become addicted to it.

What's the game about?

In Exit you'll control Mr. ESC, who is a professional escape artist. He isn't only good at getting himself out of a jam; he's also great at rescuing others from their perilous situations. Each level focuses on you getting others to safety. Out of the box there are 100 levels (there are 10 stages with each stage containing 10 levels) for you to solve. That's pretty good but when you consider there are going to be another 100 levels available for you to download for free (currently there are 80 levels available to download) then it begins to look like excellent value for money.

What's good about the game?

What I really like about Exit is that although the goals are always the same, the strategies you'll need to come up with are almost always different. The game has 10 stages that use different locations that have suffered earthquakes, fires and other such disasters in each of the 10 different levels. Mr. ESC will have to rescue four different types of people. There are young adults, adults, kids and injured people who are simply known as patients. Each of these has different abilities, which have to be taken into consideration. Adults for instance can push large boxes but they can't get into small spaces. Kids on the other hand can get into small spaces but they aren't very strong and need an adults help to climb up and down floors. Patients are severely injured and can't even move without assistance. Thankfully there are also young people who can do virtually everything that Mr. ESC can do and these cause no problems at all. By default these characters will follow Mr. ESC as soon as he encounters them. However, you can place those you've discovered to go into standby mode and stay where they are. Whilst they are in standby mode you can give them specific orders such as picking up objects or have the character carry a patient if they are able to. In any given stage there are a variety of objects to collect and use. You'll encounter keys, rope ladders, fire extinguishers, pickaxes, flashlights and even spiked shoes that can be used for crossing icy floors. All of this makes for a challenging and very addictive puzzle game that's quite unlike anything you've played before.

What's not so good about the game?

The only problem I really have with Exit is that the control scheme takes some getting used to.  You'll move Mr. ESC around with the directional keys and use the analogue stick to scroll around the screen. Problems arise when you have to do running jumps. You'll need to hold down the relevant directional button, the R button (which makes Mr. ESC run) and the X button (the key for jumping) all at the same time. This is actually far more awkward than it initially seems and for the first half-dozen attempts you'll end up getting the timing of your running jumps all wrong. If you don't have access to the Internet on your PSP then you're going to miss out on those downloadable levels that essentially double the content of the game. Whilst this would be unfortunate, it shouldn't deter you from purchasing the game as there's more than enough here to justify the asking price.

How does it look?

Exit looks stylish. Don't get me wrong the graphics aren't exactly what you'd call highly detailed but nevertheless the game has its own unique look that really suits the nature of the game.  As you can see from the screenshots the game is played from a side-on view. This may seem a little strange in this day and age but in all honesty it's the only view that would have worked with this game. Had a 3D view been used it wouldn't have been half so effective. The graphics can be said to have a kind of comic book look about them. The character graphics animate very nicely but are almost silhouette like in appearance. The various environments you'll play in all look very colourful and are easy on the eyes.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Exit is fine for deaf gamers. All of the instructions and tutorial messages in the game are exclusively in text. Important comments from the people you rescue and Mr. ESC himself are shown in text too. When issuing orders to those you are rescuing they will reply to you, and this is shown in text. Of course sometimes you'll want a person to pick-up something that's quite a distance away (meaning you'll have to scroll around to point to the item you want them to interact with). If it's an item they can't use they will tell you. However if you've scrolled around so that the person isn't in view you won't be aware of what they are saying as the text for their verbal comments will be off the screen. This is only a minor complaint however and there aren't any real problems.

Final thoughts.

Exit is one of those games that really have to be experienced. The simple description of controlling this rather strange character that goes around rescuing people from rather dangerous situations doesn't really seem like it's that interesting. However these challenges are actually quite fiendish puzzles (especially the latter half of them) and it's a really addictive experience trying to work out how to rescue these individuals who all have different abilities. Exit is without a doubt one of the best PSP games released to date and for a handheld console that seems to have large quantities of cut down PlayStation 2 games or spin-offs, it's refreshing to see some true originality.

Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Exit is original, stylish, challenging and above all fun. The PSP desperately needs games of this calibre. Exit should be on the games wish list for all PSP owning gamers.