‘Extreme Exorcism’ Review

Platforms PC/Xbox One/Playstation 4/Wii U/Playstation 3

Developer Golden Ruby Games   Publisher Ripstone

Genre Action Platformer   Platform Played Xbox One

The concept of Extreme Exorcism is an incredibly simple one, exorcise ghosts in a haunted house while using one of several ghost hunters. However, the tools used by these hunters are actually weapons and in an incredibly unique twist, the ghosts you must defeat are actually ghosts of your former self. Each level begins with your character facing off against a single enemy, a possessed chair. Upon defeating this opponent, a new round begins and a ghost appears with a crown on its head, following the path you just laid out the previous round. This ghost mirrors every action you took including jumps, swinging or shooting with a weapon, and holding the exact weapon combinations you did. Once this ghost is thwarted, another round begins but this time there are two ghosts. The one you just killed appears once again but has given up its crown to the new ghost which follows the path you laid out while battling the solitary ghost. Each new round presents another ghost, again following your new path while every other ghost on the screen performs the same actions you did in prior rounds. Needless to say, this constant accumulation of enemies leads to frantic action in later rounds, particularly if you are not cautious with your weapons.

Given that each ghost will also shoot the same weapons you were carrying at the time, if your approach to completing a level involves wantonly spraying the entire level with bullets, you will undoubtedly have a tough time defeating the ghost in every round that follows. For this reason, strategy and precision are rewarded heavily in later levels when there is far more potential for mayhem. If your enemies are all collected in a single area with very few projectiles being shot outwards, victory is more easily obtained than if ghosts are running through every corner of the level firing rockets, bullets, grenades, and fireballs. You possess the ability to carry upwards of three unique weapons at the same time, but when you attack, all three weapons will be used simultaneously, creating a tougher challenge in later rounds. In order to complete a round, the ghost wearing a crown, representing the ghost of your most recent round, must be killed. You receive additional points for any other ghosts you kill, but the majority of points come from the crown-wearing poltergeist and in many cases, ending the round quickly is the best option. Fortunately, there is a way to eliminate ghosts entirely, as an exorcism weapon begins to show up after roughly 8 rounds, allowing any ghosts caught in its wake to be removed from future rounds.

There are only a handful of game modes available in Extreme Exorcism, with a heavy emphasis on trying to increase your leaderboard ranking. Arcade mode offers 5 levels in different rooms of the house until eventually you discover the hidden altar room in the cellar, leading to a boss fight. Except for that final fight, there is never an actual end to a level, you simply fight until you have exhausted your three lives. Depending on how good you have gotten, this can be after 2 rounds or 40, the ghosts simply continue to accumulate. There are minimum scores you must obtain to unlock the next level or next room of the house, but they are all relatively easy to do once you understand how to play the game. The final boss is where the difficulty truly spikes, seeming almost out of place with how punishing it can be, but after several hits with exorcisms, he too will fall before your ghost hunter. There are also local deathmatches, pitting you and your friends against one another, and a challenge mode which offers levels with very specific limits on lives, weapons, or various other aspects. Each mode supports multiplayer, but only locally, so if you wish to play with your friends, they will need to be on your couch beside you as you toss axes and shurikens at them.

On the topic of weapons, as you kill more ghosts in arcade mode or challenges, you will begin unlocking new offensive tools. The game will not explain how to use each item, so there is a learning curve attached to each one, but you will quickly find your favourites. As more weapons are unlocked, the chance of seeing a particular one appear on a weapon spawn during a round is decreased and at times you may be faced with only weapons you are not terribly fond of. If you are faced with this dilemma, especially if there are a large number of ghosts onscreen, you will experience one of the more challenging and hectic moments one can feel during their time with Extreme Exorcism. Outnumbered by ghosts as they run and jump around the level while you attempt to do them in with weapons that may not be terribly precise or shoot at awkward angles, you can only hope to get lucky, but this is still very much part of the title’s charm.

The two largest downfalls of the game are the lack of online multiplayer and lack of replay value beyond attempting to better your score. With the prominence of online gaming, it is shocking that online multiplayer is not at least an option. Local multiplayer, both co-op and competitive is fantastic and the inclusion of it fills a void left by many games, but if online multiplayer were an option, the game could see a much longer lifespan. As previously mentioned, once the arcade mode is completed, the only real reason for revisiting the levels is to improve your high score. The challenge mode offers a large number of scenarios to test you skill, but again, after completing these, the chances of replaying them is minimal. It does fill a niche though. Extreme Exorcism is a fantastic party game as it is simple enough that people can pick it up easily, but the combination of weapons available and the ghost mechanic allows for absolutely chaotic action which will ensure everyone playing is having a good time.

With a unique gameplay mechanic in ghosts retracing steps you have performed in previous rounds, Extreme Exorcism escalates what could have been a mediocre title to a far more enjoyable experience. While limited replay value certainly hinders the length of gameplay, it is the perfect game to bring out at parties for frantic fun in short bursts. Multiplayer is clearly the focal point of Extreme Exorcism, but single players will find a great deal of enjoyment for a while in it as well. Despite chance playing into the equation based on which weapons spawn, strategy and precision are your best friends in the hunt for a high score, rewarding those who have the patience to wait for perfect moments to strike. Extreme Exorcism may not be a game you spend dozens of hours playing, but it will provide you with charming, hectic action and will be a returning favourite each time you pick out a party game.

The Good

  • Ghosts retracing your steps adds layer of strategy to gameplay
  • Final boss provides significant challenge
  • Local multiplayer is an incredible amount of fun

The Bad

  • Lacking substantial replay value
  • No online multiplayer

The Score: 8.0