About Us | Game Reviews | Feature Articles | Podcast | Best Work | Forums | Shop | Review Game

Every Extend Extra – Second Opinion

Brad Gallaway's picture

Every Extend Extra Screenshot 

Although I can certainly understand Andrew's sentiments regarding Every Extend Extra, I'm not sure that I can echo them. Not having been familiar with the freeware source material, I approached the game knowing almost nothing about it besides the fact that it was another signature Mizuguchi piece, and it is. Familiar with Rez and Lumines, I found myself quite at home with EEE's sights and sounds.

As expected, Mizuguchi does not disappoint. The graphics are hypnotic, almost overwhelming with their intensity. The music is a fitting compliment. I don't think that the bursts of sound emanating from each explosion succeed in the sort of "create a dynamic sound" effect the game was going for, but then again, I don't think the same mechanic was successful in Rez, either. Clearly one of Mizuguchi's pet projects, I'm sure he'll try his hand at synesthesia again.

Audio and visuals aside, my main issues with Every Extend Extra are twofold: the length and the core play mechanic.

The length (seven standard levels and two hidden) wouldn't be an issue if the game was priced a little lower, but the sole retail copy I managed to find clocked in at $30. I managed to get through the game a few times the first day, and I had little motivation to go back and improve my score. That's a pretty steep buy-in for a couple of hours with a game that I don't feel has legs—a direct result of my second complaint, the core play mechanic.

Clearly positioned as a "puzzle" game and not as some sort of psycho-shooter the way the similarly brief Rez was, Every Extend Extra can be frustrating due to the apparent randomness of enemy patterns and their frequency. The point of the game is to set off chain reactions, but if the enemies never appear or appear in awkward configurations, chain reactions are impossible. It's clearly stated that picking up the "quicken" items will increase the appearance of said enemies (and they do), but the overall tone comes across as too heavily based in luck, and not something able to be controlled with skill the way a board can be worked by a seasoned Lumines or Tetris player.

This random aspect to scoring opportunities is especially aggravating during the "boss" sequences when players are supposed to attack by scoring a combo chain with the enemy on the receiving end of the explosions. It doesn't feel enjoyable or fair to try and rack up a 12-combo pointed in a certain direction when the only enemies available are drifting across in clusters of three on the wrong side of the screen with the clock counting down to game over.

As an experiment of sorts, Every Extend Extra brings an independent sensibility and definite auteur flavor. I like the concept and I like its energy, and I certainly don't mean to come off as someone who's wanting yet another variation of the falling-block formula. However, in its current state it seems more tailored towards being a demo or download—in fact, the game is slated to be available on Xbox Live Arcade shortly. In that arena, I think EEE will probably succeed. As a retail-release game asking for my investment, it comes up short both figuratively and literally. Rating: 6 out of 10

Category Tags
Platform(s): PSP  
Developer(s): Q Entertainment  
Key Creator(s): Tetsuya Mizuguchi  
Publisher: Buena Vista Games  
Genre(s): Puzzle   Arcade  
ESRB Rating: Everyone  
Articles: Game Reviews  

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Good points Brad

Brad knows how much I like this game, as I believe I'm partly responsible for talking him into the purchase. That said, despite my love-affair with the game, I do admit that Brad raises some very fair concerns about the core mechanics of the game. I know there are times when I would get frustrated watching an impeccabe performance be ruined by an unlucky draw during a boss battle. That said, I never questioned the mechanic though. I never felt it was cheap, only unlucky.

I would suggest thinking about it in terms of how people view Culdcept. You had those who absolutely despised the randomness of the dice-rolling, but many viewed the game's tendency to give you an "unlucky" roll as fair play as it wasn't something the game ever tried to hide from you. EEE, lets you know right up front that there is a randomness to the game that could be your downfall if you don't get the 7th or 8th Quicken. I'm fine with that. And truth be told, the more I played it, the better I got, and the less "unlucky" I felt. But even then, I would still lose during a boss fight that I had beaten a dozen times already and would feel somewhat frustrated. But never cheated. Just unlucky. This is a part of the gameplay mechanism that, understandably may not for everyone, but I do think those who accept it as part of the experience, can look past it, much the way I do.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Code of Conduct

Comments are subject to approval/deletion based on the following criteria:
1) Treat all users with respect.
2) Post with an open-mind.
3) Do not insult and/or harass users.
4) Do not incite flame wars.
5) Do not troll and/or feed the trolls.
6) No excessive whining and/or complaining.

Please report any offensive posts here.

For more video game discussion with the our online community, become a member of our forum.

Our Game Review Philosophy and Ratings Explanations.

About Us | Privacy Policy | Review Game | Contact Us | Twitter | Facebook |  RSS
Copyright 1999–2010 GameCritics.com. All rights reserved.