Version Tested: Xbox One
Available On Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Wii U, PC
Developer: Golden Ruby Games
Genre: Paranormal Platformer
Extreme Exorcism is a tricky game to describe. On paper, the fundamentals seem fairly simple. Kill a chair, the next round a ghost appears mimicking your actions, you kill that ghost and so forth. Extreme Exorcism, however, is far more complex than that. It becomes a psychological thriller and you soon become your own worst enemy. Extreme Exorcism is fun and hectic with plenty of rewards, however, once these rewards end, so does the urge to return.
Each level you play will be a location within a haunted house and you will choose a variation of the layout. For example, you have 5 different library locations, although the rooms mechanics are similar, the staging will differ. The library is unique as it contains moving bookcases which reconstruct the level. Each room in the mansion bring its own personality to the stages. The bedroom has springy beds which skyrocket you across the level, the garden has dangerous vines wrapped around the platforms. The difference between the stages are small but they change the way you play and they become tougher each time.
The increase in difficulty within Extreme Exorcism is unique. The AI never improves, as there is none. The stages, the weapons and you will contribute to how hard the game is. The game starts with you killing a possessed chair with a weapon you’ve picked up. Round two follows and there is a nasty ghost recreating your past movements mimicking the attacks you unleashed. The ghost will then repeat this process over and over again. Once you’ve taken down this demon another copycat appears. The catch is the previous fiend remains too. By round 10 you could see up to 9 spirits on screen retelling your story. These pests can only hurt you when you attacked them in their timeline. To pass the round, you need to kill the ghost with the golden crown, which is the most recent. That is the game simplified, but there is depth here too.
As you play, you unlock new weapons. They start simple with swords and pistols, but you soon unlock mines, grenade launchers, ninja stars and the list goes on. These weapons cause a lot more damage, which in turn could cause you more damage. On my first play, I picked up every weapon, started shooting every ghost and was having a great time. Soon I realized that I had literally created a monster. The next round a trigger happy ghost began to fire all sorts of projectiles everywhere and inevitably it killed me. This is where the game increases in difficulty because the new weapons you unlock are not there for your benefit; they are there to kill you! Dodging a single sword attack is easy however dodging a harpoon gun from across the stage is not. You’ll unlock a boomerang and at first you are excited to use it, but then you realize, this is going to make survival even tougher. The weapons keep on coming and eventually you unlock the Fat Gun which shoots a gigantic bullet across the stage. I couldn’t wait to see what the next weapon was, but nothing more came. It was really disappointing because I felt the weapons were getting more imaginative and each play session felt tougher than the last. Once the last weapon is yours, there is not a lot to come back for.
Extreme Exorcism is more like playing chess than checkers. As the game becomes harder due to the new weapons, every action you take has an impact. You begin to play the game very deliberately. You’ll find yourself only attacking when you can guarantee a kill, you won’t be laying mines all over the stage and you’ll even try to avoid picking up overly dangerous firearms. You start to feel like a master of hindsight. You know the path you took last time so you await your ghost to walk right up to you and finish them with one attack. This is the way to success in Extreme Exorcism and it really works… until you introduce multiplayer.
You can play with up to 4 friends and in other games, having a friend usually helps. This is not necessarily the case in Extreme Exorcism. Whoever kills the crowned ghost; their spirit will appear next time. You only watch your own movements, so you have no idea where your teammate’s ghost will go. You essentially begin to construct an unpredictable AI. Communication becomes essential as I found myself telling my friends exactly where to move when to attack and vice versa. An arcade platformer suddenly becomes a tactical, strategy game. This mode is joyful, chaotic and this is why you will revisit this title in the future.
The most useful tool you can pick up is the ‘Extreme Exorcism’. This weapon creates a portal which will suck in all the lost souls littering your map. Instead of just killing them for that round as normal, these ghosts are gone forever. When you pick up this rare weapon, you need to use it efficiently to try to collect as many enemies as possible or eradicate a particularly dangerous foe. I’ve made it to round 50 and it would not be possible without utilizing this trap.
You also have a challenge mode where stipulations will be set. In the arcade mode, the demons will possess the weapons you used at the time, in challenge mode they could all have a specific weapon. Seeing 5 or 6 ghosts all firing harpoons guns is pretty amusing and tough. Other missions include having one life or using single shot firearms. Once the task is completed, a new challenged will unlock. This mode works as a tutorial too and the skills learned here will help you in the main game.
Extreme Exorcism is far more complex than it appears. You evolve as you play the game and the difficulty increases alongside your skill, so you always feel challenged. It feels like an old arcade game and is great to pick up and play with friends for an hour or so. I would’ve welcomed more unlockables, particularly over the top ones, but everything that is included here is really enjoyable. Extreme Exorcism is available for a great price and well worth trying out.
An Englishman living in Australia. I edit and provide video/written reviews for all of the latest games.